Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid 02-03

Nanoha ViVid - Foes to Friends

From Foe to Friend with Fists – The Lyrical Way

winter15-highwDon’t call it a comeback, and you probably shouldn’t think it’s indicative of a trend. But watching Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid through episodes 2 and 3 has really made me want to talk about a few of the things that I think it’s doing, and doing well, as far as telling a story.

Who’s the Main Character?

Nanoha ViVid - Meet the other side

Is this kidnapping or hospitality?

The first thing I found really interesting about the way that Nanoha ViVid is going about its business is that the ostensible title character is not the main focus of episode 2, and that’s actually a good thing. Vivio doesn’t appear in the show until the 18 minute mark of less than 24. So that’s three-quarters of the show that they have given over to other characters. And it works. It’s not just the showdown between Nove and Einhart that is engaging, but also the care that Nove, Teana, and Subaru give to Einhart, this person who popped out and suddenly challenged Nove. It’s not about being a good guy or a bad guy, it’s about being another person.

Nanoha ViVid - new concern

Trying to break through her shell

And every person has a story, and this show really feels like it’s giving time for those stories to be told. In order to find out more about Einhart, we’re along for the ride with Nove, Tea, and Subaru as they learn of her inherited memories, and can imagine the struggles that a girl like Einhart has gone through. The one part that I, as someone who isn’t familiar with the backstory, kind of had to infer was that the Saint Queen and Hell Queen are Vivio and Ixy, but it doesn’t seem like something that hard to figure out. But again, it was well done, in that they didn’t just blurt out “Oh, Vivio and Ixy!” It wasn’t any big secret, just good storytelling. The other part that was maybe the littlest bit confusing was that we’ve barely seen any interaction between Subaru and Vivio, so for someone just watching this series, it was somewhat odd that Tea said “Subaru is friends with them”, rather than Nove saying she was, but I chalk that up to history I don’t really need to know.

Oh, They’re Both the Main Character

Nanoha ViVid - Not much of a fight

This doesn’t go so well for Vivio

But the show is back to Vivio in episode three, with a bit of an obvious handoff. That doesn’t move us out of Einhart’s head, tho, and from when they meet, it feels like we’re definitely following both of them. There’s a bit of obviousness in the pairing of Vivio and Einhart, the bubbly positive girl and the introverted doubting girl, the earnest and open girl with the guarded and closed. And the gap between the two does cause trouble in their initial match, when Vivio just doesn’t take it with the same seriousness that Einhart is expecting. You can’t say that Einhart didn’t mean a little offense when she described Vivio as a hobbiest, because it was obviously a rude thing to say, but Vivio doesn’t get too offended, just taken aback, and determined about the next time.

Nanoha ViVid - Getting a hit back

Doing better this time

A next time that Einhart doesn’t really think has a point, but of course is proven wrong. Vivio makes good on her promise to be more serious and give her a fight, and to show her what she’s made of. The fights in this show are well done, even keeping me engaged because they don’t go on too long, nor do too much pro wrestling style back and forth. That might change later when we’re not having practice matches, but for now it’s welcome in the story. And I have to admit that Vivio’s handstand-spin-return kick was pretty dang awesome. Of course, in famous Nanoha style, the way you make new friends is by beating the crap out of them. I think it’s funny that Vivio even hints at this when talking with Nove during training for her fight against Einhart: “It’s probably hard to talk about, but maybe I can beat it out of her, and after we’re friends, I want to show her…”


I will say that I was kind of scratching my head at the end of this last episode, when Einhart is carrying Vivio off with all these adults around. What? I know they all trust her now, but she can’t get some frickin’ help? But other than that, Nanoha ViVid is a show that, to me, is showing surprising depth and maturity in storytelling, and trusting the viewer to come along with it. It’s not something as opaque as Glasslip, but it’s definitely not characters turning towards the camera and explaining what’s going on. And I like that, no matter what the genre of the show is.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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7 Responses to “Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid 02-03”

  1. Cytrus says:

    Yes, “everyone has a story” is the bread and butter of this franchise. I think half of the characters who showed up in Vivid so far have criminal records due to “circumstances”, but ended up turning over a new leaf. Which kind of explains why nobody’s in a hurry to drop Einhart off at the nearest police station.

  2. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Needs more LOLi Nanoha, Fate, Arisa, Suzuka, Vita and Hayate. *shares with skylion*

  3. skylion says:

    Yes, this does have a ton of backstory to it. But it gets by to this new-viewer with tone. From that point, I just hope enjoying the show won’t be overshadowed by not knowing all the stuff.

    • Highway says:

      The thing I like most about the tone is that it’s one of “This is important, but it’s not important you know it right now.” After three episodes of keeping the new viewer up to speed, I think it’s unlikely that the show would abandon that and all of a sudden require knowledge that they don’t give us. This just doesn’t feel like a show that’s that irresponsible.

      In fact, the only thing I worry about is that there would be a lot of people who pull the “You don’t REALLY know about X,Y, and Z, so you’re not really understanding the show!” card. To me, that hurts enjoyment of the show more than not knowing the backstory.

      • Wanderer says:

        There is certainly a lot of material you’re missing and a lot of stuff you won’t understand, plenty of it you won’t even know you don’t understand. But if you just want to see cute girls making friends and having fights, you can do that and choose not to care about the rest. This series is going to spend a lot of time talking about Ancient Belka, and it will expect you to know what Ancient Belka is, and the fact that it eventually destroyed itself with internal strife and attempts to develop newer and bigger ways to kill each other.

      • Cytrus says:

        The manga likes to main drop concepts/characters without elaborating on them as a nod to older fans, but the anime has been cutting out or replacing those references, which is perfectly reasonable.

        Please don’t mind the “you don’t get it” crowd and enjoy the show at your own pace!

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