The Beginning of a Dark Tale: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha

Heyo, this week will be my self-proclaimed Nanoha Week, I will be posting well, Nanoha reviews all over the week. I’m also including Vivid Strike into the mix, since its part of the Nanoha franchise anyways. So lets kick off Day 1.

Original story. The first season lasts for 13 eps. The remake movie runs for 130mins. I will be covering both and watched the blurays.

At first, I was expecting a moe/cutesy mahou shoujo show, like me walking into Madoka blind. The story started off pretty lighthearted, then after Nanoha gained her powers, it gets a bit intense, but the intensity skyrockets after Fate comes into the mix. The story never stops to get intense and exciting for the rest of the season. The story ultimately ended where Fate finally unites with Nanoha. Ending was pretty touching to be quite honest, the story already gave quite a lot of emotions. What Madoka lacks compared to Nanoha is substance. Both are equally dark, but Nanoha emphasizes on justice and friendship so strongly that it became darker than Madoka. Madoka’s darkness storyline can be nice for some, but tends to be confusing and then it felt like nothing much was delivered. Madoka did nothing like 3/4 of the season then ultimately at the final few eps did something so OP out of the blue after signing the contract. For Nanoha, there was progression, there was a hardship and journey to where she finally stands. Overall, the first season kicked off something so magical and wonderfully dark. Shinbo Akiyuki’s direction in this show is just great, Madoka was a lot harder to direct for him, judging from Urobuchi Gen’s script.

Movie may seem like a recap movie, but it actually isn’t. The movies are slightly different from the anime making a new parallel timeline itself. The storyline gets a new and slightly darker back story, but condensed to fit the 2 hours. The difference are pretty minor, but they will affect the future movies storyline and timelines. I still like the anime more because the movie is like a one-time experience feeling and you can feel the condensation of the plot as it goes. But the changes are welcome as it doesn’t disrupt the pacing and derail the plot. Kusakawa Keizo’s direction here is also good. He slightly followed Akiyuki’s method, but without making it feel like a copy of the anime.

Animations by Seven Arcs for both. Animations on the anime felt very splendid. It does give off a very dark vibe, quality is pretty decent for a 2004 show, watching the remastered BD ver feels pretty good too. The movie stepped up a notch with updated character designs and animations, but it doesn’t feel as dark as the anime anymore. Maybe they are doing the yin-yang thing, darkness is anime while the movie can be light. I don’t know, just my little theory.

Music was pretty decent. BGMs were well composed. OP and EDs were decent too. Movie pretty much brought over whatever was from the anime.

 

Cast lists is pretty nice. Tamura Yukari, Mizuki Nana, Kuwatani Natsuko, Mizuhashi Kaori, Kugimiya Rie, Tanii Asuka, Hisakawa Aya, Takahashi Mikako, Matsuoka Yuki, Amano Erika, Ichijo Kazuya, Midorikawa Hikaru, Shiraishi Ryoko, Igarashi Rei, Shimizu Ai, Matsuki Miyu. All of them did their job well.

Scores: Anime | Movie

Story: 8/10 | 8/10

Art: 8/10 | 8.5/10

Music: 8.5/10

VAs: 8/10

Recommended to watch for those who love Mahou Shoujos with pretty dark background. Next Nanoha post will be tomorrow.

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