Mahou Shoujo Ririkaru Nanoha, i.e., Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has, quite literally, reinvented the wheel.
Young Nanoha find herself filling the role of collector of magical items when her predecessor, upon being defeated, turns into a ferret. Nanoha inherits both ferret and magical wand and heads off to collect the whatevers which appear to be Miyazaki demon-y things that have invaded the immediate area…one at a time.
Nanoha defies mahou shoujo convention by having not only *two* completely functional parents, but an older sister and brother – and he has a completely functional girlfriend, the older sister of Nanoha’s friend Suzuka. It’s all *so* functional and normal that I find I spend every episode waiting for the other boot to drop. :-)
Nanoha’s two friends, the aforementioned Suzuka and Arisa provide the only glimmer of yuri hope in this completely normal, without any weirdness (except for the creatures attacking the town that no one ever notices) series. Yes, I know they are young, and *yes* I know that I’m being silly, but I feel that Arisa and Suzuka, when off camera, are likely to be holding hands and proclaiming their like for each other.
The plot has not quite developed yet in the mere four episodes I’ve seen, and the cast of characters is hardly complete – the official site has a rather large page devoted to the myriad people we should expect to see. It looks as if we’re in for about another four major players (some of whom actually looks lightly older than 9 and vaguely more interesting to me) to be introduced before things take off. In the meantime, we watch while Nanoha collects whatsits with the help of her highly merchandisable wand Raging Heart…or not, as she’s foiled by her mysterious counterpart in black and *her* highly merchandisable wand, Bardiche. Honestly, I find the wands to be the most intriuiging characters.
Will this become another Card Captor Sakura? I can’t say for sure – CCS didn’t take off until Episode 8, but the art in CCS was alot nicer than in Nanoha. and the voice cast was miles above any other in quality. OTOH, I’ll keep an open mind. With one exception – the hair in Nanoha drives me batty. They all have early 80’s tufts that swtich from side to side depending on the angle we see them at. Even the ferret. (OK, not the ferret, but everyone else.) Also, I’m at a loss to explain why everyone in Suzuka’s family has lavender hair, including the maids. Other than these minor gripes, Nanoha is just fine.
2007 note: The Yuri did get better with time. If you’re here from a later Okazu post, you’ll know it did. :-) Even though, at the time, I didn’t care for it.
Story – 6
Characters – 7
Art – 5 (that hair really gets me)
Yuri – 0
Overall – 6
Everyone is so *normal*…it’s creepy.