ViVid Strike! Episode 8: The Victor and the Defeated

I’m heartbroken.



Fuck. Neither the outcome of the match nor its aftermath were what I wanted. I’m not sure anyone even expected this. Trust Strike to continue to be everything ViVid was not by cutting short what looked like a lengthy tournament arc in the making. Fuuka and Einhart are still around even if Vivio has dropped out, but the Winter Cup basically no longer matters for two reasons: (i) we know that Fuuka will in all likelihood lose to Einhart even if she gets that far; and (ii) somewhere down the line Rinne became the de facto protagonist. As interesting as it would be to learn how much Fuuka has grown, it honestly doesn’t feel like it’d be very significant because Rinne has mattered the most for quite some time now. And that’s why her loss was such a twist.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-06-06-13I really wanted her to win. At first it was just because I was rooting for my cute waifu and it’d make for stable story progression in light of her future encounter with Fuuka. Given that this isn’t her spin-off, I also wanted Vivio’s lingering protagonist tendencies to be toned down a notch. It’s not like I enjoy seeing Vivio in pain, but if I had to choose I’d rather it be Vivio than Rinne. What I  didn’t factor in at all, however, was something more concerning that only came to light after the match – Rinne is taking this loss really, really badly. It cannot possibly have been beneficial for her to have lost this episode. I’d much rather see her continue down her path of darkness and later be saved by Fuuka, because now the alternative is that her loss by knockout to Vivio has brought all her trauma back. It broke my heart to see her crying in the toilet like that. And worst of all, she didn’t even have anyone to rely on. I’ve said this every week for a while now and I’m going to say it again: Rinne needs hugs. I want to hug her and never let go.


screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-06-08-21That being said, it’s not like beating Vivio would have exactly helped. The thoughts that ran through Rinne’s mind about her were really vicious. Too vicious to be coming from such a cute girl. There was so much hatred towards Vivio and her apparently perfect, comfortable life. Admittedly Rinne is… not entirely wrong, in the sense that the most significant problems in ViVid seemed to revolve around the side-effects borne by its various characters having won the genetic lottery, but objectively Rinne currently doesn’t have it bad either. She’s a renowned martial artist from a rich family, and she’s letting what she doesn’t have blind her from what she does. I guess it just indicates how deep her psychological wounds are. It’s like she’s projecting the image of her former bullies on nice girls like Vivio and Miura, and taking it out on them to prove a point to herself. I’m also wondering whether her loss suggests that the standard befriending tactics won’t work on her as well as they have on Nanoha’s opponents in the past. Even if Fuuka talks to her, she might not be willing to listen and a loss to her without more will mean nothing.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-06-12-09And then there’s Jill. She confuses me more than anything. Is she trying to help, or does she have her own agenda with her whole nature over nurture rhetoric? She took this loss incredibly badly, and I don’t know whether it was because she knew a loss to Vivio would severely harm Rinne’s mental wellbeing, or because it meant she indirectly lost to the Nove she seems to hate so much. I do think Jill understands her very well, but at times it felt like she was more distressed about her own failure to prove her point and the potential that Rinne may decide to fire her instead of the fact that the poor girl in question currently crying her eyes out in a toilet stall and desperately needs someone to emotionally support her.

I just hope she’s okay. I wonder how she’ll find it in her to return to martial arts, if at all. Facing Vivio again and winning would be cathartic, but the mental block Rinne currently has in relation to her must be enormous. Not only did she lose by decision, but now she’s also been knocked into unconsciousness by the same supposedly light-hitting opponent. Arguably she only lost because she was restricted by the Winter Cup rules, but a loss is a loss. She agreed to those conditions when signing up. It’d be like Lutecia participating in the Winter Cup and being a sore loser when she jobs to a random martial artist who’d clearly be weaker than her if it was a free-for-all. And beyond all this, how will they give meaning to a match between Fuuka and Rinne? Will Rinne learn something after listening to the commentary on Fuuka’s match over the intercom?

Fucking hell. I really didn’t sign up for more Rinne suffering. This is why we can’t have nice things.



I love cute things.

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8 Responses

  1. kofmaster says:

    I love how Vivio won, why? If Vivio lost the fight and Fuka being a complete rookie beat Rinne it would be incoherent.

    About Jill,I think she’s a frustrated fighter reflecting her incomplete dreams in Rinne because she cant.

    • Vantage says:

      I agree that it wouldn’t make sense for Fuuka to beat Rinne. And that Vivio winning leaves Rinne with more scope for character development. The focus of the story will also firmly now be on her again and won’t be constrained by a formulaic tournament arc. To Strike’s credit, I genuinely couldn’t tell who would win and that made for a very exciting match.

      But Vivio didn’t need to win. Rinne kind of did, for the sake of her continued mental stability until she encounters Fuuka. Regardless of whether Vivio won or lost, nothing would have happened to her since she could have taken it. If Rinne won, nothing would have happened. But because she lost, she mentally broke down again as her trauma resurfaced. Worst of all is that Vivio won by knockout. It’s the worst possible outcome in terms of immediate detriment as it’s the only one where the status quo would change. It’d be different if Rinne was going to be saved by losing (e.g. if she were against Fuuka) but now it’s not so simple any more. Vivio shouldn’t have caused as massive an upset (in terms of story predictability) as she did given her residual role in Strike. It’s a real shake-up and we have no idea where the story will go now. Keeps us on our toes and is really interesting, but I just hate to see my cute Rinne getting hurt after all that bullying and kidnapping.

  2. Wanderer says:

    “There was so much hatred towards Vivio and her apparently perfect, comfortable life. Admittedly Rinne is… not entirely wrong, in the sense that the most significant problems in ViVid seemed to revolve around the side-effects borne by its various characters having won the genetic lottery, but objectively Rinne currently doesn’t have it bad either.”

    Um… Are you forgetting that Vivio’s origin isn’t in Vivid? Our first meeting with her was seeing her dressed in rags, crawling through a sewer, chained to boxes carrying artifacts that would steal her mind and body away from her. She has, in fact, been through worse than Rinne has. She has simply already been saved from it.

    The thing is, Rinne COULD have what Vivio has now. She’s been adopted by a wealthy, loving, supportive family. She could be making friends in school, among the competitors, renewing her friendship with Fuka. The only person preventing her from having what she wants right now is herself.

    Remember that the Nanoha franchise is about little girls suffering and then being healed through the friendship of others. Seeing Rinne thrown back into her trauma and left sick and crying in the bathroom feels terrible, but this isn’t where the story ends, and I don’t think the tournament is going to have much significance any more. We will have to see, but next episode is titled “Reunion.” Personally I’m hoping Victoria will step in to help Rinne: she’s shown an interest, and she has a track record of being able to turn suffering girls into happy ones.

    • Vantage says:

      Rinne’s perspective is limited in that she has no way of accessing what I’m sure amounts to super-classified TSAB material on certain ‘elite government officials’ and their true involvement with Vivio. I take your point that she’s ignorant of the truth, but it’s not something that she can remedy with some digging. As for Vivio being through worse than Rinne has… hmm. I suppose she has, in the sense that her life was threatened and so there was a lot more at stake, but it’s worth considering that she was saved relatively quickly by Nanoha, within the course of one incident. Rinne has suffered through her drawn-out mental torment for years now, and on top of eating away at her inside it probably peaks and troughs in intensity in line with the results of her martial arts career. Rinne wasn’t at risk of dying but the length and type of suffering she went through makes me hesitate to say Vivio’s was worse, even though both (and incidentally, Fate as well) have experienced things that no little girl should go through.

      I’m just really worried that Rinne will be having a reunion with people she doesn’t want to see, which might worsen her current condition. After all the unexpected curve balls, I wouldn’t rule it out given that continuously making Rinne suffer appears to be popular amongst the writers. The title can’t be referring to Fuuka because they’ve already met. Victor would be wonderful. Anyone who can help her and bring back her smile again would be welcomed.

  3. MalRoadkill says:

    I can understand wanting to comfort your tiny waifu. She is ignorant to how brutally mistreated Vivio was. Engineered as a tool, stolen away, tortured by an insane scientist and his collection of sex slaves, and forced to fight the first person she ever loved. I myself would love to lead the might of an entire Space Marine Chapter into battle to avenge Vivio, personally delimbing Quatra with a chainsword and putting a bolter round into her face. I won’t go into the good doctor. It’ll give you nightmares. I’d also love to administer executive patpats to, loliFate, cause god damn she fucking had a rough time too.

    I didn’t totally expect this. Usually in Nanoha, this is how most friendships are cemented. Yet, we’re still not there yet. Interesting. I do enjoy not knowing what is going to happen next. I am expecting Rinne to double down and do something really bad or similar actions from her couch who seems to be living vicariously through Rinne instead of getting her sorted out and stable.

    • Vantage says:

      As Vivio acknowledged herself, she’s not the one who’ll save Rinne and that’s why we’re not there yet. In itself, that’s enough of an argument as to why she shouldn’t have won, but what’s happened has happened. Some people think Rinne will go on a no-holds barred rampage throughout the city, which is how we’ll have her confrontation with Fuuka – the first few seconds of the OP are set against quite a wrecked backdrop, so I quite like that idea.

  4. Yithar says:

    Yeah… I don’t know why but somewhere along the line Rinne became the protagonist. I don’t know. I liked Fuuka as the protagonist. It’s not that I can’t sympathize with Rinne, as I’ve gone through some similar things. I don’t have her same mental instability but I guess part of it is the fact that she’s really young, and it’s more traumatic when you’re very young.

    I would at least agree that Rinne needed to win in order to keep her mental stability. But winning wouldn’t have solved her problems. What I’m really waiting for is the fight between Rinne and Fuuka. I kind of want Fuuka to punch some sense into her. Like I said, I can sympathize with her problems. But Fuuka is also right. “I told you not to cry alone when you’re struggling.” And I don’t like that look in her eyes either. I’m sure Fuuka also wants Rinne to smile again.

    As for Jill, I think she’s just sort of reliving her dreams through Rinne.

    • Vantage says:

      Ever since the flashback, I’d say. The following episode was even titled ‘Huracan’, indicating we’d refocus on Fuuka and her continued growth as she gets her device, and instead it felt more like a continuation of Rinne’s past followed with an afterthought of Fuuka getting her device. And then as the Winter Cup started, the only matches which were given the most attention had Rinne in them. I like Fuuka too, but Rinne is the more interesting (and cute) character so I’m fine with the change. It’s interesting to see all the shake-ups in the Nanoha formula, with Strike being more about the saved than the saviour.

      A win wouldn’t have solved or improved anything. But it would have maintained the status quo until Fuuka arrived to sort her out. If cooling her head a little was intended to be Vivio’s role, I would have been fine with her win. To me, its justifiability will come down to where they end up taking this route after having Rinne lose, and that’s all up in the air for now.

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