I started rewatching three different shows from 2007. Ones I didn’t particularly love when I first saw them. Why pick these three? Well, because I already rewatched everything I loved from that year, so these were the only ones left.
The three shows in question are:
- Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS
- Seirei no Moribito
And I figured I might as well try to chronicle my journey through them, starting with the first three episodes.
Not a whole lot happens in the first three episodes. We meet our new characters, get some backstory on how Subaru and her sister were saved by Nanoha and Fate as children, everyone gets together to form a new unit, and finally there’s some training (we’ll be seeing a lot of that). It’s not as boring as it sounds, but it’s not very entertaining either.
I actually like the idea of having the old characters grow up, take a backseat, and serve as mentors to a new generation. But that’s not what happens in StrikerS. Instead, all the old characters continue to be just as active. Three episodes in and it’s already getting a little crowded. We’ve got Nanoha, Fate and Hayate, and then we have Hayate’s four servants, and Reinforce. All of these characters get their own scenes and eat up valuable screentime. There’s also four new main characters, not to mention a whole supporting cast. God, and we haven’t even gotten to the twenty different bad guys yet.
It doesn’t help that all these scenes with the old gang are kind of dull. It’s just reminiscing and light fluff. There’s no conflict, no drama, and we already know everything we need to know about them. The scenes with the newbies have a lot more going for them.
Also, I’m not sure what the deal is with these training locations. At the start of episode one, Subaru and Tiana are fighting in this huge abandoned city against physical training drones. But then in episode three, they introduce hologram technology that can simulate a huge abandoned city where they can fight virtual training drones. Okay, sure. Whatever.
I’m not sure if my tastes have changed significantly in the last 13 years, or if I never liked Clannad the first time around either and I just kept watching it for… whatever reason. In any case, the first three episodes are kind of a slog.
Tomoya’s friend Sonohara is terrible. He’s the worst. You know that annoying shouty male sidekick you see in a lot of these shows? Well, he’s that, except more annoying. In the first episode, we see Tomoyo (completely different character from Tomoya, this is not confusing at all) beat up some tough guys from another school. Sonohara concludes that it was all fake, because Tomoyo is a girl and girls are weak. He then challenges Tomoyo and gets his ass kicked. This happens in episode one, and again in episode two, and again in episode three. It’s played as a joke, but it wasn’t funny the first time. Actually, most of the jokes in Clannad are unfunny. Tomoya occasionally makes an amusing comment, so I assume those lines were all Kyoani originals.
Speaking of which, Tomoya himself is fine. Probably the most likeable and realistic character so far. He’s kind of a generic anime nice guy, but he does have some personal issues (mostly related to this deadbeat father) so he’s not completely flat.
Nagisa is… well, she’s the Ur-Key Girl. She’s sickly and fragile (both physically and emotionally), she’s not confident but she tries her best, and of course she’s extremely kind. I don’t especially dislike her, but she’s not exactly fun either. Her parents are definitely annoying though.
Episode two gives you the first taste of that special Key brand melodrama. Tomoya tells Nagisa he used to play basketball, so she asks him to meet her after school tomorrow to play basketball. The next day it’s pouring, so he finds her just standing there getting drenched. Look at the screenshot above, just look at that shit. There’s a ledge she could’ve sheltered under literally next to the court, but this is Key and we have to make it look sad.
In any case, she asks him to take a shot and… oh no! He can’t! Turns out the reason he stopped playing basketball was an injury that left him unable to raise his right arm above his head. Uhm, okay sure, but why didn’t he tell her when she invited him to play basketball, avoiding all this awkwardness altogether? I’ll tell you why. Beause this is much sadder.
Seirei no Moribito
Out of these three shows, this is the only one I remember being pretty good. I believe it got weaker towards the end, but for now it’s enjoyable.
Balsa’s cool. She’s got a spear.
She’s also quick-witted, and the show does a good job selling that she’s got a lot of fighting experience. Sometimes you can show off some fancy spearwork, and sometimes you just gotta knee a guy in the groin.
She gets hired to escape with Prince Chagum and keep him safe, and he’s… also fine. I was expecting him to start out as a whiny, sheltered brat, but he’s surprisingly tough.
There’s also some impressive action, especially in the third episode. Storywise it’s all just been introduction and escape so far, but there’s enough stuff happening to keep it engaging.