Posted by psgels on 26 November 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

So yeah, this turned out to b a recap. Or to be more specific: a retelling of the first season with nearly the exact same plot and scenario (with one major exception, but more on that below), condensed into two hours. The graphics got a major overhaul, and you can pretty much consider this as the cleaned up bite-sized version of Nanoha. It doesn’t take much risks, it does just what it’s supposed to do, but there are much worse recap movies.

Let’s start with the good parts here: the animation. I had to confirm this by rewatching some scenes of the original series (it’s been six years since I watched the first season), but the movie really put in effort to get rid of all of the chunky animation, still frames and deformed faces that riddled its counterparts. The dialogue and scenarios, which were excellent in the TV-series, were simply left alone. It makes flow of the movie a lot more dynamic.

Still, the movie did cut away pretty much four hours of footage, and that does hurt; especially on the titular character Nanoha. It cuts away a lot of the building up to make this movie much more action-packed than the TV-series, but in its turn it also skips much of Nanoha’s characterization: she no longer feels like just an ordinary girl: she just runs into Yuno, he gives her her magical powers and she’s like “okay”, without ever questioning him. These things happen more often in the movie, and that introduces cheese. Because of that, this movie just isn’t as good as the TV-series.

Also, there is one part of the movie that contains actual new footage. I won’t spoil exactly what part that is, but nevertheless I really appreciated that part. It wasn’t exactly vital to the plot, and yet it gave some new depth to one particular in this movie, and it also made the person in question a much more interesting character.

My general stance on recap movies is that I hate them unless they prove me otherwise. I believe that just retelling the same story again is lazy and that they should have come up with something more interesting, yet they can be good movies with the right execution. Nanoha’s movie did convince me, even though it’s not as good as its TV-series, because I can see what the creators wanted to do with it: Nanoha definitely looks better than ever now, and now you can also watch the first season during a random movie night with friends. If you’ve got more time than that though, I still recommend going for the TV-series.

On a side-note: the StrikerS Movie should prove to be very interesting, because of how much time its television series wasted on pointless build-up. The second Nanoha movie, which most likely is going to recap A’s will also fail to really condense the same story into just two hours: it’s just way too complex for that. StrikerS however really could use some overhaul.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Sacrifices build-up for a much better flowing story.
Characters: 7/10 – Skips fleshing the characters out, which ultimately bites the back with cheese, especially Nanoha becomes too static and perfect. Fate’s story still manages to shine, though.
Production-Values: 8/10 – For movie standards it’s perhaps nothing special, but for Nanoha’s standards the graphics really got a massive overhaul.
Setting: 8/10 – Ah, back when Nanoha’s setting still wasn’t so unnecessarily complicated (I’m looking at you, StrikerS).

Air The Motion Picture
– Card Captor Sakura
Blue Drop

10 Responses

  1. Avatar EINSOF says:

    Your right about StrikerS. i want these recaps to atleast show more on Yuno. i hated how in Strikers how his character faded out. first and second seasons of Nanoha were golden to me. Strikers needs work. i really find it hard to love a series that doesnt have a balance of male and female roles. even if it is unbalanced, their role in the plot makes up for it..but if they’re just hanging around for nothing..gah.

  2. Avatar Z.N. Singer says:

    So all the Nanoha movies are actually just recaps of the three series? Damn that’s disappointing. It’s nice to know they didn’t make a hash of it, but I was looking forward to some new installments to an overall remarkably successful franchise, Strikers notwithstanding.

  3. Avatar Matthew says:

    So yeah, this turned out to b a recap. Or to be more specific: a retelling of the first season with nearly the exact same plot and scenario (with one major exception, but more on that below), condensed into two hours.

    Wow, no joke? Really? Woooooowwwwwww… nobody expected that. Thank you for informing us, since stuff like this is clearly the rule rather than the exception for movie adaptations of anime shows.

    Still, the movie did cut away pretty much four hours of footage

    Nanoha S01 is 13 episodes long. If we trim OP and ED out of every episode, we are left with ~20 minutes of “footage” for every episode. 20 minutes x 13 episodes = 4,33 hours.

    Since the movie “cut away pretty much four hours of footage”, this can only mean that the movie is 4,33 hours – 4 hours = 0,33 hours = 20 MINUTES LONG. HOLY YOWZA DAWG. Shortest movie ever!

  4. Avatar Kalandra says:

    Someone seems a little upset Psgels gave a less than stellar review of Nanoha because it was a recap.

    Psgels may have miscalculated (probably used half an hour instead of 20 minutes), but he said remains true.

  5. psgels psgels says:

    Matthew: if you want to be smart, then at least do it right: episodes with OPs and EDs stripped nowadays are 22 minutes long, making for a 46-minute movie based on that logic. Of course that still means I made a miscalculation and I admit that, but it’s not as extreme as you make it out to be.

    Also, Bleach, Precure, Gundam 00, Naruto, Higashi no Eden, Haruhi, Fate/Stay Night, Yamato, Eureka 7, One Piece, .Hack//Gu and xxxHolic all have movies original stories, and not to mention movies as Trigun, Evangelion. Air, Clannad and Macross Frontier, which combined reap with new material. Is it that weird for us to expect something similar here?

  6. Avatar Hunter-Wolf says:

    Regarding Recap movies … i think Macross Frontier Movie so far did a fantastic job recapping the story (even if some story elements were changed) … but i find recap movies hard to judge fairly for those who watched the original material .. IMO to judge them fairly its better to get someone to watch them who didn’t see the original material (so he/she won’t have any previous info about the characters/settings) .. why is that an issue … for example .. IMO people who saw the original material won’t mind lack of character development too much cause they are already familiar with the characters …. etc etc.

    That or we can consider Re-cap movies a form of fan-service for the fans of the subject material .. or a hook to get new people to watch the “full experience”.

  7. Avatar Solaris says:

    I am pretty much happy this was a recap, as i’ve heard a lot about this hyped serie, but i never wanted to marathon it.
    I guess i have mixed feeling about it now. It’s a nice magical girl show, but, alas, this reminded me too much about Card Captor Sakura wich was a tiny masterpice on its own, so i can’t really compare the two there.
    Well card captor Sakura with much less “magic” and some ultradimensional powered tecno staffs there. I liked how they made some superior technology look like magic. It reminded me of A.C. clarke. Well, it was less “magic” hearing those staff speak in english :P
    I also disliked aerial magical combat, as every magical fight just looked a dumb exchange of different tipe of lasers, with the girls resembling macross airplanes more than witches themselves. But well, that’s just a matter of tastes.
    Luckily, just when i was thinking i was looking at something little different from strike witches (who grabbed Neurois lasers though) the movie jus changed direction to focun on Fate char.
    I heard good things about her before, but i didn’t imagine that child had such a touching story. Now i see why she’s most liked if cmpared even to Nanoha.
    Maybe this is just cause of lacking of building up that a movie can’t showcase, but Nanoha is just too perfect she’s little likeable as a main char. This often happens when the main lead is just too perfect (Touma, anyone?)
    If i’d say who’s the real main char of the show, she’d be Fate.
    So i also heard second serie is better than the first, as it boosted up the plot, and that third serie is somehow pretty different but failed miserably, so i’m anticipating next two movies quite a bit. Anybody knows when they’ll air?

  8. psgels psgels says:

    Solaris: Nanoha being too perfect is indeed the main flaw of this movie. Imagine: most of the first half of the TV-series was actually pretty much Nanoha collecting different stones, with Fate playing a reasonably small role in it. Those parts were really meant to show Nanoha as an ordinary school girl, giving her some flaws, but the movie ended up cutting those away alltogether.

  9. Avatar Psycho says:

    Probably 7arc trying to do what studio Khara do.
    Hoping they will get lot of revenue with this movie.
    I hope they will just make Force into anime. If they can’t make it into series, OVA with 3 months release per episode probably will do.

  10. Avatar invincutable garnet carol tan says:

    nanoha, even in season 1, isnt perfect :X 1st case in point: it took raising heart’s tutorial to get her levelled up to fight fate. 2nd case in point: if you notice the subtle parts when nanoha was combining powers with fate to seal the 7 jewel seeds… the flashback moments showed that she 1. cried and 2. was often left alone. well yup she was once the depressed little girl with no powers to change anything on her own and hence had no direction in life. of course that requires too much background knowledge of nanoha and TRIANGLE HEARTS, knowing that her older brother and older sister are that much damn powerful and nanoha had not picked up any useful skills yet. sadly the movie cuts all that out and only left such a subtle reference (>.

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