The second season of the Nanoha franchise, set six months after the original series.Nanoha and Fate are working together with the TSAB to investigate an artifact of incredible power called the Book of Darkness, which has been linked to a number of attacks on magi that have left the victims drained of mana.Unknown to them, the Book of Darkness has attached itself to an orphaned girl in a wheelchair called Hayate. She just wants to have a family, and she lovingly adopts the sentient defence programs of the Book - a sympathetic female Power Trio and their Non-Human Sidekick - as her own.But what Hayate is unaware of is that the Book of Darkness is slowly eating away at her life, and only by feeding it the mana of others can she be saved. Not wishing to lose their kind master, the servants of the Book go behind her back and attempt to satisfy the Book's hunger on their own, leading them to an inevitable confrontation with Team Nanoha.Widely regarded by fans as the best season of Nanoha and the only sequel to the original not to have caused a Broken Base in some way.It has a supplementary Slice of Life manga and Sound Stages that take place between the episodes. The Namco Bandai games for the Playstation Portable, The Battle Of Aces and The Gaers of Destiny, are Alternate Continuity sequels to A's, which change the events of the last episode. A movie remake of A's, known as The Movie 2nd A's, was released in 2012, following the continuity of The Movie 1st.The anime was dubbed and is available by Funimation along with the original series.NOTE: Only general tropes for the series are listed here. For character-specific ones, check out the charactersheets.
MGLN A's provides examples of:
Adult Fear: Hayate's plight - she has been sick for a long time, and seemingly wonders if she'll die soon, but doesn't fear it because she's always been alone. And Graham believes that sealing her away with the Book of Darkness is regrettable, but it's better that few will miss her.
Bittersweet Ending: The threat of the Book of Darkness is over, as is its control over Hayate and the Wolkenritter's lives, but this requires Reinforce's Heroic Sacrifice, preventing her from sharing her mistress and knights' happiness and greatly upsetting Hayate. To make the loss easier to bear, Reinforce suggests Hayate name her new magical device "Reinforce" in her memory. As Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers shows, Hayate did more than that: the remnants of Reinforce are used to create Reinforce Zwei, with hints that at least some of the original personality has been preserved intact..
Chance Meeting Between Antagonists: Team Nanoha (the heroes) accidentally meets Team Wolkenritter (the heroic antagonists) in a hospital while visiting the Wolkenritter's master Hayate (who also happens to be a friend of Nanoha's friend Suzuka; they didn't know she was their enemies' master until then, however). This takes place just before the Final Battle, so it doesn't go well at all.
Chekhov's Gun: The Arc-en-ciel is a Chekhov's Wave Motion Gun. The Arthra is put into maintenance while it's being installed, and it is repeatedly spoken of as a last resort that the protagonists are reluctant to use.
Christmas Episode: The first Megami Sound Stage, set during this season, takes place around Christmas time, and features Nanoha telling Fate about Christmas, among other topics. Nanoha has a belated Christmas celebration on the 26th, as a result of her family restaurant being busy on Christmas Day.
Demoted to Extra: The rest of Nanoha's family suffered a steep decline in importance in A's, and stopped appearing altogether afterwards, barring a couple of Sound Stages. During this season, Yuuno gradually transitions from a major character who fights alongside the protagonists to one who stays behind and helps by researching.
Evil Plan: The knights are not evil but their plan of attacking mages to drain their linker cores and power up an Artifact of Doom is certainly dangerous and it drives the plot.
Fantastic Nuke: The Arc-en-Ciel, which could have destroyed a fair chunk of Japan's landmass had it been fired at the surface. Firing it even follows the Two-Man Rule and requires authorization by the highest authorities, heightening the similarities.
Good Versus Good: As early as the second episode the audience it let in on the knights' motivation: save their master. There's a side order of world-killing Eldritch Abomination thrown in at the very end so both sides can really cut loose.
Great Big Library of Everything: The Infinity Library is stated to hold the history of countless planets and civilizations. One requires good search magic to find anything, since it's mostly uncatalogued.
It Only Works Once: The Wolkenritter must seek new targets every episode because the Book of Darkness can only drain a individual's linker core once.
Lighthearted Rematch: After the incident is over, Signum tells Fate she would like one. The last chapter of the manga involves a 5-on-5 sparring battle in which Nanoha, Fate, Yuuno, Chrono and Arf fight against Hayate and the Wolkenritter.
Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: Fate, who has lightning-type Mana Conversion Ability, is repeatedly pitted against Signum, the leader of the season's "villains" who has flame-type MCA. Although their enmity doesn't last the season itself, their friendly rivalry continues far beyond that.
Living with the Villain: Hayate's place is villain central, although it turns out the problem is on the bookshelf, not with the people. Nanoha's friend Suzuka becomes friends with Hayate, later introducing Nanoha to her, and even meets the Wolkenritter. In the first Sound Stage, Nanoha and Fate go to the public bath at the same time as Hayate and the Wolkenritter, and the two groups barely avoid seeing each other.
Lock and Load Montage: The show already devotes an inordinate proportion of its Transformation Sequences to shots of the characters' magical armaments, which include a surprisingly large number of moving parts. These evolved into full on Lock And Load Montages in A's, they begin literally loading their weapons with cartridges and magazines.
Lotus-Eater Machine: Fate gets caught in one by the Book of Darkness near the end of A's. Reinforce offers Hayate one, and planned to put the entire Earth into one, but she refuses.
No Ontological Inertia: Averted - Nanoha is able to finish firing off her Starlight Breaker after her Linker Core gets damaged.
Made of Indestructium: Technically you can destroy the Book of Darkness, but it just pops back, good as new, somewhere completely different. So the book is functionally indestructible and can only be neutralized by freezing it... which doesn't work. Ultimately they hit it with something capable of taking out a good chunk of a planet and even then it's not completely gone until they seal Reinforce as well.
Mix-and-Match Critters: The corrupted defense program of the Book of Darkness, which seems to be a hybrid of the magical monsters whose linker cores the Wolkenritter absorbed.
The relationship between Hayate and the Wolkenritter is absolutely adorable, until it's revealed that they are only able to serve her since the Book of Darkness is slowly devouring her soul. No one involved is happy about this.
Episode 9 begins with Nanoha having Fate over for dinner and planning to surprise Hayate in the hospital. The surprise visit causes them to run into the Wolkenritter, who had originally took pains to not be there when Nanoha and the others visited to avoid them finding out about Hayate being their master. Things then get muchworse.
Opposing Combat Philosophies: Present in the later seasons as well, but best showcased here. In general, Midchildian Mages use a mixture of defensive barriers, support magic and ranged attacks designed to support any situation or tactic. Belkan Knights specialize entirely in combat magic, using punishing melee attacks and cartridge-enhanced weaponry to make themselves unrivaled in one-on-one fights. Of course, there are exceptions to both rules like Fate and Hayate.
Rousseau Was Right: Nobody is outright evil in this story: the heroes are trying to stop the Book of Darkness as it could destroy the Earth, the Wolkenritter, although doing evil acts, are trying to save the life of their innocent master and don't want to kill people, Admiral Gil Graham is trying to save the world even though it would require using Hayate as a sacrifice, and even Reinforce wants to "save" the world by imposing a Lotus-Eater Machine on it. The closest thing to "evil" is the corrupted defense program of the Book of Darkness, which is really more of a mindless machine than anything else.
Sacrificial Planet: The Book of Darkness is said to have destroyed countless planets before finding its way to Earth, and so Team Nanoha embarks on a quest to locate and stop it.
So Last Season: Nanoha and Fate are easily beaten the first time they go against the Wolkenritter with their cartridge-loaded Devices. It's not until they copy the system for their own Devices that they can fight them on an equal footing.
Spell My Name with an "S": The TSAB ship's name - Arthra (official) vs Asura (Fan Sub). This one is so widespread that most of the fandom seems to think that Asura is the official name.
Also, while the credits and whatnot consistently spell it MGLN A's, the script and a lot of the supplementary material makes it pretty clear that the "season name" is probably meant to be Ace.note The problem comes from the fact that "Ace" and "A's" would both be pronounced エース - which is exactly what the title of the show in kana uses.
Start X to Stop X: Gil Graham wants to seal the Book of Darkness to prevent another disaster from happening. In order to do so without activating the said book's reincarnation capability, the plan was to let the Wolkenritter complete the book and activate it, then freeze it along with its master before it goes out of control.
Sucking-In Lines: Starlight Breaker, some of Hayate's and Reinforce's spells, and the Arc-En-Ciel.
In Vita's second fight with the title character, Nanoha fires a cartridge-boosted Projectile Spell spread of twelve, when in the first fight, she used twos or fours at most. Vita responds by deploying Panzer Hidernis to protect herself while saying: "Are you stupid?! There's no way you control all these bullets!" A moment later, the bullets start speeding up, and Vita's Panzer Hidernis begins cracking.
In her third encounter with Nanoha, Vita used Eisen Geheul ("Iron Howl", kind of a flashbang/flare) to distract Nanoha while the knight escaped. After flying quite a distance (though still in sight), Vita muses, "OK, this is far enough..." Cue Nanoha charging up Divine Buster. "Is she seriously going to shoot anyway? At this range?!" Yes, Nanoha was and did.
Nanoha notes it would be funny if the master of the Book of Darkness happened to be a girl her age. Moments later, she gets an email from Suzuka telling her about Hayate.
Treachery Cover Up: Admiral Graham's plan to seal the Book of Darkness away with Hayate is largely overlooked outside of the upper echelons of the TSAB, and he merely resigns, only being officially accused of breaking into Bureau systems and interfering with the investigation.
Nanoha, Fate and Arf got defeated by Vita, Signum and Shamal and Zafira, respectively.
Nachtwal vs Vita and Zafira, respectively.
Death by Adaptation: Not death, but Arf's Linker Core is drained by the Book of Darkness, too, despite she never became a victim in the TV series.
Demoted to Extra: Yuuno, Chrono, Arf and Amy are demoted to extra even more than in The Movie 1st. Yuuno appears only in six scenes, in one of them we see only his back for a few seconds, and one of them was in the epilogue's ending song, but he gets no action until the final battle. Arf's battles against Zafira are extremely shortened. Chrono gets no action until the final battle because Graham and the Liese Twins don't appear in the movie. And Amy is sometimes replaced by Mariel.
Yuuno' "extra status" has big impact in the first battle against the Wolkenritter. Without his teleportation spell, neither he nor Fate can save Nanoha from Vita. The result: Vita, not Shamal, drains Nanoha's Linker Core; and Fate and Arf's Linker Core as well, despite that Fate's Linker Core is drained much later in the TV series, and Arf never became a victim.
Even Signum gets less action than in the TV series. Her battle with Fate in the desert is cut out because Fate's Linker Core has already been drained by the Book of Darkness, so it is mixed within the second battle. Their third movie battle is barely shown, because Nanoha vs Vita gets the entire focus during this time, then Nachtwal shows up and kills the Wolkenritter.
DVD Commentary: Like the previous movie, there is a commentary which lasts until the credits. This time, the commentary cast is three times bigger than the previous one, having 21 members.
Framing Device: The majority of the movie is Reinforce Zwei reminiscing about the events that let to her creation, as recounted to her by Hayate and the Wolkenritter.
In Spite of a Nail: Even without Admiral Gil Graham, events still play out in a very similar manner to the anime.
Inconsistent Dub: During the final battle scene of the commentary, the cast (including Fate herself) mistakenly call Fate's Plasma Zanber Breaker "Jet Zanber", which is a completely different attack.
Loads and Loads of Characters: The commentary cast is with 21 members almost as big the movie cast, in contrast to commentary cast of The Movie 1st which had only seven members. The cast includes the three Acesnote Nanoha, Fate and Hayate, the Yagami familynote Signum, Vita, Shamal, Zafira, Reinforce Zwei and Agito, the Forwardsnote Subaru, Teana, Erio and Caro, Team Nakajimanote Vivio, Einhart, Rio, Corona, Miura, Lutecia, and even Chrono and Yuuno. It's taken Up to Eleven when all 21 members comment about the final battle scene.
Mythology Gag: Many of them are references to StrikerS, some of them are adapted from the A's supplementary manga.
Fate's changes her black cape with a white cape during the Grand Finale (Blaze Form), a nod to her mantle which she wears StrikerS onwards (Impulse Form).
Vita uses Kometfliegen against Nanoha, despite she demonstrates it in StrikerS for the first time. Though, she does have this attack in the A's' Portable games.
When Nanoha and Fate attacks Reinforce from both sides, Fate doesn't use Plasma Smasher, but Trident Smasher, a spell which is introduced in StrikerS. In that season, she and Nanoha attacks Quattro and Dieci from both sides with Trident Smasher and Exelion Buster; so it could be a nod to that scene. But it's not clear whether Nanoha uses Divine Buster Extension (like in A's) or Exelion Buster (like in ''StrikerS) in the movie, because neither Fate nor Nanoha call their attacks. It's probably the former, because Exelion Buster can only be fired in Exelion Mode or Exceed Mode.
When Nanoha activates Raising Heart's Exelion Mode, her Barrier Jacket changes, too, from Sacred Mode to Exelion Mode. This is a nod to her and Raising Heart's Exceed Mode, as her Barrier Jacket changes from Aggressor Mode to Exceed Mode.
Nanoha and Fate's Blast Calamity is a combination spell which was only seen in the A's supplementary manga before.
The scene where Hayate breaks into tears in Nanoha and Fate's arms didn't appear in the TV series, but in the supplementary manga.
Up to Eleven: Cartridges + higher budget for movie = bigger battles and bigger explosions. Also the Automatic Defense Program actually fights back this time, which was probably the one change from the TV version nobody complained about.
Villain over for Dinner: Inverted when Fate and Nanoha accidentally stumble upon the Wolkenritter in the hospital, while visiting Hayate, and thus discover she's their master that they've been looking for. Since they had their oblivious friends with them as well, the conversation was a little awkward.
alternative title(s): Nanoha As; Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie Second As; Nanoha The Movie Second; Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As; Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha As; Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie2nd As; Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie2nd As