Signum (シグナム Shigunamu?), voiced by Kaori Shimizu (Japanese) and Bailey Chadwick (English), is a character in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. She appears in neither the previous series Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha nor the alternate universe story Triangle Heart, but appears in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. Signum is the leader of the Wolkenritter (German > "Cloud Knights"), a creation of the Book of Darkness. Signum's weapon is a chain-link sword called Laevatein, and as a magical creation, she has no familiar. She is named for the Opel Signum, much like characters of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha are named for cars, and her device appears to be named after the mythical sword Laevateinn. As per the other Wolkenritter, she has no last name (though in earth she is known as Hayate's mother Yagami Signum).
Signum is generally seen as the cold one of the Wolkenritter, but Shamal has said that Signum's heart has warmed since they met their mistress Hayate Yagami and that she has started smiling sometimes. She is completely dedicated to Hayate, and as the leader of the Wolkenritter, fights for the others as well. Signum is the most serious of the Wolkenritter, having reservations about relaxing with Hayate, whom she unfailingly addresses as "Mistress Hayate" in contrast to Vita and Shamal. Signum forms a friendship and rivalry with Fate Testarossa, and while she claims that she is considerably more skilled than Fate, she is willing to acknowledge Fate's skill to some degree.
Signum in A's
Signum enters the story when Vita has attempted to steal Nanoha Takamachi's Linker Core (a mage's source of magic) for the Book of Darkness. Since the arrival of Nanoha's cavalry, Fate Testarossa and Yūno Scrya, Vita is cornered and Signum must come to her rescue with Shamal. The Wolkenritter overpower the TSAB troupe with their use of high-powered magical cartridges, and Signum manages to snap Fate's staff, Bardiche, in half. The battle ends with Shamal finally managing to get Nanoha's Linker Core and Nanoha breaking Vita's barrier. Signum refuses to take a bath that night for fear of Hayate seeing the injuries sustained in her battle with Fate.
The Wolkenritter attack mages and monsters to steal their Linker Cores, their sources of magic, to fill the 666 pages of the Book of Darkness with this power before it saps any more of Hayate's and endangers her life by paralyzing her internal organs. They continue to obtain Linker Cores and fight off interference from the Time-Space Administration Bureau (TSAB), mainly Fate- with whom Signum faces off during every battle, and whose strength she respects- and Nanoha, while they try to keep Hayate from knowing that they are stealing magic for pages; she has told them that as long as she is mistress of the Book, she will not allow anyone to be harmed over it.
Signum, determined to save Hayate even if it means going against her wishes, convinces the other Wolkenritter to fill up the Book of Darkness anyway. What the Wolkenritter don't know about Hayate is that the Book, once completed, may stop sapping her Linker Core for pages, but that does not mean that it will stop hurting her or undo its damage. In fact, the master of the Book dies upon its completion. Signum continues to masquerade as a distant relative of Hayate's while covering up their deeds.
Just before the Book of Darkness is completed, Suzuka brings Hayate some friends in the hospital as the Wolkenritter are there... Nanoha and Fate. The warring groups recognize each other and their shared wish at once, and meet on the roof of the hospital. Nanoha and Fate try to tell the Wolkenritter about what will happen to Hayate, but their confrontation is cut short by both the interference of two masked men and the completion of the Book of Darkness with the Linker Cores of the Wolkenritter themselves. All that is left of Signum is her winter coat.
Alia and Lotte Liese, who turn out to be the masked "men", frame Nanoha and Fate for the death of Signum and the others. Hayate screams in horror for all of this to stop and is taken over by the will of the Book of Darkness, becoming the fearsome possessed woman inside of it just as the real duo escapes their prison. Meanwhile, Signum's spirit is trapped inside the Book of Darkness with the others. When Hayate rejects her own wish of vengeance, she reprograms the entire Book, but a virus still remains inside, the one that caused the evil aspect of the Book in the first place. Hayate awakens the spirits of Signum and her friends inside the book of Darkness, and she decides to join the fight against the automated defence program that Hayate describes as "the 'darkness' in the Book of Darkness." Signum turns Laevatein into a longbow to attack the rogue program and break through its barriers in conjunction with Fate. In the end, Reinforce releases all the Wolkenritter in physical forms at the cost of her own existence. Afterward, Signum tells Fate that they will fight again to settle their battle once and for all, and Fate notes that they will do so many times.
In an epilogue that takes place six years later, Signum has a 25 years old appearance(as she is ten years older than Fate and Nanoha), and still lives with the other Wolkenritter and Hayate, posing as the adoptive parent of Hayate.
Signum in the manga
Two official manga series expand on what happens to the characters between A's and the sequel, StrikerS.
In the epilogue issue of the A's manga series, stated as being five months after the conclusion of the A's anime, the Wolkenritter are shown as being officers of the Armed Corps, assigned to the Special Investigations Assistance Department.
The ongoing StrikerS manga series occurs six years after the events of A's and four years before the events of the StrikerS anime series. In it, the Wolkenritter have been reassigned to different departments within the TSAB, and work together only on special occasions; Signum is now an officer with the Midchilda Army, Vita and Shamal have been posted to the Central Office, and Zafira acts as bodyguard for both Hayate and Shamal. They still live together with Hayate, and are planning on moving their residence from Earth to Midchilda.
In a supplemental manga chapter taking place after StrikerS, Signum fights against Nanoha in a mock battle, and the match ends in draw.
Signum in StrikerS
Ten years after the epilogue of A's, Signum became the sub-commander of the Lightning Squad of the TSAB, working under Fate, who worked under Hayate. Unlike Vita, however, she did not participate in training the trainees, under the pretense that she is an old fashioned knight and can only teach to them is to get close to their enemies and rip them apart. However, near the end half of the series, she accepted the request of Erio Mondial to spar with him.
During the attack of Saint's Cradle, Signum fought with Knight Zest Grangeitz, who united with Agito. She performed unison with Reinforce Zwei, but only managed to end the fight with a draw. The fight continues inside the headquarters of Capital City Defense Forces, and Signum came out victorious. In his dying breath, Zest asks her to take care of Agito and Lutecia Alpino. Agito, angry with Signum for killing Zest but grateful that she allowed him to die with honor, agrees to fight alongside Signum as her Unison Device, and together, the two destroy 50 gadgets that arrive as reinforcements.
Much like Raising Heart and Bardiche speak English, the Wolkenritter's devices speak German. Translations are in parentheses.
- Bogenform (Bow form) — Signum combines Laevatein with its scabbard to turn it into a longbow.
- Nachladen — Not a real attack, just Laevatein reloading cartridges.
- Telepathy — Not notable, as like flight and teleportation, all other mages in the Nanohaverse have it; however, her links appear to be strong with the other Wolkenritter, so it is tentatively listed here.
- Schlangenform (Snake form) — Laevatein expands into chain-link form,it is also Laevatein's most powerful form.
- Schwertform (Sword form) — Laevatein returns to sword form.
- Transformation — Signum performs a group transformation with Vita and Shamal.
- Knight Armour — Signum's battle costume consists of a battle dress designed for mobility, and armor plates. Although it is only referred to as "Armour" in the series, it seems to function similarly to the Barrier Jacket of the Mid-Childa magic system. Although Hayate discouraged her and the other Wolkenritter from fighting, she co-designed each of their costumes.
- Panzer Geist (Armor Spirit) — Creates a defensive aura, which surrounds Signum.
- Hiryū Issen (飛竜一閃 Flying Dragon Flash?) – Signum spins Laevatein in Schlangenform(a whip) and makes fire elemental energy run along the blade. A typhoon of flames is formed in the air between the segments of the blade, which is then thrown against the enemy. Though this attack falls within the Shooting-Type category, it has roughly the same power as Fate's Plasma Smasher, a Bombardment-Type Spell.
- Karyū Issen (火竜一閃 Fire Dragon Flash?) – Signum creates a shaft of flames and holds it as if it were a sword. By swinging her arm, she can then throw the flames against enemies that are far away. With the help of Agito, Signum used this spell to destroy over 50 Gadget Type-II with one single strike.
- Shiden Issen (紫電一閃 Violet Lightning Flash?) – this is a weaker version of the Hiryū Issen with Laevatein in Schwertform, which covers the sword's blade with flames in order to increase its attack power. Beyond that, however, it is otherwise an ordinary melee strike.
- Sturm Falken (Storm Falcon) - Laevatein's only known attack in Bogenform (Bow Form), and one of her most powerful solo attacks (that is, without Agito/Unison's assistance). The arrow fired from the bow can reach up to the speed of sound (Mach 1) and explodes outward in a beam comparable to Nanoha's Divine Buster.
The creator of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is noted as a fan of Super Robot Wars, thus fans has noted that Signum might be based on or is a homage to the heroine of Super Robot Wars Advance, Lamia Loveless. There have been a lot of similarities found between both characters:
- A lot of Signum's spells bear similarities to the attacks executed by the Angelg, Lamia's canonical mecha, particularly the sword and bow attacks (And although Angelg lacked a chain-sword, Laevatein's Schlangenform translates into 'Snake Form', while Lamia is also a name of a mythological snake demon). Furthermore, Signum's overall fighting style resembles that of Lamia's other mecha, Vaisaga.
- They are voiced by the same seiyuu, Kaori Shimizu, with her using similar voice level (she is also known to voice younger characters with lighter voices).
- They have similar backgrounds:
- Signum was once an artificial intelligence within the Book of Darkness, with ruthless attitude, devoid of any personalities, but gradually changes as she served Hayate
- Lamia was created as an android only to fulfill orders, but after being surrounded with other people, she began to develop her own conscience and free will.
- They were somehow connected with men who were considered dead once:
- Signum fought against Zest Grangeitz, a former member of Capital City Defense Forces, formerly presumed to be dead.
- One of Lamia's predecessors in the W-Series is W15, based on the Shadow Mirror universe's Sanger Zonvolt, which was considered killed in action beforehand. Also later includes Axel Almer, who was thought to be dead in Original Generations, but came back alive in the Gaiden.
- Signum's color scheme matches Angelg's (Pink and white).
- In the final episode of StrikerS, Signum managed to perform a unison with Agito, resulting a new outfit resembling Lamia's outfit, colored in blue
- Both of them also experienced events where they were thought to be dead, but in truth, they were still alive. They also underwent some reprogramming in process, but the ones to ultimately save them turns out to be their masters or sorts.
- In the end of A's, Signum was abruptly deleted by the Alia and Lotte Liese under Gil Graham as a result of being absorbed into the Book of Darkness, only to be called back by Hayate two episodes later, reprogrammed with more power and her memories intact.
- In the end of the bonus section of Original Generations, Lamia was abruptly killed by Wilhelm von Juergen. In the continuation of the events in Original Generation Gaiden, it turns out she was slightly reprogrammed by Duminuss and fell under her control. Later on, her former captain Axel Almer ultimately saved and restored her.
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