In the land where ancient crystals and infinite greed gather and intertwine,
the wings shall revive from the holy land beneath the dead king.
The dead shall dance, and the tower of law in the central lands shall burn to the ground,
but before this, the ship of law that guards the many seas shall be torn apart.
The third season in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha franchise and so far the last to be animated.Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, takes place ten years after the second series, with the previous cast having become high-ranking members of the TSAB.Following the emergence of a new type of Lost Logia called Relics, Nanoha, Fate and Hayate seek permission to form "Section Six", an elite group of mages comprising powerful veterans and talented rookies.As their investigation into the Relics continues, Section Six comes into conflict with Mad Scientist Jail Scaglietti and his all-female group of cybernetic operatives, the Numbers. Jail is the mastermind behind a number of illegal projects, such as the creation of Artificial Mages and Combat Cyborgs, and now he has his eye set on the Relics.Then there's Vivio, a orphan of the same "Project F" that created Fate, who Nanoha and Fate decide to adopt as their own child. When Vivio is suddenly kidnapped by Jail, who intends to use her as the lynchpin of his ultimate plan, Section Six must mobilise to save her and stop Jail's plans once and for all.Unlike the first two seasons, this one had a full 26 episodes instead of 13. It had the largest cast so far and shifted the tone to a darker, more SF/military feel.It has a supplementary Slice of Life manga and Sound Stages that take place between the episodes. StrikerS Sound Stage X could be considered its Spin-Off, as it only feature the new characters from this season.NOTE: Only general tropes for the series are listed here. For character-specific ones, check out the charactersheets.
Adult Fear: The finale began with the simple yet real fear of losing your child because you were away when they needed you most.
Alas, Poor Villain: "Villain" might be a stretch, but Lt. Gen. Regius Gaiz did make deals with Jail Scaglietti, as well-intentioned as he might have been and spends his last moments awaiting his old friend Zest, realizing that Being Evil Sucks. After having a short talk with Zest, he gets unceremoniously killed by Due.
Amazon Brigade: Riot Force 6 in general, not counting Erio and Zafira.
Anti-Magic: The Gadget Drones generate an anti-magic field. The "official" reason for creating Riot Force 6 is to train operatives to fight under anti-magic conditions.
Artifact Title: 'Magical Girl' might apply to Subaru, Tea, and Caro; however Nanoha is a 20-ish military combat instructor and "Lyrical" has not been seen since season one.
As Lethal as It Needs to Be: This is an explicit property of the "magic bullets"—that being one of the reasons why Mid-Childa outlawed old-fashioned 'slug-thrower' weapons and became a magic-driven society. Thanks to that, Nanoha is able to repeatedly pull off her signature 'befriend by superior firepower' trick without worrying about accidentally killing someone...
Beam-O-War: The only time in the franchise where it's played straight is Nanoha's "fight" against Dieci.
Beam Spam: Played with. The anime and manga warn that dismissing battle strategy in favor of zerging enemies puts an unhealthy strain on the body.
Busman's Holiday: In Episode 10, the Forwards' day off is canceled when they find Vivio and two Relics, leading into a battle that spans the next two episodes.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Subaru gets emotional upon meeting Nanoha in the second episode, Fate does not know what's up until she is reminded that she and Nanoha rescued Subaru and her sister from a burning airport a few years ago. Ever since then, Subaru idolized Nanoha and trained to join her rescue force, going so far as to develop her own Divine Buster. Averted in that Nanoha remembers, though.
Convenient Color Change: Subaru borrows her sister's Revolver Knuckle and dual wields it with her own for the Final Battle. At first, it retains Ginga's signature color scheme, but when she is preparing a powerful spell, it changes colors to match Subaru's own Revolver Knuckle.
Costume Exaggeration: Nanoha and Fate change their previously more mundane Magical Girl uniforms for slightly more complicated and extravagant versions, though Fate was actually downgraded from her infamous previous outfit. This time, however, it's more indicative of Nanoha and Fate growing up 10 years and thus outgrowing their nine-year-old selves, and ultimately they switch back to the old outfits two thirds of the way in, mostly to indicate they're getting serious.
Darker and Edgier: While nowhere near the level Force would later reach, it still traded in most of the Magical Girl trappings for military sci-fi tropes and revealed the near-fatal consequences of overdosing on Beam Spam among other things.
Demoted to Extra: Yuuno, Chrono, Lindy, Zafira, Shamal, Arf, and arguably even Hayate suffer from this.
Despite that Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny includes playable characters from all seasons, there are no StrikerS in that game, unless you count Vivio as an original StrikerS character. Justified with the Forwards, none of them are aerial combat fighters and all battles in that game are aerial.
Die Hard on an X: The end of the season has the Riot Force Six and the Ground Force headquarters destroyed, Ginga and Vivio captured, most of their forces injured, and now it's up to Nanoha, Fate and the trainees to work their way from square one into Scaglietti's headquarters and blow his entire operation from inside.
Deus Exit Machina: During the press conference, Nanoha, Fate and Hayate are required to turn over their devices to the Forwards in order to go in. This costs them valuable time when Scaglietti's forces attack.
Dungeon Bypass: Nanoha blows through half a warship from the inside to get Quattro.
Exact Time to Failure: The last few episodes end with how much time is left before Scaglietti's plan succeeds.
Fandom Nod: The "Who is the strongest in Section Six?" chapter of the manga.
Fauxshadow: Vita speaks about her mortality several times, then towards the end of the series gets several opportunities to go out in a blaze-of-glory, but then she gets better. This does, however, show the Wolkenritter's Character Development in dealing with their mortality, as well as having causes they're willing to risk their lives for.
Genre Shift: In StrikerS, the series branches out into a more sci-fi fantasy/military genre.
Godzilla Threshold: When Riot Force 6's HQ gets destroyed by some of the Numbers and gadget drones. Caro calls upon Voltaire, a giant dragon and her most powerful summon, to protect the people from possibly more destruction. Voltaire then proceeds to incinerate everything in his path.
Grin of Audacity: Jail Scaglietti laughs when Fate finally captures him after years of pursuit.
Subaru and Teana, since training school. Subaru is sad when they get different assignments near the end (Subaru goes into an elite rescue squad while Teana becomes Fate's Enforcer aide), but Teana reassures her that they'll still be friends.
Home Field Advantage: The Saint's Cradle, which gives an edge to the Combat Cyborgs because they aren't affected by the huge magic dampening field all around the ship.
Hypothetical Fight Debate: A two-parter chapter of the manga revolves around the younger members of Riot Force 6 arguing about who of the RF6 aces would win in a fight.
I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight: Subaru vs. Ginga, Nanoha vs. Sankt Kaiser Vivio, and Caro and Erio vs. Lutecia. Subverted in that talking didn't really help much in either of the cases and the mind controlled parties were only stopped the old-fashioned way—by a thorough befriending. Hey, it's Nanoha after all.
Killer Rabbit: Friedrich—Caro's baby silver dragon. He looks like a misshapen chicken in his "sealed" form, but you probably don't want him spitting fireballs in your direction.
Koan: "To defeat someone stronger than you, you must not be weaker than that person." This gets a few interpretations, but is never conclusively explained.
Loophole Abuse: The TSAB doesn't allow too much raw power on the same squad. Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate together are way over the stated power limit. Their solution is to have power limiters to artificially keep their collective rank under the stated limit. See the rest under Power Limiter.
Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate have them, partly due to the office politics of having too many powerful mages in one department, but also because it disguises the amount of power Section Six has at its disposal from their enemies, giving them the element of surprise when necessary. The real reason is that they were starting to go Off The Scale and could have easily curb stomped all opposition without needing any help from the Forwards, which they very nearly do in the final battle.
A four-level limiter is applied to the Forwards' own Devices so they can ease into the power they receive. One level typically gets taken off before each major battle.
Lutecia also gets one as part of her sentence, reducing her rank from S to D.
Powers as Programs: Most of the Combat Cyborgs from have special moves "programmed" into them.
Prophecy Twist: A vaguely worded prophecy mentions the "destruction of the ship of law that guards the stars". Everyone assumes, given the seemingly easy conclusion of an earlier part referring to a disastrous terrorist attack, that this refers to even worse things to come if they're not averted. Turns out, it's referring to the ancient warship the Big Bad manages to excavate, thus prophesying that they'll manage to stop it.
Rank Inflation: In Season 1, the scale goes up to AAA. By StrikerS, Hayate is ranked SS, and Nanoha, Fate and Signum are all S-ranked.
Reliably Unreliable Guns: A jamming aversion in an early episode, where after Teana's old magic-firing pistol jams at a critical moment during training, she just fixes the problem in a few seconds and goes back to shooting.
Renowned Selective Mentor: The Forwards in have been handpicked for a year-long personal training by the eponymous character. Most combat mages in the setting consider themselves lucky to get Nanoha to act as their OPFOR for half a day. Not to mention that she normally only teaches advanced aerial combat to squadron-sized classes (as opposed to one-on-four training from basics up for the Forwards).
Robotic Reveal: During Subaru's scene of Unstoppable Rage in Episode 17, a large chunk of flesh on her arm gets blown away, revealing the cybernetics underneath.
Ship Sinking: Fate/Chrono already took a blow after Chrono's mother adopted Fate at the end of A's, but it and Nanoha/Chrono is only finally sunk when Chrono marries Amy.
Shooting Gallery: Subaru and Teana go through one of these on the first episode for their B-Rank qualifying mage exam.
Shout-Out: In Episode 7, Zafira yells lets a group of gadgets know that they "shall not pass" as he stomps once on the ground which causes large cracks to appear.
Granted, the gadgets fly and are killed by spikes rather than falling, there are many of them, and it takes place on a ridge rather than a bridge so it's possibly just a coincidence but if it isn't a Shout-Out the scene seems oddly out of place (especially considering Zafira's general quietness).
In one of the Omake chapters, Rein cosplays as C.C.
To a lesser degree for Verossa and Schach as well.
Time Skip: 6 years between A's and the first 6 chapters of the manga then another 4 to series proper.
Title Drop: Fate explains the designation/title of "Striker" to the Forwards.
Train Job / Traintop Battle: In Episode 5 the Gadgets attempt to steal a Relic form a train and the Forwards get their first chance to kick ass.
Training from Hell: Subverted in Episode 9, where the dangers of over-training to the point where it damages your body are a major plot point.
Treachery Cover Up: In Sound Stage X it's mentioned that many parts of the Jail Scaglietti incident were classified, presumably including Jail's origins and connection to the Bureau, which had created him.
Unconscious Objector: Subaru demonstrates the ability to fight even while knocked unconscious. However, this has less to do with her determination and more with her AI-equipped magical Device seamlessly taking control of her body while she is out cold.
Unfamiliar Ceiling: In Episode 9, Teana wakes up in the infirmary after being shot down by Nanoha, and is shocked to find that it's already 9 at night; according to Shamal, her taking this long to wake up was a result of not getting much sleep.
Weak, but Skilled: One of the Bureau's top-ranked admirals, who is at least two levels weaker than Nanoha and Fate, once fought them at the same time in the manga, for a training session. We don't see the fight, but the aftermath has them singed and panting on their knees, while she's just standing there without a hair out of place. Teana also learns to settle here eventually.