When it comes to magical girls, there are few who are as well known as Nanoha. I see it as a trinity of the most famous magical girls: you have the one directed at girls the goddess of magical girl’s Sailor Moon, you have the one directed at young men the innocent yet not super girly Nanoha, then you have the one directed at old men the fucked up story of Madoka. I first watched this anime in the 2nd year of high school, and then I completely forgot about it. My initial thought is that the style is not very aesthetically pleasing, but as I re-watched and paid more attention to the plot I learned that the main character is a third grader with lots of panty shots (more tastefully done then most of our 80’s counterparts yet still displeasing).
What is this anime about?
The story follows Nanoha as she becomes mixed up with an archaeologist from a parallel world. Yuno needs her help to collect twenty one Jewel Seed, ancient artifacts that prove to be dangerous when they come in contact with living beings causing them to become monsters. One day, Yuno becomes badly hurt while fighting one monster and transforms into a ferret. Nanoha finds him and takes him to a veterinarian for medical aid. He sees that she has a strong talent with magic and requests her help. Together they gather Jewel Seeds as Nanoha continues to live her ordinary little girl life.
Who are the central characters?
Nanoha Takamachi: Nanoha is the brunette in the for front of the picture that sports pigtails. She is the protagonist and titular character of the anime series. Nanoha is your normal everyday nine year old that goes to elementary school. She lives with her parents and two older siblings. Her only problem in her life is that she feels distant and directionless. She always feels like a third wheel (her parents focus on each other, her older siblings are closer to each other and not so much with her, and even her two friends are better friends with each other), has no close friend, and has no idea what she wants in life (she is only nine though so I do not see why she worries about this one). Anyways when she meets Yuno, Nanoha learns that she has a special aptitude with magic. Nanoha is a typical sweet third grader. She is dense, trusting, and innocent. Yet she also proves to be supportive, insightful, and diplomatic heroine. One of her more unique characteristics is her ability to be understanding of other characters (instead of just falling into the Misunderstandings that come up in the over dramatic magical girl plot line).
Yuno Scrya: Yuno is the little blonde boy in the back of the picture. He is a magical humanoid from a parallel world called Midchilda. He is nine years old and works as an archaeologist (duh). He recruits Nanoha’s help to collect the Jewel Seeds. Yuno is super responsible for a nine year old. He is very reliable and level head.
Fate Testarossa: Fate is the second main protagonist (like a second magical girl) who is also Nanoha’s rival for most of the series. At the end she becomes Nanoha’s friend. She has a very sad back story that i will not tell for fear of ruining the story. She is searching for the Jewel Seeds to give to her mother for certain purposes. She is the serious, quiet, lonely, mature, and super beautiful character (that is like the mold for the rivals in magical girls). Fate is kind of naive sometimes, and tends to be a little shy so she hides behind her toughness. At first she dislikes Nanoha, but slowly opens up (of course) revealing her kindness and protectiveness.
Arf/Alph: The tall red head in the back. Arf is the familiar of Fate. She is very loyal and the only freind Fate had. zshe is protective of Fate, can use teleportation powers,and can communicate telepathically. She is a puppy/wolf from the world Midchilda. She almost died with a disease and was saved by Fate.
How is the art?
I would describe the art as ugly and bad. Now do not get me wrong, this is part is completely based on opinion, I just do not find this style pleasing aesthetically. The characters are those thicker kinds, with huge eyes that are too big for the face and placed too low on the face, with mouths to high up, and ridiculous hair. I know they are little girls but they do not look like third graders, they look more like they are in eighth grade (which maybe would have been a better idea). Every once and a while the art changes and becomes super nice, which is why I think that the whole thing could have been better. My biggest complaint in the art is the hair off the characters. All the characters have the exact same fringe where the bangs stick out on the side. It is extremely generic, unoriginal, and unrealistic (not to mention the fact that there are way to many Japanese third graders depicted with colorful hairstyles. That would never happen in real life). But you should be the judge for yourself.
What was awesome?
My final thoughts concluded to be a little more positive then what I expected. The plot is different and very intricate which is always great. The transformation was interesting and unlike any other magical girl thus far. Many consider it to be one of the better transformations, but I disagree. I hate the panty shots, mostly because she is only eight or nine years old and that is fucking sick and disturbing to see fanservice like that, but it is not alarmingly out there and disgustingly ridiculous like many others. I would just like a round of applause for the character designer, who some how created the one magical girl whose outfit covers her entire body (with out it being body hugging clothes) and yet still finds a way to try and sexualize her. I will leave you on a serious note. Though I was not a fan of the panty shots, character design, or art style in general; the story is still incredibly unique and many people loved it. The only way you can possibly know if it is good is if you watch and be your own judge.