Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Movie First
I finally saw it! It was a pretty big challenge finding a theater that was showing it, travelling to Kyoto, buying the tickets, and actually getting to my seat all in Japanese, but in the end, it was totally worth it.
WARNING: MAJOR MOVIE SPOILERS AHEAD
It looks like the movie deviates quite significantly from the anime series. As you may expect, the movie begins with Yuno fighting a monster created by a lost jewel seed and quickly losing. On the way home from school with her friends
Sanzen’in Nagi Alisia Bannings and Suzuka Tsukimura, young Nanoha Takamichi hears Yuno’s voice via telepathy and finds him injured in his ferret form in a forest. She takes him to a vet, where the doctor tells her that he will recover soon. Later that night, Yuno contacts her again via telepathy and Nanoha returns to the vet’s, only to find that the previous monster had found its way to Yuno and is attacking him. During the fight, Yuno recruits Nanoha to become a mahou shoujo and Nanoha transforms for the first time in an all new, crazier than ever before henshin sequence. (It lasts about 90 seconds, I think) A pitched battle takes place and the monster is about to escape when Nanoha learns how to use Raging Heart’s Shooter Mode and guns it down. (Raging Heart looks different than from the anime series and the Shooter Mode now has a automatic rifle style trigger system.) Soon afterwards, Yuno explains how he comes from the planet of Midchilda and that he must collect all the lost jewel seeds.
The next day, we see a bunch of cute little kittens playing with each other. However, one of them comes into contact with a jewel seed, transforming it into a monstrous black saber tooth tiger who scares the two other kittens away. Nanoha comes to the scene to collect the jewel seed, but is interrupted with the sudden appearance of Fate Testarossa. They dispatch the monster together and Nanoha believes that they are on the same side, but soon realizes that Fate has no intention of releasing the jewel seed to her when she opens fire on her. Nanoha asks Fate to explain herself. Fate, taken by her kindness, opens her mouth to speak, but realizes the necessity of her mission and changes her mind at the last second. Using her superior magical powers, Fate blasts Nanoha away and she falls to the ground. Fate collects the jewel seed and leaves. As she does so, she softly whispers to Nanoha that she is sorry. Nanoha painfully picks herself off the ground, sees that the original kitten that transformed into the monster is safe, and promises that she will try harder to learn magic and come to an understanding with Fate.
Later, Fate wanders around the city. At an intersection, she sees a mother caring for her two children and sadly remembers a picnic she shared with Precia. Precia calls her “Alicia” and puts a flower bouquet on her head while smiling.
The next day, Nanoha returns to school. During class, she gets Raging Heart to perform a mental training exercise and she continues to practice using magic every day. Eventually, one month passes.
Fate and Nanoha’s paths once again cross when they find a jewel seed in the middle of the city. Fate stands silently a top an enormous pillar while Nanoha attempts to befriend her. Fate rejects her offer and regretfully tells Nanoha that her mission must be accomplished. Nanoha, seeing no other choice, decides to fight Fate. Yuno is about to help Nanoha, but is stopped by Arf’s arrival. After a brief fight, Nanoha and Fate both blast the jewel seed with their respective long range attacks, causing the two beams to collide and massively explode. Through the resulting smoke, the two of them lunge for the jewel seed and simultaneously try to capture it. Their devices are unable to handle the pressure and the jewel seed destabilizes, causing a massive explosion that damages both Bardiche and Raging Heart and that throws Nanoha and Fate to the ground.
All of a sudden, Chrono arrives and casts a bind on Fate and Nanoha. He orders them to halt by order of the Time-Space Administration Bureau. However, Arf frees Fate and she stumbles to the jewel seed and tries to capture it by hand. The process is dangerous and Fate winces in pain as the jewel seed burns through her hand. Arf cries at Fate to stop and to retreat. Chrono orders Fate to halt and is about to open fire on her, but Nanoha yells at him to stop. Fate manages to capture the jewel seed and quickly retreats with Arf.
Chrono takes Nanoha and Yuno to the capital ship Asura, where they meet Captain Lindy. Lindy clears Nanoha of any wrong doing and recruits her help in recovering the lost jewel seeds. Chrono protests, but Lindy shuts him down in no time at all.
Meanwhile, Fate returns to Precia’s floating castle. Precia observes the jewel seeds Fate has collected with dissatisfaction. Fate smiles meekly at her and offers her a cake that she bought. Precia strikes at Fate and smashes the cake to the ground. She pulls out her whip and tells Fate that she must be punished for her failure. Fate quietly obeys and is whipped by her mother.
Fate returns to earth to collect the remaining jewel seeds. After finding them in the stormy ocean, Fate casts a massive spell that raises the jewel seeds from the water. However, a massive water monster appears and attacks Fate. Her injuries already severe, she valiantly but hopelessly fights against the water kraken. Meanwhile, Nanoha and Yuno track the battle from the Asura. Chrono orders everybody to hold position and let the monster finish Fate off. However, Yuno telepathically tells Nanoha that he will cause a distraction so Nanoha can leave the Asura and rescue Fate. Yuno casts a defensive spell and holds Chrono off while Nanoha teleports out from the Asura. Nanoha flies at top speed towards Fate and busts through the thick storm clouds, causing a hole where light pours through as she meets Fate.
Nanoha dispatches the sea kraken with a massive divine buster. However, her victory is short lived as Precia’s floating castle appears and causes a massive thunder storm. During the ensuing chaos, Fate attempts to take all seven of the jewel seeds, but is stopped when Chrono arrives. With all of her remaining power, Fate pushes Chrono out of the way, but by then, he has already managed to collect four of the seven jewel seeds. Fate retreats with Arf with the remaining three jewel seeds.
At Precia’s fortress, Fate is once again whipped by Precia for her failure. Arf, unable to take it any longer, rages into Precia’s throne room and angrily confronts Precia. She pushes Precia through the wall and into a back room behind the throne. There, Arf sees that Precia has constructed a second clone of Alicia. Now that she has seen the clone, Precia is unwilling to let her live and blasts Arf with her most powerful attack. Arf retreats just in time and falls to Earth heavily injured.
At the Asura, Lindy lectures Nanoha for disobeying orders. However, she decides to forgive Nanoha and Yuno because they now know for certain that the real perpetrator of the incident is Precia Testarossa. Nanoha returns to Earth, where Alicia Bannings invites her to her house to play on the Wii and to see a strange dog that she found. Once Nanoha arrives, she sees that the strange dog is actually Arf. Nanoha leaves Yuno with Arf to find out what’s going on while Alicia takes her away to play on the Wii with her.
Arf explains what is going on with Fate and Precia to Yuno, Chrono, and Lindy. Using the new intel from Arf, Chrono devises a plan to lure Fate to Nanoha by using the jewel seeds as bait. The plan works and at an abandoned city, Fate arrives to meet Nanoha. Nanoha shows Fate the jewel seeds she has collected so far and tells Fate that she is willing to fight with all of them on the line. The two mahou shoujo collide and begin their first all out battle.
The two of them weave through the city’s buildings in a frantic chase as they blast each other with magical bullets. Then they accelerate upwards towards the sky and have a tight dogfight in the clouds. During the pitched battle, Fate has multiple flashbacks of her past. She remembers all of the happy memories she had with her mother and swears that she will help mother so that the old days can return. Using all of her remaining energy, she binds Nanoha and casts her ultimate attack. A dozen, 30, 50, 100, 200 magical bullets appear around her and with a mighty shout, she fires all of them at Nanoha. That not being enough, she then summons an massive Lance of Longinus-esque spear of thunder and hurls it at Nanoha. A massive explosion ensues. Fate, convinced that her attack finally downed Nanoha, smiles in relief between her labored breaths. However, her face turns to horror when the smoke clears, revealing Nanoha relatively unharmed.
Nanoha powers up her most powerful divine buster yet and opens fire on Fate. She desperately raises up a shield, but the beam is mighty and her shield begins to falter. Her clothes begin to disintegrate under the massive attack and her shield is about to break when the attack suddenly ceases. Fate, thinking that she has survived, is in relief.
However, the attack was only a small taste of the things to come. Using all of the energy dissipated during the battle, Nanoha powers up her ultimate technique, the Starlight Breaker. Fate grits her teeth and raises five layers of magical shielding in front of her. The massive beam completely engulfs Fate and we see from her POV as one after another of her shields are almost instantly vaporized. A massive mushroom cloud explodes, completely annihilating what is left of the city and bleaching everything white.
Fate falls to the sea unconscious and is about to drown when Nanoha flies in and rescues her. She lays her on top of a piece of rubble and only then Fate finally realizes her kindness.
However, Precia’s castle once again appears and attempts to retrieve Fate. However, Nanoha flies in just in time and manages to bring her aboard the Asura. Lindy orders the Asura to warp to Precia’s castle and dispatches the (pathetic) mahou shounen squad to arrest Precia. They are almost instantaneously defeated.
Through the communicator, Precia shouts to Fate that she has always hated her and disowns her. Fate is horrified and goes into shock. At the floating castle, Precia has a flashback. We see that she had a daughter named Alicia. While she loved her, Precia could hardly ever spend time with her because of her job as a researcher. One day, her superiors threaten to halt her project unless it began to show more results. In an act of desperation, Precia orders the safety locks to be disengaged at her lab in order to accelerate her research. However, an experiment goes horribly wrong and releases radioactive material into the city that kills Alica. Precia, consumed by the guilt of having caused her daughter’s death, now dedicates her life to creating a clone of Alicia. Finally, she is successful and Fate is born. At first, Precia treats her exactly like her daughter, spending time with Fate that she could never give to Alica. However, Precia soon realizes that Fate is too different from Alicia and declares that she needs more power to create the perfect clone. She is in anguish that she lacks that power, but realizes that she could use Fate to acquire it. She laughs maniacally, her dark plan now set into motion. She summons a previously unseen nekomimi familiar, who trains Fate in the mahou shoujo arts.
However, the familiar begins to have doubts about Precia’s plan. She confronts Precia, who is suffering from the effects of radioactive poisoning herself and slowly dying. Precia declares that she does not have much more time to live and that her plan must be accelerated. She orders the familiar to finish training Fate and then to disappear for good.
The flash back ends. Nanoha, Yuno, Chrono, and Arf storm the castle, fighting through its mecha guardians, while Fate is still in a state of shock at the Asura. However, after seeing Nanoha fight, the power of Nanoha’s feelings reach Fate and she realizes that she must now fight to protect her friend. Fate calls upon Bardiche to fight once more and leaves the Asura to the tune of “Take a Shot.”
Just as Nanoha is about to be struck by a mecha, Fate arrives and dispatches it. Their celebration is short lived, as a massive mecha suddenly breaks through the wall and confronts the two of them. The two mahou shoujo combine their attacks and blow the giant mecha away in a spectacular attack.
Precia, who is on the verge of finally succumbing to her radiation poisoning, carries the clone of Alicia and is about to activate the jewel seeds and open a path to the legendary land of Aleehazard. However, Lindy informs the rest that with only the number of jewel seeds possessed by Precia, such a task is impossible and that she is only going to cause a massive tear in the space time continuum. Fate arrives and confronts Precia. Fate asks her mother to stop and to return to her. Precia softly mocks her and reminds her that she has always hated her. She activates the jewel seeds and causes a space time tear to occur.
The situation deteriorating, Lindy orders everyone to fall back. Fate cries out for her mother, but is too late. Precia and the unawakened clone of Alicia fall into a space time rip. As Precia falls, she has a flashback of a memory of Alicia. They are at a picnic together and Precia asks Alicia what she wants the most in the world. Alicia eagerly responds back that she wants a younger sister. Precia is shocked at the request and laughs nervously at her. Now, as she falls to her death, she softly murmurs to herself that Fate would have been that sister to Alicia.
Nanoha arrives and she escapes with Fate. Everyone makes it safely back to the Asura as the castle is swallowed up by the space time rip.
Fate is taken into custody, but Lindy expects that the trial will go favorably for her. The next day, Chrono, Arf, and Fate meet Nanoha for the last time before they leave back to their world. Fate promises to Nanoha that they will be friends forever. They exchange their hair bands before Chrono takes her back to the Asura. Nanoha smiles and tells Yuno that “Everything is fine.”
Overall, there were some quite big changes made to Fate and Precia’s characters. I was kind of disappointed that Fate was no longer a dark magical girl. She regrets what she is doing from the beginning and is portrayed as more of a victim who needed to be rescued by Nanoha rather than a dark magical girl who was reformed by her. In addition, I thought that Precia’s character was portrayed in a more positive light. In particular, I was surprised that they actually rewrote her death scene. In the movie, it seems like Precia regrets everything she did and wishes that things might have turned out differently, while in the anime, she dies like a crazy obsessive madwoman.
The animation received an expected massive boast. The majority of the movie features magical girl battles and all of them are beyond amazing. I am willing to wager that no other movie starring a magical girl has ever set off more pyrotechnics than this. Also, all of the new henshin sequences are pretty much jaw dropping. The sound effects also received a large improvement and was very impressive with the theater’s surround sound.
For the better or worse, the devices now actually speak regular English. No more broken grammar or horrible pronunciation.
However, the music was downright awful. They kept the exact same sound track from the anime series. Hearing what amounted to songs that might have come out from a Game Boy game nearly 5 years ago was not impressive, especially on the theater’s sound system.
However, it was still a pretty amazing experience, just because I got to actually see it in a real theater in Japan. No tiny little computer screen, no amateur English subs, actually had to pay over $20 for it, and a room full of other collage age otaku. Sugoi dessuuu! *_*