Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Force and Vivid Manga

May 2nd, 2010

Despite the failure of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha to be profitable here in the west, in Japan it’s a thriving franchise. With the first full-length feature film Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The First out this past winter and not one but two new manga series, Nanoha is starting to show some serious staying power as a franchise. And it’s generating some of the seriously hottest figurines I’ve ever seen. If you recall, I had a crisis of conscience over a Signum figurine at Hobby Japan in Akihabara last month.

In both manga series Fate and Nanoha have reached the venerable old age of 25 and have, therefore, moved completely out of the fandom’s interest. And right into mine. The fact that this *still* makes me a creepy old lady is not lost on me. ^_^

In Magical War Chronicle Lyrical Nanoha Force, Kidou Rouka has been disbanded and Fate, Nanoha and Hayate have moved on with their careers. As we saw in the epilogue to StrikerS, all of Hayate’s Knights still serve in the niches they have carved within Michilda’s forces, and Teana, Subaru, Erio and Caro have also moved up in their chosen fields. Everyone is a productive member of adult society. So, clearly, it’s time to introduce new characters. Therefore we meet Thomas, an independent soul on walkabout for his own reasons, the naked magical girl he rescues, Lili, and seamstress and comedic relief, Isis. The three are each searching for something and are already misunderstood by a trail of people. Alongside of their story, all the major players from StrikerS have been reintroduced in their new capacities. We can anticipate that they will all encounter one another as the story progresses.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid follows Vivio, Fate and Nanoha’s adopted daughter, in her quest to become a powerful mage like her mothers. We are reacquainted with several of the Number clones from StrikerS (the ones that went “good” on us), as well as the rest of the cast in a series of unlikely cameos. Vivio has become rather good friends with Nove, Wendy, Duici and the others, and has a few school friends to drag along. The complicating factor (i.e., new character) in her story is an unwilling clone of the ancient Emperor Ingvald, a girl with the awkward name of Einhart Stratos. It doesn’t make any sense to me either – just go with it. Einhart’s existence gives Vivio a chance to transform into her more grown-up fightin’ form as often as possible. There’s no real “conflict” here yet, but there will be. And, no doubt, there’ll be a chance to watch Vivio take after Nanoha-mama and “befriend” more than just Einhart.

In Force, Fate and Nanoha are presented at top of their form. Experienced veterans, leaders, commanders. We have yet to see them having an quality time together, but to be fair the series has a lot of stuff going on and there really isn’t room for it.

In Vivid, we see Fate and Nanoha as devoted partners and mothers to Vivio, but again, the story doesn’t quite have room for Fate and Nanoha to have time together. So, in both cases, the Yuri is there only insofar as you feel like making it up in your head.

Sadly this is not true for other fetishes. But aside from the apparently unavoidable (and in Japan, at least, profitable) fetishes favored by Nanoha fandom, both manga have good stories and are festooned with good characters.

Force Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 0
Service – 6

Overall – 7

Vivid Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 0
Service – 7

Overall – 7

Like Ikkitousen, I know what I’m getting into with Nanoha, so I am not complaining, just a little wistful for what might have been if the stories were written more for me. ^_^

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9 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I should point out that Force’s full title actually begins with the words ‘Mahou Senki’, not ‘Mahou Shoujo’. I’m not sure what Senki means but I’ve seen the phrase translated as Magic War or Magical Chronicle.

  2. @Anonymous – Thank you for the correction I’ll fix that right away.

    War Chronicle seems sensible based on the kanji.

  3. Hafl says:

    This post actually made me kind of want to take a look at these series. Since the Yuri rating is at zero, I suppose that both of them are pretty good, even when all the Yuri is in the realm of imagination. Time to find a second job for the summer.

    It might also help me get over the existential crisis of characters in almost all the series I like being younger than me.

    On a completely unrelated note, I recently found out that Monma Chiyo used to be a math teacher, which is strangely one of the coolest profession I can imagine.

  4. Mara says:

    “The fact that this *still* makes me a creepy old lady is not lost on me. :-)”

    Bah that’s an acceptable level of creepy for someone in your age bracket.

    Think of it like radiation poisoning; you have a lot less RADs than most. ^^

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad it’s doing well in Japan at least… (My friends laugh at me that I like something with as ridiculous a title as “Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha,” but I’m a fan.) I was looking recently for the Geneon re-release of Nanoha A’s (the one with the non-loli cover art… >_<) but couldn't find it anywhere. Did that ever actually get released, or was it canceled because the first season didn't sell?

  6. Mandy says:

    I’m having a difficult time getting into the Nanoha Force manga because of the lack of the main characters. The new characters are fairly likable and it seems like the plot is moving into a very awesome, action-centered way… but I can’t help but wish for more of Nanoha and the gang. :(

    Vivid, however, I find to be absolutely awesome. There are so many instances of all the old characters popping up and showing just how awesome they’ve become over the years, and I love how Vivio interacts with all of them. She’s grown up to be so much like her Nanoha-mama, it makes my heart happy. ^^ Could use more Hayate and her knights, though! What I absolutely love the most though is the little, subtle comments about Vivio’s mothers and how gentle and kind they are… and absolutely no shock at zomg why do you have TWO mothers?? Absolutely none at all. That makes me happy. :)

    Well anything with Nanoha makes me happy, I admit. XD I can’t help it! And I still think you should get that Signum figurine. ;) She’s so very very pretty and badass looking!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Vivid gets a 0 for Yuri while Heartcatch PreCure gets a 5?

    And you say you prefer adult women… poppycock!

  8. @Anonymous – Yes and yes. Perhaps you’re not a very good reader. Vivid is about a 10 year old and her mothers, who are a couple, are not the focus of the story. heartcatch has two girls of roughly high school age in what appears, with Yuri Goggles, to be a relationship.

    Neither has Yuri, as I said. But I’m content to make up the relationship between Dark and Moonlight, while in Vivid there just is nothing there to make up anything with. nanoha and Fate are a couple a priori, the story has no Yuri.

    I’m not sure why you see that as translating to me not preferring adult women, something which is well established. I’ll assume you have some obscure ax to grind, as do just about everyone who gets up my nose about it.

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