Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st
See the original review of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.
When the original Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha came out in 2004, it was the first magical girl anime in years aimed outside the kid demographic, with emphasis on fighting over monster of the week antics and standard school-girl plots. While it did involve the magical girl trope of collecting something (in this case, Jewel Seeds), it was not the primary focus. Instead, the series' fight sequences and various themes like family, friendship, and looking towards the future were put up front. The series was a hit for Seven Arcs, who followed it up with an excellent sequel series (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's). After that we got the excel..well okay, StrikerS kind of sucks, but it started out okay enough, I guess.
Anyway, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st is little more than an abridged version of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha with new art and animation. This is not an exaggeration. The only brand-new material in the film involves Fate's mother. We now get a much better (and more sympathetic) understanding of her than we ever did back in '04. Also, Nanoha and Fate's weapons have tweaked abilities and looks, and there are also some new songs, including a great insert song by Nana Mizuki. The fights too are completely overhauled, with much more detail than they ever have had in previous Nanoha series. But is 6 minutes of new material, more detailed fights, and a few new songs enough to sit through almost 2 hours of material you've seen before? I'm going to say "no".
It doesn't help that director Keizou Kusakawa goes way too fast at times. The movie eats through the first 7 episodes in barely 40 minutes! I appreciate cutting down the early filler (easily the weakest part of the original Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha for me), but they also cut out virtually all of the Nanoha/Fate character development in the process. Why? So Kusakawa and his animation team can move onto more fights and scenes of Fate beaten up or depressed. I'd rather take the filler if it means keeping the actual story. At least with the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, Hideaki Anno had the smarts to separate the original 26 episode Neon Genesis Evangelion series over 4 movies! And at least there they had actual new material, too.
Well, at least the art is better than ever, right? You'd be both right and wrong. While the animation in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st was the best yet for the franchise at the time, it just looks like a touched-up StrikerS. I never once felt like I was watching a movie. Even with a bigger budget, some of the characters still looked off-model, with inconsistent sized eyes and awkward poses. The fights, as noted earlier, look great, but the actual art and animation aren't much better than, say, A's was, and that was in 2005!
In conclusion, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st is only worth it if you've been dying for some new Nanoha animation since the end of StrikerS. And even then, I'd say to forget this and look somewhere else. There are currently several Nanoha manga spinoffs - with new material, even! - that make this movie look like a waste of time, which it is. Check out instead the manga made to advertise the movie, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st THE COMICS, which goes far more into the characters and plot of the movie than the movie itself does.
A condensed retelling that loses quite a bit of the original series' storytelling and charm in the process. Only the very curious Nanoha fans who want to see more detailed battles need apply, since that and some brief backstory are all that are new. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st can get occasionally quite violent, and the abusive scenes of Fate and her mother don't help. Okay for teenagers and up.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital source
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st © 2010 NANOHA The MOVIE 1st PROJECT
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