MS Lyrical Nanoha A has been on my mind a lot lately. And no, it’s not because I’m lowering the age limit for my anime fetishings (as some would believe) but because of my continual failure to pimp the series to non-anime-watching peers. Although generally assured by its slick animation and my promise of a neat coherent story, the delicious offering of Nanoha to friends would usually be met with resistance via this response or its variant,
Let me state that much as this entry has a provocative title, it’s by no means representative of my views of Nanoha. I hold Nanoha in the highest esteem and believe its fans have great taste in entertainment without having to be lolicons. But still, my peers’ responses prompted my ponderings over the series’ intended audience.
My personal exposure to mahou shoujo is rather limited. (Forgive me if I am making gross sweeping over-generalisations) But my paltry understanding of this genre does inform me that it’s targeted at young girls and is usually imbued with sugary fluff, innocent romance and transformations scenes to pander to young girls’ budding love for fashion or their desire to become sizzling young women. However, none of these were Nanoha’s strengths. The romance element was miserly and its sugary coat, thin. The series was more about kick-ass fights and cool battle stances which appealed typically to males. Thus, given my stunted knowledge of anime genres and a bigoted perspective of viewer-profiles, I narrowed down to 2 possible groups the show was possibly aimed at.
1) Young girls who have evolved beyond their traditional taste for classical mahou shoujo and enjoy a slice of action more than a mere weekly cosfest.
2) Action buffs (usually male) who are tired of annoying boy-brats in never-ending fillers and prefer young girls to play the role now with a mahou shoujo twist.
Much as I’m skeptical of Group 1′s existence, there could a phenomenal surge of young Japanese girls into racing toy-cars more than dolls which we don’t know about. Group 2 just makes me wonder if it’s a prelude to mild loliconism.
Ah now I can blame Naruto for it
Personally, the projected viewer profiles doesn’t quite corroborate well with the genre-tag the series was carrying. But remembering the very excellent Suzumiya Haruhi which resisted genre typecasting, I should also cast aside my set mentality on anime genres and the perceived viewer-demographics. This would probably remove some inner barriers for me to sample a wider spread of animated productions for a more balanced anime diet. Now to convince my friends Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha As is a mahou shoujo for boys and you don’t have to be lolicon to enjoy it. (Although the loveliness of Hayate and Fate could potentially make you one.) I’m also picking up a yaoi series next.
(PS: Since we are on the topic of shoujo. I just wanted to highlight that shoujo does not equate shojo. Shoujo (??) means young girl. Shojo (??) means virgin. While shoujos are usually shojos, being a shojo doesn’t make one shoujo. So yes, the U is important. Try not to skimp on it in a pickup line on the Japanese IRC. :P)