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Dated 26 September 2008: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Shounen Subaru

It doesn't really matter either way because Subaru [spoilers] [spoilers] [spoilers].

I'm almost starting to accept Subaru as a female character—just in time for the end of the series. Curiously, Subaru's femininity is inversely proportional to the amount of skin she shows. E.g., each episode now begins with a nude, featureless Subaru in the OP, but nude Subaru is a lot less feminine than sensible-shoes-on-casual-Fridays, fully-dressed Subaru.

Dated 5 October 2008: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Death Pool

Zafira and Shamal
Zafira and Shamal.

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS would have been better if a major character had died each episode past the halfway point until Fate was the only one left.

Dated 10 October 2008: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS continues to disappoint, yet amuse

Fate's familiar, Arf. Remember her?

It's kind of sad that Arf, a major character from the first two series, is relegated to such minor status she warrants an explanatory subtitle when she finally re-appears.

In other news, I have a feeling they're never going to explain why Arf has Merlin sickness.

Dated 15 October 2008: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, sex education edition

WARNING: This entire entry contains spoilers for the end of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. If you haven't seen the series and think you might care about who lives and who dies and whatnot, avert your eyes.

Some of the Numbers
Unless I counted wrong, some of the Numbers are unaccounted for.

Okay, maybe I wasn't paying as close attention as I should have, but I swear Dr. Jail Scaglietti said he God damn impregnated all 12 of the Numbers with clones of himself. And then the show ends and nothing further is said about the matter.

So what happened? Did Time Space Administration Bureau pinheads force the Numbers to have abortions? Do they all still have buns in their ovens? Was it all a bluff? How did he impregnate them all, anyway? No, wait, never mind about that last part. Those details are probably related extensively in a number of doujinshi.

Dated 30 January 2009: In re Viewer Mail, Twitter, and Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha

< Shikabane_Evirus> Anyway, I am totally going to blog about my AVANT-GARDE anime twitter, and ani-nouto is going to say it is a great or terrible idea...

Normally I would but I'm so shocked by Nanoha (or, actually, Fate) that I am thinking anime is ruined for me now, what to say about blogging and twittering.
-- Pete

Most Nanoha advocates aren't objective enough to caveat their recommendations with a qualification acknowledging that the series is rather polarizing. Many will sidestep the matter by suggesting new viewers skip directly to A's which is widely regarded as far and away the best series of the trilogy.

I disagree in so much that I feel A's has its own flaws. Also, despite some very nice fights, they don't measure up to My-Otome levels of mahou shoujo thrashings in my view. In fact, I'm tempted to claim the first series is the best of the three, merely because I prefer the dynamic having Fate as an antagonist provides.

I maintain that the most provocative aspects of the Nanoha series are the unanswered questions that everyone seems to pass over. E.g. In re Fate's Final Offer and In re the Fate of the Numbers.

Naturally, I don't think the Nanoha series is sophisticated enough to have introduced these questions deliberately—a larger flaw in my view than the pandering fan service, towards which I'm entirely ambivalent.

Dated 23 December 2009: Fate Testarossa misplaces some clothing

Grown-up Fate is grown-up.

Needs more Dracula cape.

Dated 6 December 2010: In re that Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha movie

Put on a Barrier Jacket, Nanoha. It's cold out.

<@ghostlightning> Nanoha Movie 10:34 WHOA OK, NOPE NOT WATCHING THIS /dropped

Okay, yeah, there is a naked transformation sequence. Now, magikal girl shows have always had transformation sequences. The more tasteful ones aren't quite so overt with the "between outfits" nudity. For example, in Futari wa Pretty Cure, Cure Black and Cure White are naked the way Marvel Comics' Silver Surfer is technically naked. Unfortunately, there is a large Nanoha fan base for which its fan service is critical. However, the franchise does have its merits, and I don't believe a single scene should discourage someone from watching the rest of the movie.

Nagisa transforms into Cure Black.

Think of the first Nanoha movie as Pretty Cure with a budget. I suspect the Pretty Cure franchise probably generates more revenue as a whole than Nanoha, but Toei probably wastes it all on hookers and blow instead of pumping out improved fight sequences. The fights are where Nanoha shines. The franchise is at its best when it is about magikal girls trashing the dog shit out of each other. And make no mistake, the first Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha movie is very much about Nanoha and Fate whaling on each other.

Nanoha and Fate
Never turn your back on a fire, the ocean, or magikal girls.

Unfortunately, aside from upgraded animation and a condensed storyline, this movie is essentially the anime's first season in a two-hour block. I was hoping it would explore new ground by taking Fate's point of view, but I guess it is Nanoha's show, after all. Most of the changes are minor, such as Fate's brown belt replacing her red one. Also Raising Heart talks way too much now. I guess Raising Heart is still better than most of the yammering Precure mascots, though.

Yuuno, you're not half the weasel Tart is.

To me, the most significant changes are related to Fate and her mother. Although the tension in the movie is thicker than I remember from the series, I believe Fate suffered more abuse during the series. But most importantly, the content of the exchange between Fate and Precia at the end of the movie is critically different than how it played out during the series. These changes soften some of Nanoha's harder edges—a mistake in my book.

Fate and Precia
Maybe things will go better this time, Fate.

Then again, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha had already rejected Gripping Magikal Girl Melodrama by StrikerS. A second movie has already been announced, presumably re-imagining the A's season. Hopefully they won't back away from the darker elements of that season also, or we'll end up with a two-hour block of tensionless fights a la Pretty Cure All Stars DX. Speaking of which, it's a pity All Stars DX3 won't have nearly the animation quality of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The First. I suppose I'll have to wait for The Second for more Top Fuel magikal girl brawls, unless someone talks Kajiura Yuki into writing that three-hour The End of My-HiME ~My Purest Heart Love for Thee~ opera.

Dated 10 April 2012: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha versus Ai Yori Aoshi, an advanced study in contrasts

Savage childhood beatings build character.

I lied. This is totally not a study, not advanced, and not really even about contrasts. I just wanted an excuse to dig out my Ai Yori Aoshi DVDs.

Fate and Precia
There's a 50/50 chance Fate got Precia that whip for Mother's Day.

Thanks to the flood of official_art pictures of Fate Testarossa from Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha not wearing a lot of clothes (partially due to the upcoming A's movie—the flood part anyway), I've noticed something peculiar: Fate doesn't have any scars. It seems to me she should look at lot more like Kaoru from Ai Yori Aoshi than as she's commonly depicted. Maybe it's a benefit of having magic powers.