Basic Information (No points applicable): Anime Planet describes Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha as “magical girl” anime. Which comes at no surprise with the title. It is 13 episodes long and was released in Japan in 2004. It is available in America both with subtitles and dubbed in English. It is the first series in a “trilogy” of sorts and is followed by Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. (Now, for the sake of my sanity, I’m going to refer to this anime as Nanoha from now on. >.>) Nanoha was directed by Akiyuki Shinbo and produced by Seven Arcs. It is apparently a spin off of the Triangle Heart series (though I have yet to watch or research that.) Geneon Entertainment licensed the series and took care of the English Dub.
Animation Style (18/20 Points): Nanoha was honestly a beautiful anime. I was very surprised. Having not really heard of the anime before watching, this was a very pleasant happening. The transformation scenes were a bit shocking (there are breasts, but you sort of get used to that watching anime — it’s a different culture), but so beautifully animated. Everything was very smooth and detailed. I don’t think I could have been much happier about the way this series was animated.
Storyline (22/30 Points): Nanoha‘s storyline was fairly compelling, but not explored fully enough for my tastes. If you don’t want spoilers, please skip to the next section. Have you skipped? Good. Nanoha Takamachi is a ten-year-old girl attending elementary school in Japan. She was an average student until she found an injured ferret on her walk home from school. Then, she was entangled in a new and confusing world of magic unlocked with the aid of her intelligent weapon named Raging Heart. With the help of Raging Heart and the ferret (who’s not really a ferret) Yuno, Nanoha must gather what are known as the Jewel Seeds because they are proving to be a danger to her home and the people she cares about. Good guys in this series are always good, but the “bad guys” are not always so bad. Our main antagonist in the beginning goes by the name “Fate”, but Fate becomes an ally at the end of the series. It’s a very sweet and sort of moving plotline.
Soundtrack (6/10 Points): Nanoha‘s soundtrack wasn’t exactly memorable, but it wasn’t awful either. So I’m giving it a 6 out of 10 with very little else to say on it. The opening theme was WONDERFUL, but the ending theme wasn’t nearly as good in my opinion.
Voice Acting (7/10 Points): The voice acting in Nanoha (mind you, I watched the English dub) were very good as far as English Voice Acting is concerned. Honestly, I usually prefer to watch anime with subtitles, but I didn’t have that option with Nanoha. But it turned out to be a good thing. The infections and acting portrayed through the voices was always very good, and even though most of the characters were little girls, the talking didn’t become annoying.
Characters (15/30 Points): Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed the anime, when it came to the characters, Nanoha was simply average. The characters were very one-sided. There was not a whole lot of development for most of them. Of course, the two main characters, Nanoha and Fate, did see a good bit of change throughout the series, it was a little disappointing to notice a lack of that same development in the other characters with a lot of screen time. The characters were not flawed or portrayed in a way that made them boring or even necessarily static, but they certainly left a good bit of room for improvement.
Personal Opinion (+5 points): Before adding these five points, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ranked at 68 points, or a strong C+. That ranks up as an average anime. However, I’ve seen some average anime in my time, and I can admit when I feel an anime simply hits that blah note. I did not feel that Nanoha was an “average” anime, however. I really felt there was something special about this series, even if I can’t necessarily put my finger on it. I think that the only way to really understand that “something” is to watch the anime for yourself.
TOTAL POINTS: 73 (B)
Please be reminded that my grading scale is as follows:
A: 90-100 Points
B: 70 – 89 Points
C: 60 – 69 Points
D: 40 – 59 Points
F: 39 Points or less