Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st

By bluemist on January 2nd, 2011

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st

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Nothing lyrical about it, but it was the best ride.

At this point in time we may have forgotten that Nanoha originally was a just side character from the Triangle Heart bishoujo game and OVA series. Today Nanoha is now a big franchise that spawned three anime series over the years. This movie is essentially a retelling of the first season, and let me tell this right up front. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st is the most endearing anime movie I have ever experienced. It might have been be the combination of nostalgia, jaw-dropping animation, grand music, and incredibly perfect pace. Throughout this entire movie, I was misty eyed. It is as if I rediscovered the magic of love and friendship.

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This movie focuses on Nanoha, a normal girl who has some extraordinary magic. By virtue of chance a guy from another dimension named Yuuno has ventured into her world, disguised as a ferret, and needed her help in gathering Jewel Seeds, some kind of magical items that may bring danger into their worlds. Through this she discovered that she has powerful magic. Eventually she will meet up with another magical girl, Fate, who is also after the Jewel Seeds for some unknown reason. As rivals, they will clash and fight together, but Nanoha (being the good girl she is) would try to open this girl’s heart, and try to be friends with her. Nanoha is very determined to know why Fate is collecting the Jewel Seeds, and when we would finally know that Fate is not all that bad, Nanoha tries to protect Fate and be her friend.

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Many used to compare Nanoha to Cardcaptor Sakura, but that was quite a while ago when “bishoujo-mahou-shoujo” series were still a rarity. Bishoujo anime series in general have been getting popular since that time, along with it the rise of the moe~ genre, and I should say that I’m starting to get tired of them. Those cookie-cutter anime still have the dreaded disease known as fanservice, and it was getting a lot worse only quite recently. Nanoha 1st returns the series to its roots, and despite a couple of nekkid transformation sequences, had no other fanservice scene compared to the original series. This is only one minor improvement over a slew of major upgrades of the original series being translated to movie form. Everything from the animation to the music has been updated, even the English uttered by the Raising Heart and Bardiche devices were clear and understandable. But what mattered most is the reimagination of the story to be more coherent and endearing than ever before, and how awesome it was to see it unfold before my senses all over again.

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Of particular note is how Fate’s side of the story is widely expanded, seen through various flashbacks about her mother and main antagonist Precia. Fate is but a failed clone of Precia’s real daughter Alicia, who had died due to an accident in her mother’s experiments. Precia orders Fate to collect the Jewel Seeds in the hopes of finding a way to revive Alicia, at the expense of Fate being the hated child. The movie featured a softer side of Precia, who I had failed to empathize with during the original series. In this movie I totally did, particularly with the help of an award-winning performance from Fate’s sidekick Arf. No really, she is the most intense character in this movie, in that everything she did was to love and protect Fate. If there were only an award for best female actress in an anime, she’d take it in a heartbeat.

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It would never be Nanoha without the magical action. I think the original series set the bar for quality battle sequences in this type of anime, particularly the duels of Nanoha and Fate. This movie just shattered that bar. Everything was impressive! Much focus was spent on Nanoha’s training rather than having a monster-of-the-week, and whenever Nanoha and Fate fight each other, I just don’t know who to root for. They were awesome in the original series already, but this movie really ups the ante. Also, the music, OH GOD the music. It was epic. It totally complemented the animation with the sense of scale and wonder feel only few anime can deliver to me. And of course, the wonderful seiyuu performances. Tamura Yukari and Mizuki Nana, together again. Enough said.

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If there were any fault in this movie, it would be that there was no time to flesh out some secondary characters like Nanoha’s friends and family, but this is just a minor setback. I guess the main formula of the success of Nanoha 1st is “nostalgia”. It bettered the original series, which was already great in itself. This is only the beginning too, as there are plans to remake Nanoha A’s as well. I would say that the quality of Nanoha anime has lowered a bit due to StrikerS, but this movie totally renewed my hope and fandom. Even if you haven’t seen any Nanoha anime, this is an excellent watch, but if you were a fan of Nanoha, this movie is definitely a must-experience. Cheers for more Nanoha!

2 Comments

Posted By: piyo On: January 04, 2011 At: 3:47 pm

I like how in the beginning, the movie wastes no time in showing how Nanoha powers up. Unfortunately I find the fight scenes contrived and too dependent on CG swashes of light. Then again I don’t want to see Nanoha fight, or I must be a no-wire kinda guy. Also I find low-voice Fate to be an unfortunate shackle on Nana Mizuki. I suppose the scene at the end and the powerful songs make up for these. I would like to see A’s as well.

Posted By: Koji Oe On: January 08, 2011 At: 5:42 pm

I was definitely blown away too. Great film and definitely revived my faith in the franchise. You can tell they really put effort into making it.I wasn’t too drawn into the battle scenes in this movie but they were good don’t get me wrong.

I think they’ll be a hell of a lot more intense in A’s. I always preferred the battles in A’s more. Looking forward to the next movie.

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