Japanese Title: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha
Genre: Action/Adventure
Format: 13 Episodes
Allegiance: Seven Ax
Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
Vintage: 2004
Intelligence Agency Report by: Drake
Yuuno is an archeologist with magical powers from a far away planet. During an excavation, he unearths the Jewel Seeds, an ancient relic that has the power to grant the desires of their owners. However, this process is very unstable and, depending on the user, has the potential to release a chaotic force. As a result, the Seeds are transported across space for safe keeping. Unfortunately during transit, an unexpected accident scatters the 21 Seeds across Earth. Yuuno travels to Earth and desperately tries to reclaim the Seeds, but is severely injured by a beast formed from a Seed. His telepathic pleas for help are heard by 8 year old Nanoha; who discovers Yuuno in the form of a ferret and brings him to a veterinarian. The monster returns in the night, and Yuuno calls Nanoha again. Quickly explaining the situation, Yuuno presents the “Raging Heart” to Nanoha, transforming her into Magical Girl Nanoha. Will the duo be enough to gather the Jewel Seeds and save the world, or does Fate have something else in mind?

Field Agent Report by: Drake
Plot
Characters
Impact
Visual
Audio
8.25
8.50
7.75
9.50
8.00
Overall 8.50
(not an average)

I’ve seen a few mahou shoujo titles in my time, and from my experience, they run the gamut from the very good to the gut wrenchingly awful. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is surprisingly one of the better shows, despite featuring a “monster of the week” style plot like much of the genre.

Unlike many in its genre, Nanoha wasn’t your run of a mill monster of the week anime. Rather, it was driven by strong characterization and an actual plot that moves subtly. Despite some predictable events, this style of storytelling really helped develop a story and flesh the characters out quite a bit, right down to the final moments of the show. Sure, some of the characters were only developed through the usage of flashbacks, but these were interspersed very subtly throughout the story as to never become obtrusive. However, despite the great plot and tangible characters, I could never get past the constant reminder of Inuyasha’s “search for the shikon fragments. Don’t get me wrong though, this became just a minor problem when analyzed with all of the anime’s good sides.

The sensory aspects of this anime were also very well done. From the breathtaking battle scenes between Fate and Nanoha to the serene everyday life of Nanoha’s friends and family, this anime’s art was simply amazing. The bright colours truly captivated me throughout the show. However, the most surprising part was the audio, which enhanced the show tenfold through its fast paced and lively OST and unique use of English via the mage rods.

By and large, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is a must see for all fans of the Magical Girl genre. It has it all: great story, complex characters, stunning visuals and music that blows you away. So what are you waiting for? Go watch it now!