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,
and thence the ship of law that guards the many seas shall be torn apart.
The third animated season in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha franchise.
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 "Riot Force 6", an elite rapid response team and training squad composed of powerful veterans and talented rookies.
As their investigation into the Relics continues, Riot Force 6 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. Riot Force 6 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, Riot Force 6 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 features the new characters from this season.
Has a recap page.
NOTE: Only general tropes for the series are listed here. For character-specific ones, check out the character sheets.
MGLN StrikerS contains examples of:
- Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The site of a battle.
- 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.
- Erio and Caro also get cute scenes with a date-like overtone to them (complete with Shipper on Deck telling them where to go).
- Alien Sky: Mid-Childa has a lot of moons.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The assault on the Riot Force 6 HQ.
- 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 two.
- Even Nanoha's name in the title is an artifact as, while Nanoha is still part of the main cast, the show just as much, if not more, about Subaru than it is about her.
- Bait-and-Switch Credits: The second opening seems to set up a fight between Subaru and Nove, which was also hinted at when Nove said she wanted to get revenge on Subaru for severely injuring Cinque. In the final battle, Teana ends up fighting Nove with Wendi and Deed, while Subaru fights her Brainwashed and Crazy older sister Ginga.
- Ban on Magic: In episode 5, it's revealed that clearance is required for use of personal flight in populated areas, due to the fact that it could cause problems with air traffic.
- 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. Foreshadowing as Nanoha's Blaster mode damages her linker core so badly she's recovering years later.
- Begin with a Finisher: Defied in the bonus chapter: the starting distance between Nanoha and Signum in a mock battle is chosen so that neither can effectively use their respective One-Hit KO moves (long-ranged and close-ranged, respectively).
- Bookends: The season begins with a young Subaru shouting for help while she's trapped in a burning airport, and Nanoha coming to save her in the nick of time, congratulating her for doing well to survive and assuring her that she'll bring her to a safe place. Subaru's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue has two young children (who look like younger Subaru and Ginga with blonde hair) shouting for help while trapped in a sinking ship, and Subaru saving them in the nick of time while echoing the same words Nanoha told her many years ago. Bonus points for the fact that Subaru's Barrier Jacket was modeled after Nanoha's.
- Brain in a Jar: The TSAB high Council
- Break Out the Museum Piece: The Arthra is planned to be scrapped; however, the heroes decide to use it as their command center after the Long Arch was destroyed.
- 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.
- Call-Back: When Nanoha uses Starlight Breaker against Vivio, her pose and the camera angle are identical to when she used it against Fate back in the first season.
- Cathartic Chores: Nanoha assists in the cleanup of the Long Arch to keep herself from focusing on the fact that her daughter was kidnapped. Once her work has ended for the day and she no longer has anything to distract her, she descends into an Heroic BSoD.
- Chekhov's Skill: The very first episode starts out with Nanoha blasting through the walls of a burning airport in order to secure a safe path for her to fly out Subaru. In the penultimate episode, the same scene shown again when Quattro realizes that Nanoha plans to blast through the walls of the Saint's Cradle in order to blast her.
- Cherry Blossoms: In the final episode.
- Church Militant: The Saint Church has its own armed force of comparable power to the TSAB Ground Forces.
- Continuity Nod:
- The photo of Precia and Alicia that Fate keeps by her bedside is the same one she had back in the first season.
- When Yuuno mentions how the Saint's Cradle is believed to come from Al Hazard, both Chrono and Lindy react negatively due to memories of the Jewel Seed incident.
- Megane Alpine's wheelchair looks exactly like Hayate's.
- Cool Starship: The Saint's Cradle.
- 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 'darker' is debatable — the previous two seasons had some pretty dark moments — there is certainly much less of a whimsical fantasy feel to this season. It has traded in most of the Magical Girl trappings for military sci-fi tropes, and explores political corruption, moral issues around biological experimentation, and the potentially 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.
- 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.
- "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.
- Everyone Is a Super: Once they get off a certain Insignificant Little Blue Planet. Mid-Childa is populated by mages, making magic use mundane. Of course, the heroes' signature type of magic is still second to none.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Regius and the high council fund Scaglietti's (a known criminal) research in order to develop new weapons and tech for the TSAB. Scaglietti of course develops weapons to fund his own agenda and turns on them. Might be a case of Out-Gambitted as they were planning to betray him and he got there faster.
- 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.
- Fire/Ice Duo: The series has two Unison Devices: Reinforce Zwei of the Yagami family and Agito, an ally of the Big Bad. Agito has a built-in affinity for fire magic — a phenomenon known in the series as "Mana Conversion Affinity", of the flame-type in this case,—and while there is no canonical equivalent for ice-based magic, Rein's offensive spells are all cold-based. Needless to say, the two of them rapidly develop an intense rivalry (especially since Rein has a designated master, while Agito technically doesn't), which gets resolved at the end of the season by Agito being adopted into the Yagami family, as well.
- Foreshadowing: There's plenty when one pays attention, but a key one is Subaru and all the hints dropped before The Reveal that she's a cyborg.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Yuuno's ferret form can be seen at the bottom left of episode 13's Eye Catch.
- Some of the pictures on the wall of Nanoha and Fate's quarters appear to be first- and second-season promotional art posters from Megami magazine.
- Genre Shift: In StrikerS, the series branches out into a more sci-fi fantasy/military genre.
- The Gloves Come Off: While various characters (and their devices) have Power Limiters that are inevitably removed to give them a power boost, the gloves coming off in the psychological sense happens twice in episode 17:
- First, Subaru finds that Cinque, Nove, and Wendi having just defeated Ginga, are loading her up to take her back to Scaglietti for reprogramming. Subaru loses her mind at the sight of this and immediately attacks all three of them using her Inherent Skill, revealing that she's also a combat cyborg. She forces Nove and Wendi to retreat while Cinque holds her off, but defeats Cinque in short order as well, though Sein manages to save her. Then Subaru collapses, from the combination of the massive damage she inflicted on herself as well as the Numbers and the fact that she couldn't stop them from taking Ginga with them when they fled.
- Later in the episode, Caro and Erio arrive at Riot Force 6 HQ in response to a distress call, just in time to see Lutecia kidnaping Vivio. They try to stop her, but are blindsided by Deed and Otto, who take out Erio and Fried before fleeing, leaving behind a small army of gadget drones and an automated announcement that they will be destroying the HQ building momentarily. Caro, the last defender standing at this point, summons Voltaire — the Kaiju sized guardian dragon of her homeworld, who can only be called at great need. Voltaire wipes out the drones with a single attack.
- Heroic Fire Rescue: The season opens with Nanoha rescuing Subaru from a buring airport, an event that had a profound effect on the young girl and turned her into the person she is in the present. It also contained two major pieces of foreshadowing: Nanoha's ability to blast through multiple floors with her Divine Buster, and the first hint at Subaru being a Combat Cyborg (since she was all but unaffected by all the heat and smoke).
- 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 Hayate would not.
- "I Know You're 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.
- Interservice Rivalry: The Navy and the Ground Forces dislike each other and try to one up each other constantly. The factions and rivalry come to a head when Regius, head of the Ground Forces, turns to Scaglietti's research and hides it from the rest of the TASB.
- Kid Hero All Grown-Up: Former Kid Hero Nanoha is an adult from StrikerS onward.
- 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.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: The Wolkenritter's Heel–Face Turn and Fate's adoption into the Harlaown family.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Doing nothing to stop the Ho Yay between the two, Nanoha and Fate lapse into this at times. Of note is when the're arguing about how to raise Vivio.
- 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.
- Lost Superweapon: The Saint's Cradle.
- Lyrical Cold Open: No pun intended. It means that second ending theme, "Beautiful Amulet," starts with lyrics right off the bat.
- MacGuffin Super-Person: Vivio, who is sought after by the villains because she's the clone of the last Sankt Kaiser, and they need her to activate and control the Saint's Cradle.
- Meaningful Echo: Several in the finale.
- Vivio trips in episode 15 and Nanoha tells her to try and stand on her own, but she is unable to do so. In the finale, Vivio manages to remain standing after being hit with Five Starlight Breakers because "I can stand on my own".
- When she heads to take care of the Cradle's engine, Vita tells Nanoha "The Knight Vita of the Iron Hammer, and the Steel Count Graf Eisen. There's nothing in this world we can't destroy.". Hayate says an extended version of the line back to her when she lives up to that claim.
- The exchange between Nanoha and Subaru at the beginning of the season was repeated almost word for word when Subaru saved some children in the epilogue. Doubles as Bookends.
- When talking about memories of her original owner in the third sound stage, Agito says "Strangely, my heart feels warm." Signum says the same thing to her the first time they unison.
- Medical Horror: Some of Scaglietti's more depraved experiments jump right into this. Especially his end-of-season backup plan.
- Military Moe: In contrast to previous entries in the franchise, the magical girls in this series operate as a military unit, with at least Mildly Military discipline, instead of being temporary assistants to enforcement operations.
- Mood Whiplash: Good lord, everything that happens from episodes 15 to 18. In episode 15, the Forwards get in some good-natured casual training, complete with some cute sibling bonding, Vivio is shown getting adorably comfortable with her new mothers, and then it suddenly ends in a very solemn discussion about the imminent attack. Episode 16 continues the light-heartedness for the first half, until the predicted attack happens. In episode 17, everything just goes to hell - almost everyone at Riot Force 6 is injured, the surrounding area is in ruins, Ginga is captured, Vivio kidnapped, and the last shot of the episode is of the stuffed rabbit that Nanoha bought for Vivio, mangled and on fire inside the burning building. Finally, in episode 18, we see the aftermath of the battle and the damage. Nanoha keeps herself busy to try and distract herself from Vivio's kidnapping, but that fails when she finds what's left of the stuffed rabbit. The episode ends in Nanoha breaking down into tears in Fate's arms, while Vivio is strapped to an operating table by the villains, fully aware of what they are about to do to her, screaming for Nanoha to help her.
- Mortality Ensues: The Wolkenritter realize that this is happening to them as a result of their connection to Hayate. They're pretty accepting of it.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The season ends with the beginning of a mock battle in which the four Forwards face Nanoha, Fate, Vita and Signum, but none of it is shown. The manga shows a bit of the result. The winner is unknown, but the Barrier Jackets and Knight Clothings are really, really badly damaged.
- Parents in Distress: Invoked. Quattro tells Vivio that Nanoha is in danger, and all she has to do to get her back is to defeat the demon in front of her. The "demon" in question was Nanoha, but Vivio had been tortured so much in the past few episodes that she honestly thought that she was a monster disguised as her mama in an attempt to deceive her.
- People Jars: Jail Scaglietti loves these. They contain unfinished and injured cyborgs and Lutecia's comatose mother.
- Physical Therapy Plot: Happens in a flashback, where we see that Nanoha suffered a near-Career-Ending Injury during the Time Skip following the previous season and had to re-learn how to walk, let alone how to cast magic and to fly. This incident also facilitates much of her character development, as it causes her to abandon her earlier gung-ho attitude to magical combat and be much more respectful of her own body's limits. She also reconsiders her attitude to teaching (since she herself is a mostly self-taught mage) and begins investing time and effort into training her younger peers so they won't suffer the same fate as herself.
- 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 Riot Force 6 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 the TSAB Headquarters. 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.
- Saintly Church: The Belkan Saint Church.
- 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.
- Nanoha/Yuuno is sinked as Nanoha and Fate adopt Vivio together as their daughter from this season and subsequently are collectively known as the Takamachi family.
- Shooting Gallery: Subaru and Teana go through one of these on the first episode for their B-Rank qualifying mage exam.
- In episode 7, Zafira yells to let a group of Gadget Drones know that they "shall not pass" as he stomps once on the ground which causes large cracks to appear.
- In one of the Omake chapters, Rein cosplays as C.C.
- Snipe Hunt: Lutecia's search for the Lost Logia turns out to be this. Jail tells her to find a specific Relic with the promise that it would bring back her mother. Later, it's revealed that her mother was not only not dead but an enemy of his placed in a forced coma. He only gave her the task to keep her loyal.
- Sound Off: The Ground Forces trainees in the manga, in a Shout-Out to Full Metal Jacket.
- Spoiler Opening: The second opening shows who most of the cast fights in the final battle.
- Storming the Castle: A two-in-one combo for the final showdown: Fate, Schach and Verossa attack Jail Scaglietti's lab, while Nanoha, Hayate, Vita, and a ton of air mages attack the Saint's Cradle.
- Swivel-Chair Antics: There's an adorable scene in episode 3 where Reinforce Zwei spins around at her new desk. It's made all the more adorable by the fact that she (and the desk) are less than a foot tall.
- Talking in Bed: Twice. Neither case had anything to do with relationships (except for Nanoha and Fate via Word of Gay), but they were both full of Les Yay:
- Hayate, Nanoha, and Fate have a discussion during a flashback that led to the creation of Riot Force 6 in what appears to be a hotel room.
- Nanoha and Fate had one in their shared room while talking about the Forwards.
- Time Skip: Six years between A's and the first six chapters of the manga then another four 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.
- Unusual User Interface: The Numbers use holographic piano keyboards.
- Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: One of the final battles had Fate facing against the Numbers Cyborgs Tre and Sette. Fate was the first successful Artificial Mage, while the Numbers Cyborgs are enhanced versions of that, with Tre in particular being the most powerful of the cyborgs in combat.
- Weak Boss, Strong Underlings: Zigzagged. Hayate has by far the highest power level of all known mages in the series, an SS-rank, but specializes in wide-area bombardment spells that, while as powerful as they sound, are difficult to aim. She claims that Caro, the only Forward who was at C-rank as of joining Hayate's division, could defeat her in one-on-one combat without the dragons that serve as the source of her offensive power.
- Wham Episode: Episode 17. Several details about character's backstories are revealed, and the bad guys for the most part score an overwhelming win. Subaru and Ginga are combat cyborgs like the Numbers, Erio is confirmed to be a clone of the original Erio Mondial, the press conference attack is revealed to be a diversion for an attack on Riot Force 6's base, which leaves it utterly wrecked, Vivio and Ginga are kidnapped and most of the heroes who aren't too late to do anything are left either badly damaged/wounded.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Takes place a few months after the events of the series.
- You Shall Not Pass!: In a villainous example, Cinque pulls one of these against Subaru in episode 17 in order to let Nove and Wendi escape with Ginga, who they've just beaten unconscious and are bringing back to Scaglietti. Subaru damn near kills her, and she only makes it out because Sein arrives to rescue her.