English: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st
Japanese: 魔法少女リリカルなのは The MOVIE 1st
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jan 23, 2010
2 hr. 10 min.
R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.111 (scored by 8166 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisThe movie will be based on the storyline in season 1 but will have new battle animation and a new transformation sequence.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: Movie 1st the Comics
Alternative version: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha
Sequel: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 2nd A's
Characters & Voice Actors
For a long time I avoided the mahou shoujo genre of anime like the plague, until a friend recommended the series Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha. After that, my perception of "magical girls" changed completely, and for the first time I realised the potential of the genre. Nanoha was like no other anime of its type, combining shounen action with a rather dark storyline, all packaged in a "cute" anime (complete with small fluffy sidekick).
It's unfortunate then, that the stereotypical mahou shoujo anime still reigns supreme.
The rather strangely titled Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 1st (simply calling it Nanoha: The Movie would have sufficed as there's only one Nanoha in anime as far as I'm aware - feel free to correct me on this point though), is, as many anime fans may already know, about 9 year old Takamichi Nanoha, who answers a ferret's cry for help, obtains an intelligent device named Raising Heart (or Raging Heart, I'm still not sure which is correct), and becomes a magical girl tasked with finding "Jewel Seeds".
Cue the twinkly effects and soppy romance? Hell no! This is Nanoha, and she'd kick Sailor Moon's arse from here to the next dimension.
As far as the story goes, the movie is nothing more than a condensed retelling of the first series. Now some have tried to claim that the movie is a parallel history rather than a straightforward rehash (I'm looking at you Tsuzuki Masaki), however the differences between the two are very small indeed. While the movie takes liberties in an effort to condense information, the content is still pretty much the same (the major points anyway), so it puzzles me how anyone could consider this an alternative take on the original series.
Which brings me to a major problem I had with the movie. The plot flows rather nicely throughout the film, and the story has been compacted to a pretty good degree, however sacrifices have been made in order to accomodate the shortening of a 13 episode series into just over 2 hours. The biggest problem with the movie is that it has lost much of the charm the original series had, something which affects the characters in a big way. Granted there's more focus on the action, but one of the reasons why the whole Nanoha franchise works is because we see her grow from being a young, naive girl into the Ace of Aces, and much of that growth is missing from the movie.
Here's what I mean. Part of what I liked about the original Nanoha series was seeing how she came to terms with her new role and how it affected her relationship with her family and friends. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't have the time to go into this kind of detail so much of this is missing, and the upshot of this is that many of Nanoha's later actions, her fights with Fate and such, don't really have the same level of justification that they did in the series. The movie is nothing more than action for the sake of action, and the whole "alternate history" concept is only really noticable in a few small scenes..
But it's still enjoyable nonetheless :)
As for the effect of the shortened plot on the other characters, while the original series made some effort to round out certain individuals, the movie does nothing of the sort. Granted this is because of time constraints, however one can't help but wonder how fans of the series will take this distinct lack of characterisation and development, although in fairness to the movie, the viewer does get a good idea of Fate's motivations.
One thing that I did like is the fact that the cast from the original series and it's sequels have reprised their roles here, and their familiarity with the characters is telling as the performances are very good throughout. The only real downside to the acting is that there aren't too many opportunities for the seiyuu to display their talents because of the nature of the movie (i.e. it's far more action oriented), which limits their performances to a degree. As for the sound, the effects are exceptional throughout, especially during the combat sequences, while the music is very good not only in the scope of tracks, but also in their choregraphy.
In terms of looks, the movie is very clearly a reflection of the first series, and the characters and settings will be very familiar to those who have watched the original. The only real differences between the movie and the series are that the animation is, on the whole, better in the new version, and the action sequences are much more exciting now than they were before. Granted there are some minor visual alterations between the two, however these are nothing more than cosmetic changes to facilitate the belief that this is an "alternate history".
Now, did I enjoy the movie? Damn right I did. While I may not be a diehard fan of the franchise, Nanoha really did change my opinion of mahou shoujo, and while I may seem critical of the flaws in the film, that doesn't mean I didn't like it. The movie is very much an action based affair, and while this is an enjoyable romp in the realm of Nanoha, in all honesty I would much prefer to watch the original series. While the movie is a great way to while away a couple of hours, there is a distinct lack of character interaction that was part of the charm of the original series.
I doubt whether fans of the Nanoha franchise will find this a bad film as it enompasses a good deal of the plot from the original series. That said, while I enjoyed the movie a lot, there really is no competition as I much prefer the series. This isn't a bad film, not at all. It simply lacks some of the things that I liked about the original, and the fact that this is being pushed as an "alternate history" doesn't help matters.
In truth, while Nanoha: The Movie (see how much easier that is?), may be good, it's not the re-envisioning I expected or hoped for. The film could have been so much more if writer Tsuzuki Masaki, and director Kusakawa Keizou, had decided to follow one route only - either a complete alternate history, or a condensed retelling of the original series.
That said, this is a good action movie that suitably pays homage to the original, and while it can't really compare to the series in terms of depth, it will serve as a great introduction for new viewers who, like me, simply haven't realised just how good a mahou shoujo anime can be if done right. read more
"Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha" is one of the more true to form Magical Girl works that I've personally seen (the only other one being Madoka Magica), and personally I wasn't all that impressed. That being said Nanoha still manages to deliver on some level despite its quirks.
Execution wise the story could of panned out slightly better. Bogged down with pacing issues, and a few mechanical problems with the plot. These mechanical issues pertain to mainly: Nanoha herself (more on that later), some lack luster dialogue, and the powers of the girls. The overall tale lost impact due to some less than stellar writing, which is a shame considering what the story was trying to convey is touching. Thematically speaking (as simplistic as it was) Nanoha was still solid,but didn't effectively present its core themes. Moving onto the powers, or the magic. With something like this I don't really need to know the inner workings of everything, but a little would of been nice. This becomes an issue in the latter half of the show when the physical limitations of the characters are brought into question. With no guide lines or basic systems to how these powers work all tension is diffused. I never once felt like any of the characters were in danger, which is a problem since it devalues the overall struggle. "Struggle" being the key word, because it never felt like one. This is not considering inner struggles of some of the cast, which was quite real. I'm only commenting on the outer more physical challenges. With all of this said Nanoha still had some sparks of actual quality, and delivers on a fundamental level. Sadly nothing more. If you are generally a fan of the this genre then you will feel right at home with Nanoha's setup, and progression.
Nanoha's art falls short of ever being anything more than alright. Animation wise although nothing really spectacular was still fair, and did a decent job. The character designs were also decent, but left much to be desired for in appearance. Also the CG in almost every instance was jarring, and really took me out of the experience. Now on a more personal note I found the overall style of the show to be to clean, and incredibly bland. This is of course personal preference, but worth mentioning. Although I found it bland it still wasn't bad just not my cup of tea.
I was initially going to give this a 6. Although the OST never really shined me on it fit into the background, and never really pulled me out of the show. But this is one of the first instances I've encountered where voice acting was actually an issue. Nanoha's weapon speaks, and dear God is it bad. Maybe it's the Engrish, the robotic nature of her voice, or she is just a bad voice actress. Either way it was so bad that I actually was praying for her not to talk. That aside there just wasn't really anything special about it, and the only really bad part would be that voice.
Here is one of the better parts of the film, but also one of the weakest. The strengths in this don't come from our main "character". I use character loosely because Nanoha isn't one, which being the title character this is kind of a problem. So much so that she almost becomes a side character in the end. This is the weakest part of the entire show, and the most hurtful. Luckily besides her, and her non existent friends (who also play almost no part) we have a group of likable side characters. They aren't really all that deep, but at the very least entertaining. Now time for why this is one of the better parts of the film. The dynamic between Fate, and her mother. I found Fate's struggle/journey not only more interesting then Nanoha's, but I think the film did as well considering that it pretty much becomes her show in the latter half. Also Fate's mother was an excellent villain. I really appreciate when you see where the villain is coming from, and can actually sympathize with them. These two characters had more depth, and had the most time devoted to them then any other cast members. Fun fact this isn't a bad thing. The only problem that arises with this was that I wondered why the movie wasn't called Mahou shoujo Lyrical Fate.
Even if this wasn't really my cup of tea I still enjoyed my time with "Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha". A few times it pushed my patients, but never to the point to where I wanted to stop watching.
Overall with a somewhat generic story, but touching theme "Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha" execution made it fall short. If you are a fan of magical girl shows then I see no reason why you wouldn't enjoy this movie. For what it was I had some fun with Nanoha faults included. As always, thanks for reading. read more
Opening ThemeNo opening themes found, add themes.
Ending Theme#1: "My wish My love" by Yukari Tamura
#2: "PHANTOM MINDS" by Nana Mizuki
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