Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd A’s Anime (魔法少女リリカルなのは The MOVIE 2nd A’s)

April 24th, 2013

It’s Guest Post Wednesday! Today we are very pleased to have a new Guest Poster, so please welcome Jst for this review of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd A’s (魔法少女リリカルなのは The MOVIE 2nd A’s)! /applause/ 

I have to begin here by publicly thanking Erica not for this opportunity, but rather for introducing me (and I must assume so many others) to stories like Nanoha’s. Until I read about Nanoha on Okazu, I had no idea such a series existed and in fairly short order it became one of my favorites. If that were the only occasion that this blog has steered me so well it would be worthy of thanks but given just how many of my favorites I’ve been introduced to directly thanks to Erica and Okazu, I cannot even fathom how to properly express my thanks. So I will simply continue to thank her in every opportunity I see. Thank you, Erica.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha movie the 2nd A’s as the title indicates is a sequel to 2010’s similarly titled Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 1st. Despite the odd phrasing these titles are actually quite informative. As is specified this is the second movie and it covers the “A’s” storyline of the second season of the MGLN TV series.

As with the original version, the movie picks up with Nanoha Takamachi looking forward to the return of the friends she’d made on her first magical adventure – only to find herself conveniently caught up in a new one shortly after we rejoin her. This time Nanoha and the girl with the beautiful, sad eyes from the first movie, Fate Testarossa, join forces to solve the mystery of a series of attacks which leave their victims drained of almost all of their magic.

As you might imagine, as a remake of a sequel, this story isn’t exactly an ideal place to jump in to the MGLN series. A fan that had seen the first series but not the first movie would likely be able to pick up right at the 2nd without too much trouble. However, since the movie and series continuity are considered to be completely separate with different permutations, for both the brevity and effect of cinematic experience.

Overall, the decisions which differentiate the A’s movie from the A’s series are smart and well executed. The fact that some of my favorite scenes from the series are removed outright should have been much more noticeable but the cuts and streamlining are smart enough to capture the essence of the original story without dragging out the story. Which is something I wouldn’t necessarily have accused the 13 episode series of doing without having seen it done such justice within the space of a movie.

The A’s storyline is as much about the antagonists as Nanoha and her friends from the first movie. The old axiom that the best villain is the hero of his or her own story is played out so well that we may find ourselves not only sympathizing with their plight but, also perhaps, hoping that something would be done to snap these “villains” out of their single-minded pursuit and that reason might be able to find another way. Fortunately the antagonists have Nanoha Takamachi as a foil, whose fan-perpetuated philosophy is “Befriending by maximum firepower”. The clashes continue even after we, the audience, know just what is at stake and those stakes continue to rise until a suitably explosive climax.

The movie disc contains one alternate audio commentary voiced in character by Subaru Nakajima and Teana Lanster, as was the case with the first movie, although neither characters has been introduced in either the series or film continuity by the end of A’s. This track does not contain any subtitles. The feature’s English subtitles remain quite serviceable. The names remain a bit all over the place with standard spelling for some but a few very noticeable departures. Particularly glaring was what was done to poor Amy’s name, similarly the TSAB remains DAB in these subs and Arf has gone from Alf to Alph in the course of two movies. However the video and audio quality are as excellent as should be expected of an animated movie Blu-ray.

While a Japanese import is a significant investment due to different media costs in Japan, the fact that both Nanoha series seem to be out of print it appears likely that an import will be the only chance to own either of the two existing movies any time soon in NA. Fortunately with the inclusion of competent English subtitles and an excellent BD product overall we do at least have the option.

(Please note that English subtitles are on the feature only so the various special editions with extra discs and booklets would be of limited value to non-Japanese speakers.)

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 5

Extras Yuri – 10 As Okazu reader B pointed out one of the extras has Fate’s Voice Actress (and huge Nano/Fate fan) Nana Mizuki in a character swapping game going off-script as Nanoha by asking Fate to marry her.

Service – 8 Transformation scenes are limited but just as disappointing as the first movie, and likely a reason for the film’s financial success in Japan. *Sigh*.

Overall – 8

Thank you again, Jst, for your comments over the years and for this great review! My copy of Blu-Ray arrived yesterday morning and you can bet I’m dying to watching it now! ^_^

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7 Responses

  1. I kind of understand where they were going with Amy’s name, Since I’d probably transliterate it Eimi myself. ^_^

    • Jst says:

      Oh I totally see it, but it went by so fast I had to double back and wonder about what the heck it really said. Quite the fun trip, english to japanese and back!

      エイミー?エイミ?あみ?Oh my!

  2. Watched this last night and here are my two cents:

    1) 2 hours, 30 minutes of movie? Holy crud. That’s the longest anime movie I’ve ever seen. It was ever-so-slightly too long. We could have done with less flashbacks and dream sequences. But I’m not really complaining. This was feature movie length Nanoha, which was awesome.

    2) The henshin scenes are almost rendered like playing dress up with a doll (which is still sort of wth) and yes, only the two. We didn’t have to sit through it for everyone. It’s a compromise I’m willing to make, since the rest of the henshin were pretty much as I’d actually like to see them.

    Oh, and Raising Heart and Bardiche got their own henshin scenes – how cute was that?

    3) I’d say this was even better than the first movie. I liked the rewrites to make no one the bad guy. We can’t really be angry at a program can we? ^_^

    My commentary on Nachtwal: Mutating tentacle monster with teeth, naked lady and weaponry. Covers all the bases.

    I know we won’t be getting StrikerS for the third movie, but I’m very interested to see what we do get! ^_^

    • Serge says:

      Just watched this last night, and wow, was that a gorgeous movie, and story and acting wise they pretty much nailed that on the head. Pacing was a bit off, especially towards the end, you’re right, but it’s really a nitpick. Tightening it up may incrementally have improved it, but they did manage to successfully cram 6.5 hours of story in a little over a third of the time.
      I haven’t watched A’s in a really long time, but having Nachtwal certainly cleaned up what I remember being a kinda grey messy ending.
      Agree about the Henshin scenes, I understand why they’re there, but they did contribute mightily to the pacing problem.
      Also, they tried really, really hard to wring ALL THE FEELS out of you.

      • Exactly so. They lightened up a bit on Hayate’s tragic backstory, so they could wallow in Fate’s. Also kind of missed Nanoha’s family being in the loop as they were in the TV series. Can I just express pure pity for Zafira? Poor guy has like 4 words and two of them are “Roooowrrrr!”

  3. AlastorYagami says:

    Fate’s dream scene was really touching. Couldn’t hold back the tears. ;-;

  4. AlastorYagami says:

    erm, trigger finger got the best of me and I posted before I was finished. Also, I don’t feel like the second half had any pacing problems, it was the first half that had pacing problems..It went by too fast and felt disjointed at times. The second half was much better. Sure, it was long…but they were compacting a 13 episode series down to just about half.

    But yeah, I think that dream scene was crucial to Fate’s character. It’s great developing for her, and the movie did it even better than the series…I don’t think Hayates tragic scenes were lightened up, either, which scene(s) are you referring to?

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