First in the summer vacation marathon, I have watched the Nanoha movie (most namely, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st), which focused on the events involving Nanoha’s befriending of Fate in the original season. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has been a very enjoyable magical girl series to me as it differs to the traditional genre. It caters to the moe crowd while appealing to others with a rather complex magic system (with some elements of mecha), males using magic and of course yuri. Of course, the first season of Nanoha is not entirely flawless since the animation was lackluster and some important details were left unexplained until the movie came out…
One of the most glaring flaws of the original series is the rather lackluster animation. While there are some instances where the animation decent such as the last battle, it was rather disappointing. With the movie, the producers took the art queues from Nanoha StrikerS and up the quality in a tenfold. From this change, the characters, transformation sequences, battles and settings, everything looked better and was eye-catching. This gave a better experience, especially during the last battle where Fate and Nanoha fights each other while wrecking the whole city with their powerful attacks. In addition, the fan service was limited to clothing damage and brief appearances of Fate’s/Nanoha’s flat chests during their transformation, which shown only once in the entire movie.
If you have watched the original series before watching the movie, you will notice that the story follows the important details on how Nanoha befriended Fate. Since this is a compressed adaptation, Nanoha essentially gets all her magical abilities loaded on the Raising Heart off the bat. This bothered me a bit since it was more satisfying to watch her learn new abilities over time. But at least there are two good things… the mega kitten battle was a bit more challenging and the magical devices now uses proper English, which is the first in the series.
Like the original series, which focuses on Nanoha’s challenges to become a magical girl, the movie was more about Fate, Alicia and their mother, Precia. Since we didn’t knew much about Precia, most people referred her as the worst mother in anime history since she whips and abuses Fate for the reason of not being the real Alicia. However, this only tells half of the story as it ties with an experiment that went terribly wrong over a company’s decision and of course Alicia’s promise. Her promise is particularly important because her mom is busy most of the time, which causes her to become lonely. As expected, she only wanted a little sister to keep her company. After her death, her mom fulfills that promise with Fate. However, from the grief over the loss of her daughter, she failed to realize this since she becomes occupied over reviving her.
From this backstory, I felt sympathetic towards her despite her intensions since losing your only child is very heartbreaking and it’s hard to get over it. Even if she cloned Alicia for sake of a replacement, she will still be a different person regardless. If she only realized her wish earlier and gotten over the grief, things would be happier.
Also in Fate’s/Precia’s backstory, Linith, a cat girl familiar plays a big role in raising Fate and Arf. Besides her cuteness and being well mannered, she led the creation of Bardiche, a magical device that takes a shape of an axe and a spear. Sadly, her life is short-lived when Precia dismissed her after finishing Fate’s training. This was a pity, since she was a bright cat girl I ever seen thus far.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st was in no doubt a huge improvement over the first season with the animation and overall story. While the movie still has a few noticeable flaws like with the battles being drawn out a little too long, it cleared up many things with the Testarossas with the battles being more exciting. The question remains, should I watch the movie first or the original series? It’s mostly up to you, but definitely watch both since they will give you a satisfying experience.
Overall Rating: 9.0/10, A, Very Good ¶