One of the fun things about the Lyrical Nanoha franchise is how the flexible Science Fantasy Multiverse setting allows it to dabble in practically any genre. Still, some genres simply won't fit in Nanoha. Take the Gaming series genre. It's rather hard to go all Serious Business over a children's card game when your average grade schooler could already throw around energy blasts.Enter Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT.Nanoha INNOCENT is a multimedia Spin-Off of the Nanoha series, composed of a web-based Card Battle Game and a manga published in CompAce that provides background info on the game. Unlike the other Nanoha installments, INNOCENT is set in an Alternate Universe with neither magic nor alternate dimensions. All the characters are either ordinary humans on earth, or ordinary pets in the case of the familiars.The story revolves around Brave Duel, a recently created card-based virtual simulation game jointly released by Hobby Shop T&H, House Yagami, and the Granz Research Center. Instead of magic battles, the characters duel with each other through the card game, hoping to win for the sake of their team.
Art Shift: The art can quickly change from the usual cutesy moe to gritty and dark when the situation warrants it (particularly, when the Materials are going full badass).
The Artifact: Some relationships here don't make sense by themselves, so some familiarity with the original series may be required.
Alicia is still Fate's "older sister" despite looking very physically younger than her; there are no People Jars to prevent her aging;
Hayate doesn't go to school and is the "Master" of the Yagami family, and referred to as such. As mentioned, Reinforce, Shamal, and Signum share her last name, but are also listed as "employees". It's not clear how they're related to her. Lampshaded by Dearche, who is mystified by this.
The Materials are no longer magic doppelgängers of Nanoha, Fate and Hayate. They just look just like them completely by coincidence. Furthermore, Stern, Levi and Hayate always address Dearche as "my king", even though her "Ruler of Darkness" title is just part of her in-game persona.
Ascended Extra: Arisa, Suzuka and Alicia become main characters, the former two finally become Magical Girls. At least while they're playing Brave Duel.
Butt Monkey: Vita. Everyone assumes she lost to Nanoha, even though she never did, much like in canon. She is curb-stomped by Stern, she has to work with Nanoha in the Sky Dodge game despite Vita doesn't like her, and she's almost taken down by Stern again in Sky Dodge. At the finale of Sky Dodge, when Nanoha and Stern use the last back right, Vita is the only one of the field players who is out, and the only player on the opponent side is Stern.
Card Battle Game: The webgame that the manga provides the background for. Supposedly anyway, as the manga kind of forgets to show the cards after the first couple of chapters, since they are just ability tokens, and thus not visible from "inside" the game. And most Brave Duel sessions so far have not been straight-up battles anyway.
Finger Poke of Doom: Nanoha puts her mana into the ball and tries to hit Levi, just as she does to Stern. But Levi is too fast, even when Nanoha moves the ball with her magic, so she decides to aim for Dearche instead. The King gives her No Sell with a single finger. And then she puts her element into the ball...
The Gadfly: Levi scares the hell of Arisa by suddenly screaming "Boo!".
Heroic Sacrifice/Taking the Bullet: Invoked by Petit Lord/Ō-chama, as she throws herself between Levi and the ball that is aiming for the latter. But since it's a combination throw of Suzuka, Arisa and Vita, the ball just thrusts Ō-chama aside and hits Levi anyway.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Precia and Lindy. Alicia doesn't call Lindy mom, but she does say the Harlowns and the Testarossas are basically one family. The game suggests Clyde is... somewhere.
High School AU: Well, Elementary School AU, and one revolving around a card game.
Identical Stranger: The Materials from the A's Portable games are no longer doppelgängers of the three Aces, they're just three foreign competitors who happen to resemble them. And just happened to draw the same in-game character types, playing up the resemblance that much more. However, the Materials are at least three years older than their counterparts in this continuity and they go in a middle school/junior high school instead of an elementary school.
I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: When Alicia disappears from her sight, Precia immediately thinks that she was kidnapped for her cuteness since that's what she would do in regards to Alicia and Fate.
In Love with Your Carnage: A light version, Nanoha demonstrates throwing a spoon at a plastic cup using the family martial arts, causes a silver-dollar sized smoking hole. She's afraid she'll creep out her friends, who instead just roll their eyes except Fate, who is entranced.
Instant Expert: Nanoha learns pretty quick how to play the game if someone explain her new features she doesn't know. Or she just copies other people, which would be like copying the moves in a fighting game, without seeing the input commands.
Japanese Sibling Terminology: Alicia complains when Fate doesn't call her "onee-chan", in contrast to Chrono getting embarrassed when Fate calls him "onii-chan" after being adopted.
Lighter and Softer: Even more so than ViVid. To start with, Precia is alive, sane, and a doting mother to both Fate and a still-living Alicia.
Noodle Incident: Hayate briefly mentions to Alicia about doing something to their customers when Stern,after beating Vita in their duel, refused to participate in a rematch. What they planned to do was never mentioned except she and Alicia apparently have done this "thing" before in Echigoya.