Is it just me, or do the ladies seem to have more shows about them than the guys? Are ladies just that more intrinsically interesting or do we like to see how they overcome a plethora of problems designed to weed out the weaklings and we end up with a stronger, more empowered woman? Or is it just big boobies in tiny outfits? That seems a bit much to lay on a bunch of 15 and younger gals, but that’s the idea behind “ViVid Strike”, although the full and complete title is “Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid” (“ViVid Mahō Shōjo Ririkaru Nanoha Vividdo”, and don’t ask why they spell it that way). Oh, and this is the second season of the show, not that it really mattered in how it all came to be.
In an open sense, this is another sports show, but they throw in a degree of magical foofaraw and some heartbreaking back stories to try and complete the Circle or Arena or Ring of Life, or something like that. Now, this is actually another season (and why is it that I am unable to find the first season when they come out? This is driving me bonkers), but it doesn’t hurt your ability to watch the show, as there is a small degree of catch-up (and maybe an errant mustard stain as well). The entire tale revolves around these two gals, Einhart Stratos (left) and Vivio Takamachi (right). They are in their adult, fighting mode for this snap. Each wants to prove to the other that they are the best, not the other one, and the show is about all the efforts they go though in order to meet each other on the field of combat.
Each is driven by their own demons, especially since they used to be pals as the same orphanage, but Vivio was the stronger of the two; now, the roles are reversed and Einhart and proven herself to be both brutal and merciless in her desire to climb to the top. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING, will stand in her way and she truly relishes the opportunity to meet Vivio in the ring and pound her like mochi.
It’s just that we spend huge gobs of time either in the gym or in the ring. True, on the one hand, you don’t want to get too talky on things, as they explain their reason for what they do and their fears about the future; on the other hand, you can spend too much time with the fights themselves. I mean, if I really wanted to see this kind of physical carnage, UFC is on the tube (or WWF; they both feel the same).
Then comes the concluding fight and I honestly felt it was a bit of a letdown for me. It might not feel that way for you, but you have to watch it to see if that is the case. For me, I seemed it was, pound for pound, just a lot of mindless fighting, although, giving credit where it is due, they are well-presented sequences. There was just a lot of endless stewing and remembering-when sequences and what-if approaches to the point it may have been more like a session with the psychiatrist instead of your trainer. Yes, the rest of the ladies who train are good and competent and talented, but it’s hard to be a seven in a world of tens, so they get relegated to the back pages of our tale.
There is a series of shorts that follow and they are meant to be seen at the conclusion of the series. These are designed to help you understand the character better, but it feels kind of slapped on. Seriously, if you wanted us to know more about them during the show, take out one fight and put these ideas into play them. But that’s why I’m not in sales/marketing. You need a hook to make certain you go for the DVD release and these little tales are that hook. Still, if you like watching the gals smack the stuffing out of each other, this is the show for you.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (I guess you need some caliber of moe)
Plot 7 (Rather standard for sports)
Pacing 7 (Good with the fights, weak with the rest)
Effectiveness 7 (It just never connected with me)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 5 (A similar show would be “Maburaho”)
Overall 7 (Too much teeth-gnashing and fist-clenching)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Fight me here and now!