Apologies for the delay. The past few days was my first time preparing the Winter Preview and, as I told Eva, I don’t think I quite appreciated how much time it takes until I had to put one together myself. Anyway. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t expect that match to conclude like it did, but damn. Why did they have to get my hopes up again for a Rinne victory? I suppose this was their way of attempting to placate Rinne fans – by giving her one decisive, fulfilling strike and a moment of (apparent) triumph. All of the hellish training she survived was supposed to come to fruition in that one punch that could apparently even defeat God, and it served to make people like me think that there was still scope for her to turn the tables. And be saved, don’t get me wrong, but also turn the tables. I even thought it was referring to the title of the episode, and as a Rinne fan it really got me super pumped. I think this is far more demonstrative of her true power level – and Harry and the others have confirmed my suspicions from last week that Rinne has not been at her peak condition during this fight.
But at the same time, as a Rinne fan, I want to see her smile protected. And so, and also because the Nanoha franchise is in the business of protecting smiles (no matter how much impromptu dental surgery Fuuka has to suffer as part of the befriending process) the only rational conclusion was a win for Fuuka. We’re firmly back to orthodoxy. I just kind of wish it didn’t happen after that fantastic Rinne punch, because the end result is that it looks like Fuuka can somehow just keep getting up no matter how many times she’s knocked out and no matter how long she’s knocked out for, whereas the instant Rinne gets knocked out by Fuuka, the match is called. And Rinne is known for her physical resilience as well. What relevance does that leave the punch with? Well, it was still important, in that it was supposed to indicate a transition in the way Rinne perceives martial arts as well as some progress in her abilities and techniques, thus leading to her being saved. And maybe it also acknowledged Jill’s efforts to an extent – she may not have been right, but she did something right.
I’ve also started thinking about the tagline to Strike again. I was waiting for it to be like a title drop during one of Fuuka’s lines, actually – she’s supposed to be God and all that, and it feels very biblical for her to solemnly tell Rinne, ‘thou shalt not be afraid, I am with you’. It also now makes a lot more sense than it did during the first few episodes. All that needs to be resolved now is Fuuka and her title match with Einhart. Is Fuuka too tired now? Or will she just keep getting up no matter how many times she’s knocked down by Einhart? Or maybe, was this Einhart’s master plan all along? This entire extra-tournament fight happened at her behest after all, and it just so happens to involve the opponent she’s going up against in the Winter Cup finals, who now just so happens to be very worn out and injured, which she wouldn’t have been otherwise since Vivio dropped out. Now the stage is set for an Einhart victory. What a terrifying little girl.
Finally, Jill was super cute when she was young!