Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 2nd A’s
“Stand by, ready. Set up!”
So Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha’s 2nd movie is slated to come out on Blu-Ray and DVD today, compiling the second season’s storyline – A’s – into 2.5 hours of wonderful Nanoha goodness. It’s also probably one of the longest anime films to date, rivalling the likes of Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu. I really wish I could’ve gone to Japan back when it aired in July 2012, and watched its premiere on the big screen – I imagine it’s the kind of atmosphere where you know the audience will get fired up from the intense battle scenes and start cheering when signature moves like Divine Buster show up – Nanoha’s pink laser of friendship.
As it’s a movie adaptation of Nanoha A’s, there’s always the realization that this movie is in fact a condensed version of its original source, with scenes adapted and tweaked slightly to make everything flow better. All things considered, I thought they did really well at summarising things – all the good parts of A’s were included, and all the not-so-good parts were toned down, resulting in a movie that presents to you the essence of what Nanoha is. It almost feels like I’ve just marathoned the whole of A’s, and if that’s the effect then Seven Arcs must have done a damn good job – a fan who’s just come off the original season could choose to watch this movie instead of its source, and that wouldn’t be too bad an idea.
I think quite a lot of people would agree with me in claiming that Nanoha A’s is the pinnacle of the Nanoha animated franchise – not as generic as the first half of the original series was (though they deconstructed the genre beautifully after that) and not as…different as StrikerS was. While StrikerS is a perfectly fine as a show (and you can definitely watch it without any prior Nanoha experience) there was definitely something missing that didn’t quite resonate with me in the way the first two seasons did. A’s strikes a good balance between the two, and this movie did remind me a lot of what I loved about A’s – Hayate and her delicious Kansai accent, the Belkan devices speaking in German, and of course, Vita. Who doesn’t love Vita and her oversized hammer? Plus, the yuri undertones between Nanoha and Fate were really cute as usual.
One of the main things I was impressed by was the graphics and effects behind all the fight scenes – they’ve really upped their game by making use of current technology they didn’t use in 2005, which resulted in fluid aerial motions when NanoFate fought either the Wolkenritter or Reinforce. Some events and fights were changed, yes, but that was inevitable due to time constraints, and things still maintained a steady flow throughout. I did notice that both Nanoha and Fate spent a lot of the movie getting steamrolled despite upgrading to the Belkan cartridge system, which seemed to only lessen the severity of their beatings. Vita’s blind rage is terrifying indeed. Even so, the new transformations and excellent battle visuals did keep the excitement going – and it had the whole Nanoha feel to it, from the Mizuki Nana insert during the final battle to the “zenryoku zenkai” triple friendship laser that was fired by Nanoha, Fate and Hayate to finish things off. It’s a great movie, and definitely deserves a spin if you’ve seen the other series in the franchise.