January 28, 2009

Nanoha -- shounen, not shoujo

Pete has finished watching Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and wasn't impressed. He's decided not to watch Nanoha A's and I think that's probably the right decision. A's is the same as Nanoha; it does all the same things, except it does them all better. But if he didn't like Nanoha, then "better" won't help.

I think it's a genre thing. If you don't like a genre, watching a good example of that genre is not helpful. The Nanoha franchise is shounen, and a lot of people don't care for shounen. Despite the fact that the protagonists are all cute little girls, it has a lot more in common with Dragon Ball Z than it does with Fancy Lala.

I wrote once about "transport" and "destination". A's is really good at transport, but if the destination isn't one you want to reach, then that's not particularly important.

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha will fail for you if you don't come to love Fate. If she hasn't seized your heart by the end of ep 10, then the final episodes will fail completely for you. That's because the final episodes are about her, and the choices she makes, and the future she chooses for herself. And if you don't care about her, then it's a waste of time to watch them.

As to A's? I would say the test is Vita. If, after watching through to the end of ep 6 you haven't come to love Vita, then there's no point in going on. What happens later won't affect you because you won't have the right emotional investment in the show to make those events meaningful.

Not necessarily to the exclusion of others, mind. It don't hurt if you've come to care about Hayate, and Fate, and Nanoha, and Signum, and... But I think as an indicator of whether the show is working for you, Vita is the key. The scene of her in the desert at the end of ep 6, talking to herself, either will break your heart or it won't. If it doesn't, you may as well stop watching the show.

UPDATE: Am I bothered that Pete didn't like it? No. It doesn't represent a threat to my self-image that we disagree.

As Toren once said, If we both liked exactly the same things, one of us would not be necessary.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 10:30 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 If you can watch ep 6 of A's and not at least like Vita by then, I pity the polluted antifreeze being pumped through your empty frame by your cold, robot heart. ;p

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at January 28, 2009 05:03 PM (pWQz4)

2 I watched the Nanoha franchise entirely backwards.  I started with StrikerS, then A's, and only then did I watch the original series.  I believe A's to be the best of the three, without a doubt. 

And, in a lot of ways, I prefer StrikerS over the first series, so I know where Pete's coming from. 

Posted by: Wonderduck at January 28, 2009 08:16 PM (sh9fy)

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