Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's
See original review.
At the time of its release, Magical Lyrical Nanoha A's was considered to be better than the original series in every way. I was weary to watch it at first, though, because I didn't like the first Nanoha series much. Still, I did catch a couple of episodes and liked them well enough. Then much later I rented all of A's and watched it. And what do you know? Those Nanoha fans were right.
One thing I really like about A's is that it doesn't fool around. Vita not only finds Nanoha in the first episode, but confronts her, attacks her, and nearly kills her. Dang! In fact, Vita is so strong in the beginning of the series she actually destroys Nanoha's weapon fairly early on, resulting in a cartridge-based upgrade. (Signum does the same to Fate's weapon, too.) It's a little Sailor Moon-esque in this regard (Sailor Moon had her old weapons destroyed each season, only to be replaced by another), but not a big deal for one major reason.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's has a lot of fighting. Special attacks, flying, summoning, barriers: a lot of stuff goes on. And unlike the snail pace in the first series, A's has something to show to its viewer in every episode, even during the quietest moments of the show.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's is also one of the few magical girl series I've seen with antagonists whose actions and motivations are somewhat justified. Unlike the first series, where Fate was just a puppet to her evil, cruel mother, the villains in A's are little bit more complicated. Basically, they're knights who will fight to the death for their master, and it just so happens Nanoha and Fate are intruding on that. At the same time, though, they're not heartless, as several scenes of them show them having a fun time with Hayate, who sees her protectors as a foster family of sorts. It's a little cliched, but it still works in the grand scheme of things in this series.
The animation's also a good deal better than the first series, too. When it comes to battling, the show doesn't get lazy with its battles. The character designs are a little cleaner and more consistent too, and the new characters fit right in with the series without looking out of place. The music is a little better this time around as well. The opening theme isn't as good as last season's, but the new ending theme's a colossal improvement over the squeaky pop song from before.
Overall I enjoyed Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's a good deal more than I thought I would. It had its slow moments, and its story is a little predictable at times, but it's competently made and entertaining still despite this. It's far and beyond the best of the Nanoha series, surpassing quickly even the highlights of the first series relatively quick. It's also far superior to StrikerS, doing far more in 13 episodes than StrikerS did its entire run.
Never thought I'd see the day I'd give a Nanoha series this high a rating, honestly. Fate fans might want to add another, as she gets to fight quite a bit in this series this time around. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: Preferably mature audience; younger audience will need parental supervision. The characters are still very human, they get hurt and injured.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's © 2005 Seven Arcs, Nahona Project
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