Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd A’s (Review)

魔法少女リリカルなのは The MOVIE 2nd A’s

Nanoha2nd - 1

Just as the first movie was a compression of the first season of the Nanoha series, this second movie is a two and a half hour marathon of the entirety of Nanoha A’s. The plot continues after the first movie, and ups the badass level to 11. So sit back and relax for more befriending action.

Nanoha2nd - 2

Similar to the first movie, the 2nd features the cast of Nanoha A’s re-drawn in high definition, with improved use of CG that makes the aerial battles and spells stunning. The story of A’s revolves around the tome of darkness, a lost-logia with a wonky defense mechanism that is slowly consuming its master, and her servants’ wishes to save her. 

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So it was decreed, and the White Devil was born.

Fan-service abound, with what is possibly the longest transformation sequence known to magical girl anime (roughly 2 minutes in one scene, inclusive of weapons). Familiar tunes from the original series also make their reappearance here, although the exclusion of the original opening song, Eternal Blaze, which is arguably one of anime’s all-time most popular songs, still puzzles me.  (It is used in the promotional video though.)

Anime Comparison

Given the need to squish 12 episodes of the main series into a single movie, they naturally took liberties with the plot, so you’d see almost none of the school and the interaction between the students, and the entire arc about Chrono and the Lieze twins (who don’t even make appearances in the movie) had been removed. You also don’t get to see the full “epilogue” of the Nanoha A’s series (which featured a “6 year later” cast), so you might still want to watch the series for the parts they didn’t include. Thankfully, even with the cuts, at no point did the movie feel disjointed.

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Befriending, Step One: Beat the living crap outta target friend.

Overall

Seven Arcs did a pretty remarkable job with the movie, balancing the high adrenaline fights with quiet moments of characterization,  and the deliberate omission of several key scenes in the original series could well be an attempt to lead the 2nd movie into the 3rd, which features an original story (perhaps they too figured that Nanoha StrikerS was… confusing, at best). The 2nd Nanoha movie keeps to its source material reasonably closely, and concludes nicely. Fans of the series will find everything they love about A’s here, and if you had found the 1st movie a little too yuri-ish for you, they toned it down in favor of more action in the 2nd, which (to me) was a big plus.

If things go as well as they do from here on, you can be sure there’ll be more good things to say about the 3rd movie. Stand by… ready. Set up!!

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