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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 rapid response team and training squad composed of 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. Section Six also runs into 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.
Agents Dating: Subaru and Teana (agents of a special counter-terrorist unit) hang out together on their day off—which is technically not a date — but it's cut short, anyway, when they accidentally rescue the resident MacGuffin Girl and are ordered to RTB.
Amazon Brigade: Riot Force 6 in general, not counting Erio and Zafira.
Artifact Title: While the entire cast is seasoned mages, they barely fit the "Magical Girl" archetype aside from Caro. Teana is a gunslinger, Subaru is a Hollywood Cyborg, Nanoha and Fate are 20-ish military combat instructor and career officer, Erio is a token male, and "Lyrical" has not been seen since episode one of season one.
Beam-O-War: The only times in the franchise where it's played straight is Nanoha's "fight" against Dieci, Caro & Friedrich vs. Lutecia & two Jiraiou, and Voltaire vs. Hakuten'ou.
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 cancelled when they find Vivio and two Relics, leading into a battle that spans the next two episodes.
But Not Too Foreign: The three members of the Nakajima family and the name Nakajima itself sound pretty Japanese despite they are from Mid-Childa. This is justified because Genya's ancestors came from Japan. However, their first names and family name are written in western order and in katakana to emphasize their foreign nature.
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.
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.
Exact Time to Failure: The last few episodes end with how much time is left before Scaglietti's plan succeeds.
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.
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. All that's known is that Hayatewould not.
I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight: Subaru vs. Ginga, Nanoha vs. Sankt Kaiser Vivio, and Caro and Erio vs. Mind Controlled Lutecia. Subverted in that talking didn't really help much in any 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.
Loads and Loads of Characters: The best example of the franchise, as StrikerS introduces more characters than any other Lyrical Nanoha series. Its character sheet is the largest so far.
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 a six-rank limiter as part of her sentence.
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.
Sanderson's First Law: The Nanoha series has always been fairly consequential about how its magic works, but it really comes to shine during the final battle of StrikerS, when Nanoha utterly destroys Quattro's schemes by combining two basic abilities the audience already observed her use many times: Area Search, which finds whatever Nanoha wants to locate, and Divine Buster, which blasts anything dumb enough to be in the White Devil's way into oblivion.
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.