Subaru Nakajima (スバル・ナカジマ Subaru Nakajima?) is a character in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, voiced by Chiwa Saito. She's completely original to the series, not appearing in any of the previous series in the franchise. Subaru has a deep-rooted admiration of Nanoha Takamachi, aspiring to be just like her. Subaru even made her own version of Divine Buster. She is named after the car company Subaru and Nakajima Aircraft Company, the World War II-era name of Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru. Subaru means Pleiades in Japanese. Many aspects of her character, including her status as a cyborg, Mach Caliber transformation, and typical attack routine, appear to be a heavy nod to the 1997 anime The King of Braves GaoGaiGar and its sequel OVA.

Personality

Despite being cheerful and energetic most of the time, Subaru was fairly timid, afraid of being hurt and even more afraid of hurting others, and was thus initially reluctant to train in Shooting Arts. After Nanoha rescued her, she vowed to put aside her past weakness and become more like her. Subaru exhibits a surprisingly willful side at times, deciding to join the TSAB despite her father and sister's opposition. She is quite close with Teana, and is willing to help her even if Teana is reluctant to accept it.

Subaru in StrikerS

Four years before the events of the series, Subaru had been caught in a fire at a Mid-Childan airport along with her older sister Ginga. Confused and crying, she was rescued by Nanoha Takamachi just a statue was about to crush her. Nanoha created a hole in the roof using Divine Buster to make her exit with Subaru, and the experience left Subaru with a deep admiration for and the desire to be just like Nanoha.[1] During her time in the academy, she was partnered with Teana Lanster, and while Teana initially claimed she was only willing to work with Subaru for the duration of their time, they became friends and were consistently partnered with each other after graduation.

At the very start of the series, Subaru participated in a test with Teana to raise their Mage Ranks from C to B, though she didn't know that she and Teana were being observed by Nanoha, Fate T. Harlaown and Hayate Yagami as potential students and members of a new division of the TSAB Ground Armed Forces, Mobile Division 6. Though the two failed the test, they were accepted into the new division and given a special opportunity to retake the test without having to wait.[1]

Subaru's excitement at being a member of the same squad as Nanoha and being taught directly her idol may have had her jumping, but Subaru, having a completely different way of fighting from her commander, instead trains in close combat with her sub-commander, Vita. Subaru's style is unrefined, as she initially opted to use barriers in situations where shields are more appropriate.[2]

In episode 6 of StrikerS, it is revealed that Subaru's family might have originated from Earth like Nanoha and Hayate. In their case, "Earth" is referred as "Non-Administrated Planet 97".

Subaru's friendship with Teana, though the latter may claim that it is strained, is very close, to the point of devotion. During a time when Teana was feeling down over a friendly fire incident, Subaru made every effort to keep Teana's spirits up, helped her train and even criticised Nanoha's decisions to punish Teana for going overboard.[3]

By episode 18, it is revealed that Subaru and Ginga are, in fact, not biological daughters of Genya Nakajima and his wife Quint (who was incapable of childbirth). The girls are actually cyborgs (as revealed in episode 17 when Subaru's left arm was damaged, revealing cybernetics), just like Jail Scaglietti's Numbers forces, acquired from a facility similar to that run by Scaglietti, then adopted by the Nakajimas because of their surprising resemblance to Quint.[4] Even more startling is a revelation during a flashback in episode 23, when, while Quint was still alive, Ginga and Subaru were undergoing examination, and it was discovered that the siblings had very uncannily similar genetic makeup to Quint, leading to speculation that they were possibly clones of Quint, which would explain their physical resemblances.[5]

During the attack on the Riot Force 6 headquarters and the ground forces, Ginga is captured and Subaru, driven into a rage, severely wounds Cinque of the Numbers despite being injured in the process. In the last battle, Subaru encounters Ginga, now reprogrammed and designated as the thirteenth Number. She is initially hesitant about fighting her, but manages to defeat her and bring her to her senses. She takes Ginga's Blitz Caliber, and working with Teana, rescues Nanoha, Hayate and Vivio from the Cradle.

By the end of the series, Subaru has been scouted to be part of the Maritime Special Rescue Team and is last seen rescuing two children from a sinking ship.[6]. She is initially reluctant to part ways with Nanoha and Teana, but ultimately accepts it after the two of them reassure her that she is strong at heart.

Subaru in StrikerS Sound Stage X

In Sound Stage X, Subaru has gained two older sisters- Cinque and Dieci- and two younger ones- Nove and Wendi- by adoption from the former Numbers. She assists Teana on the Mariage case, eventually rescuing Ixpellia.

Powers

Even though she uses Belka magics, Subaru is considered a mage instead of a knight.[7] The reason for this has not been fully revealed in StrikerS. Subaru's form of magic-use is a hand-to-hand form called "Shooting Arts"[7], which was taught to Subaru by her sister[8] and is focused on shooting and magic-enhanced attacks.

  • Revolver Shoot — Subaru's most basic attack. She uses this in almost all of her battles. It "shoots" a powerful sonic shockwave out of her Revolver Knuckle, capable of tearing through metal and even through weak defensive spells. Its range varies from close range to melee. Previously this spell consumed a single cartridge[9], but after Subaru received Mach Caliber, she gained the ability to use this spell without the need to expend cartridges[10]. Visually, it is a reference to the iconic Broken Magnum technique of GaoGaiGar fame.
  • Revolver Cannon — A variation of Revolver Shoot, though it is a completely melee Magic-enhanced Attack spell instead of a close-ranged Shooting spell. It sends the target it strikes flying backwards. It was first shown in episode 15 as a counterattack when Subaru was sparring with Ginga.
  • Divine Buster — Subaru's own version of Nanoha's Divine Buster, though with some minor differences. Subaru performs the move by creating a ball of magic in front of her and punching it with her Revolver Knuckle[9], unlike Nanoha's Divine Buster which is charged and fired by Raising Heart. It's also used more similarly to Revolver Shoot than the original Divine Buster[8]. Subaru wasn't taught this ability; she made it herself using Nanoha as her inspiration. Unlike Nanoha's Divine Buster, it is a short burst of energy rather than a full beam. This spell consumes 2 cartridges. Visually, the design, pose and execution of Subaru's Divine Buster is a reference to the Broken Phantom technique used by GaoFighGar. In the last of the StrikerS Sound Stages, Nanoha plans to teach her how to use the original Divine Buster.
  • Barrier Jacket — Subaru's Barrier Jacket is fairly similar to Nanoha's though it lacks a few elements. As a user of the Modern Belka system, it's referred as a Barrier Jacket rather than Knight Armor as in the Ancient Belka system.
  • Protection — Like the Protection used by Nanoha, this an Auto-Guard spell used by Mach Caliber, though the actual barrier is projected from the Revolver Knuckle. Subaru's Protection is fairly strong, able to take blows from Vita's Graf Eisen without breaking.[2] Visually, Protection is a reference to the Protect Shade technique used by GaoGaiGar. It is also capable of launching as a complete bubble around Subaru, but loses much of its effectiveness when it is so spread out.
    • Fire Protection — A variation of the Protection spell specifically used for firefighting[11].
    • Chant Protection — A vartiation of the Protection spell specifically used for magical attacks[12].
    • Shell Protection — A variation of the Protection spell specifically used for live ammo of unspecified size or potency[13].
      • Protection Powered — Subaru's take on Nanoha's equivalent spell. It is unknown if it looks different visually, but it is stated to be "more powerful than the regular deal" and may look thicker and brighter as with Nanoha's. Used only once in StrikerS Sound Stage X.
  • Wing Road — Subaru creates a road for her to travel through the air using Mach Caliber. This essentially allows Subaru to fly without the need to develop the actual skills required for flight.
  • Absorb Grip[14] — Also referred to as "Assault Grip", Absorb Grip creates an attractive force between the wheels of Mach Caliber and the surface they are in contact with. This force is strong enough to enable Subaru to traverse even completely vertical surfaces, such as walls.[10]
  • Gear Second — First seen in episode 15, this ability increases the speed of Mach Caliber's movement.
  • Gear Excelion — Mach Caliber's Full Drive, this is the "upgraded" version of the "Gear Second" ability. In this form, Mach Caliber has wings (resembling Nanoha's "Axel Fin"). Those wings (presumably) enhance Subaru's speed and ability to jump. Mach Caliber says "ACS Standby", indicating that Gear Excelion may allow Subaru to use the Axel Charge System used by Nanoha in Excelion Mode. Subaru uses the Full Drive of her Mach Caliber, followed by a Divine Buster blast from her Revolver Knuckle, to knock out her sister Ginga and free her from the control of Scaglietti.[5]

In addition to her magic ability, Subaru has a Combat cyborg mode, in which she taps into her full cyborg strength and enables usage of her IS. Her eyes change to amber while in this mode, and her magic circle changes to the combat cyborg circle. Subaru's IS is Oscillating Breaker/Vibration Shatter, a close-range energy attack similar to Revolver Shoot but several orders of magnitude more powerful, with exceptional effectiveness against electronic parts and the cyborgs' physical frames. A cyborg will definitely be killed instantly should she/he take one hit undefended.[15] The first time that Subaru performed her IS, her Revolver Knuckle loaded four cartridges, though she does not do so in Episode 26. It appears that she can only perform Oscillating Breaker with a hand that is wearing a Revolver Knuckle, as she only does so with her right hand in Episode 17 but performs a one-two use of the move in Episode 26 while wearing both Knuckles. Mach Caliber was not designed with this form in mind, however, and breaks apart from the strain the first time Subaru uses it. As a result, Mach Caliber was upgraded in episode 19 to improve its performance to the point where it was able to handle Subaru's full power - a similar upgrade was performed by Jail Scaglietti to Ginga's Blitz Caliber at the same time. In the StrikerS manga, Shario refers to Wing Road as another Inherent Skill while putting the finishing touches on Mach Caliber, stating that programming Mach Caliber to be able to use Wing Road on its own is complicating the device's completion.[16]

Subaru has on occasion punctured barriers by punching them with a spinning Revolver Knuckle, then opening her hand into the barrier, causing it to shatter. She did this in Episode 1 against the boss drone, as well as in Episode 23 to puncture Ginga's barrier. On both occasions this was done to leave the target open to a direct hit by Divine Buster.

As of episode 23, Mach Caliber is capable of fighting if Subaru is unconscious by means of using Wing Road, its own boosters and the Revolver Knuckle.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Episodes 1 and 2
  2. 2.0 2.1 Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Episode 6
  3. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Episode 8 and 9
  4. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Episode 17 and 18
  5. 5.0 5.1 Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Episode 23
  6. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Episode 26
  7. 7.0 7.1 Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Official Website
  8. 8.0 8.1 Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Episode 11
  9. 9.0 9.1 Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Episode 1
  10. 10.0 10.1 Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Episode 5
  11. StrikerS Sound Stage 1
  12. StrikerS Sound Stage X
  13. Strikers Sound Stage 2
  14. Closer inspection of StS episode 5 reveals that it sounds more like Absorb Grip than Assault Grip
  15. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Episode 18
  16. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Chapter 8, page 20

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