02 April 2007

Nanoha StrikerS 1:Wings towards the Sky (空への翼)

I think the birth of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Subaru & Teana would be a concise description of this first episode.

The episode starts by showing a little girl crying, as she is trapped in a fire, with no one to help. As fate have it, she still needs to entertain millions of anime fans, so she can't die here. Nanoha is dispatched to save her, and while the girl is saved, she feels unhappy as she can't do anything to save herself.

Fast forward a few years to the future, the girl, named Subaru, is now a fit young lady, ready to take an exam to join the mages with her partner, another girl named Teana. Fate T. Harlaoun & Hayate Yagami, now much more mature than in Nanoha A's, also makes an appearance as an observer.

The rest of the episode is full of action, showing Subaru & Teana kicking butts. Towards the end of the exam, Teana is injured, so she wants Subaru to proceed on her own. However, after some mutual moral encouragement and battle tactics, they decided to go to the finish line together.

Needless to say, they do make it to the finish, or beyond the finish to be exact. Unable to stop, they were saved by Nanoha, who is now a fully grown woman :)

Magical Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha Official website
Opening theme: Secret Ambition by Nana Mizuki (水樹 奈々)
Ending theme: Hoshizora no Spica (星空のSpica) by Yukari Tamura (田村 ゆかり)

After being spoiled by the greatness that is Nanoha & Nanoha A's, I feel this first episode is a bit flat.
I think the reason for this is due to the lack of excitement and suspense, compared to Nanoha A's, for example.
In a way, this can't be helped as this is just an exam episode, so you know that the candidates are in no real danger. Being a 26 episode series, they would need to hold on a bit too, less they run out of steam :b.

That is not to say that there are no good things in the first episode. I really like Subaru's weapon, and I feel the new direction of the series is quite brave. This is the reason I rate the story highly on the chart. The producers could have chosen to stick with loli-Nanoha and Fate, which would have been the easy choice. Then again,they did introduce Subaru & Teana as their safety net :)

Seriously, I think the new direction is a sign of promise, as it means the writers/directors do have plans on how the story will evolve.
The songs, which I feel is one of the hallmarks of the Nanoha series, remain great.
In the end, no matter how the series progress though, I will be keep watching ^_^

Considering how fast the girls matured since the first Nanoha series, we might just see Nanoha Jr. & Fate Jr. in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha IV!

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