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Anime / Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection

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Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection is the third movie in the Lyrical Nanoha film series, and the first one not to be a retelling of a previous season (though it does borrow several elements from the PSP games and Force).

The planet Eltria, having suffered severe desertification in the past, has all but been abandoned. Kyrie Florian travels to Earth alongside her best friend, the A.I. Iris, in search of the Eternal Crystal, which would have the power to both revitalize the planet and cure her father's terminal illness. However, the only way to find it lies within the Tome of the Night Sky, leading them into conflict with the TSAB.

Reflection is the first half of a two part story, having been released on July 22, 2017 (with a limited theatrical release in America the following year). The second half - Detonation - was released in Japan on October 19, 2018.

On January 30, 2023, it was revealed that Discotek Media would be releasing the movie in the west some time in 2023.

MGLN Reflection provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Most of the vehicles in this film look like something you would expect to see in Initial D.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Several. Most notably, Nanoha has a talk with Arisa on a balcony after the highway fight against Kyrie.
  • Adaptational Mundanity: The movie cuts out the time travel elements and resurrected characters from Gears of Destiny, bringing the story more in line with the main series' established rule-set.
  • Adapted Out: The movie cuts out the more fantastic elements (by series standards) from the PSP games, meaning that it lacks the characters who showed up due to being resurrected as Dark Fragments (Precia and Linith) or time traveled (Vivio, Einhart, Thoma, and Lily). The Liese twins and Reinforce Eins (who had been Spared by the Adaptation in the games) are also absent.
    • Technically speaking, Precia and Linith do have a cameo... as part of a flashback to Fate's Lotus-Eater Machine in the A's movie.
  • Always in Class One: Averted. While the movie takes place during summer vacation, on-screen text specifies that Nanoha, Fate, and Arisa are in class 5-A while Hayate and Suzuka are in class 5-B.
  • Amusement Park: A large chunk of the movie takes place at Allston Sea, an aquarium/amusement park respectively built and owned by the Tsukimura and Banning families.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel: The character designs are subtly different from the previous movies. The actual character models haven't changed all that much (beyond what can be justified by the characters being two years older) but the color palette is softer and the shading style is noticeably different. When there's a flashback to the events of an earlier movie, the difference is noticeable.
    • This can be attributed due to a shift in staff between films. For the first two Nanoha movies, the character designer and chief animation director was one Yasuhiro Okuda, who performed the same duties on all Nanoha series prior. For Reflection and its sequel, these duties were taken over by Kana Hashidate.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The mechs that that Materials bring to the assault on Allston Sea can only be stopped if their core is destroyed.
  • Attacking Through Yourself: Kyrie takes out her sister (who is holding her from behind) by shooting through her own stomach. It's only thanks to her Super Mode that she stays conscious long enough to get what she needed, escape, and get medical attention from Iris.
  • Beam-O-War: Nanoha and Fate's training match ends in one that takes both of them out. Nanoha and Stern have another one later on that probably would have destroyed the surrounding area had Yuuno not set up a barrier.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The Yagami house has a training room on the second floor that is large enough to fit an entire city.
  • Book Ends: At the beginning of the movie, Kyrie brings up a story that Amitie used to read her when they were little, which featured a magician that helps girls who are sad. Amitie brings it up again at the end of the movie, pointing out that Nanoha is playing that role.
  • Brick Joke: When Amitie agrees to be interrogated by the TSAB, she specifically asks for Fate to be the one to do it. Nanoha theorizes it's because Fate is a kind girl, and Vita tells her to take things seriously. After the interrogation is over, Fate asks Amitie why she was chosen specifically, and Amitie says it's because she looked like a kind girl.
  • Broad Strokes: The movie is primarily draws its plot from Gears of Destiny, while also including the weapons from Force.
  • The Bus Came Back: Because the movie takes place before Nanoha moved to Mid-Childa, it features the return of several characters who haven't had speaking roles since the first StrikerS Sound Stage like Arisa, Suzuka, and Momoko. The manga also marked the first appearance of Misato Mikami (Nanoha's aunt and potentially the biological mother of her older sister Miyuki) since the Triangle Heart 3 OVA 15 years prior.
  • Call-Forward: Several in the manga.
    • Chapter 1 has a Ship Tease moment when Amy offers Chrono a boxed lunch she made, referencing their eventual marriage.
    • In chapter 5, Hayate has an internal monologue about how Nanoha's habit of pushing herself to insane lengths in order to help people can be dangerous. In the main timeline, Nanoha would end up getting hospitalized for a year about six months after the movie takes place when all her constant training causes a Heroic RRoD during what would have been a routine mission, and then lose 8% of her total magic power as an adult during her Roaring Rampage of Rescue when Vivio is kidnapped.
    • The same chapter also discusses the miniaturization of AMF generators, something that would eventually lead to the creation of Gadget Drones in StrikerS.
    • When Momoko and Lindy are having a talk about Nanoha's future in chapter 6, a shadowy version of her post-StrikerS character design is seen. The same panel has Lindy mentioning that she has the potential to be a first class Ace, a clear reference to her her becoming the Ace of Aces.
  • The Cameo: Chapter 6 of the manga features a quick appearance of Misato Mikami (Nanoha's paternal aunt and potentially Miyuki's biological mother).
  • Chekhov's Exhibit: The giant crystal that was on display at Allston Sea is actually the Eternal Crystal.
  • Cliffhanger: The movie ends with Amita and Nanoha arriving at the scene and taking part in the battle against Yuri and Iris.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: The Gears, Materials, and U-D are never referred to as such during the course of the movie. They're only called by their actual names since all of their changed backstories mean that none of those titles would be accurate anyway.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Nanoha and Fate's training match takes place in the same simulated city as their final battle back in the first movie.
    • The photo of Nanoha and Fate from the end of the first movie makes an appearance in chapter 6 of the manga.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: Subverted. During the battle at Allston Sea, the facility is noted to be empty (minus the marine life), but the protagonists still make an effort to cut down on collateral damage as much as possible, even going so far as to use their own bodies as shields at certain points.
  • Cosmetically-Advanced Prequel: Official artwork shows that characters in the main timeline are still using flip phones as late as 0075. This movie, despite taking place in 0067, shows Nanoha using a smart phone to send Yuuno a selfie.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Chapter 6 of the manga focuses on Momoko of all people, delving into her thoughts on her daughter's career path and her friendship with Lindy.
  • Dual Age Modes: In a notable aversion, this movie marks the first time that Arf's human form is shown without any age-changing magic (outside of flashbacks).
  • Find the Cure!: Kyrie and Iris travel to Earth to find something called the Eternal Crystal in the hopes that it can be used to cure both Kyrie's father and help with Eltria's reforestation. Well, Kyrie does anyways. Iris just wants to get revenge on Yuri.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: Lindy and Momoko discuss this regarding Nanoha's future in the supplemental manga for Reflection, whether or not she'd inherit the family cafe or pursue a career in Midchilda's military. Notably, it's Lindy who has more reservations about it, which she mentions is a side effect of having recently adopted Fate.
    Lindy: Do I really have the right, to take away the option for her to spend all her days in peace, without any conflict or danger?
  • Humongous Mecha: Throughout the movie, Iris uses her Technopath powers to create giant robots out of stolen construction equipment for the TSAB to fight.
  • Invisible Parents: Averted. The movie goes out of it's way to introduce Arisa and Suzuka's parents, along with the Florian sisters' mother. The only living parent who doesn't appear is Shiro (and even he gets a cameo in the manga).
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Throughout the movie, Kyrie has a habit of silently taking out her opponents with a single shot when she doesn't feel like talking to them anymore. Iris does the exact same thing to her when she betrays her.
    • In the beginning of the movie, Kyrie talks with Amitie about a picture book they used to read when they were children that had a magic wish granting ring in it. When she mentions how there are no magic rings in this world, it shows her resolve to go to Earth in order to save their father. Iris brings up the same story at the end of the movie, mocking Kyrie's naive worldview and lack of resolve. Both scenes also feature Kyrie threatening to shoot someone, though she's unable to go through with it the second time.
  • The Legend of Chekhov: When they were little, Amitie used to read Kyrie a fairy tale that featured a magician that would help crying children. Kyire claims such things don't exist, but anyone with even cursory knowledge about the series would know that's Nanoha's job description.
  • Lighthearted Rematch: Nanoha and Fate have a match near the beginning of the movie (in the exact same simulated city they fought in near the end of the first movie). It ends in a tie.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The movie starts with a quick scene of Amitie and Kyrie as children.
  • Mirror Match: Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate end up in fights against their respective doppelgangers during the protection of Allston Sea.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The story that Amitie used to read to Kyrie featured a magic ring that grants wishes. In Gears of Destiny, Yuri (the one that granted their wish to save Eltria) was part of the "Eternal Ring" program.
    • Arisa and Suzuka treat the Beam-O-War at the end of Nanoha and Fate's training match as fireworks. Way back in the final Sound Stage of the first season, they mistook Nanoha and Yuuno setting of Starlight Breaker to celebrate the anniversary of Fate and Arf's familiar contract as fireworks.
    • Momoko mentions her husband's sister (Miyuki's biological mother in Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever) in chapter 6 of the manga.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Iris calls Kyrie out on this when she betrays her, pointing out that Kyrie was just as willing to hurt innocent people for the sake of her goal as she is.
  • Police Are Useless: Well, Earth police are anyways due to them being unaware of the existence of magic (there's a scene where they're chasing after vehicles that Iris and Kyrie stole only for the vehicles to vanish inside a barrier). The TSAB on the other hand are far more equipped to handle the situation.
  • Retcon: Even though the Book of Darkness was destroyed along with Reinforce at the end of A's (and there is even a flashback showing this), somehow Hayate not only still has the book, but it contains much of its ancient data (a fact on which much of this movie's plot hinges). This is handwaved by a character remarking that only 50% of the book's original data was destroyed.
  • Secret-Keeper: Arisa and Suzuka's parents are shown to be aware of the existence of magic and the TSAB.
  • Spoiler Cover: While not the cover for the movie itself, the artwork for the official soundtrack features Nanoha in her Formula upgraded Barrier Jacket, something that only shows up right before the credits.
  • Transformation Sequence: Three of them (two back to back for Nanoha and Fate, and one for Kyrie). Notably, Nanoha and Fate's takes place during a training match at the beginning of the movie rather than an important fight. Oddly, Hayate doesn't get one, even though she is in the same scene and transforms (offscreen) a few moments later.
  • Tron Lines: Formula Suits all have these, as does Nanoha's Barrier Jacket when it gets upgraded with a Variant Core near the end of the movie.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: At no point on the movie do any of the protagonists ever comment on the fact that Stern, Levi, and Dearche resemble Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate.note  Nanoha does look briefly startled when she sees Stern's face, but that's as far as it goes.