is, rather famously, essentially Card Captor Sakura
by way of Gundam
, although genre conventions of the former are largely discarded in favour of the latter's two thirds of the way into the season; since when did Mahou Shoujos
start packing firepower
capable of levelling mecha
(with the attendant environmental destruction) on a personal level?
Virtuoso aerial daredevilry is but one part of what the eponymous heroine is known for, another being the complex relationship she develops with her troubled counterpart
: the heartrendingly pretty Fate Testarossa, erstwhile rival and candidate for social services poster child. Fate's vulnerability
immediately appeals to Nanoha's protective instincts, and she consequently spends a considerable amount of time mooning over how someone so beautiful could show such sadness in her eyes, precipitating sincere (if unconventional) ouvertures of friendship. Not even remotely
love at first fight, no.
While the character dynamics elevate the show above shallow displays of Super Robot
derived pyrotechnics, they are in danger of descending into melodrama, mostly due to Precia's
pantomiming. That the atrocity she perpetrates on daughter Fate is an implicitly regular occurence would have sufficed as given: having to see it twice
, lest we forget the real
villain, is surplus to requirement and makes for uncomfortable viewing, despite claims otherwise
Carping criticism aside, there is much to recommend about the series: short and sweet (a characteristic shared by its leads) at only thirteen episodes long, it never overstays its welcome despite intermittently uneven pacing. The grownup sensibilities are also refreshing: when not busy scarring the sky with plasma trails, Nanoha exhitibits a strength of character that belies her tender age. Of course, this precocity also informs her...interest
in Fate, which is seen finally reciprocated in moving fashion at the season's conclusion.
Now what was it someone once said about how relationships formed under intense circumstances never work out?
The hell do they know.
29th May 09
30th May 09
31st May 09
I've known eight year old kids with injured or dead parents, had shops to take care of, and/or just didn't receive a lot of attention. They might have been a bit more responsible (sometimes receiving less parental attention made them wildly ir
responsible,) but they still acted like eight year old kids.
As for whether I would have called it bad characterization if they were six years older... I'm not sure. I'd have to watch it again to make that judgement, and I don't really want to do that. I certainly found the characterization unimpressive at best, but I don't know if I would go so far as to say bad, since I've seen anime that sets the bar significantly lower. Anyway, it would have had little impact on the plot for the characters to be
a few years older, and I would have found the characterization less of a stretch.
Possibly I would have more (or at least some) nice things to say about it if it hadn't been so hyped up before I watched it, but when I watched it myself, I was consistently deeply disappointed by all the elements that had been talked up on this site. By the time I finished the eighth episode, I had to revisit this site to confirm that I had already passed the alleged beard-growing point, since the increase in quality was so marginal that I had trouble noticing it even when I was looking for it. I thought the action scenes would have been adequate in a series where the plot and characterization were holding up their ends, but not nearly good enough to carry the show themselves. Far from being the original fare I had expected, I found the plot at best mediocre, and at times painfully generic. The scene where Precia whips Fate made me cringe, but for all the wrong reasons. I know I was supposed to hate Precia, and feel sorry for Fate, but I found it so hamfisted that I could only hold Precia in disdain as a piece of writing, not hate her as a character, and when it came to cultivating sympathy for Fate, it was so over the top that it completely backfired and made it impossible for me to take her seriously.
Although I wouldn't recommend taking all her advice as gospel, Limyaael
has a rant on the topic of abusive childhoods as characterization that I think would have been extremely
helpful to the writers of Nanoha.
That same scene, by the way, was the point where I realized that Fate would turn out not to be Precia's real daughter, a plot point that had not already been spoiled for me.
I wouldn't call Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha
anime, since I've seen much worse, but I found it profoundly disappointing. Even if it hadn't been so overhyped, I have no reservations in saying that I could not have enjoyed it on its own merits.
31st May 09
(edited by: Desertopa)
I absolutely agree with Desertopa on the superfluity of the abuse scenes: I called it out as melodramatic and pantomimic.
But...it's not a study in alienation and the effect of trauma on prepubescent behaviour a la, oh I don't know, Maladolescenza or something; it's...Nanoha
, and most likely not designed to be a repository of gritty realism. Anime does not want Ken Loach. The writers of the show are too busy plundering Super Robot Wars
and Sailor Moon
for licks to be devouring child psych journals, presumably; somehow I'm able to find it in myself to forgive them for being less than academically informed.
(I'm just taking the piss mate, if I sound like a jerkass, rest assured it's all in the spirit of lively discussion).
I have to ask, though, because it appears to be something of a bete noire: why, but why
the insistence on eight yeard olds acting like eight year olds in this kind of fiction? (Yuuno isn't much older than Nanoha, and he's an accomplished archeologist
.) Eight year olds don't tend to fare very well under combat conditions, as Real Life
periodically reminds us. They also don't tend to....uh, fly. How realistic can their behaviour possibly be expected?
, the third season, Nanoha attains the equivalent rank of a Spec Ops combat instructor. At nineteen.
We await your vengeance.
31st May 09
(edited by: zeroplusalpha)
31st May 09
(edited by: Killomatic)
31st May 09
(edited by: Charlatan)
We like Fate because we think she's pretty and needs moar hugs. That's...as deep as it gets, I'm afraid <looks away sheepishly>. By the by, why would you be any more mystified by Western appreciation than the (quite substantial) home support?
I suppose one can't have it all ways. It would be hard to age up the characters appropriately without discarding Magical Girl
tradition (something the third season does anyway, but by then Nanoha and Fate are adults joined by an extended adolescent cast), but it would be equally difficult for the usual age bracket to participate in the subsequent space opera without resorting to Improbable Age
devices; you'd end up with an intergalactic Grave Of The Fireflies
, which is not the intention of its creators. I suppose you could
write it so that there is no space opera, but then it wouldn't have its distinct flavour; for better or worse, there isn't anything quite
like it out there, but I'm willing to be corrected on this.
In the end, I think I may have given the wrong impression in the review: it's possibly worded a little too much on the laudatory side, but I do actually echo the detracting sentiments expressed thus far. I'm not saying that it doesn't suffer from unrealistic age, but I'm willing to roll with it more than others, it would seem. I recommend the show on its comparative strengths, not as an indication of accurate potrayals. It's just nice to see a protagonist who doesn't view her responsibilities as a burden
, regardless of how absurdly mature she appears; I'm
of a certain age, and find much to aspire to in her behaviour ("What would Nanoha do?"
Desertopa, you have piqued my curiosity. Can a sneak preview of your magnificent octopus
be obtained anywhere? I think more of us empathise with you than you possibly realise; we've all
got deconstructions of our pet genres that will uniformly reach completion decades hence.
Sadly, my dystopian noir wuxia treatment has yet to progress beyond conceptualisation. Namely, that last sentence.
31st May 09
(edited by: zeroplusalpha)
1st Jun 09
19th Aug 09
22nd Aug 09
8th Sep 09
I thought Nanoha and Fate were nine, not eight.
29th Sep 09
Fate and Nanoha WERE nine, and I think most people are probably overthinking the Improbable Age deal here. Nanoha is nine because she was nine in Triangle Hearts 3, and she's really mature because that kind of mentality is needed to push the plot ahead, and watching a realistic nine year old acting like a realistic nine year old for 23 minutes each episode is going to annoy the heck out of the seinen demographic. She continues to be nine in A's because that's a believable amount of time for Nanoha and Fate to be meeting again for the first time after the events in the first season, and for what happened then to still throw a large shadow over the rest of the cast. When that part is over and done with, you can see how gleefully the writers throw most of the lolicon and Improbable Age to hell and give the main characters a timeskip of TEN YEARS, making them veritable not-lolis and old enough to be mothers, which they did become, and Vivio was a plenty convincing six year old if you ask me.
9th Nov 09
when the hell does this show come on god thats all i wanna know
22nd Jan 10
7th Mar 10
(edited by: Selryam)
5th Jun 10
12th Jul 10
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