With such a shady and mixed reputation this show has how could I possibly turn down my brother’s demand that I watch it? Going into this anime I knew only two things: magical girls and pedobear approves. Fortunately, I discovered that only one of these is really accurate.

Just like as happens in most magical girl anime, Nanoha is a 3rd grader in school who comes across an injured ferret on the way to cram school one day with her friends. The ferret turns out to be some dude from another world and needs her help in finding jewel seeds. Of course, he also provides a magical jewel that transforms her into the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and gives her a giant ass-whoopin’ stick. Now at this point we have the same story for nearly every other magical girl show ever made (well, except for the ferret). Thankfully, Nanoha delivers more than just the same old thing.

The loli issue aside, Nanoha is actually a really good show. I hate school/shoujou anime and would have bypassed this one too had my brother not harped on how awesome the fight scenes were. True enough, the animation quality of Nanoha makes it stand alone in the shoujou world. In the first two episodes some of the most grandiose animation takes place, not in a fight, but at the dinner table. Intricate movements of just a dinner discussion are captured and show how much care the animators were going to put into the rest of the show.

The one thing Nanoha has that most shoujous don’t is a plot. Yes, Nanoha was getting jewel seeds. It turns out though that she wasnt collecting them for some fantastical reason of mythical ancient legends foretelling of her coming.. or whatever. She originally was just helping the ferret but then decided that she actually wanted to collect them because of the danger their presence on earth caused. Then it turns out that the jewels aren’t even the ferret’s. He just happened to find them and lose them and felt he was responsible for getting them back. Instead a universal organization comes into the picture and claims they are the ones who are supposed to be keeping them. So right there you have more plot than 90% of the shoujous out there *cough*Sakura*cough*

Nanoha also has depth. The presence of Fate-chan alone is a ton of depth. Shes the normal “quiet” character. But once you find out why shes quiet and reserved you suddenly realize why Nanoha is so different. Name the last shoujou you saw where a main character of 8-10 years old is tortured by her mother. The main jist of the story isnt even about jewel seeds, its about how Nanoha’s constant concern for a stranger ends up saving both their lives and redeeming the lost Fate-chan.

The fights, like I said before, are pretty spectacular. The powers each mage possess are within believable limits and the fact that the “magic sticks” they have are really computer aided magical focus mediums make the attacks more believable. The fights are pretty violent for a kids show but this makes them more believable. Characters actually get hurt and at times there is actually blood. For a shoujou that’s pretty special.

As for the whole loli thing, yes it contains a lot of loli elements. Specifically, Nanoha’s transformation sequence is pretty high on the loli spectrum with her being completely nude. Thankfully, this sequence only happens like 4 times in the whole series. The other transformation sequences are all done in “real time” meaning she transforms in like 2 seconds. As for the fan-service that was supposed to be in the show. It was there, but I doubt I would have seen it had I not been aware it existed before hand. The most I saw was in the first 2 episodes when I was consciously wondering where the loli was. So pedobear may approve, but hes not getting much out of it.

Over all, I think this was a pretty good show. A few loose ends need tying up, like Fate-chan’s future and how Nanoha’s normal friendships are going to turn out now that shes dashing all over the dimensional plane and skipping school (which makes me wonder why her family actually let her go off to who knows where without much debate on the subject (though I’ll give them props for actually being the first magical girl anime to address that issue) ). But at least there is the sequel, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s to look forward to. All in all, 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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