313th G-View: Vivid Strike!

I imagine this spinoff exists to see whether there is still interest in the Nanoha Vivid series. That or serve as an appetizer for the second season of NV, should there ever be one. Whatever the case let us see whether this appetizer is worth ordering or it is best to stick with waiting for the main course as we take a look at Vivid Strike!

Check out my reviews of the Nanoha franchise HERE, though I have yet to review Nanoha Vivid.

Vivid Strike Second Cover.jpg

Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Magical Girl, Sports, Tournament

Themes: Martial Arts, Mixed Martial Arts

Number of episodes: 12+1 OVA and two specials.

G-Ratig: 8/10

Before reviewing the show there is a warning for fans devotedly following the Nanoha Vivid manga. As I mentioned above this show is a spinoff of Nanoha Vivid where, for the most part, it can be viewed as its own show that just so happens to take place in the Vivid series of the Nanoha timeline. However, the show does contain spoilers for viewers who have not yet seen the first season of Nanoha Vivid and more than likely the Vivid manga, especially in regards to the loli-fu tournament. Vivd’s other story events are vaguely hinted at apart from one plot point that should be more than obvious for any Nanoha franchise fan. Whether the results are canon or exclusive to this story remains to be seen. Basically devoted fans should keep this in mind before deciding whether to check out the show or not. For everyone else who does not mind potentially having the end results of the loli-fu tournament being given away read on to see whether the show overall is worth it or not.

Plot Summary: Raised up in the same orphanage, Fuuka and Rinne were once close friends but parted company after a quarrel ended up with Rinne overwhelmed Fuuka with her martial art skills. Fuuka has a life in poverty after leaving the orphanage. An accidental encounter with renowned martial arts champion Einhard/t Stratos discovered Fuuka’s hidden talent in fighting; Einhard offered Fuuka a job and coaching, encouraging her to meet up with Rinne again — in a ring.

embarassed-fuka

At first I thought this show would be “The Fuuka Show, Featuring Team Vivid”. In actuality it is “The Fuuka and Rinne Show, Featuring Team Vivid”. The plot summary pretty much gave away what the main story will be about but really, for readers who are either longtime Nanoha fans or have seen all four seasons and movies…the fact this show is leading up to a potential fight between Fuuka and Rinne should not be surprising in the slightest. Simply put knowing where the plot is going is the least important part. What matters is how the show gets there and what will happen when the time comes. This is where the show shines as we see the very different paths Fuuka and Rinne took to become professional mixed martial artists and their motivations for doing so. As one can imagine from looking at the above poster for the anime one’s path was hard but full of fun experiences while the other one…oooooooffffff.

As far as Team Vivid goes (Vivio, Coach Nove, Einhard/t, Lio, Corona and Miura) their contributions to the show ranges from supporting characters to secondary protagonists depending on which ones got to fight. Obviously Vivio and Einhard/t got more to do because they are the top dogs of the team but the others also contributed in their own ways so it is not like they were “just there”. Other characters who appeared in the first season of Nanoha Vivid also appear. Now some of these do feel like “just there” characters but it is cool seeing them again regardless.

fuka-breaking-vivios-guard

Now this show taking place in the Vivid series of the Nanoha timeline there is a strong emphasis on loli-fu (my nickname for the MMA league where cute girls and yoing women compete). Like the Vivid anime the combat is intense but this time there is less emphasis on magic attacks and beam specials and the like and a stronger focus on pure unadulterated, hard hitting fist and shoe to face combat…and when I say hard hitting I MEAN HARD HITTING! Think of movies like Fight Club and Bloodsport but with cute girls. These girls may not use beam attacks but their special strikes are still infused with magic so…uncensored broken bones, blood spewing and vomiting for days. These girls hit each other with enough force to make DBZ characters proud. I am not joking. Several of the fights are quick one-sided bouts like ones found in UFC or Bellator but the ones that are longer than a minute…HOOOOOO DOGGY! Readers would not want to get into a fight with any of these girls, especially when they are enraged.

The animation quality is similar to that of Vivid’s but slightly less ecchi. The fight scenes use a mix of old-school and new school shounen styles. What I mean is there is a mix of still images showcasing the ferocity of the fighters’ strikes, there are few moments where the spectators are shown in small images as battles ensue and for there is of course mid-fight inner monologues of the combatants studying their opponents’ moves during fights and trying to come up with counterattacks on the fly. The fights are the second major highlight of the show. The soundtrack is also good with upbeat tunes for fights. The OP and ED are good listens as well.

When it comes to yuri Fuuka and Rinne is definitely where it is at. As for how strong their yuri vibes are…this is a story set in the Nanoha universe. There is a certain ritual future friends, lovers and even family with very strong bonds must undertake. Readers can guess what this means for Fuuka and Rinne.

Overall Vivid Strike! is an appetizer worth consuming before the main course…should it ever be served or not. Devoted Vivid manga readers may want to wait a bit before picking this up. The show can be enjoyed on its own but it is recommended to at least check out the first season of Nanoha Vivid before doing so…provided the viewer is okay with having thee loli-fu tournament end result potentially spoiled. Whether the outcomes mentioned here are true remains to be seen but keep this in mind should viewers choose to check this show out. Still worth it I feel. The fights are INTENSE, especially the long ones, seeing Team Vivid and the gang from the first season pop up is very nice, Fuuka and Rinne’s story is worth watching and the two are worthy candidates to undergo the Nanoha universe ritual.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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10 Responses to 313th G-View: Vivid Strike!

  1. Eerika Norja says:

    Ah, one of the only two shows that I was actually hyped for last season, being a (semi-)longtime Nanoha fan (/fanatic, being my favorite franchise of all time, semi because I haven’t been watching anime in general all that long in a very focused way). (The other being Magical Girl Raising Project, after reading it’s synopsis. The best shows this season were mostly surprises for me!)

    First off, I have heard rumours that Vivid season 2 would be coming possibly autumn/fall 2017, but that’s mostly a rumour based on a site listing it as airing then. I guess we’ll see if it does come out then or if we have to wait till later. At the very least we do have Reflections coming this year, so us Nanoha fans do have something to look forward to this year at least. (subs maybe Winter 2018?…though hopefully earlier)

    Overall, I liked this one quite a bit. A worthy side-story to the main Nanoha canon, in my opinion (though I have seen many a discussion by other Nanoha fans on the forums of a subbing group where people heavily critizised the show, both certain characters (Rinne and coach Jill especially) and how the show seemed to change or outright forget some of Vivid’s tournament rules in ways they felt made little sense (like the damage simulation system apparently being toned down this season, allowing for real injuries to happen)). But overall I liked it, even though I admit some things could have been done a little better. For example Coach Jill’s contant desperate wishes for Rinne to “come back to her” during the final fight felt a bit…weird.

    As to characters, Rinne, and especially her being bullied and her reaction to it hit pretty close to home, being someone who was bullied extremely badly in elementary school (and only barely lived through it, though obviously her outburst was something I never went through). She might just actually be one of my favorite characters of the year due partly to that. Fuuka was good too, but honestly RInne is just…more like me in some ways, I suppose?

    While we did eventually get a reference to NanoFate in the show (and I think I might’ve spotted Subaru in a far-off shot of the tea party table at the Church in Vivio’s flashback as well), I have a feeling they were somewhat trying to tone down the influence of NanoFate/past seasons a little this season, to give the new characters and Vivid characters more room to shine. Which somewhat worked, I’d say. Vivid did have a little of the problem (especially in the first half of the first season) where they had to make all these references and nods to the previous seasons, so it felt like the new characters felt a bit left out/felt like it left too little time for newer characters to shine in their own right. With keeping the older characters slightly at a distance, Vivid Strike does manage to give Fuuka and Rinne a little room to grow on their own.

    The (mild) spoilers for VIvid’s tournament arc’s ending were…tolarable, I guess. Even having not read the manga, I wasn’t overly bothered by them. We still have yet to see the actual fights, after all, even if we now know their eventual results. Though honestly one interesting slightly strange spoilery addition to Vivid Strike is the introduction of Ix(pellia). Introduced in StrikerS Sound Stage X (Drama CD, a very recommended listen for any Nanoha fan, there subbed versions on Youtube), she’s a major plot point in the Vivid manga (only small appearances in Vivid season 1 yet), but there’s only one problem…she’s in a coma in Vivid. A coma that she’s not supposed to wake up from easily, or necessarily soon (having to deal with exactly what kind of being she is), and yet, here she is, walking about in Vivid Strike as if nothing had ever happened to her! Now, either Vivid Strike changes the canon a little, isn’t canon at all, or they just spoiled one of the bigger plot points in the later parts of the Vivid manga (a point even the manga hasn’t quite reached yet, as I understand it). Slightly strange to just casually have her interacting with the cast, in my opinion.

    But as I stated, in the end I quite liked it. While the fights were different from previous seasons of Nanoha, I still think they felt satisfying in their own way (even if some of them, for example Vivio’s fight with Rinne, were heavily critizised for not having Vivio act smartly in the fight, allowing herself to get injured further before she switched to her winning style). I felt the show was decent enough, if not perhaps quite reaching the level of the first three seasons of Nanoha (though perhaps it does reach the level of Vivid, which does have it’s own share of faults as well).

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      All we can do now is hope and wait for Vivid 2 and the eventual English subs for the third movie.

      Complaining about the increased brutality and match rules are meaningless fanboy/girl gripes to me.

      Coach Jill wanted to mold Rinne into the perfect fighting machine and got carried away by pushing all her dreams and aspirations on to Rinne, thus kind of ignoring how Rinne was feeling. After seeing just how much pain Rinne was going through she finally realized how wrong she was for ignoring it.

      Rinne’s tragic backstory is one of the show’s highlights. I was still rooting against her in her fights though as she did take things too far.

      Who knows what they will include or exclude from Vivid Strike! should a second season of Nanoha Vivid happen. We will have to wait and see.

      We got to see NanoFate sexier than ever along with Subaru and some of her sisters so I did not mind the references in the firt half too much.

      The entire main story was about Fuuka andd Rinne really.

      Like

      • Eerika Norja says:

        Indeed. Thankfully the long, long wait for Nanoha Movie 3 is almost over. After so long of nothing but rumours and whispers, it is truly a blessing to have a release date, at least.

        I agree, for the most part. I was one of the people defending the show/Rinne against the nitpickers, to be honest. I enjoyed at least some of the brutality, especially Rinne’s comeback against her bullies in ep4 (my most re-watched scene of the season, probably…it’s just such a well-done scene in my opinion).

        Yeah, I can see Jill’s point of view as well. With the entirety of their shared backstory explained, it certainly makes sense from a certain perspective, even if it was the wrong way to go about handling Rinne. It’s just that her constant voicing of her desire for Rinne to “come back to her” (as if she was Rinne’s parent or something), got a little…creepy at the end with how much she repeated it. It seemed like she would fall apart emotionally herself if Rinne refused to train under her again, with how desperate she seemed. And considering the training was all Jill’s idea, it seemed a little much for her to ask, honestly.

        Yes, well, considering Vivid Strike! happens after the entirety of Vivid (apparently), it’s unlikely they’d exclude someone like Ix, who’s even already appeared in small scenes in Vivid season 1. That said, I guess we’ll just have to see what they do with the season/how far they get/what it’s like, when it finally does come out.

        It’s not like I didn’t love all the references in the start of Vivid, in fact, I loved most of them (especially that scene of NanoFate in the OP, had to stop the episode for a moment to catch my breath when they appeared on screen the first time I watched it). It’s just, looking back at the season, it’s like all those references and all that focus on the earlier season’s cast did take some focus away from Vivio & Einhard and the other younger characters, focus that they could’ve used. And the presence of NanoFate is strong enough to overshadow a lot of other people, so I can definitely see why NanoFate only got a small mention in Vivid Strike, since the focus was on other characters (mainly Rinne & Fuuka, who have no connection to anyone from the previous seasons). But I guess we might see a lot more of that in Vivid season two, so it’s not like it took that much away from them in the end, I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

      • OG-Man says:

        Scratch it off as Coach Jill being’s reasoning being noble but flawed.

        Yup. We shall see.

        NanoFate are legends in both the regular and yuri fanbases so them stealing the spotlight from their daughter and her friends was inevitable. Eventually they stepped aside so it wasn’t all bad.

        Like

  2. yurimylove says:

    This is definitely “edgier” than Nanoha Vivid, I love it! Those rough street brawls were pretty fun.

    Sorry Vivio I do love you and Einhart but I was rooting for Rinne the whole time during her tournament fight against Vivio. Because I knew in the end she’s gonna get “befriended” by Fuuka, so I just felt so bad that this poor girl keeps get beaten up… though she’s handed out her fair share of beating up others as well ^_^;

    In retrospect, I was a big fool. There’s no way the show would let her win against Vivio since she’s the protagonist in Nanoha Vivid so surely she’ll be having the final showdown vs. Einhart in the championship fight (or so I imagine since I haven’t read the manga). So plot-wise poor Rinne had to lose in order to set up the “unofficial match” vs. Fuuka — if the story is to conclude without having to drag on till after the entire tournament arc anyway.

    Regardless, I really enjoyed this series overall, and I really like Rinne and Fuuka. Their yuri love is so sweet ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Nah. I wanted to see Rinne get clobbered. She needed a good spanking after all the brutality and looking down on others she had done. She was WAY too hard on herself and letting out her frustrations on others was, though very understandable, uncool.

      She can always try again for a title match in the future before Einhard turns 15.

      Yup. Fuuka and Rinne’s tough love was both brutal and beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. K says:

    Welp, I was spoiled by some things in Vivid Strike since I was reading the manga on and off but it’s not that big of a deal.

    This was a spectacular watch! Rinne and Fuuka’s story was a great addition to the Nanohaverse.

    I am happy that Fuuka was able to succeed in her “befriending” attempt. It was painful but ultimately rewarding. The darkness in Rinne’s heart has been destroyed and she can now stop blaming herself for everything that had happened up to that point. Furthermore, she can actually embrace martial arts with a clear mind. Edgelord Rinne was a strong, scary contender but she really had to get taken out. That tea party those two had after their fight, where they got those messages from all the people that knew them in some way or another was lovely.

    Jill’s relationship with Rinne was also restored. However, I was kinda miffed that she’s still gonna use the same grueling regiment to train Rinne. I thought she would maybe tweak it a bit. As long as Rinne’s fine with it, I suppose.

    It was nice seeing Vivio, Einhart, Nove and the others on the screen again. Nove and Jill’s interactions were interesting what with the clash of different views on training. I especially liked how mellow Nove was about this rivalry.

    Vivio’s fight against Rinne was amazing and even though she couldn’t continue in the tournament, Vivio was the catalyst that pushed Rinne towards the light, as I expected she would. We didn’t see Fuuka and Einhart’s final duel but it must have been exciting (with Einhart winning, I say).

    I think there were some new drama CDs that came out recently in Japan in which Fuuka and Rinne got to interact with Nanoha and Fate so in my eyes, VS is definitely canon. http://imgur.com/a/gZjGP

    I don’t think you remember what I said earlier about the whole ‘Einhart/Einhard’ thing, but I just have to say that that was a stupid thing to get worked up over. This German translation is just like the l/r translations when it comes to Japanese-English and vice-versa.

    Like

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