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Dated 5 April 2006: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha

When it first started airing, I dismissed Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha as being a horrible ripoff of Cardcaptor Sakura. Yeah, it turns out I was way wrong. Both it and its sequel Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's are actually kinda awesome, to tell you the truth.

Nanoha
Nanoha.

Fate
Fate.

Fate and Nanoha
Fate > Nanoha.

Fate and Nanoha
(Fate has a cape with a giant collar AND had a terrible life. This contest was a boat race.)

Standing in circles magic? Check. People shouting out the names of their attacks before unleashing them? Check. Battle costumes? Check. MAGIKAL GIRLS KICKING THE SHIT OUT OF EACH OTHER? Checkmate.

In other news, both Shakugan no Shana and the end of Mai-Otome were also great.

Dated 11 October 2006: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS

Yuuno, Nanoha, and Fate
Fate saves Nanoha's ass.

Fate
Fate Testarossa, Nanoha A's costume.

There's an apparently canonical manga bridging Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's with the upcoming third season, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. Here, we get our first view of the characters' new battle costumes:

Thumbnail image of Fate, Hayate, and Nanoha
Fate, Hayate, and Nanoha in their StrikerS guise.

Fate
Fate T. Haraoun, StrikerS costume.

Admittedly, it is not an especially good look, but it's clear enough to see the basic elements of the new costumes. I'll have to see it in its final form and animated to be sure, but so far I like Fate's old EVIL DRACULA CAPE garb more than her new light-colored cape over dark-colored double-breasted long coat combo. The new appearance is more business-like, while the old costure was more about beatdowns—moe beatdowns.