Takamachi Nanoha is a normal fourth-grader who feels a little useless and out-of-place with no purpose. Then one day, she saves a ferret, who turns out to be a mage from another planet who came to this planet to search for the jewel seeds. Nanoha agrees to help, but this task gets complicated when another girl arrives to steal them.
(Note: this is a review for a Japanese BD)
For those not aware this is an alternate retelling of the first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. The thirteen episodes of the TV series are condensed and redone into a two-hour movie, and by all accounts, it is not a bad retelling at all. Some aspects from the TV series are given more detail in the movie and it helps to develop some of the cast members like Fate’s mother and gives her more of reason for the way she turned out. Gone are some of the aspects from the TV series that gives it the paint by numbers feel that it starts with. Some events from the movie play out differently than the TV series but they work nicely and do not feel rushed or handled poorly.
Art and Animation:
Visually the movie looks great. The colors are vibrant and pop on the screen when they appear. The character designs are same from the TV series and the backgrounds scenes look good as well. As with the TV series a lot of attention was put into the action scenes that occur throughout the film. The action scenes are thrilling, well animated, and none of them feel boring to watch. There are a few times where some more effort could be put into the character designs but this is minor and only occurs here or there.
Those who have seen the first series that this is based on know that there were some fan service elements to the series mostly with the transformation scenes. Well the fanservice has been increased and the girls are now semi anatomically correct (they have nipples now) when they transform. There are some panty shots as well but none of them are just for the sake of being added. Those who were uncomfortable with the fanservice aspect in the series will most likely be unhappy with the increased fanservice aspects of the movie.
Music and Audio:
A string orchestra and with some piano are used for the music to the movie and it sounds great. The music makes the actions scenes more thrilling and even the regular scenes more touching.
The same VA’s from the TV series give their voices to the movie to their respective characters in the movie. Nobody does a terrible job and everyone fits his or her role. There are two English native speaking VA’s who give their voices to the devices that Nanoha and Fate use and like the show are given some Engrish lines to speak out. It is nothing terrible but given that this is anime this can be expected.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Movie the 1st will appeal to current fans of the series and those looking to get into the series for the first time. First time fans will not have to deal with the paint by numbers aspects of the first few episodes and current fans will get to see a retelling of the first season in HD. The only downside is that this movie is not available for purchase in North America.
Pros: Excellent action scenes, visually stunning, great for those who want to get into the series or those who are fans of the series.
Cons: The fanservice aspects may upset some, no official North American release.