After how much I enjoyed the first season of Nanoha, I immediately set to watching this sequel. And I will tell you something that rarely happens for me, I don’t think I got up from my sofa from episode 1 until the end. In many ways, A's outshines the original as a lot of the peeves I had from that show are non-existent now. I really loved this series a lot, it just had a few warts that prevent me from giving it a perfect grade.
The story in the original was really good, A's takes it all to a different level and
there is almost no comparison. The action picks up from basically the first minute of the show and doesn’t let up. No fillers, no trips to the hot springs, I think this might be the first time I have watched a series and could say that. The plot though is outstanding. A wonderful world of magic is further expanded is a story that puts you through all the emotions and has a number of shocking surprises that you won’t see coming. It’s so delightful to watch such a mature and complex storyline in a genre that is usually silly and plots written more to appeal to youngsters and pervs. There is also a very nice mix of drama and action. The action is more intense than the first season by a lot. Almost every episode it’s full of explosive magical combat but it does a wonderful job of giving great drama and comedic moments.
Nanoha and Fate return to be the same wonderful characters I loved so much from the first series. They get new powers and spells and it’s wonderful to see them in action again. There role with the Space-Time Administration Bureau expands more and we get to know better Lindy, Amy, and Chrono better as well as some new characters within the agency. It was disappointing though that several characters from the original series were left out a bit as we see very little of Yuuno, Arf, Arisa, and Suzuka. There is however a plethora of new characters and my opinion of them is mixed. They are interesting, have complex motivations for why they do what they do. A lot of them made me mad, wanting to throw my remote through the TV screen and scream "I won’t forgive you!". But I guess that is the sign of a well made character huh? The main problem is that now there are so many new characters that the cast just becomes so large that it’s impossible to really get to know any of them that well.
Visually, A's is stunning. The characters are beautifully drawn and animated. They have some great costumes and weapons (especially the new knights). Were it really is spectacular is the action scenes. The fights are exciting, explosive, and on a much grander scale than anything from the first series. It was also a nice surprise at the end of the series to see Nanoha and her friends grown up. I was pleasantly surprised that the transformation scenes were toned down and reduced a lot. This was a complaint of my from the first season, not that they existed, but that we had to watch them in full every time Nanoha transformed.
The music is where this show really fails. While a lot of the background music is the same, I was not a big fan of the EN theme in particular and the OP was not really that much better. I found myself several times just fast forwarding through them which is something I almost never do. The voice acting is still great, but my overall disappointment with the music drives my score down.
In the end this show is really outstanding, my dissatisfaction with the musical score and some of the characters prevents me from giving it a '10' though. This show transcends the magic girl genre and I don’t think should be thought of as such. So if you are resisting watching this series because you don’t like magic girls, don’t! You will not regret it!
Every once in a while or so, appears an anime that is literally compelling, rich, and truly irresistible. This is one of those- the franchise flourishes with support from the first season and absolutely comes back even more powerful to capture and entice the watcher in loving this well-constructed presentation. Seven Arcs has accomplished many great deeds with this release: executing a fantastic sequel to attract more awareness out of a type of "Dark Horse" anime. The Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha series (will use MSLN for short in later instances) isn't really "well-known" or "popularly watched" by the general audience, at least imo); Seven Arcs
delivers a work of art that not only entertains, but transports the watcher behind the scenes with an aftertaste of desiring "I want to be there with (insert MSLN character name here);" and has composed a groundbreaking successful title full of truly entrancing characters (one of them really sticks out in my mind above the rest), a profoundly dramatic story, and slightly euphoric sounds that leaves a highly enjoyable watch of wanting even more after each striking episode.
The story continues from where the first season departed. However, old friends must reunite to defeat the newly arrived opposing forces. These new enemies come about to wreak havoc to save their mistress from an impending doom. A new mystery must be unveiled to uncover hidden truths. The prototypes of antiquated weaponry will need upgrades to defend and attack against foes. A touching and shocking conclusion lies near the end which will greatly move your heart.
The animation is definitely a tremendous plus: the visual effects are utterly sensually appealing. The contrasts from lighting and colors are exceptionally amazing. Seven Arcs really respect their art styles and have succeeded in this regard. The battles, the transformation scenes, the adorable scenes of one character that I truly revere, all still leave an afterimage in my enigmatic thought processes. MSLN A’s demonstrates only top-notch animation. The animation has been fine tuned enough and has the ability to withstand many viewers’ tastes to ensnare their visual senses.
Furthermore, the sound is also another banging feature. “Eternal Blaze” by the infamous and alluring Mizuki Nana activates the ability of echoic memory or of experiencing an overdose of the appealing music into your head. Whenever the situation became unpleasant, the BGM tended to fit that mood. A select few may even be cherished by the raving fans that found specific scenes to be special. Overall, the sound complemented the thrilling and epic battles. The music strengthened the attributes of the show’s addictiveness.
Of paramount interest, the utilization and how they were portrayed of the seductive characters has been the aspect that has deeply impacted me the most. A majority of the viewers that have finished have taken a liking to Fate or Nanoha or Hayate or Signum or all or whoever; the style, animation, and flair the characters has to display has been the most remarkable feature A’s has to offer. Each one has a context that they serve and fulfill. However, I will put this bluntly that Fate alone has made me consider that this title has been framed, fueled, and augmented by her, without a doubt. I do find her to be truly mind-boggling, lovable, the perfect “all-in-one,” the list goes on and on type of character. Nonetheless, the characters are a huge positive perspective when it comes to enjoying this watch.
Conclusively, with all these magnificent elements being incorporated in this title, or rather sequel, it creates a magnetic pull to actually view this landmark in history. Whether you’ve read the unique synopsis and/or the more or less influential reviews, this title simply cannot be overlooked. If you’ve dropped or constituted a hiatus on the first season and somehow managed to endure to the end of this review, it’s highly recommended that you pick this up again as it won’t disappoint. This title possesses a plethora to offer since it’s extremely appealing and evokes many sentimental feelings when heeded. Ultimately, I hope this review has been an interesting read and for you to savor and appreciate the show like I did.
5 WORDS OR LESS REVIEW: Better than the first season
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s certainly strayed away from the usual, formulaic mahou shoujo stereotype. No more collecting Jewel Seeds for Nanoha and Fate. This time they face bigger, more powerful enemies that get in their way.
The new plot really made me excited, mostly because I’ve been waiting for Fate and Nanoha to become closer friends as well as become team mates. The new characters were also very intriguing and interesting, especially the Velka-type Knights. I like how Nanoha and Fate have to go against them, because they’re not as evil or twisted as Precia Testarossa
from last season, but their objective is much more threatening.
Speaking of the Velka-type Knights, they are Signum, Shamal, Vita and Zafira. They all have different personalities and abilities that mix well together, that’s why I consider them formidable opponents for Nanoha and Fate. To make things more interesting, their master, Hayate Yagami, is absolutely adorable. Out of all the new characters, I like Hayate and Signum the best.
Since there new additions to the cast, there are also new voice actors. I like Vita’s voice actor the best, who is Asami Sanada. Her voice screams tsundere. It really reminds me of Rie Kugimiya’s work in Shakugan no Shana. Also, just as I like Raging Heart and Bardiche’s voice actors, I also like Levantine and Graf Eisen’s voice actor. I thought for sure he was German – he was really convincing.
I think animation has also improved, because the drawings are more consistent compared to the first season. I also love the character design, the new characters and their battle outfits are really flashy and modern. The transformation scenes are less ecchi but more eye catching too.
There might have been a switch regarding the opening and ending themes for this season. Nana Mizuki still sang the opening song, “Eternal Blaze”, and I love it because of its faster beat. I definitely like it more than the OP of the first season. Also, this time around, Yukari Tamura sang the mellow song, which is the ending theme “Spiritual Garden”. It’s cute, but I like the ED of the first season better.
Since the second season was so much better than the first season, I could only hope that the third season is even better and possibly the best out of the three and it does look that way.
Following up on the surprise hit of the first season, Nanoha A's comes with more energy and more faults, but it's still a worthy second season.
The second season dives headfirst back into the action that made the first season so remarkable by the end. There are still many enjoyable twists, though not as impressive in comparison to the previous season. This is no fault of the series itself though. By now, it's become more "girls who fight with magic" than "magical girl" so the various new plays on the genre don't sell as well as they did before. Battle scenes are no longer highlights, but
the majority of the series. If you liked the action more than the drama last time, then you're in for a treat.
Characterization remains as incredible as ever despite the more convoluted plot and a 100% addition to the already quite large cast. This means certain characters once influential to the plot end up as nothing more than glorified cameos. Even Fate's importance to the series is lessened considerably. Like the first season, Nanoha is once again not the focus despite being in the series title. Like how Fate was the main element last season, new girl Hayate and her knights are the focus in these thriteen episodes. Fortunately, their complicated relationship is handled with enough care that it's hard to complain.
Animation continues to be stellar as ever, fluid from start to finish. Because the series is now more action than drama, the quality shines with spectacular brilliance. They even manage to outdo the incredible transformation sequence of the first season with a double transformation scene. Though it only occurs once, it is positively breathtaking in quality.
Soundwork continues to stay relatively enjoyable, highlighted once again with another fantastic Nana Mizuki OP.
Like it's predecesor, Nanoha A's is another dose of no-nonsense magic battles and surprising drama. It's a worthy sequel, but the sum of its parts are still less than those of the first season. Nanoha A's is essentially Nanoha overkill in that it lavishs on more of what made it enjoyable in the first place. Just a little too much of an already good thing.
Overall I give Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's an 8 out of 10.
PS: Review is based on both seasons. Although there is no spoilers, it's recommended you've watched the 1st season before reading on.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha is indeed one of the fine "Mahou Shoujo" series you will pick up. The beginning does drag a while but it makes it up in the miiddle and end of the season 1 and with the beginning of A's, there is no stopping you in getting into the series until the very end.
Season 1 starts off with the introduction of Nanoha and her sudden involvement in helping Yuuno in finding all the Jewel Seeds. When Nanoha starts to get
use of her magical powers and the search for the Jewel Seeds seem reachable an unexpected Mahou Shoujo arrives by the name of Fate Testarossa, whose purpose is to capture all the Jewel Seeds as well for her own purposes. This makes Nanoha job more complicated considering she has a rival with the same goal. Not going into anymore further details about the storyline, the events and twist throughout the 1st season will leave you satisfied it was a good 1st season to complete. Even though the pacing was slow, the battle scenes sure does make it up.
Season 2 begins a couple of months after the events in Season 1. With a few new rivals and a new mission, it starts off very fast paced and you couldn't wish for a better start than this. The storyline is more compelling and exciting compared the the first and the battle scenes looks more of a challenge where it may get your heart racing on the outcome of the battle.
In conclusion, this series is for anyone from ppl who are starting to enjoy anime to the casual watchers and for the long term anime watchers. It has a good OP and ED single to get into the series, good storyline and good character development. It does deliver the entertainment requirements you need.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's comes up a bit lacking compared to its predecessor, but is a solid continuation. Like the first Lyrical Nanoha series, A's boils down a fairly conventional mahou shoujo story arc (the heroines battle determined foes with sympathetic motivations but an ultimately destructive goal) into a single 13-episode season, while somehow leaving intact all the drama and character development one would expect to see in a series two or three times its length. (It's like mahou shoujo for people who don't have time for mahou shoujo.)
Nanoha and Fate work side-by-side in A's, but those who come in expecting the
sequel to dwell on them may be slightly disappointed. The dramatic core of the series is a group of new characters, Hayate and the Velka Knights, and so much time is needed to develop their relationships and storyline that they sometimes take over the show. It doesn't make the series a whit less enjoyable because they ARE a legitimately interesting bunch (I especially like Vita and Signum). And even though the focus is on them, it doesn't mean other characters are totally on the back burner. Fate i particular has a nice moment late in the series dealing with her past, and her "warrior's camaraderie" with Signum is an agreeable development. Even though I was looking forward to more Nanoha in particular, I found I didn't mind the shift in focus that much.
What I DID mind -- though, the one thing that really bothered me about A's -- is that it just doesn't look as handsome as the first series. Not every episode of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha was as smoothly animated as the first, but they were always well drawn and directed. There were small details that made the everyday sections feel authentic, and the battles always gave a sense of how devastatingly powerful Nanoha and Fate were, especially after the halfway mark. But I only rarely had the same sense in A's. Rest assured, the producers haven't resorted to stock animation attacks a la Sailormoon, but rarely is there the same sense of impact and urgency, or anything quite as awesome as Nanoha using Starlight Breaker for the first time. Still, the quality is consistently high, which means it looks better than a great many series out there. I don't know if the relative brevity of the series is a way of ensuring quality control (i.e., the budget isn't stretched thin by having to produce too many episodes), but there does still seem to be a commitment to putting out a good-looking show. (On a side note, though, do all the adult women seem to have smaller busts than in the first series?)
Overall, even if A's isn't as jaw-dropping as its predecessor, I'd still give it a hearty recommendation. With the third series -- Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS -- starting soon, now is an excellent time to watch A's if you haven't already. StrikerS will again introduce a number of new characters, which means that Supremely Competent Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha may once again not get as much time in front of the camera as one would expect. But that didn't make A's unwatchable by any means, so I suspect that even if that is the case, StrikerS will be worth a watch.
I'll admit it. I haven't watch much "real" mahou shojo. I haven't watched Pretty Cure or Princess Tuturu or even Sailor Moon. I'm a "Madoka-era" mahou shojo fan, someone who prefers the Symphogears and Yuuki Yuuna's over the Sailor Moons and Pretty Cures. That being said, I loved Nanoha. I'm a big fan of the series. And A's especially. A's showcases to me all what I want in a mahou shojo show: breakneck action, "friendship" and magical gunfights.
Story: The story of A's is ultimately one of friendship and understanding, something that Nanoha conveys very well. The world and its magic system is typical magical
girl fare, but without any of the "it runs on willpower/feelings" trope that perpetrates many other shows of the same genre. The show also hints at a deeper backstory to the world, something that is good for both newcomers and veterans of the genre. And this all in all leads to a story that deals with themes like physical disabilities, weakness, and doing something wrong fro a good ideal. These dark ideas starkly contrast with the general light atmosphere of the genre, something that was played upon in First's as well. It's a great dynamic that not only lends to a slightly more mature mood, but also something that makes the viewer look deeper at the characters and the world they interact with. This makes the conclusion and confrontation of Fate with her mother at the end of the show all the more satisfying. But really the spotlight of the show is the fights.
Art, Sound, and Animation: And in this respect Nanoha is amazing. Nanoha's fights are great, with lot's of special effects, magical gunfights, and big blasts. It's the equivalent of a mahou shojo action movie with loli fanservice and slight mecha tones. The movie of the show deserves special mention in this department for being one of the best mahou shojo action movies I've ever watched. But anyways, the effort of the people in the show can really be seen in the final battle which is where Nanoha. I could really feel the strength of two differing ideals colliding together in order to achieve their separate goals. And this comes through in the art that describes the detailed world of Nanoha.
Characters: And just as the world is detailed, so are the characters. Through Hayate's interactions with her guardians I really felt for her and her struggle, a struggle that is very really. Through this way, I was able to feel for her struggle and the Wolkenritter's attempts to help Hayate. But Nanoha and Fate's own dynamic of two friends that had been seperated for a very long time is just as compelling and felt myself torn between which one to root for at times. Nanoha doesn't have the deepest characters, but it makes you feel for them a hella lot.
Closing Thoughts: If you love "new era" mahou shojo, magical fights, good action, and great fight scenes, then do yourself a favor and watch Nanoha. It's a great example of action mahou shojo done right without any of the "2deep4u" bullshit that sometimes get associated with the subgenre.
Back in January I talked about Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, an anime from Seven Arcs. The second anime series in the franchise, A's, aired in 2005. Exactly a year after the first. Let's recap the first, shall we? Young Takamachi Nanoha gained magical powers to help Yuuno, a boy transformed into a ferret, find artifacts called Jewel Seeds. While doing so she came into conflict with the young mage Fate Testarossa. Nanoha was immediately drawn to Fate, wanting to become friends and more than friends with her. After a climactic battle with Fate's abusive mother, Nanoha returned triumphant and Fate was taken away to face
judgment for the things she did for her mom. Nanoha was allowed to see her before she left which naturally resulted in her and Fate calling each others names, holding hands and gazing lovingly into each others eyes. Which brings us to the situation at the opening of this series. Will the two meet again? Will more yurirrific content happen? Can Nanoha and Fate possibly be more adorable? Will the transformation sequences still be super uncomfortable to watch? Let's watch Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's and answer those questions.
We open with a young girl in a wheelchair at hospital. She returns to her empty home and reads in bed. She's about to sleep when a book on her shelf shines with an unearthly light and things start happening. We cut to Nanoha before we can learn what happens with the girl. It's been months since the events of the first series and she's been maintaining a long distance relationship with Fate and they've been exchanging video letters as part of that. We see her look at her most recent one and blush because of course she does. We find out that Fate is returning very soon and Nanoha can't wait to see her. We then find out that mages are being attacked and their linker cores, the internal mechanism that allows them to use magic, are getting drained in order to fill a strange tome called the book of darkness. Nanoha senses some strange magic and finds herself under attack by a red-haired girl wielding a massive hammer.
Honestly, the only complaint I have with the story is that the pacing does border on the hectic. The first series managed to be fast-paced while still having plenty of breathing room and slow moments. A's tries to do something similar, but it isn't as effective at it. To its credit, it's never an egregious problem so the narrative isn't difficult to follow nor are you liable to miss anything but there are certainly moments where the shift from one big moment to the next are too sudden. On the positive side, the story is very compelling and there are a lot of interesting moments within it. A's is really good at introducing mysterious elements, using them to build tension while hinting at the answer and giving the answers at a natural point. It's also good about establishing its plot devices and how they work early enough on that when they come into play during the climax it really works. There's nothing that feels forced or contrived.
The characters remain a strong point of the franchise. Nanoha, Fate and the other characters from the first series remain fleshed out and they develop naturally over the course of the series. The minor characters don't get as much development but they are three-dimensional and have verisimilitude. The antagonists are really interesting as well. They have developed motivations and back stories. You get the sense right away that they have something that they're fighting for and the reveal of what exactly that is is really superb. They are very much sympathetic villains. The character interactions are also really good. Fate's developing familial relationship with Lindy and Chrono is very well done. As is her budding romance with Nanoha. The antagonistic group also gets a lot of really good moments.
The artwork is much the same as the first series. The animation is good as are the action sequences, character designs and various bits of magical technology. The biggest problem with the series is still the transformation sequences. We get to see nine year olds in their undergarments and starkers in a way that is just detailed enough to be really uncomfortable but not so explicit that they can't air it. I will give A's some credit for barely using the transformation sequences, but they're still horrible when they do show up.
The vocal cast remains an amazing aspect of the series. Mizuki Nana and Tamura Yukari make spectacular leads and really convey the chemistry between Nanoha and Fate. For the antagonists in this one we've got Yuzuki Ryouka, Shimizu Kaori, Asami Sanada, Ueda Kana and Ichijo Kazuya. They all deliver spectacularly in their roles too. The music is really damn good.
There's a lot here. Since they aren't on opposing sides in this one, the relationship between Nanoha and Fate is able to grow even more romantic with a lot more shared moments and they are incessantly adorable. They even set up the ending theme as a love song going from Nanoha to Fate. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they adopt a child together when they're adults. There's also a bit between Hayate and Vita. It's less of a focus but they certainly seem to have chemistry.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical A's is every bit as strong as the first series. It has a compelling, well crafted story, interesting characters and an excellent vocal cast. It's biggest issue is the transformation sequences, which really isn't that bad especially when you factor in how little they're used and there are some things that it could have done better. In the end my final rating is a 9/10. Next week, I'll look at Love Live series 1.
First things first. My "reviews" system is explained on a blog entry. Which can be found through my profile.
Trademark magical girls Anime marches on and it got better. This time around story was more fun, more characters and reasons behind their actions. It's simple, but fun. Don't know what else to say.
Nothing changed, still nice and lot of cool spell circles. Music and OST was still quite good. Loved the song/ost that kicked in around the end.
More of them, set stereotypes, nothing amazing, nothing bad enjoyable and simple.
More action, more magic, more spells, more characters. It's same as first season but simply with everything more,
which is my reason to bump up the score in comparison to first season. Fun magical girl anime.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's is the sequl to Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, I don't recommend watching this or reading this review till at least watching it.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's follows up only a few months after the end of the original. Nanoha has been training herself in magic while Fate and the other are awaiting the verdict on her trail. All seems well till one night while doing homework, Raging Heart warns her of danger.
It follows the original in the sense that the plot is straight and to the point, with no side trips. We get to see the cast
come back with the introduction to the new foes of the show. The battles are taken up a notch, longer lasting, and with more intensity.
The battles are more detailed and have far more movement and action in them. The storyline is driven harder using a simple but pointed, tragic conflict, that might very well make you wonder who to cheer for. It bought in more characters and once again lacked secondary character development due to shoving a 26 episode plot into 13 episodes.
Reviewer Recommendation: It felt like the end of the saga the way it ends but once again another sequel has appeared, which might very well knock it up another notch. Stay tuned for Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS!
This is where that investment I was talking about earlier starts to pay off.
Let us break this down.
Roughly six months after the events of Lyrical Nanoha's initial season, life is looking good. Nanoha eagerly awaits the return of Chrono, Arf, and Fate, the later two finishing up sentences for 'crimes' from the first season. Fate and Arf are beginning to settle into a more steady family environment. Chrono is doing...things for the Time-Space Administration Bureau (TSA Bureau for short, as I can't ignore making that joke).
But on the night that the group is destined to meet
up, Nanoha finds herself under attack by a powerful character who refuses to talk before taking action, and promptly beats Nanoha into the ground in one of the most brutal Magical Girl beat-downs witnessed by man. Just as all seems bleak and loss for out titular heroine, none other then Fate arrives, and in just the nick of time!
And all of that is the first episode.
By the sound of it, the series is going to be much more expansive with it's story then the initial season. And you are right, it is. But despite being larger, it is not necessarily better.
As the story in Lyrical Nanoha A's goes along, it makes itself a bit...difficult to swallow. It's not unbelievable, and it's easy to express and communicate to others. (I merely refuse to do so here, as I want to avoid spoilers if at all possible). But the execution is clunky. To put it simply, the Wolkenritter, our group of 'misguided villains' for this installation, work very heavily on Idiot Ball and Single View mindsets. Even when blatantly better alternatives exist, they insist on sticking to their guns, regardless of reasoning. This makes them cross from being 'loyal' to downright 'ignorant'. In addition, a third party that makes itself known throughout the story serves as little more then to beef up a story that otherwise would have simply been a rehash/re-imagining of the first season's story. It's nice to have, but plainly feels tacked on.
And herein lies what keeps Lyrical Naonha A's story from being downright amazing. It's merely a bulkier rehash of the first season's story at heart. And while I'll give A's the credit and higher story rating for doing a bit more with itself, I still find that the original season's story is much, much easier to swallow, but only due to it's simplicity.
There are some improvements from the prior season going into this season. Is the improvement jaw-dropping? No. But it is there, and is subtle and nice.
The biggest benefit to the art style, though, would be the larger variety of things to animate. Throughout the first season, the art and animation stayed relatively conservative, not really doing anything eye-catching in design save for the Testarossa space-mansion, and not really doing anything eye-catching in animation save for the battle and transformation sequences. But in A's, that changes radically.
Because A's takes place on various worlds, considerably more freedom of expression can be given to the artists. Sure, the designs of the aliens look generic. The foreign worlds are also pretty generic in design. But despite this generic feeling, or perhaps through it, the bombastic style of the character designs shine through. Fate, Nanoha, Chrono, and Arf, our main heroes, don't benefit from this as much as the Wolkenritter do. Each one has a radically different design, and while the design itself says just about everything needed about the character, the effort put into it, in and out of universe, is wonderful.
Brief mention to the show's "Final Boss", which looks downright Painful and Nightmarish without being Narmy.
The animation itself is also slightly improved. Again, it's not in a way that is instantly detectable, and it's not going to blow your mind away. But it is there, and worth taking note of.
The only area where Nanoha's second season didn't improve on the first would be the sound design. While Nana Mizuki continues to put a stunning effort into the opening, and while I do prefer Innocent Starter from the first season, Eternal Blaze is undeniably a more exciting track. The closing theme, Spiritual Garden by Yukari Tamura, does a decent job of calming the viewer down after an exciting episode, but feels a bit out of place with the rest of the series.
The rest of the show's OST is not bad, by any means, but I can't particularly think of anywhere that it stands out at. The music compliments the show well, but doesn't really do enough to stand on it's own. In addition, the amount of enhancement in brings to the table is reduced from the enhancement from the first season.
Remember that investment I was talking about earlier? This is where that investment pays itself off at.
Nanoha herself continues to be the same Shounen-archetype in a Magical Girl world. Unsurprisingly, she really doesn't get developed much farther despite being the main character. What little bit we do see is more of her loyalty and 'never-say-die' attitude, which is enough to at least enjoy her as a character in the story if you aren't able to directly enjoy her character. Fate, on the other hand, completes her development arc that started in the prior season. And she completes it wonderfully. Hands down, Fate steals the show when it comes to character development and manifestation. Not only does she end up overcoming her 'family' issues from the prior season, she begins to take a strong interest in other things. Friends, school, her 'adopted' family (Yes, Fate is adopted into the Harlaown family in this series. Hardly a spoiler, as this information is dropped on us halfway through the first episode), etc. Even her fights contribute to her character, as she shapes her style into a flawed-yet-effective Speedy Glass Cannon style.
That's not to say the other characters involved in this work aren't great, they truly are. The Harlaown clan, mother and son alike, both get a chance to showcase impressive character depth. Both are marked by a tragedy, but they have overcome it and press on rather effectively with their lives. Even when said tragedy comes bubbling back to the surface, they keep a nice level head and continue pressing on. And yet, they also are more then just Space Navy Seamen, as their relationship with Fate, Yuuno, and Nanoha is extremely human. Even when they interact with other members in the TSA Bureau, the interactions are professional yet smooth.
The 'villains' are actually well developed also. As mentioned above, they are given a case of 'Idiot Ball' and blind loyal stupidity a bit too hard, but it's not to the extent that it breaks their character. The defacto 'leader' of the group, Signum, hits the 'valiant, honorable knight' trope to a T, but it doesn't seemed forced. The same goes for their hot-headed action girl Vita, their calm and thoughtful medic Shamal, and even the team's familiar/pet have character types that we've seen before, but don't come off nearly as forced. To attempt to elaborate more on their personalities, however, would significantly spoil the story's middle parts, something I wish to avoid.
Nanoha's friends get special mention, because they seem to be the inverse. Suzuka and Alisa have about the same amount of screentime that they did in the prior season, but the utilization is decidedly less effective. For supporting characters in the first season, they actually were the best the show had to offer, as they both dealt with the frustration of Nanoha's double-life in a realistic way (Well, realistic for 9 year olds). In A's, there simply isn't much that they do except serve as tools to deepen Fate's and Hayate's characters.
Speaking of Hayate, she's the newest young female in the series, and while her personality is pretty typical of a disabled girl in anime, she does end up tying heavily into the overall plot of the series. Her character investment starts in this season and pays off in the third season.
More then likely the biggest selling point of Nanoha A's is it's sheer enjoyment. By improving on nearly every already solid point from the prior season, it's weaknesses are left in the dust. Nearly every episode consists of warm character moments, or hyper intense battles.
Speaking of the Battles, this was easily the single greatest improvement from the prior season. In the initial season, Nanoha and Fate were the same in battles. Sure, Fate had more 'skill' and Nanoha had more 'willpower', but despite that, they basically both had the same tactics. Fly about, shoot the crap out of eachother, and in the case of Fate, occasionally get in close for some dicier attacks.
Here, every character ends up taking on a battle style, and that makes for wonderful battles. Fate and Nanoha take their battle experience and better their craft throughout the season, which has a decidedly large effect on their battle abilities, nearly as much as the mid-season upgrade they get. And this specialization goes to all the characters involved in battles. Nanoha is a hyper-accurate powerhouse. Fate's a speedy glass-canon. Vita is a close-range melee fighter. Arf and Zafira are fist-fighters. Chrono and Shamal play defense, etc, etc. These styles make the conflicts much more intense, as we see certain fighting types go against each other and the various strengths and weaknesses of that type come into play.
Between amazing characters, an abundance of great moments, and an overall solid, albeit clunky, story, Nanoha A's earns the solid reputation it has. The Spectacle-driven show from the prior season both deepens and expands, allowing the story to be sold in a marvelous fashion.
Whenever I recommend the Nanoha franchise to someone, it's typically because of this season. It is enjoyable. Fun. And deep down, that is what anime is supposed to be. A means of telling a story that is fun, and able to do what live action can't.
It was a small wish: to have a good sequel to a great first season.
PrimeSonic here, bringing you my review of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's.
I'm assuming you've watched the first season by now and I'll keep the spoilers for A's down to a minimum. So, on with the review.
Nanoha A's takes place six months after the conclusion of the first season.
The plot of Nanoha A's is driven forward by the Wolkenritter, or Cloud Knights, and their mission to complete the Book of Darkness.
To do this, they have to steal magical power from a mage's linker core, the source of a mage's power, which in
turn fills the book's blank pages.
In the very first episode, Nanoha is attacked by one of the knights of the Book of Darkness. Fate, Yuuno, and the Arthra's crew come to her rescue but it's soon clear that Nanoha and Fate, being the strongest mages the Arthra has, are still devastatingly outclassed by the Cloud Knights.
Using magical cartridges in their magical devices to gain mayor power boosts, the knights prove themselves practically unbeatable opponents until our heroins get upgrades for their own devices.
Like the previous season, the anime doesn't take long before it tells the other side of the story and we learn exactly why the knights are trying to complete the Book of Darkness at all cost.
Nanoha A's introduces us to a few new characters as well as having everyone from the previous season return.
The first character we see on screen: Hayate is deeply involved with the knights but doesn't know that they're working to complete the Book of Darkness.
Up until the arrival of the knights, she was living alone after her parents died in an accident.
Her distant uncle sends her money to support her so she can live comfortably.
She's really just a normal girl for the most part if you discount the wheelchair.
As we get to know her a little better, we see that she doesn't like making others worry about her and will try her hardest to always act like she's okay even if she's not.
The smallest but possibly most powerful of the Cloud Knights: Vita is hot tempered and unforgiving, though we eventually find out that she's still just child at heart and has quite a soft spot for her current master.
She's generally single-minded and has a strength of will that rivals, or even surpasses, anyone else you'll meet in the series.
The leader of the Cloud Knights: Signum may be calm and soft spoken, but that doesn't make her any less dangerous in battle.
She can very polite, even during combat, and has a subtle pride about being a knight and being able to top any opponent one-on-one.
The support and healing specialist of the knights: Shamal is nurturing and protective of Hayate as well as the rest of her allies.
Being the most sensitive of the knights, she ends up taking the most motherly role within the group.
Since she never enters combat directly or alone, she ends up being the one to spend the most time with Hayate, accompanying her on most of her outings.
The guardian beast of the Cloud Knights: Zafira proves himself as a tough rival for Arf even without using a magical device.
Of the four, he's given the least screen time, probably because he doesn't seem as emotionally involved as the rest of the knights.
His mindset is pretty straightforward: he does what he has to do regardless of whether it's right or wrong.
Everyone from the first season is back in A's, and while some characters are pushed further into the background, others take more important and story altering roles.
This time around, Arisa and Suzuka have a profound impact on the unfolding events of the plot.
There are a few new characters that make appearances, like Hayate's doctor and a few more Bureau members whose contributions will have a dramatic impact on the story later on.
:::ABOUT THE ANIME
Overall, Nanoha A's made big improvements to most of the elements from the first season.
The animation in general is simply of a much higher quality and the action sequences were greatly improved.
The drama is a bit more expansive than it was before, as we see exactly what drove the knights to start their mission and how the little heroins are standing firm to face them.
This time around, there's also a bit of added mystery to the plot, revolving around the Book of Darkness and those who want to see it completed.
It also seems like there's less blatant fanservice in comparison to the first, though there is still enough for those expecting it.
In regards to the animation, the first season had transformation sequences come pretty often, at least early on.
In Nanoha A's this changes completely as Nanoha gets two and Fate only one in the entire span of the 13 episodes.
In a way, this means there's less filler and more actual content which is a plus as far as I can see. Still though, these would-be stock animation scenes are still very impressive to look at.
This time around, the Time and Space Administration Bureau plays a critically important role right from the very beginning.
We're also given a bit back story that explains Crono's connection to the Book of Darkness. And we spend plenty more time with Amy and get to briefly meet other figures of the Arthra's crew.
Nanoha A's is an anime I can watch over and over.
Perhaps it's just my tastes, but there was nothing I didn't like about this series.
There were no outstanding flaws in either the plot development or animation, and just about everything was as it should be.
This series truly departs from what you usually expect from a magical girl anime.
From the way magic itself is presented to the way the heroes are organized, everything is given its own unique twist to fit the style and scale of the series.
Without a doubt, Nanoha A's is the series that cemented my love for the franchise for years to come.
It presents fast paced action, an engaging story, and characters you quickly come to love and admire.
Basically, everything that could have been done better in the first season was improved in A's.
I give this series an outstanding 9 out of 10.
The only reason A's doesn't get a perfect score is because it's a sequel.
To get the most out of A's, watching the first season is unavoidable.
To sum it up: if you liked Lyrical Nanoha then you'll definitely love Lyrical Nanoha A's.
After watching an liking a lot of the first Lyrical Nanoha, I had lots of expectations for this sequel... but unfortunately I've got disappointed.
The first one had an extremely interesting story about Fate Testarossa and her mother, but in this one it's about Hayate and the book of darkness, it has a little of self sacrifice, but its very forced and farfetched.
Basically the story is about Hayate, a girl in wheelchair, that has a book, and suddenly the powers of the book awaken bringing several mages with it.
Probably the greatest magical girl anime ever made (or at least the blueprint for the popular choice "Madoka"), and likely the one that would eventually bring Akiyuki Shinbo to prominence, "Nanoha A's" revolutionised a tired genre with a unique storytelling, art design that would influence an entire age of animation and excellent sound design with strong western influences.
This is the anime that would expand the definition of what one could consider a magical girl or a magical staff, and challenge typical characterisation of villain and hero. It also features fantastic cinematography and framing, paired with easy to follow editing, doing away with frenetic cuts
between characters and action and animating it's battle scenes with beautiful, over-the-top magic sequences.
Paired with a killer soundtrack featuring inserts by Nana Mizuki, this is an unforgettable anime.
While the series itself is beginning to be forgotten, the importance of this anime can never be overstated. Without Nanoha, there wouldn't be a Bakemonogatari, a Madoka or an Arakawa Under the Bridge.
Well, i must say that MSLNA is one of my favorite series. It stands out from the typical shoujo where the girls are all cute and magical spells, lollicon etc etc.
I'm not saying that this doesnt has magical girls, because it has but there's action, fights and blood, that makes it different. For some worse tho.
This is the strong point of A's. The story is full of action, fights and magical spells. There is not a moment of boredom. Before in the first season of Nanoha there is not so much action , but this season compensates for that. It also has its
moments of drama along the way and the comic ones too. This series will make you cry, smile and beg for more.
For a shoujo, the Art is very modern and cleat. The animation during the fights doesnt fail. The armors, weapons, scenery... all awesome.
Sound ( 8/10)
One of the good points too. Not as good as the others just because i didnt really like the ED. However the opening by Nana Mizuki is awesome, at least in my opinion. The soundtracks during the episodes match well with the scenes.
Some of theme will make you cry.
Many people think that A's fails in this level but i dont. Just because there's more characters doesnt mean that the others have been less developed. Ok its true that Arf, Yuno etc are not in the spotlight like in season 1. But cmon, there are at least 5 new characters, the knights and Hayate... and their story is worth the time. All their motivations and love for their master really surprises you. And Chrono, Amy, and others characters actually appear more. Nanoha and Fate are focused a lot like it was expected, and their relationship improves.
For me this is one of the best series, rlly. It has almost everything.From a good story, too lovely characters and good art. I cant complain about anything.
I advise you to watch because it will change your vision on shoujo girls.
And you wont waste your time, I promise.
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