Nanoha has always been an odd franchise, but people adored it for this very reason. Essentially, it was a magical girl show as filtered through Super Robot Wars
, and everyone laughed at and loved the message of friendship and family.
The later seasons, however, seem to have focused to much on the mecha part of the franchise, sending most of the extras to the trash and concentrating on the darker sci-fi. Striker(s)
suffered from this, but overall remained true to the franchise.
And then we have Force.
It's full of wasted potential: Exploring the implications of the Anti-Magic we saw in S, what would happen if MORE Anti-Magic came into play?
The problem is that, you guessed it, the good concept executed badly. Even more characters are gone (Zafira? Arf? Who're those?), focusing on even more new characters. And most of them suck. Our PROTAGONIST had great potential, again, but the fact that he suddenly knows everybody and is generally useless in combat unless he's causing TROUBLE for the other heroes makes him unlikable. The new villains, unlike the previous ones, are wholly unlikable hypocrites who claim the moral high ground with their completely despicable actions while acting like complete jackasses. And we're supposed to sympathize with them.
But perhaps the worst part is that the series seems to have forgotten its roots. Magic is pretty much useless now, and the substitutes aren't 100% reliable either. Defeat Means Friendship
is deconstructed, but it almost seems mean-spirited. And the new unlikable villains trounce the old heroes far too much, and it especially annoys how much these new villains often aim for the very sympathetic Wolkenritter, and they do it not out of skill, but because they're Anti-Magic
So to conclude: We exchanged a lot of the franchise's themes and characters for a new unlikable cast and big guns. Beautiful.
Big guns does not a story make. Awesome battles are diluted if the people in them aren't worth caring about. With the series on hiatus just a a hint of improvement showed, we wonder how the franchise will continue.