This is a disambiguation page for the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha franchise. Please don't link here, unless you're referring to it in general. If the link that brought you here mentioned any particular series - including Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (The Original Series) - and not the franchise as a whole, please redirect it to one of the series pages listed below.
A Light Novel adaptation, with mostly the same plot as the first anime, but with a few key deviations. Illustrations by the same artist as the movie manga. It has never been translated.
Original Chronicle Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The 1st - yet another revisit of The Original Series events, this time in manga form, while also pulling elements from the movie, sound stages and light novel. (2013)
A semi-canon (though its status is debatable) 4-volume anthology manga called Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: Comic à la carte in the post-StrikerS continuity, as well as extra volumes for the Movie 2nd A's and the INNOCENT continuities;
Countless Yonkomas for almost every installment and continuity, up to the movie sound stages. Some are bundled as Omakes after the main manga volumes, others run in the same publisher's magazines;
Numerous artbooks, guidebooks, character profiles, collectable cards, colored pamphlets and other things of dubious canonicity. Also a truckload Side Story Bonus Art and other promotional materials from the various magazines publishing the different Nanoha manga.
The entire series is animated by Seven Arcs and written by Masaki Tsuzuki, who has a habit of radically shifting its tone and feel between almost every installment.
The franchise as a whole and the supplementary works provide examples of:
Air Jousting: Sometimes with rocket-propelled devices for good measure.
All There in the Manual: Many things, from details on how spells work to how characters came to certain decisions in the series, to even major parts of characters' backstories, are only discussed in the sound stages and companion manga. Even who some minor characters actually are. Recall the cheerful maid that took care of Fate and her sister in the dream she had towards the end of A's? Without seeing some of the official art, you'd never know she had cat ears and a tail under that outfit. She's Precia's familiar. This was corrected in The Movie.
Nanoha and family are an Alternate Universe version of the one from the H-game and OVA series Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever where her brother, sister, and father were ninja-like bodyguards. The first season makes numerous references to this. Her father, killed in Triangle Heart, is alive in this universe, although covered with scars from "his old job". In addition Nanoha enjoys watching her brother and sister spar, using the same fighting style from the original series.
It's also an alternate continuity to the Lyrical Toy Box mini-game Spin-Off, which was the spiritual pilot for Nanoha, very little of which was kept in the final incarnation.
Within the franchise itself we have The Movie 1st and 2nd, which are considered an alternate retelling of the first and second seasons, with changes justified In-Universe as semi-biographical films, produced on Mid-childa.
The first movie's supplementary manga diverges further into it's own continuity, shifting the order of major events and changing the characters' personalities somewhat.
The PSP games Battle of Aces and Gears of Destiny are also an alternate continuity diverging from the main series shortly before the end of A's, though apparently all the events after the time skip remain unchanged.
Lyrical Nanoha×Prisma☆Illya is some kind Alternate Continuity singularity, considering it crosses over two Alternate Universe spinoffs of two unrelated franchises, while not being in continuity with any of them. It's still official, but definitely a Fake Crossover.
Amplifier Artifact: All devices, as they don't really enable people to cast magic, as much as they automate the process, control the flow of mana and in the case of the cartridge system enable short bursts of power.
Armed with Canon: The Megami Sound Stages were written by Yuunoha supporters (or at least Nanofate opponents), while ViVid gives a slightly different look. For instance mention is made that Vivio's relationship with Fate is like that of an aunt (Vivio says she knows Fate isn't really her "mama" since it was Nanoha alone who adopted her) — with the implication that Nanoha and Fate are Like Sister and Sister — but in ViVid she's back to calling her "Fate-mama". They also break the fourth wall, so their canonical significance was already pretty suspect.
Artificial Human: Many of the characters, both heroic and villainous, are lab experiments.
The Harlaowns. Admiral Lindy, Admiral Chrono, and Fate Testarossa-Harlaown. Probably also the late Clyde Harlaown. Any of them can and will befriend you into outer space if you make them mad. Erio and Caro probably count as members as well and Arf's the family pet.
The Takamachi family. The White Devil herself, Fate, and Vivio. And if you go with the Triangle Heart backstory, also Nanoha's siblings, Kyoya and Miyuki Takamachi and their father, all of whom are superb swordsmen and able to defeat legions of gunmen in mere seconds. Not to mention the fact the entire family is descended from samurai.
The Nakajimas. With the exception of Non Action Dad Genya (who lets his 108th Battalion do the talking), all of the members of the family are formidable fighters. Quint, Ginga, Subaru, Cinque, Dieci, Nove and Wendi. Tohma Avenir will likely be joining them in the near future.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: Used extensively in transformation sequences and in all other cases for the lolis in the manga and the anime series. The adults in ViVid and Force or anyone in the movie, not so much.
Beam-O-War: Subverted for the most part. In any Beam-O-War situation, nobody ever really has to work at it. Any time it happens, one of the people attempting it will lose almost instantly, because true Beam-O-War requires standing still, and anyone engaged in Full-Contact Magic loses when they do that.
Become Your Weapon: The Unison Devices are tiny sentient humanoids who exist specifically to physically merge with their masters and give them enormous power boosts. The only downside is that very few mages can handle Unison.
BFG: Shooting-focused Intelligent Devices are basically the magical equivalent. To push the analogy further, the second season introduces cartridges, which might as well be magically charged shotgun shells or even rifle casings from their appearance, and Bardiche loads them from a swing-out revolver cylinder, while Raising Heart does so from a detachable box magazine. Raising Heart's cannon mode in The Movie even has a sliding trigger grip.
Boring, but Practical: Storage Devices have no to minimum A.I. whatsoever and are limited to only one weapon form, but they process magic faster. The "practical" part makes them the most commonly used type of device among mages, while the "boring" part makes them the least used type of device among main characters.
Boxed Crook: One of the bureau's favorite ways to recruit new mages is to give defeated villains job offers. Contrary to most examples of this trope, the work involved is more akin to community service than anything else, and it's shown to be temporary. As of StrikerS, Fate and Hayate have both graduated from this program and gone on to become high-ranking officers and widely-recognized heroes of the bureau, and the Numbers seem to be on their way to similar status in ViVid.
Casual Interplanetary Travel: The cosmology is a bit vague. It might be that the different worlds in the setting are actually located in separate dimensions, as the space in between planets is explicitly NOT your regular cosmos and is instead called "The Dimensional Sea". However, the ships used to traverse dimensions are also sometimes explicitly shown in orbit of a planet, so it might be that it's only dimensional travel in the sense that it's done through a Hyperspace. Either way, for all extents and purposes, "dimension", "world", and "planet" are completely interchangeable in the setting. Spells like Dimensional Transfer are readily available to Magitek mages, and in Nanoha ViVid, the heroes take a shuttle to another planet like one would take a bus to another town.
Excessive Steam Syndrome: Most Intelligent and Armed Devices usually discharges some kind of gas after any particularly impressive attack. It's apparently a design feature, since the vents have caps that pop off to let it happen. Especially with a cartridge system. This kind of supports the theory that Magi-Link Cartridges generate a lot of waste heat, if not for the AI system decompiling the Magic As Programs attacks in split-seconds and then cooling down in-between. In other words, AI split-second overclocking in weapon forms. In the side materials Nanoha mentions her new Raising Heart jury-rigged with a cartridge system is a total maintenance nightmare.
Flash Step: Various spells allow this, but Fate is a regular practicioner who doesn't need special assistance from her Intelligent Device, Bardiche, to do so.
Frilly Upgrade: An interesting take on the concept, with later seasons trying to see how much metal parts they can jam into Nanoha's barrier jacket before she start resembling an actual mecha. The devices get more weapon-like as well. The movies, manga and games retroactively apply this look to the earlier periods though.
Gratuitous English/Gratuitous German: Nanoha and Fate's devices speak English, and the Wolkenritters' speak German. It's pronounced well because the actors are native speakers, although from A's onward the grammar does start to get a little funky. The movies fix that as well.
Instant Armor: The Barrier Jackets are skimpier than most example, but they still appear outta nowhere, and seem to outstrip a main battle tank in terms of defensive potential. They appear to be created by the user's mana and according to the movie manga can even be regenerated mid-battle. Then again that is an Alternate Continuity.
Magical Girl Warrior: With the exception of a couple of the early episodes they are called "mages" or "knights", which isn't strictly limited to females, though the ratio is quite heavily slanted in their favour. ViVid recently added witches, whose magic seems to work in somewhat different ways.
Magic Knight: Almost everyone, with Belkan Knights (except for Hayate and Shamal) and Fate being particularly reliant on close combat.
Magic Missile Storm: Several spells. These are types of shooting spells are some of the easiest and fastest to cast for a mage, and could be used as suppression fire as well as direct attacks. These spells often come with alternate versions that changes the amount of energy bullets and/or the way they are fired at the enemy. In particular, if the name of the spell is followed by something like Phalanx Shift or Genocide Shift, you should be ready to block or dodge like hell as you will be faced with a veritable wall of energy projectiles. Examples of these include:
Nanoha's Divine/Axel Shooter - homing energy spheres whose every movement Nanoha could control;
Fate's Photon/Plasma Lancer - arrow shaped, bolts of energy with limited homing capabilities. Comes in several variations and could be combined into an energy lance;
Teana's Cross Fire Shoot - controllable energy spheres like Nanoha's, but could alternatively be fired as a Beam Spam instead;
Vivio's Sonic Shooter - controllable energy orbs like her Nanoha-mama's.
Magitek: While using combat magic still requires some genetic predisposition, everyday technology on Mid-Childa is all magic based. The Ancient Belkans had an even more advanced fusion of magic and technology, to the point that even TSAB scientists don't know how most of their Lost Logia operate.
Moe Couplet: Fuels nearly every standard fanship, to the point it replaces the otherwise vanilla Erio/Caro ship vaguely implied in the show.
Muggles Do It Better: Thoroughly inverted. Except for pesky Mage Killers, magic is superior in both strategic and tactical aspects. Even a mid-tier mage needs an anti-tank missile to kill, high-ranking mages throw out building-busters at least while outflying modern fighters and the Arc-en-Ciel Wave Motion Gun makes mundane nukes look like firecrackers. Even the prototype "kinetic" weapons used to fight Mage Killers in the latest season are magic-powered and fire pure kinetic force, which is a whole different ballgame from Real Life weapons.
Mundane Utility: The Devices have many mundane functions, as they can take photographs, exchanging mails or photos, having schedules, and even phoning when telepathy is just too far. Some of them help their masters even in office work. There is even a picture where Nanoha and Fate use their Devices as microphones.
Raising Heart doesn't have any hearts. The name is an artifact from the Lyrical Toy Box, where it actually was a puny heart-shaped wand.
The TSAB doesn't do anything in the Time department. TSAB should in fact be translated as "Dimension Administrative Bureau", and going by the English subs of the first movie, this is the official English translation as used by Seven Arcs. It could also be more accurately translated as Space-Time Administration Bureau to correspond with the "Spacetime" concept that pops up whenever the Universe is discussed in Physics, but, uhh... the problems with that acronym should be pretty obvious.
Opposing Combat Philosophies: The Midchildian mages focus on defensive barriers and Wave Motion Gun tactics, while the Belkan Knights swarm up close with punishing melee attacks and cartridge-enhanced weaponry. There are exceptions to both rules like Fate, a melee-oriented Mid-childa style, and Hayate, a long-range Squishy Wizard Belkan-user, and things get more complicated as the series goes on with mixed types, defense and support specialists, exotics like summon magic, curses and various forms of magical kung-fu.
Overranked Soldier: Many characters hold ranks that are highly implausible for their age. Most gratituous are Hayate (a lieutenant colonel) and Chrono (an admiral), both are barely twenty. Even Lindy commanding her own ship at 31 can be a bit of a stretch. Somewhat justified in Chrono's case, as he was promoted in the wake of a scandal that ended the careers of several high-ranking general staff.
Panty Shot: Mandatory during transformation sequences. Otherwise almost non-existent, save for roughly one single inexplicable shot in each season.
Person of Mass Destruction: Nanoha is a rare series where there's a good portion of individuals who treat theirs well. The ones who don't... well, they get befriended, in some cases fatally.
Phantom Zone: There is a spell called "Barrier" that pushes everything half a dimension over. The city is still there, but all non-magic users are no longer present, and thus cannot witness the light show. However, fights without barriers enclosing them leave massive collateral damage — like Nanoha's first, the cratered site of which she fled from upon hearing the sirens of incoming emergency vehicles.
Powers as Programs: Yuuno explains right at the start of the first season that this is how the Intelligent Devices work, by channelling the caster's mana through standardized algorithms. This is somewhat subverted later, however, as all the high level mages personalize their repertoire. The more impressive spells usually combine several common effects and the unique skills of the caster, so while anyone with enough proficiency can copy the basic idea, matching the level of execution is a lot less likely.
Psychic Link: Belkan users can do this by themselves, while Mid-Childa mages need to use their Intelligent Devices.
Random Power Ranking: How mages in the TSAB are ranked. Various characters have been ranked as C, B, A, AA, AAA, S, S+, and SS in one of the three disciplines: ground combat, air combat, or composite.
Hayate's SS rank is a composite rank, as opposed to a combative rank, which is believed to be only based upon magical capacity, and not much else. She even went as far to say that Caro, without the aid of her dragons, could kick her ass at this point.
Body augmentation rank of combat cyborgs.
Mages who are not in the TSAB are not ranked by this system. Although TSAB use this mage ranking system to evaluate threat level of enemy mages.
Rousseau Was Right: Mostly. Any given antagonist a has at least a 50% chance of joining the good guys in the next season. Well, the Hückebein will probably break the trend considering how they're all Omnicidal Maniacs and all.
Sequel Escalation: Between the three anime series, the stage just gets bigger and bigger. However, StrikerS and later series consciously averted the Dragon Ball method of power-level inflation; in StrikerS and Force, the Riot Force 6 elites (Nanoha, Fate, Hayate and Signum) are the strongest mages in the story, and their opponents are dangerous because of new capabilities and tactics rather than greater raw power.
She Is the King: Various Ancient Belka Kings still keep that title even if they are female. Specific examples are Sankt Kaiser Olivie Segbrecht and Ixpellia, the king of Garea.
Ship Sinking: Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever had Nanoha/Chrono as canon, with none of the major alternative partners for Nanoha or Chrono available. Naturally, in this universe, it's the one suggested Nanoha pairing that we're explicitly told doesn't happen, as Chrono marries Amy between A's and StrikerS.
Spell Levels: Spells are ranked by power output: D is pretty much a parlor trick, S is a tactical nuke.
Spell My Name with an S: Regarding the use of fan spellings of certain names as opposed to the official ones: examples include "Raising Heart"/"Raging Heart" and "Harlaown"/"Haraoun."
The Stinger: At the end of the Kaleid Liner crossover special when everyone goes back to their home dimensions, Ilya thinks of the pair of wonderful friends she made... then suddenly realizes she's holding Raising Heart, and Ruby is nowhere to be seen.
Surprisingly Good English: Mostly spoken by the computers, but also one of Nanoha's friends at school. They're correctly accented, and make sense in context, although the grammar leaves something to be desired. The movie has the best English so far. They actually have native English-speaking voice actors for the computers — Australian-born Donna Burke for Raising Heart and an unknown named Kevin J. England for Bardiche. The German-speaking devices sound pretty good too, because Tetsuya Kakihara grew up in Germany.
Theme Music Power-Up: All the insert songs sang by Nana Mizuki act as this, as they play during part of the climactic showdown of each season. The TV series have "Take a Shot", "BRAVE PHOENIX" and "Pray", while the movies substitute the firest two with "Don't Be Long" and "Sacred Force".
Training from Hell: One particular subversion aside, most of the mage training in the series is shown to be very grueling.
Translation Convention: Messages displayed and spoken by Mid-Childa's Magitek devices are usually in English or Germannote Exceptions being humanoid Unison Devices such as Reinforce Zwei and Agito, Tohma's device Steed and Isis' device from Force, but all non-device characters exclusively speak Japanese. Since no explanation is ever provided, and it's possible that Mid-Childa could have picked up any or all of these languages through dimension-hopping shenanigans, it's unclear where the Translation Convention is being applied, or whether it is being applied at all.
Transformation Is a Free Action: While the aforementioned full sequences are pretty long, whenever we see a transformation happen "from the outside", it takes less than two seconds.
Trouble from the Past: The interdimensional community in the series is more or less a technological Utopia still reeling from the Belkan War 80 years ago. Every season so far has revolved around a piece of Belkan legacy from said war.
Unskilled, but Strong: Each of the main girls started out this way to some extent. Hayate's the only one who remains so even into adulthood, needing Rein just so she can properly aim her attacks.
Vehicular Theme Naming: As in Magic Knight Rayearth, characters from the magical worlds are named for cars — (Ferrari) Testarossa, Scaglietti, (Opel) Zafira, Signum, Vita, (Maserati) Shamal, (Nissan) Teana, Subaru, etc. In total, there are around forty characters/devices that share names with cars.
World of Buxom: There isn't much variety in breast sizes for the characters who are at least in their teens or are already adults (physically); the two most common sizes that you'll see are "big" and "bigger". They're realistically sized rather than being extreme like some examples of this trope can get, though. Downplayed in the first two series where a large portion of the female characters are children, but becomes more obvious after the Time Skip to StrikerS since at this point most of the female cast are either in their adolescence or adults. However, the rule doesn't apply to everyone: characters like Otto or Iris are flat-chested, Caro is as well once she gets older, and Sein is the only character in the animated canon who has small (but not nonexistent) breasts and isn't physically a child. Once ViVid comes around the trope starts to fade a bit; while some of the new characters are still buxom, overall they have a far more diverse variety of breasts sizes. For example, Lutecia from Striker(s)shows up as a teen in that manga, and turns out to be one of the small breasted characters.