...I know the Chicago Manual of Style frowns on multiple punctuation. Hell, I don't normally use it for exactly that reason--but I can't emphasize enough how freaking good Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS is. (MGLNS)
The climax of the story is exactly as heavy on the fireworks as I was expecting. Damn.
But the writers of the story managed to make me hate the bad guys, which is something I normally don't do; I always root for the good guys but usually I view the bad guys with distaste.
Not so in this case. And of the 13 bad guys--Jail "Doctor" Scaglietti and his cyborg battle bitches--CBB #4, "Quattro", is the worst. I hated Quattro almost from the moment she was introduced. And her defeat is UTTERLY SATISFYING.
The story takes 26 episodes to tell--there is no filler--and as of ep 25 out of 26 there is still some story left to tell, with (I am sure) plenty of episode left for denouement.
MGLNS is a textbook example of how to tell a story in a serial format. They maintain a good level of tension throughout the latter half of the story, when things start getting serious and there starts being a lot of combat. The cliffhangers are well-executed. I care about the characters and I want to see the bad guys get their shit handed to them, and the writers deliver. And it's not obvious until the end how things are going to turn out, too, so you have plenty of time to stew about it: is X going to be rescued? Or is X going to get killed? Will Y manage to win the combat, or is Y fucked? YOU DON'T SEE IT COMING UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE. And even when Z does something to save A's bacon, out of the blue, you realize that the writers set it up well in advance and it makes perfect sense.
It's impressive, how tightly written MGLNS is.
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The prior series, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, has just about gotten to its end, too. As with MGLNS, I have one ep left of the series. Of course, then I start Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. And--again--the series is tight. It isn't as intense as MGLNS is, but some of that might be precisely because I've seen MGLNS. MGLNS assumes you've seen the first series and contains a few spoilers.
So, for heaven's sake, watch 'em in order!
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In the past 24 hours, I watched three episodes of everything I'm currently watching: 3 of Pretty Cure Max Heart, three of MGLNS, three episodes of Lucky Star, and three of the first Nanoha series.
As for PCMH, I'm a bit annoyed. They were fighting this extra-strong dude, and they couldn't beat him--except that when the girls hit him with the Pretty Cure Marble Screw Max, he was left panting but still standing. Then they hit him with the Extreme Luminario, and again he managed to shake it off, but only just barely.
All they had to do to defeat this turkey was to hit him one more time with either the Marble Screw or the Luminario, and he would have been toast. How do I know this?
The turkey ran away after the second attack. You don't run away if your opponent's attacks aren't hurting you.
In the ep where they finally dealt with the putz, Shiny Luminous immobilized him for a moment with her Luminous Hartiel Action attack. If Pretty Cure had then struck him with the Marble Screw Max, he would have been wide open for the Extreme Luminario to fuck his shit up.
It's a consistent thread through the entire series: these girls haven't got any damn strategy.
Their attacks are enough to deal with a lot of different threats if they only use them; but no, so-and-so shows up and he's a super-badass, so they have to go searching for a new freaking attack. *sigh*
Of course, the power up--the Pretty Cure Sparkle Bracelet, which allows them to do the Pretty Cure Marble Screw Max Sparkle (*whew*)--is something which can be marketed to girls aged 8-11; and if you think that selling toys is not one of the reasons PC even exists in the first place, you're obviously from some backward communist country like Crotobaltislavonia or France.
Heck, I'm 40, and I'd buy the damn thing just because I'm a complete otaku nerd and it's a neat anime-related toy. I have a crapload of Sailor Moon merchandise from when that show was being broadcast here. And a bunch of Cardcaptors stuff from when the hacked-up version of Cardcaptor Sakura was being broadcast, including a talking Kero-chan who sounds like Garth from Wanyne's World: "I dub you the cardcaptor!"
...so I understand that all the stuff the girls get in the course of the series, from the cell-phone-looking thingies to the diaries with UV ink, to the Prism Hopeish and the other BS, all of it was probably designed with a view to making toys, and probably the introduction of said toys was synchronized with when the things made their appearances in the show. Marketing. And if it means we get a nice anime series out of it, WTF--I'm not that much of a purist. The people doing this are doing it to make money, after all.
But I still think it would be awesome if Nagisa and Honoka started using some strategy once in a while, other than "we kick it for a few minutes, and then pull out our finishing move".
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After all that anime, I'm tired. Guess I'll go to bed soon, since I've got work tonight anyway.