Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force is a manga, part of the Nanoha franchise. It's set six years after StrikerS and is considered the fourth season, even though ViVid chronologically predates it by two years In-Universe and a few months in Real Life. It began serialization in 2009 in Nyantype, Newtype's Spin-Off magazine.
The plot revolved around a new Lost Logia called the forbidden Bible of the Silver Cross, which is somehow linked to a mysterious affliction known as the Eclipse Virus. When a young traveler called Thoma rescues a girl called Lily from a series of cruel experiments involving the Forbidden Book, he too becomes infected with the Eclipse Virus. This grants him superhuman strength, incredible magical power, a potent Healing Factor and near-perfect Anti-Magic abilities, but also an uncontrollable thirst for murder.
Meanwhile, Section Six of the TSAB mobilise to confront a new group of villains wrecking havoc across the non-administered worlds: the Hückebein Family, whose members all carry the Eclipse Virus. Finding that conventional magical weaponry is useless against the Anti-Magic of the Eclipse Virus, the TSAB attempt to bring Thoma into their fold while the Hückebein try to do the same.
Notice how the "Magical Girl" was dropped from the title. Indeed this installment departed from the signature Nanoha style, going further into Darker and Edgier territory than ever before, in rather sharp contrast to the concurrently running ViVid manga. Fandom reactions have been sharply divided.
Like ViVid, Force has full colored tankōbon called Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force true colored.
Nyantype also ran a companion feature called Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force NEXT, which was a sneak peek with illustrations and detailed descriptions of new weapons and equipment that would be appearing in the upcoming chapter.
A four-panel comic based on the series, called Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force Dimension, began serialization in Kadokawa's 4koma Nano Ace magazine on March 9, 2011.
For various reasons, Force was put onto a prolonged hiatus in September 2013, and is more than likely Quietly Cancelled.
NOTE: Only general tropes for the series are listed here. For character-specific ones, check out the character sheets.
MRLN Force provides examples:
- Anger Born of Worry: Agito gets furious at Signum for refusing to stay in the hospital until completely healed, but ultimately yields to her argument that even if her body heals, such forced idleness will weaken her spirit.
- Art Evolution: Early chapters had a noticeably different art style than the later chapters.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Only used in the transformation sequences.
- BFG: Force has without a doubt the most oversized weapons yet and they are even mass based for the first time.
- BFS: The series has almost reached the point of intentional parody with this, with it being nearly impossible to fit both of the swordswomen and their current blades into one panel.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Done so far by Fate and Subaru, both saving Nanoha in the nick of time from a certain death. Then shortly thereafter, pulled off by LILY, of all people. Who remembers her purpose, and dives in to save Thoma by Assuming Direct Control of the Bible of Silver Cross.
- Also inverted with the Hückebein saving each other from the heroes.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Apart from being darker than the rest of the franchise, as well the antagonists being more ruthless and unforgiving, Force also averts the Gory Discretion Shot and provides more Nightmare Fuel and Nausea Fuel, thanks to the Eclipse.
- Continuity Cameo: Einhart from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid appears in chapter 17 when Lily asks who Vivio is, as well Vivio's Device, Sacred Heart/Chris, acknowledging ViVid's continuity with Force.
- Continuity Nod: Nanoha tells Thoma that "this may hurt a little", just like she told Vivio in StrikerS, before blasting him in the face with her Fortress.
- Continuity Snarl: In chapter 29, Fate states that she's not familiar with age-changing magic when she sees Curren do so, almost as if she'd never been through the events of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid where Vivio and Einhart have such abilities.
- On the other hand, Fate never really fought someone with this abilities, even during the mock battles. And Curren's case is reverse.
- Criminal Found Family: The Hückebein and the Grendel "families" are tightly-knit groups of otherwise unrelated Eclipse Drivers who banded around a parental figure (Curren Hückebein and Kurt Grendel, respectively) to escape prosecution for their crimes (mostly armed robbery and terrorism).
- Custom Uniform: Most members of Special Duty Section 6 wear the blue Navy uniform, with a few exceptions.
- Nanoha and Vita wear their white Aerial Combat Instructor uniforms. However, they wore their Dimensional Navy uniform at least once.
- Fate and Teana wear their black Enforcer uniforms.
- Subaru wears her silver Gulf Special Rescue Unit uniform. But she wears the Dimensional Navy uniform, too.
- The three new Forward recruits, Thoma, Lily and Isis, wear light blue uniforms.
- Darker and Edgier: Maybe a bit too dark. The first villain is introduced sitting at the altar of a church, which he ransacked, and killed the three nuns there while waiting for Thoma to arrive.
- Deconstructor Fleet: Force is taking the realistic approach to some of the Nanoha franchise's concepts. So far, the more friendly the approach taken by Section 6, the more stubborn, aggressive or evasive the criminal's response.
- What happens when The Magocracy encounters Anti-Magic strong enough that they can't train or power through it? They're forced to throw out their old magic-based playbook. Furthermore, due to the dependence on magic, the kinetics they invent to try and circumvent the problem are Flawed Prototypes.
- A sledgehammer is taken to the series mainstay of Defeat Means Friendship. The friendlier the approach made by Section 6, the more the villains think they can get away with things, leading to more stubbornness and aggression or running away rather than Heel–Face Turn.
- Dispel Magic: The Eclipse Drivers are capable of instantly dispelling magic of any kind almost at whim, which makes them extremely dangerous to the magic-dependent society at large and to the magic-using main characters in particular.
- End of an Age: Force shows the start of the end of the magic age, with the Eclipse having Anti-Magic strong enough to actually obsolete magic and force the (re)introduction of physical weapons, unlike StrikerS, where the heroines could simply power through it.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: A lot of Eclipse infectees are baffled at Thoma's merciful behavior and reluctance to kill.
- Evil Versus Evil:
- In chapter 19, Veyron and Arnage engage in a fight against other two Eclipse infected guys.
- Again in chapter 23 where Cypha fights against the equally infected Grendel family.
- Forgotten Phlebotinum: The Numbers from StrikerS appear very little in this series, despite getting quite a bit of screen time in contemporary production ViVid. Probably because the whole point of the Numbers is that they don't use magic and would therefore easily take the Huckebein apart, invalidating the entire plot.
- Genre Shift: As noted, Force doesn't even bill itself as a Magical Girl series. As the lead character Thoma is a male, and almost all of the Special Duty Section 6 personnel are adults already, "Magical Girl" does not fit this series at all.
- Gratuitous English/Gratuitous German: Averted with Thoma'snote and Isis'note Devices, which are the first non-unison types that speak Japanese and have proper conversations with their masters.
- Gun Blade: Pretty much every Divider is pretty much just a blade stuck on a gun in their default form, until they're Reacted. Notable exception is Cypha (a knife).
- Gut Punch: The Darker and Edgier tone of the series is settled quickly on chapter 4 with Veyron welcoming Thoma in a church filled with nun corpses, and specially cemented shortly after in chapter 7 when Cypha nearly killed Signum who was never truly defeated onscreen until that point. Things were never the same after that.
- Hate Plague/Mind Virus: The effect of Eclipse when infecting the victim.
- He Knows Too Much: The fate of Marty. Kurt reveals that Hades Vandein plants explosives in the brains of all of their Eclipse infectee experiments, Grendels included, in case of such an event. Thankfully, it seems he survived.
- Pretty much what happens to anyone the Huckebein encounter, as they kill everyone to make sure they don't leave a single trace.
- Immune to Bullets: Marty has this power above and beyond standard Eclipse healing. So Arnage converts her Divider to Wave-Motion Gun mode.
- Jerkass: Almost every Eclipse infected individual suffers this symptom, except Thoma.
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better:
- Since the appearance of the Hückebein, who are completely immune to magical attacks, the TSAB ban on mass based weapons has been relaxed somewhat. As a result Special Service Section 6 is now equipped with experimental hybrid weapons that convert magical energy into pure kinetic energy or plasma.
- Meanwhile Thoma, Veyron and Arnage are using Dividers that look and behave like mash-ups of conventional Earth weapons, though how they work has not been explained.
- Isis uses chemical explosives in liquid/gas state, which she then delivers by molding them in the shape of butterflies or birds with her device. So that could also be considered an equal parts magic/kinetic weapon.
- Knockout Gas: Arnage's knockout gas was used to stop Reacted Thoma's rampage.
- Mood Whiplash:
- Do not read this back-to-back with the other currently running Nanoha manga Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid or worse, INNOCENT, or you'll be in need of a new metaphorical neck before you know it.
- Within this story itself, the switch from Thoma's lighthearted travels with Lily to Teana visiting the site of an apparent Hückebein attack with many dead or severely wounded and back also counts.
- Chapter 27 was basically this in a nutshell the narrative switching between The Grendels making an escape attempt and failing (due to Nanoha) and Curren & Veyron's attack on the holding cell and fighting Hades Vandein.
- Murder by Cremation: A variation occurs in the first chapter. When Thoma was discovered sneaking into the facility containing Lily and successful gaining a reaction with her, the people in charge of that facility attempts to get rid of both Thoma and Lily by activating the lab's heat sterilization function, burning the entire area at temperatures that could melt metal. Fortunately, the Viral Transformation of Thoma had already completed by then, allowing him to protect both himself and Lily and subsequently escape.
- No Ontological Inertia: Curren invokes this by shanking Hayate so the Heimdall iceberg vanishes.
- Not So Invincible After All: After multiple chapters of being effectively untouchable, the Huckebein try their usual shtick against Hades Vandein... and are utterly demolished, being handed their first real defeat and left with no choice but to book it.
- Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Older member of Section 6 against adolescent Curren Hückebein.
- People Jars: The research facility, where Lily was, had some. Though the things stored in there really couldn't be called "people" anymore.
- Power Nullifier: Chapter 29 reveals that some of the new Anti-EC equipment include bullets filled with antibiotics to hinder an infectee's Healing Factor.
- Sequel Escalation: Force carries on and escalates the themes StrikerS started the series on of a Darker and Edgier shift away from idealism, as well as giving an Anti-Magic that is actually powerful enough to force a paradigm change rather than the nearly worthless stuff in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS that was quickly forgotten about once the characters took off the Power Limiters.
- Stern Chase: Thoma spends much of the first arc fleeing the TSAB and law enforcement after breaking into the lab and saving Lily.
- Technically Living Zombie: Almost every Eclipse infectee is this, but most extreme example is Hückebein. As seen in chapter 30.
- The Team: The five girls who saved Thoma from his and the Bible of Silver Cross' berserk rampage.
- The Heroine: Nanoha, the titular character who fought Thoma the most.
- The Lancer: Isis, the girl who wanted to save Thoma by her own and was rather incooperative with the SDS6, and then saved him from his fall after he turned back to normal.
- The Big Girl: Subaru, who saved Nanoha from Thoma and destroyed his Gun Blade.
- The Smart Girl: Fate, who directly damaged the Bible of the Silver Cross, which disrupted the link between Thoma and the Bible.
- The Heart: Lily, who finally snapped Thoma out of his crazy state not by fighting him, but rather with "The Power of Love" (Say My Name, Cool-Down Hug and Fusion Dance).
- Time Skip: Six and two years after StrikerS and ViVid, respectively.
- Vehicular Theme Naming: Par for the course for the series, but the four Dividers with known number suffixes are all named after various Porsche models.
- Divider-996 (Thoma): Porsche 911 (996)
- Divider-928 (Veyron): Porsche 928
- Divider-944 (Cypha): Porsche 944
- Divider-718 (Arnage): Porsche 718
- Webcomic Time: The manga started in July 2009. It took a year to get from the introduction of the main character to the first battle (about a day in-story), and another year to wrap up said battle (about an hour long).
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Along with potent powers, the Eclipse seems to have a rather detrimental effect on the victim's mind by stripping them of their morality and turning them into sociopathic assholes.
- The Worf Effect:
- Signum and Hayate losing.
- Also Vita scored her 2nd defeat against a new villain by curbstomp.