Geekscream: Nanoha Review

Anime fandom's favorite loli yuri couple.

Anime fandom's favorite loli yuri couple.

I’ve been a regular inhabitant of an IRC channel that nominally serves as a fanclub for Fate T. Harlaown of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha series for about half a year now, give or take a week or two. The channel doesn’t exactly focus on MGLN stuff much (or at all, for months at a time), but there is at least that much common grounds amongst most of its regulars.

It’s been six months, and except for an episode of StrikerS that sufficiently bored me away from the season, I actually haven’t watched much of the series. Rather, my role in the channel seems to be one the resident smart-alecks – a role I readily and eagerly impart in. When it finally came to light that I haven’t actually watched any of the materials that the channel’s nominally based upon, though… yeah, let’s just say there was a lot of uncomfortable stares.

So, I figured, why not? The series has a pretty tepid reputation, all told – I knew from second-hand sources that its first two seasons were, uh… lolicon-bait, and while that seems to have dissipated in season 3, StrikerS had its own whole set of problems to contend with, at least at first. But, hell, its second season was apparently a redeeming factor, and there’s gotta be some merit to the show that’d warrant such a fanbase, beyond the pedoriffic factor.

Right?

SEASON ONE – MAHOU SHOUJOU LYRICAL NANOHA

…right?

The first episode had how many panty flashes of a third-grader? And the Tragic Rival prances around in a… black leotard with pink skirt? And the whipping… seems disturbingly fetishized. Seriously, when the animation’s panning with… detail over every bruise and cut, there’s something decidedly twisted about the scene.

Uh. I dunno guys. I sat through the entirety of the first season, and while the conclusion was sufficiently hotblooded, with Magical Beams-ov-Deth to satisfy even the hardest-to-please mecha fight scene advocates, and the panty shots pretty much went from Too Many to None At All in a good hurry (thankfully), I can’t say I really enjoyed this show, and if this is how it starts out, then second season…

SEASON TWO – MAHOU SHOUJO LYRICAL NANOHA A’S

…is HOLY FUCK AWESOME.

"You devil..."

"You devil..."

Okay, the character designs are still pedorrific, and Fate still needs another, say, eight to ten years of age before I’m… “comfortable” with her costume design, but YAY FOR FIGHT SCENES. Right off the bat too, with a literally crushing defeat to the protagonist and sufficient proof that there was continual character development.

I’m also beginning to see why the fandom is overwhelmingly a yuri-based one, as the character interaction between Nanoha and Fate are decidedly… romantic, for a pair of cusp-of-puberty little girls. Which is actually kind of surprising if you weren’t expecting it beforehand, as Nanoha’s end-of-series dialogue with Yuuno, the male supporting character of the first season was… shall we say, sound basis for shipping?

Idly, there’s still panty flashes. Or, rather, full-on exposure during the transformation sequences. Which is bugging the hell out of me, because man am I not comfortable with overt loliconism, no matter what the channel denizens might tell you, the bastards. Ahem. Sure, there’s a complete lack of details, so they might as well just be pink outlines with a face, but when they’re apparently spending most of the animation budget on making the underwear dissipate prettily into magical dust…

SEASON 3 – MAHOU SHOUJO LYRICAL NANOHA STRIKERS

Nice choice of intimates there, Fate!

Nice choice of intimates there, Fate!

…oooooohhh, that’s much better…

Fate filled out. I think I approve.

Well, more like, I’d approve more if StrikerS wasn’t twice as long as A’s, and with only roughly equal amount of plot. Boy did this season drag on. Worse, the animation quality had severely degraded halfway through, and while there was some decent battles here (especially the series climax), if it wasn’t for the fact that I was marathoning the whole shebang in one go, I’d have probably dropped the series for weeks, if not months, at a time out of sheer boredom. A body can only stand so much half-assed training episodes!

But, holy shit, the series climax. The look of fear on the Mid-boss’s face when she realized that, yes, Nanoha was going to fire her weapon, and yes, the intent was to tear through gods knows how many yards of battleship armor in one go, and holy shit she actually did it, that goddamn White Devil’s hax!

STARLIGHT BREAKER

STARLIGHT BREAKER

Ahem. Yes. Not only is the series moe (alas, there’s still lolis for the lolicon audience to drool over, but… Fate-chan~), it is also decidedly hot-blooded and manly. Also unintentionally hilarious at times, such as how each and every last female cast member gets a full transformation experience, complete with magically disappearing clothes, and the one shota member… simply transitions into a red uniform and spear. Truly, they know their target audience.

I enjoyed it. I enjoyed A’s most of all, and StrikerS for the similar reasons as to why most of the fandom enjoyed the first season (in my case, with extra bounce~), and I’m looking forward to Nanoha Force, the fourth installment of the series. It’s only on manga so far, but it’s starting to shape up to be a slightly darker and much more dramatic fare. Though even StrikerS, which had one rather gruesome death, the disturbing and rather gory beating of a minor character, and an undercurrent of military politics was decidedly lighthearted fare (no, seriously), it seems as if the series is slowly cultivating something like an overarching bildungsroman plot – the growing up of a young woman saddled with the responsibilities of terrifying and demonic strength and power.

Notably, the “Atlantis” of the story, the City of Ultimate Magic and Scientific Advancement, was called “Alhazred.” H. P. Lovecraft fans are sure to be speculating away~

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~ by Gonzo Mehum on May 5, 2009.

7 Responses to “Geekscream: Nanoha Review”

  1. I was unaware that we had discussed MSLN or Fate at any time after the channel was first created. So your “months at a time” should actually be one year and 2 months.

  2. That’s an outright light. Whenever a moe-related tournament or something comes up, somebody’s rootin’ for Feito-chan.

  3. …LIE, not light. Argh, need coffee.

  4. “Idly, there’s still panty flashes. Or, rather, full-on exposure during the transformation sequences. Which is bugging the hell out of me, because man am I not comfortable with overt loliconism, no matter what the channel denizens might tell you, the bastards.”

    Channel denizen reporting in, I’m here to tell you all, THIS IS LIES.
    *Ace Attorney pose* Shana_Nekkid.jpg
    Not safe for work, but apparently safe for television broadcast.

    This is all the evidence I need.

  5. And if going HNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGG at Sunohara Mei doesn’t make you a lolicon, nothing does.

    DON’T DENY IT, I HAVE LOGS

  6. LIES LIE AND BLASPHEMY I CONFIRM AND DON’T DENY THAT YOU ARE BOTH JERKS :<

  7. Exhibit B, onii-chan.gif

    It’s ok, I’m sure they’re “exceptions to the rule”, amirite?

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