Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd A’s Review
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd A’s is the second movie in the Lyrical Nanoha series. The first movie recapped the entire first season of the Lyrical Nanoha TV series. Now the second movie comes along to summarize the second season.
The second movie begins half a year from where the first movie left off. Fate has been adopted by the Harlaown family and can now reunite with Nanoha and attend school like any normal girl. But on the day of the two’s reunion they are attacked by strange magical knights. The two girls are promptly defeated and their magical energy is extracted. As it turns out an ominous book called The Book of Darkness has spawned these magical knights (named Vita, Signum, Shamal and Zaphira) to collect magical energy in order to activate itself. The book is attached to Yagami Hayate – a girl the same age as Nanoha and Fate who is slowly losing her life due to a rare case of paralysis. Once the Book of Darkness absorbs enough magical power it will activate and grant Hayate a tremendous amount of magical powers. It will also cure her deadly disease. The spawned knights are determined to collect the energy needed for the book and will do anything to activate it. However not all is as it seems. The Book of Darkness holds a dark secret befitting its name and Nanoha, Fate and the magic-enforcing Time-Space Administration Bureau have no choice but to counter the Book of Darkness and the magical knights serving it.
In the short time span of two and a half hours Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd A’s manages to summarize the entire second season of Lyrical Nanoha. It does so with ease and with good pacing, without jumping over important events. It does jump rapidly across time and cuts across less important daily issues. A week in the TV series that might have been portrayed using two episodes is portrayed in two minutes in the movie. This can be a little disorienting, but thankfully happens only a couple of times. The movie removes all things that are not directly related to the main characters or the main conflict. The first movie removed the daily life portions of Nanoha and her friends. The second movie phases the Time-Space Administration Bureau almost completely out of the picture. Furthermore the movie removes an important villain figure. By doing so it simplifies the plot and helps the movie flow better in terms of pacing. The drawback to this is that by removing a key character the movie loses an important layer of complexity and a plot twist found in the original series. Other than that the movie follows the TV series to a T. Even though the movie is officially labeled as an alternative universe to the original TV series the creators did not change anything substantial in the overall plot. Surprisingly enough they even chose to ignore all the plot holes that plagued the original series, and as a result these too made the move to the big screen. Plot holes like how the Time-Space Administration Bureau always tracks and monitors the location of the magical knights but never arrives on time to confront them, how Nanoha and Fate are always conveniently on the scene to help, or how a fight might engulf the entire city in flames only to reveal later that those flames did no damage at all.
One thing that stands out considerably in The Movie 2nd A’s is the music. The movie employs a powerful array of tracks, a lot of which are fully orchestrated. Several vocal songs are present, one of which is the new theme song Bright Stream by Mizuki Nana. If the movie surprises in the music department it completely disappoints in the visual one. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd A’s doesn’t look very good. The movie uses the old character designs from the Nanoha 2nd A’s TV series without bothering to change or update them to HD. Don’t be fooled by the polished publicity images. In the actual movie there is no shading, no extra details and no revised outfits. These are the character models you saw in the TV series, for good or bad. The movie generally does not look very impressive. It does little to no use of the fine details that our current HD technology allows (and arguably dictates). Rooms are always conveniently empty. The city is always portrayed from above and its residents are seldom shown (despite it being a huge metropolitan city). Special effects are rendered in noticeably ugly and outdated CG. Overall it seems like the production company missed a vital opportunity, and instead of creating a polished high definition version of Lyrical Nanoha A’s just opted to upscale the original series. The difference between the movie and the series is evident in the more fluid attack animations and some battles end differently than in the TV series; but these battles don’t look as flashy as they should have.
In the end Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd A’s succeed in summarizing the second season of the TV series into one feature film. On the other hand it does little else. It will certainly be a good watch for those who haven’t seen the TV series and builds upon the first movie nicely. But it definitely does not satisfy the high expectations Nanoha fans have had for it.
This review was based on the film as it was shown in the cinema and does not reflect upon the future Blu-ray release of said title.