Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha

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Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha

Postby Uldihaa » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:07 am

I noticed that there doesn't seem to be a thread about Nanoha (a great magical girl series, in my not-so-humble opinion), and since I know at least two members like the show (myself and Comartemis), I decided to start my first forum thread. Mainly so that the two of us will, hopefully, avoid potentially high-jacking other threads :lol:

Here are some questions I'd like to ask those that have seen and enjoyed this three season series. What first attracted you to it? In your opinion, what sets this series apart from other magical girl series? What did you think of the characters, both 'heroes' and 'villians'?

Here are my personal opinions and thoughts on the series.

I had seen it mentioned several times, both here and at other forums, and finally had the time to satiate my curiosity. My first stop was actually the wiki article on Nanoha (Nanoha) and what I read there really piqued my interest. While at first glance it seemed to be a standard magic girl show, the references to technology caught my attention. The more I read, the more interesting the show became. (On a side note, the fact that Zac from ANN seemed to have an intense dislike for the show added a bit to my interest as well, if for no other reason than to find out why he disliked it.)

For me, there are several things that set this series apart. The biggest is the use of technology to aid in casting spells. While there are several magic girl series that have something like it, I can't think of one in which it's used to the extent that it is in Nanoha. It isn't just magic-powered tech, but the integration of technology and magic. While not quite as obvious in the first season, both the second and third season show this. The most obvious example can be found in the various Devices used in the series, particularly Nanoha's Raising Heart and Fate's Bardiche, both of which are called Intelligent Devices (see here to read more about Devices). Added to that is the introduction of the Cartridge System in the second season. It just delighted me to see magic-girls with rifle-like magazines and/or revolver-style speed loaders (and loose rounds) sitting on their bedroom desk. I just smiled and said to myself, "Ok, now this is different!"

A second point of divergence for me was the combat. While the first season is fairly standard magic-girl combat (with the extreme exception of the final Nanoha/Fate battle), the other seasons' battles are much more shonen-like than I would expect in a magic-girl show. It's not just who has the more powerful attack (though there is quite a bit of that), but who uses their spells (and they are spells, not just magical attacks) to the best effect that determines who wins. There are actually some tactics used is these battles! The best example I can think of is actually the previously mentioned Nanoha/Fate battle. You can actually watch that fight and see where each made both good and bad tactical decisions.

Another point is the characters, particularly Nanoha. She actually trains herself, without any prodding from the outside. She actually wants to improve! The very first episode of the second season has a scene showing her practicing her magic, without resorting to the potential 'crutch' that her Device could become. Each of the characters has true depth, and are explored. Fate grows from a tormented pawn into a woman anyone can respect. All of the characters are interesting in their own right, and the story never seems to drag as they are explored and fleshed out. Even the 'villians' are interesting (with the possible exception of most of the bad guys in StrikerS) and have, at least to them, a 'good' reason for what they are doing (particularly the Knights in the second season).

Well, this post has gone on for long enough, so I'll just end it here.


P.S. Ok, I lied! This is to Comartemis: "You might have your wall-scroll, but I already ordered my Nanoha
and Fate figures! So nya, nya!" :wink:
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Postby Heaven's Deamon » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:18 am

*laughs at that last comment* Well, I suppose I'm Nanoha watcher #3, I recall some of the comments made on it in other threads prompted Neko- to watch, and it looks like there will soon be another convert as well. The reason I watched it? I heard a lot about it both on boards, and from a friend of mine.

One of the things I like about Nanoha that hasn't been mentioned is that it doesn't stuff background events down your throat. It establishes that things like the schooling, or even the jewel seed battles from the first season, happen and happen regurally, and then moves on only going back to them if there is some importance, such as Arisa's outburst when Nanoha won't talk about her problems, or when Fate first appears. Similarly, The training is a background matter, it doesn't show the training, but it happens, and they improve from it.
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Postby Uldihaa » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:33 am

Heaven's Deamon wrote:*laughs at that last comment* Well, I suppose I'm Nanoha watcher #3, I recall some of the comments made on it in other threads prompted Neko- to watch, and it looks like there will soon be another convert as well. The reason I watched it? I heard a lot about it both on boards, and from a friend of mine.


The more, the merrier!

Heaven's Deamon wrote:One of the things I like about Nanoha that hasn't been mentioned is that it doesn't stuff background events down your throat. It establishes that things like the schooling, or even the jewel seed battles from the first season, happen and happen regurally, and then moves on only going back to them if there is some importance, such as Arisa's outburst when Nanoha won't talk about her problems, or when Fate first appears.


Oh, I forgot about that! Yeah, there really isn't much of the 'monster of the week' thing going on either. You know that Nanoha is still searching for, and sealing, the jewels but the series thankfully avoids being bogged down by showing her sealing most of the ones she seals. It shows the first and second (the second mainly to show her instinctive grasp of magic and her affinity for Raising Heart, I think) and then you see the very end of the sealing of the third and it then skips the next two (I think). That really does help with the flow of the story.
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Postby Musouka » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:00 am

I started watching StrikerS. It was one of the projects a fansub I was watching. After watching StrikerS, I looked up Nanoha on wiki and decided to watch the first two seasons as well.
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Postby KonokoHasano » Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:54 pm

Well, so far I've seen the first episode of the series, and it doesn't exactly scream out to me as being overly fantastic and great. It does have an appeal to it that makes me interested in watching it, though. It's always fun when the animal is a ferret, and I already like the characters. All in all, it keeps my interest enough that I want to continue watching it.

Uldihaa: So she also works on training herself? Well then that raises my interest in continuing to watch the series substantially.
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Postby Comartemis » Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:16 pm

Hahaha! About time someone made a thread like this; pity I didn't think of it first.

I was first introduced to Nanoha by a music video called Resonance that I found on Anime Music Videos.org. What I saw of the series in this video (which included none of the Fate/Precia drama, I'm happy to say; it didn't ruin anything for me) made me want to see more, and the rest is history.

To be honest, I don't think it's very fair to call this a magical girl series, as it completely misrepresents to most people what the show is all about. This isn't Sailor Moon, with its' goofy villains and episodic plots, nor is it like any number of other magical girl shows. It is instead much more appropriate to place MGLN in the same category as Bleach; it's Shounen anime from start to finish, but unfortunately there's probably a lot of people who won't even consider watching the series because of the "Magical Girl" in the title.

And speaking of Bleach, there's item #1 that sets this show apart from all the others; the producers are obviously very heavily inspired by Tite Kubo's work and other Shounen anime. Think about it, you have weapons/devices that switch forms for various tasks and power levels and combat often focuses on pitting these devices against each other (Bardich vs Levantine), but the combat is also very much magic powered, a superior and much more developed version of the Reiki spells you occasionally see the Gotei 13 use. (Is it just me, or does Starlight Breaker seem an awful lot like a slightly powered-down Spirit Bomb?)

And admit it, when you first saw Bardiche's Zamber form, the first thought that went through your head was "Bankai!"

Well, so far I've seen the first episode of the series, and it doesn't exactly scream out to me as being overly fantastic and great.

Give it a little time, KH. By episode eight you'll be just as hooked as the rest of us.
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Postby KonokoHasano » Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:55 pm

Episode eight? Episode two managed to swallow me into the series. XD
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Postby Comartemis » Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:57 pm

And it only gets better from there, I promise you that.

...Here's a question that's been bugging me for a while. Does anyone know why Fate's name is always pronounced 'Feito'?
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Postby KonokoHasano » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:06 pm

Maybe because that's how it would be pronounced in Japanese?

The two things that really clinched it were the way Nanoha's magic + staff worked, and the fact that she and Yuuno can speak to each other telepathically.

Yay for telepathic communication. :lol:
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Postby Comartemis » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:12 pm

Maybe because that's how it would be pronounced in Japanese?

...Well yeah, I figured out that much, but what I want to know is why it's pronounced that way. I was thinking Larry might know if it's because of some aspect of the Japanese language, like how some languages don't have certain forms of pronunciation.
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Postby Uldihaa » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:26 pm

Comartemis wrote:Hahaha! About time someone made a thread like this; pity I didn't think of it first.

I was first introduced to Nanoha by a music video called Resonance that I found on Anime Music Videos.org. What I saw of the series in this video (which included none of the Fate/Precia drama, I'm happy to say; it didn't ruin anything for me) made me want to see more, and the rest is history.


That is an awesome video! But I'd have to say it's much better just to download it since you lose an awful lot of quality watching it on Youtube.

Comartemis wrote:To be honest, I don't think it's very fair to call this a magical girl series, as it completely misrepresents to most people what the show is all about. This isn't Sailor Moon, with its' goofy villains and episodic plots, nor is it like any number of other magical girl shows. It is instead much more appropriate to place MGLN in the same category as Bleach; it's Shounen anime from start to finish, but unfortunately there's probably a lot of people who won't even consider watching the series because of the "Magical Girl" in the title.


Yeah, it's not much like a typical magic-girl show. It's like the creators deliberately took some of the standard magic-girl elements and then mixed in shonen-style action and the technology one normally sees in a good sci-fi show.

Comartemis wrote:And speaking of Bleach, there's item #1 that sets this show apart from all the others; the producers are obviously very heavily inspired by Tite Kubo's work and other Shounen anime. Think about it, you have weapons/devices that switch forms for various tasks and power levels and combat often focuses on pitting these devices against each other (Bardich vs Levantine), but the combat is also very much magic powered, a superior and much more developed version of the Reiki spells you occasionally see the Gotei 13 use. (Is it just me, or does Starlight Breaker seem an awful lot like a slightly powered-down Spirit Bomb?)

And admit it, when you first saw Bardiche's Zamber form, the first thought that went through your head was "Bankai!"


That brings up another interesting point. In Nanoha, it's really magic they are using, not just magic powered attacks; these characters can cast spells, including attack spells, without having to 'transform' so to speak. They aren't limited to attacks either, there are flight spells, sealing spells, defensive spells, searching spells, binding spells and so on. I'd say Nanoha was closer to Negima, in terms of a 'magic system', than say, Sailor Moon.

Which brings me to another point, the names of the spells/attacks/defenses used. The names have very little in common with what you'd expect in a magic girl series. You have names like 'Photon Lancer' (Fate), 'Divine Shooter' (Nanoha)(I'll admit, the first part of that name is vaguely like those in SM or other standard magic-girl shows, but the second part raised my eyebrows :wink: ) just to name the basic, long range attack of the two main characters...and both get up-graded in the second season to 'Plasma Lancer' and 'Axel Shooter', respectively. Then you get some of the 'big' attacks, like 'Thunder Rage' and 'Divine Buster'. I mean, come on! What magic girl has the word 'rage' in an attack name! But my favorites are 'Phalanx Shift' and 'Starlight Breaker' (that last one in particular just screams 'here comes the pain' :D ).

This series is certainly worth getting (and I am soooo very pissed that Geneon will probably never release this series since they aren't doing the anime thing anymore. I really, really, really want this show on DVD something awful :lol: ). It really is worth downloading and there are several sites that offer it for direct download if you, like me, don't like torrents. It was the very first series I downloaded onto my new computer, and it has it's own little section all to itself :wink:

There is a question I want to ask those that have seen through Striker S....Just what the heck is going on between Fate and Nanoha, anyway!? They seem to be way more than just best friends!
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Postby Uldihaa » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:37 pm

Maybe because that's how it would be pronounced in Japanese?

Comartemis wrote:...Well yeah, I figured out that much, but what I want to know is why it's pronounced that way. I was thinking Larry might know if it's because of some aspect of the Japanese language, like how some languages don't have certain forms of pronunciation.


While I'm no expert, it seems to me that the Japanese language doesn't 'like' hard sounds at the end of a word or name, like 'ch' or 'keh' or 'teh'. Softer ones like 'ehn' are ok, but not the hard ones. So many English-type words that end with a hard sound get an extra sound to soften them. Thus 'Fate' becomes 'Feito'. I could be wrong of course :lol:
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Postby Comartemis » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:54 pm

Yeah, it's not much like a typical magic-girl show. It's like the creators deliberately took some of the standard magic-girl elements and then mixed in shonen-style action and the technology one normally sees in a good sci-fi show.

Item 1: Those silly fukus/dresses/costumes are actually a form of magic-based armor.
Nanoha: Yeah, we call them barrier jackets. They generate a protective field that absorbs kinetic energy, and also provide decent protection against magic-based attacks. They make getting blasted through walls hurt a lot less, too.

Item 2: All magical girls have access to a subspace pocket that they store their transformation devices in.
Nanoha: Not necessary because the devices can be worn in their storage forms, but either Hayate or Fate (can't remember which) stores a box of cake in one of these during StrikerS.

Item 3: The bad guys never attack during a transformation sequence out of professional courtesy.
Nanoha: If that's the case, then Vita doesn't have much in the way of professional courtesy. The devices actually generate a powerful protective field that is nearly impossible to penetrate. It also ensures that the girl in question doesn't give the world a free show by obscuring her form during transformation, reducing it to a vague silhouette for everyone outside the field.

But my favorites are 'Phalanx Shift' and 'Starlight Breaker' (that last one in particular just screams 'here comes the pain').

Not so much as the Book of Darkness's 'Photon Lancer Genocide Shift'. :shock:

There is a question I want to ask those that have seen through Striker S....Just what the heck is going on between Fate and Nanoha, anyway!? They seem to be way more than just best friends!

Those two are experiencing an S-rank case of 'requited but unspoken-of love'. It's sooooo obvious that the producers have been 'shipping them almost since episode four. The only other real candidate is Yuuno, and he kinda fades into the background as the series progresses, leaving Fate as Nanoha's only potential partner. Toss Vivio into the mix and you've got yourself a wonderful little family of three. Go, lesbians!
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Postby Neko- » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:56 pm

What first attracted you to it?

The fact it got frequently mentioned on the forum. My basic thought being: Just another Magical Girl show... I finally decided to just go for broke, and just watch it and get it over with. All the annoying reference just got to me.

In your opinion, what sets this series apart from other magical girl series?

The fact that most magical girls have 'weak' attacks. Basically stuff that's rather mushy, involves love and/or hearts and the storylines usually tend to spiral towards the 'MOTD' (Monster Of The Day) type of stories.

The fact that when Nanoha cuts loose (even already in the original series), it's a rather refreshing thing to see something that actually looks like it would pack a punch as a magical attack. Add to that the storyline that does not go for a 'MOTD', but rather actually has some substance to it, along with the character-building, and all in all I really enjoyed watching it.

What did you think of the characters, both 'heroes' and 'villians'?

Well done drawing wise, although not all motivations were all that clear. Pretty decent on character developmet, and story-wise they indeed don't dabble too long on certain things that arepainfully clear from the start (such as the 'hunt for the jewel seeds getting drawn out over many episodes, which I was still somewhat expecting getting up to episode 5 or so).

I recall some of the comments made on it in other threads prompted Neko- to watch,

Yeah, yeah... Guilty as sin... I want season 4!!!!

And admit it, when you first saw Bardiche's Zamber form, the first thought that went through your head was "Bankai!"

Actually... No... I was more like... 'Another sword? C'mon... Stick to something different. Where be that wicked scythe?' :P
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Postby Ellen Kuhfeld » Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:13 pm

If we are talking shonen mahou shoujo, I can't help but mention a short, short series I recently ran across: Dai Mahou Touge. It's a reductio ad absurbum sort of show. The chief magical girl is named Punie, and her transformation phrase is --

"Lyrical Tokarev Kill Them All".
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