Title: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha – The Movie 1st
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Magic
Summary: The movie will be based on the storyline in season 1 but will have new battle animation and a new transformation sequence.
3rd grader Takamichi Nanoha stumbled upon an injured talking ferret after hearing his telepathic cries for help. The ferret turned out to be Yuuno, an archeologist and mage from another world who had accidentally scattered the dangerous Jewel Seeds throughout Earth. Without the strength to collect the Jewel Seeds, Yuuno had resumed a ferret form and needed someone else to take on the task for him. He gave a red jewel to Nanoha explaining to her with this she could transform and use magic to combat the monsters that threatened them due to the Jewel Seeds. But the monsters are the least of their worries, as Yuuno and Nanoha are not the only ones out to collect the Jewel Seeds.
I think its my first time to watch a mahou shoujo show since I usually avoid this kind of shows so I have this usual expectation about mahou shoujo shows, that the plot is shallow and it is full of young girls grinning like an idiot when defeating an enemy. After watching this movie, I have to admit that I am so damn wrong and I’ll say that this show is one of the good example of mahou shoujo done right.
The protagonist of the story is Takamachi Nanoha who is your average 3rd grader until one day she helped an injured ferret and was able to obtain a magical device named Raising Heart which enables her to become a mage. After she helped Yunno (the ferret) she willingly accepted the task of finding the lost "Jewel Seeds"
According to the summary that I found on MAL, this movie is directly based from the 1st Nanoha series with just minor tweaks in the flow of the story to condense the 13 episode series into 2 hours and of course the animation was revamped with a different transformation sequence. I didn't have a chance to watch the 1st season so I have no idea what's the difference between the two. I was actually surprised that the plot is a bit dark and has a lot of twist and turns. When I thought that the story is coming to an end it brings up another dilemma and was thankfully solved at the end of the movie. Its more than just the adventure while finding those Jewel Seeds but also being able to meet one of the antagonist that the viewers could sympathize with and her mother that you want to punch in the face and let's not forget the friendship that developed between the two.
When I first watched this movie it was just ok and I didn't care much about the characters but then I've watched the 2nd season of the series and I was blown away by the development of each of the characters so I think the problem in this movie is that its main focus is in the action than in the development of the characters. Well, I can't blame the writer & director of this movie since they have to fit that 13 episode anime into 2 hr movie and for it not become dragging they cut short the character development and improved the action and made it more exciting. I have to say that the pacing of this movie is really well done despite that this has been condensed since nothing felt rushed or lacking. I was even glad that the ending is very appropriate and made me feel contented but sad at the same time since it shows that life of the characters after everything that had happened. I didn't even expect it to have a sequel.
I can't say that the characters were memorable when I've first watched this specially Nanoha whose decisions is sometimes questionable but there was one who stood out and I have to say its Fate which was the enemy of Nanoha at first. Fate is a sad, kind girl who only wants to be loved but despite everything she had done to please her mother, she still despised Fate. I really felt bad that Fate was being treated by her mother badly but still she obeys her since she loved her so much. After watching season 2, my eyes are finally opened and I understood what kind of girl Nanoha is and I think she's really warm and sweet and a perfect friend for Fate. The other character characters on the other hand, I barely care for them, sorry. The main antagonist which is Fate's mother Precia, sometimes I hate her, sometimes I felt bad for her. She's one of those antagonist which teaches us a lesson and in Precia's case, she should have spent her time with her daughter when she had the time. It’s a bit heart wrenching when Precia said at the end that she keeps on realizing things at the end.
Overall, good unpredictable story with a lot of twist and turns but the problem lies with the poor characterization that greatly reduced the charm of the characters.
Wow just wow, the animation sure is impressive with good cinematography and camera angles that doesn't stay in one place, I am honestly impressed since it makes the action scenes more fun to watch. The expression are really dynamic that you could feel the emotion of the characters. The action is well choreographed and honestly left me at the edge of my seat and there are couple of moves that made me go "wow what was cool!!". Then there's the transformation sequence….like I said it was my first time to watch this kind of shows so yes I was shocked and had to look away from the computer screen for a bit (but that greatly changed in the 2nd and 3rd season of Nanoha XD, I’ll post a comic strip of my reactions when I review StrikerS/season 3). Now I know what Kyouske (from the anime Ore no Imouto) felt when he was watching a mahou shoujo show with her little sister and her friend.
I love how they used the bgm specially during the action scenes since the bgm is in timing with the choreography of the fight scenes. The bgm sure made the sad scenes sad, specially that parting part at the ending, and upbeat in action scenes. I also love the voice acting of the seiyuus its as if they're already one with the characters.
Hell yeah I enjoyed this movie the first time I've watched it but enjoyed it more after watching Nanoha A's (2nd season) which made me appreciate the characters more. With that action and surprising story and eventually the memorable characters (specially Fate) this movie is a complete package. This movie/series made me realize that there's more to mahou shoujo anime than meets the eye. Now, Fate Testarossa has been added to my growing list of favorite characters.
Overall: 8.2/10 (Preferred Watch)
**Btw to those who are attentive, you must have noticed that most of the screencaps have overlapping images on top. Well I’m too lazy to edit it so you’ll have to bear with it since you can’t expect me to redo all 150+ screencaps, nuh-uh. Sorry for the inconvenience, gomen...
Below are the gorgeous stills in the ending. Oh if anyone of you knows where I could find cleaned version of those stills please let me know ^_^. I’m dying to get my hand on those images XD