Now for an interval!
So… is this going to be a split-cour, or what? If that was supposed to be a finale, which I highly doubt, it didn’t feel like one at all. In fact, zero effort was made to come to some sort of conclusion to anything beyond the match between Einhart and Corona – and it’s not like they can even put any in, given that we’re smack in the middle of a tournament arc. It felt like they were padding the episode out with a lot of downtime, with promises for more heated matches to come – everything points towards the idea that this story isn’t finished, not least of all the fact that it isn’t finished at all. An ‘interval’ sounds like a break for a season before ViVid resumes in October, so I guess that’s that. My initial worry was that they’d cover one, but not all of the next round matches, which will involve Vivio vs Miura, Einhart vs Sieg and Rio vs Harry – and that can be snowballed into a larger worry over this adaptation in general, which clearly introduced the tournament arc in a way that made it too late to get anywhere meaningful. If it’s not too much of a spoiler, I for one hoped they’d somehow get to the end of Einhart vs Sieg, as that feels like a decent place to stop – but alas, it was not to be.
As for the content of the episode itself, we had Lutecia and Fabia pull off a cool and chilling win respectively, as well as Einhart-chan getting a bit of development and learning more about life in a peaceful era. I think this not only reflects the divide between Ancient Belka and modern Mid, but also the contrast between past entries in the Nanoha franchise and what we have now with ViVid – in that it’s a happy and cheerful, if passionate, series dressed up as a low-stakes tournament arc. It’s true that someone still has to win, and the losers still will be sad, but it’s not the same as war, and has no irreversible consequences. Even pain is merely simulated! At the end of the day, everyone goes home having learnt a lot, with no hard feelings – and the aftermath of Einhart vs Corona proved that wonderfully. And it’s not a bad thing at all for the franchise – it’s a change, yes, but it promises a different experience more suited to the characters it focuses on. I mean, they’re all good girls – you don’t want them to be caught up in some life threatening crisis that could destroy the world, right?
I refuse to believe this is a finale, and so I have not tagged or titled this post with ‘Final Impression’. But it’s a long time until October, and so I think it’s still good if I write something since I’ll probably forget all my current thoughts by then.
8 years is an even longer time – it’s the length between StrikerS and an anime adaptation of ViVid. If, after all these years, they finally decided to animate ViVid, I think they should have gone into it with a concrete plan in mind. I don’t know if they did, but even if this was the case I can’t say it was a very good one. My overall experience with ViVid was that it was all over the place. It’s partly my fault due to the irregular posts (for which I apologize), as well as partly the fault of the producers themselves – in particular, the animation just wasn’t up to par at times, though it improved for the fights that mattered, and are of course naturally better than StrikerS by virtue of progress made in the industry since that aired. And it’s also partly the fault of the fansubs, or lack thereof. Is there really that little interest in Nanoha? I always saw it as a solid example of a deconstruction in the magical girl genre, even if it didn’t make as many waves as Utena or Madoka – I still remember the abuse scenes for poor Fate-chan and how the original series spiralled off in so many unexpected ways about halfway through, despite at the time being a mere spin-off of Triangle Heart or whatever it was. Do you see Magical Girl Patisserie Kosaki-chan doing the same?
Still, I had fun with ViVid. As a spin-off of a spin-off, it’s not like I went into it expecting a ground-breaking masterpiece or anything – and as I said above, it does diverge from the other entries in Nanoha in terms of genre and focus, so more of the ‘same’ was never really an expectation to be had. In fact, I was really pleased with the last few episodes in general, Miura and Corona in particular – I remember saying before that I was less interested in ViVid due to it having a greater focus on hand-to-hand instead of magical combat, but I found myself enraptured nonetheless (StrikerS nudged that change by introducing ground mages, as well as the fact that most of them in fact cannot fly, with Nanoha, Fate, Hayate and the Wolkenritter actually being in the minority).
In the end, it’s a feel-good series that has warm and fluffy slice-of-life married to a shounen-style magical sports tournament, and for the most part it worked. I mean, it’s essentially a bunch of cute lolis working hard and trying their best in a safe, relatively risk-free environment with even injuries being temporary! Aren’t they diabetes-inducingly cute?
And on that note, see you all in October!