Third grader Takamachi Nanoha stumbled upon an injured talking ferret after hearing his telepathic cries for help. The ferret turned out to be Yuuno, an archeologist and mage from another world who had accidentally scattered the dangerous Jewel Seeds throughout Earth. Without the strength to collect the Jewel Seeds, Yuuno had resumed a ferret form and needed someone else to take on the task for him. He gave a red jewel to Nanoha explaining to her with this she could transform and use magic to combat the monsters that threatened them due to the Jewel Seeds. But the monsters are the least of their worries, as Yuuno and Nanoha are not the only ones out to collect the Jewel Seeds.
Nanoha is not spectacular in part, but as a whole it shines. I can explain this by saying that the animation, sound, story, and character development as seperate entities are nothing remarkable (with some deference to the opening sound track) - As a complete intertwining smorgasbord of sensual imagery, these elements form an exceptional, and enjoyable investment of time.
The animation got me hooked in the first episode with two short lived but highly innovative sequences that are never again revisited in style or similarity. Lukily for me, that was not near as important in further episodes as I became further engrosed in the series. Overall, the animation is tight and beautiful, but that first episode has burned an image, of what anime COULD be like, in my mind for ever.
The sound is well placed, the voice acting is quite pleasant but the Opening song is well beyond my expectations. Innocent Starter" has found a permanant place in my 5 star playlist.
The story is your typical magical girl with a more mature touch (strange considering the youth of the characters). It does not fall in the trap of overly cute to the point of mindless "kawaiiness" that 99% of "Magical Girl" shows contain. That makes it new in my book!
The characters really shine, besides the robot like, ultra caring of Nanoha herself, she is defined like a "passive aggressive" (all things can be worked out with words before violence) but more than willing to kick some !$! if she has to, kind of character. The character "Fate" is the truly dynamic character entity of this story and her pain and suffering is eclipsed only by Nanoha's compassion. Such character development is undoubtedly rare in "Magical Girl" anime prototypes. Fate-chan is, and will forever be my favorite character.
This is an extremely valuable series, and a bargain at even the most outrageous prices of English Anime DvD's. If it is liscensed, I suggest picking it up with all due haste!
I found myself looking forward to each new episode, all the way through the series' completion. I was ready with my popcorn and soda, and even brought out my most comfy chair, providing myself with the ultimate enjoyable experience.
Overall - 8.5, could not use decimals so I bumped it down to a 8, only because It's sequel is even more innovative and exceptional.read more
As a fan of anime, the magical girl genre has not always been a favorite. Perhaps I have watched the wrong shows up until now and got a bad impression of it. Up till now, magical girls are usually extremely silly shows with way to many loli's, overly long and indecent transformation scenes, and perverted magic animals from other worlds or dimensions. Did I miss something? Happily, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha is not one of those.
Starting out there is nothing particularly original or extremely interesting about this show. Nanoha, an ordinary young girl gets magical powers from a magic using ferret from another world. (Pause while that soaks in a bit, boy does it sound silly when I read that) Overlooking the silliness of that, this ferret, named Yuuno has a mission to retrieve some magical artifacts that have slipped into the world so Nanoha agrees to help him. The story starts out pretty predicable and not all that exciting, with the first few episodes being a monster of the week kind of format. Eventually a rival emerges after the same thing as Nanoha but for more sinister reasons. This rival is Fate, and this is when the story really starts to pick up and become more exciting. By episode 7 or 8 I was on the edge of my seat as the action built up to the exciting climax. The story has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and while some of the plot lines were predictable others came as a surprise. In the end I was left with many emotions as the story puts you through the full range from sadness to joy. It was very well done indeed!
Character wise, this show is truly outstanding. Fate and Nanoha are two of the most interesting characters I have seen. The story does a great job in developing them and growing them into what they become by the end. The two familiars, Yuuno and Arf are also fleshed out pretty well and are also very interesting and fun characters. The chief villain is also very well written, and while she is a mean and vile character I felt a wide range of emotions about her too. The supporting characters are pretty good, in a short series like this they don’t get a lot of development, which is ok because doing so would have taken away from the ones who deserved the screen time.
The cast is really good, especially for the main characters. Rie Kugimiya is one of my favorite actresses but shines in a small role as one of Nanoha's friends. The music is also great, the OP, EN songs are catchy, especially the opening. I found myself singing along frequently! Animation is good too, I loved the character models for the most part. Though I’m not a huge fan of how the men and boys were drawn but that’s a personal preference. I’m not a big fan of boys who don’t look like boys. Particularly Yuuno, if they hadn’t told me he was a boy I wouldn’t have known. Also as staple of magical girl anime is the transformation scene. Weeee! We get to see a naked 3rd grader changing into her magical outfit! Hooray! The problem is not so much that I had to endure this scene, it’s that for the first 7 episode or so I had to endure it EVERY TIME!!!!! The FULL SCENE! Come on we’ve seen it 8 times already I know Nanoha's body better than my own now how about the short version now and then?
Despite my frustration with all the transformation scenes for the first half of the show, in the end it didn’t damper my enthusiasm and enjoyment of it once the last episode was over. If you’re a magical girl fan, this is a cant miss show. And if you’re not, this is still a cant miss show. read more
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (I'll abbreviate it to MSLN in the review for the sake of convenience) is an anime about a magical girl named Nanoha. Along the way, she meets another magical girl named Fate, and tries to help her with her problems.
At first, MSLN seems very typical. There's a girl, she discovers that she has magical powers, and she sets off to seal the jewel seeds which have gone rampant. As I said, typical, right? But then, along comes Fate Testarossa, and the whole story changes. Around the second half of the series, the plot picks up its pace, and it's hard to stop watching. Despite its childish appearance, the storyline is anything but that.
The graphics in MSLN are very nice. Nanoha and Fate's battle outfits and weapons are well designed; they are complex, with much detail. The animation is smooth, and the transformation scenes are well done. My only complaint is how the ending theme was done. Whoever did that was very, VERY lazy. You'll know why when you see it. But besides that, the anime was very eye-pleasing.
The voices were good; they all matched the personalities of the characters. The opening was nice as well, but again, I found the ending quite lacking. The ending theme was a bit too childish, and the voice bothered me. But it's easy to skip over, so I guess I can't complain. Lastly, I'll comment on the weapons themselves. I understand why they speak, and why they speak in english, but some of the phrases were unnecessary and gave a strange feeling. For example, Nanoha's Raising Heart actually says 'all right', when Nanoha issues a command.
The characters were well developed, in my opinion. Nanoha's situation was introduced early on, and much attention went to Fate's situation. Nanoha is the kind, caring girl with the perfect family, and Fate is the sad, desperate girl with the not-so-perfect family. The characters are lovable, and it's fun to watch them.
MSLN was very enjoyable to watch. The 13 episodes went by fast. The characters are awesome, the battles are awesome, and the plot is great. I definitely enjoyed watching this anime. Maybe it's because I haven't watched a magical girl series in a long, long time (ie. Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura when I was little), but the anime was a refreshing change from all of the dramatic romance I've been watching.
Overall, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha receives an 8. It was a very worthwhile watch, and I recommend it. I can't guarantee that it'll be your cup of tea, but it was definitely better than I'd expected.
5 WORDS OR LESS REVIEW: Mahou shoujo with some zing
I watched “Triangle Heart ~Sweet Songs Forever~” before Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, and personally, I’m glad that MSLN’s story is a lot different from Triangle Heart.
Nanoha Takamachi was also a character in Triangle Heart, but she was sort of an extra character there. She takes the stage as main character in MSLN as a normal third grader who suddenly meets a ferret who is actually a mage from another world, and he asks Nanoha to help her collect Jewel Seeds that have scattered all over her world. It seems a lot like Card Captor Sakura, but each MSLN episode isn’t as uniform as CCS episodes. The pacing is faster, which is good since MSLN only has 12 episodes. Also, Jewel Seeds aren’t cutesy like Clow Cards – they are way more dangerous and threatening.
There are actually two magical girls in MSLN, there is Nanoha of course, and there’s also Fate Testarossa. I happen to like Fate more, because sometimes Nanoha’s too nice that you get tired of it. Fate is sort of like a 9 year old Rei Ayanami with better hair, so I definitely like her more. Some characters from Triangle Heart have also reappeared for MSLN, such as other members of the Takamachi family. The only difference is that they’re all leading normal lives and not working as bodyguards or agents for secret services.
I’m familiar with most of the voice cast, but the names that stood out for me the most are Rie Kugimiya (Alisa Bannings) and Ai Shimizu (Suzuka Tsukimura). I liked their work in other series, especially Rie Kugimiya (Shana in Shakugan no Shana, Nagi from Hayate no Gotoku, Alphonse Elric from FMA), so I’m kind of disappointed that they got smaller parts in the series. Also, I like Raging Heart and Bardiche’s voice actors. I don’t know why but I like it when Raging Heart and Bardiche talk.
I’m a bit iffy about the visuals, specially the character design. Nanoha and Fate’s designs were both age appropriate and proportionate, but for the older women, I didn’t like the oversized chests and wide hips. It’s also a bit inconsistent, scenes from the first episode looked different compared to the latter episodes. All in all, animation was good.
Nana Mizuki did a great job in singing “Innocent Starter”, the opening theme. I wish it was more upbeat though, but since it was performed by the voice actor of Fate Testarossa, I guess I shouldn’t expect something more lively. I liked the ending theme more, “Little Wish ~Lyrical Step~” by Yukari Tamura, Nanoha’s voice actor.. It really fit Nanoha’s personality, and it was cute and catchy. I learned it right away.
At first I was hesitant to watch Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, because I wasn’t really a fan of the Mahou Shoujo genre, thinking that most series of such genre was the same. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha had something in it, which makes it worth watching.read more
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