Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (anime)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The first series in the Nanoha franchise, simply titled Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.

It starts with a typical cookie-cutter plot: Twenty-one dangerous artifacts of incredible power called Jewel Seeds have fallen to Earth following a cross-dimensional accident. A mage named Yuuno is badly injured while attempting to retrieve them, and is discovered half-dead by Nanoha Takamachi, an ordinary 9-year-old elementary schooler.

With no other choice, Yuuno lends his "Intelligent Device" to Nanoha, transforming her into a Magical Girl so that she can neutralize and collect the Jewel Seeds on his behalf.

Just as Nanoha is getting used to her new duties, everything changes when she is confronted by Fate Testarossa, a Dark Magical Girl who is also attempting to capture all the Jewel Seeds. However, Nanoha senses something pained and fragile behind Fate's ice-cold exterior, and resolves to discover the truth even if she has to beat it out of her.

A movie titled Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st was released in 2010 and retold the original plot, but more in the style of the later seasons. It is actually treated by canon as an In-Universe semi-biographical piece, so it is considered its own continuity. A companion manga titled Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Movie 1st The Comics was also released at the same time. Initially it appeared to be a prequel to The Movie, but it was later revealed to be yet another Alternate Continuity. Both the series and the movie have supplementary Slice of Life Drama CDs called Sound Stages.

The original anime was dubbed by Geneon. It was license-rescued by Funimation along with its sequel Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's.

NOTE: Only general tropes for the series are listed here. For character-specific ones, check out the character sheets.

Tropes used in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (anime) include:
  • Actor Allusion: Nanoha's orange "civilian" outfit in the first season is reminiscent of Kanami's outfit from Scryed. Fitting, given that they're both voiced by Yukari Tamura.
  • Animation Bump: The first episode is too smoothly done. Observe.
  • By the Power of Greyskull: Averted for the most part. In the first episode, Yuno tells Nanoha a password she needs to say to activate Raising Heart but after that she doesn't need it.
  • Collapsing Lair: The Garden of Time, as a result of Precia's failed attempt to use the Jewel Seeds.
  • Continuity Nod: The scars from Nanoha's father's "old job", Miyuki practicing her swordfighting technique, and other references to Triangle Heart 3 ~sweet songs forever~.
  • Cool Starship: The TSAB L-class cruise patrol warship "Arthra". The Fan Subs called it "Asura", which many fans prefer over the official spelling.
  • Cute Giant: One episode had a kitten come into contact with one of the Jewel Seeds, which granted its wish of wanting to grow up... and grow it did, becoming as tall as the trees. Despite being giant, it still acted like a kitten, not aggressive at all. Provided the page image for Mega Neko.
  • Dramatic Wind: Used to great effect during Nanoha and Fate's talk on the bridge.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Chrono does one in the finale, apparently because he couldn't find the door to Precia's inner sanctum.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first few episodes of the original series were a standard Magical Girl show, and it wasn't until A's that it really became a Gundam-in-a-schoolgirl-skirt show.
  • Evil Plan: A strange example as it there isn't one until Fate shows up. Yuno just needed help recovering artifacts scattered by an accident. Eventually its revealed that Precia wanted the jewel seeds to revive her real daughter and 'go back to way things used to be.
  • Face Fault: Nanoha gets one in the first episode, when her father asks what a ferret is.
  • False Camera Effects: Episode 1 includes a brief sequence of Nanoha running that is made to look like it was filmed with a hand-held camera.
  • First-Name Basis: Nanoha tells Fate to call her by her name so that they can become friends.
    • Say My Name: A soft-spoken and adorable example. It's even the name of the last episode.
  • Frilly Upgrade: Significantly less than most examples in the genre, with later seasons trying to see how much metal parts they can jam into Nanoha's barrier jacket before she start resembling an actual mecha.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Episode 5.
  • Humongous Mecha: Precia deploys a variety of robots that clearly fall into the category to defend her lair in the finale. Nanoha proceeds to smack them down like she was an escaped Super Prototype from a Gundam show.
  • Genre Shift: Within the course of the original thirteen episodes, the series shifts from typical Magical Girl fare to something more dramatic as well as becoming more action oriented in the process. By the end of the season the action and drama aspects have become central to the series.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Precia's robotic army.
  • Mega Neko: Provided the image for that page.
  • Mood Whiplash: Precia whipping Fate rapidly converts most viewers from enjoying the somewhat humorous tone and subversiveness of the series to "PRECIA TESTAROSSA MUST DIE".
  • Mythology Gag: Lindy's fairy wings, Chrono's Spikes of Villainy, and other references to the original Nanoha game.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: The Garden of Time, Precia's fortress.
  • The Original Series
  • People Jars: Precia had a few.
  • Phantom Zone: There is a spell called "Barrier" that pushes everything half a dimension over. The city is still there, but all non-magic users are no longer present, and thus cannot witness the light show. However, fights without barriers enclosing them leave massive collateral damage -- like Nanoha's first, the cratered site of which she fled from upon hearing the sirens of incoming emergency vehicles.
  • Power Levels: Nanoha's average magical power is given to be 1.27 million, while Fate's is 1.43 million. All other mentions use letter rankings.
  • The Power of Friendship: Saved Fate's life arguably. Of course, given the definition of "befriend" in use by the Nanoha fandom, it can also be employed to blow you up.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: Played with, in that Nanoha's magical-girl outfit is essentially her school uniform.
  • Spoiler Opening: The original OP shows Fate and Arf from the start of the show, but they actually feature first in episode 4.
  • Stock Footage: Compared to later seasons, the usage of stock footage Transformation Sequences is egregiously high.
  • Storming the Castle: The season's climax is the storming the Garden of Time.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: "Take A Shot" for both Fate and Nanoha.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Used as Nanoha's cellphone ringtone.
  • The Thing That Goes Doink: Lindy's Japanese-style receiving room has one. Said room also happens to be on a spaceship.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Subverted - early on a monster tries to attack Nanoha, while she's transforming and gets flung buck by a barrier.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Nanoha and Fate's final battle is one for the Time and Space Administration: Nanoha's victory or defeat is irrelevant. They would prefer she won (and thereby arrest Fate and recover the jewel seeds) but if she doesn't Chrono will step in and finish off the worn-out Fate. If nothing else the battle will allow them to track Precia's location.

The movie and its supplementaries additionally/alternatively provide examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Only in the manga. As a result, this version of Nanoha acquired the Fandom Nickname "Emoha."
  • Adaptation Distillation: It fixes many of the pacing and writing problems of the first season, and in general alters things to be more consistent with later seasons. It also animates some of the All There in the Manual material, largely about Precia, painting a clearer picture overall.
  • Ascended Meme: The Movie Sound Stage Side F, gives the popular meme known as "Befriending" amongst english-speakers a nod, as Arf jokingly explains to an increasingly worried Erio and Caro that the only way to make life-long friends is to blow them up first.
  • DVD Commentary: Provided by Subaru, Teana, Erio, Caro, Vivio, Fate, and Nanoha.
  • Monster Sob Story: Due to Adaptation Distillation, the movie does a much better job of explaining Precia's backstory.
    • The added revelation of Precia final thoughts as she falls to her presumed death makes things MUCH worse. To elaborate: Precia finally realizes that Fate, although is not Alicia, IS still her daughter and Alicia's little sister. This is the same little sister that Alicia herself always wanted, and was one of last the things Alicia made her mother promise to get for her.
    • The picnic scene came after the reactor accident in Fate's memory sequence. It's probably Fate she was talking to and Fate saying she wanted a little sister. Which goes a long way to explaining why Precia didn't have her revelation until the end: it would take jumping through many more mental hoops to realize that, since she never got around to spending time with Alicia and asking her about presents, it could be Alicia asking from beyond the grave through the memory imprinted in Fate that she wanted a little sister, while the "Alicia" saying these words--the girl who Precia was only slowly realizing was too different from the original Alicia--IS the sister she was asking for.
  • Panthera Awesome: The little kitten that encounters a Jewel Seed in the movie, instead of a Mega Neko, turns into a giant, demonic, black panther, which sprouts large bat wings.
  • Product Placement: Pizza Hut supports the befriending!
  • Recursive Canon: The movie, though in classic Nanoha style you won't know it unless you listened to the sound stages.
  • Stun Guns: In the movie, Nanoha explicitly sets Raising Heart to stun. Presumably, RH's default setting is "befriend".
  • Surprisingly Good English: The movie has the best English so far with the devices finally having learned proper grammar.
  • Take My Hand: In the manga after their final fight, Nanoha falls off a rooftop and Fate catches her. First she grabs her by the hand and then holds her with both arms Superman style. They were both too tired and beaten up to fly so they had an emergency water landing shortly after. Still a great rescue, especially since Fate jumped after her so fast the stretcher she was on disintegrated.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: "Don't Be Long", replacing "Take A Shot" in the same scene from the original.
  • Voodoo Shark: The first season had a few minor plot points that were later Ret Conned. For example, in the original series Nanoha was the one who thought up Raising Heart's staff and cannon modes herself, but after season one all new devices have predetermined forms and require hardware upgrades for new ones. Naturally, when they remade the first season for the movie, they made sure it was consistent with the later seasons. However, this opened up a new Plot Hole. While Raising Heart having its staff and cannon modes pre-loaded makes sense, it's never explained why Yuuno didn't try using either mode before handing the device over to Nanoha.
  • Wham! Episode: The fifth chapter of the manga is especially shocking, when you consider the first four chapters were a manual. It summarizes the entire movie in 21 pages.