Lyrical Nanoha As: Pedo fare masquerading as mahou shoujo?

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,

Unfortunately, I’m not a pedophile.”

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.


I was strongly dissuaded from getting this Fate figure because “she was too young”. I forgot to ask too young for what

(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)

47 thoughts on “Lyrical Nanoha As: Pedo fare masquerading as mahou shoujo?

  1. She’s too young to be ogled in that way, of course. I thought you’d have known that. ;)

    Haruhi resists stereotyping because they both play to the stereotype very effectively (every one of the characters in the series is of a ‘standard’ character-type: Yuki as the Mysterious Girl, Mikuru as the Busty Submissive, Itsuki as the Almost-Certainly-Gay-Confidant, Kyon’s two friends as the nerdy loser males who make the main character look good, Tsuruya as the Genki Cute Girl Who Really Doesn’t Get Much Airtime, Kyon’s imoutu as the Cute One, and Haruhi as the Tsundere)… and yet they tend to break those stereotypes now and again, just to annoy people. It also helps that the obviously loli content of the show isn’t used as a target for anyone’s attraction, unlike SOME series I could name (Fate/Stay Night had Ilya glomping Shirou in his futon, then appearing naked later on).

    Mahou Shoujo series aren’t ones I like myself – they seem to play to the first group you named the most, and I know most people like to think they’ve outgrown that phase pretty quickly… although Cardcaptor Sakura seems to keep its place in many fanboys’ hearts because of both the costume changes, as well as the slightly deeper relationships between the characters.

  2. Uh alot of things are an acquired taste and Nanoha is really one of them.

    It is only after years of conditioning that people would find Nanoha appealing. It is the same conditioning that makes Naruto/DBZ repulsive to harcore anime fans yet appeals to the masses.

  3. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (A’s) … is a “magical girls show” for Guys! Enjoy it and move on :)

  4. I was strongly against watching the Nanoha series at first, because of the ‘Mahou Shoujo’ tag. All my prior experience with Mahou Shoujo anime has been… nauseating, to put it mildly. Not because they were terrible, oh no; it was just that… I do not think I was their intended audience. They could hold my interest during the battle scenes, because no matter how pink it is, action is action. ;) During the sickly sweet scenes however… I could feel diabetic. I mean… power of friendship winning over everything and such. Not to mention that most Mahou Shoujo are pretty formulaic, so there is this terrible sense of Deja’Vu everytime you watch one( most of the time).

    My interest in Nanoha started when I encountered some comments made by Jason Miao( of Anime on My Mind) in his archives. That was when I thought, okay, it has some cool-looking scenes, but it was still not enough to nudge me into watching it. Then I started noticing several Nanoha-related avatars and signatures appearing on AnimeSuki. That was when I thought to myself, okay, several GUYS found it interesting enough to declare their love for it. This was important to me, because it was an indication that it could appeal to enough males that some of them would make avatars. Still not enough though. I was still pretty much ho-hum about the whole thing. Nanoha however, did make it to my ‘May Watch in the Foreseeable Future’ list by that point.

    The… trigger point was probably the realisation of Vita’s existence and her relation to the Nanoha series. I had seen many, many Vita avatars and signatures, and I had always been interested in knowing which anime series she belonged to. She had the eyes… the eyes I always look out for in any anime. When I discovered that Vita was from Nanoha, that was the moment of epiphany. I had to watch Nanoha now to see her eyes( Vita’s, not Nanoha’s).

    And so I plunged into the first season, and was sorely disappointed. Not only was there no Vita, there was an absurd lack of tension in the latter half of the season. Precia was no worthy villian, and the ‘torture scenes’ were SO overdramatic, that it lost its’ impact. In literature, you need to entrap the audience into immersing him/herself into the scene, so that there is proper pseudo-self-insertion/empathy. The torture in Nanoha however, was so overdone, that it FAILED to entrap me into immersion. Due to this, I was more or less like, “Oh please, give me a break.”

    Thankfully, the first season still had its’ merits. There was cute. You cannot have a proper Mahou Shoujo without cute. That would be like a Shounen Action with no shouting. :P The giant kitten, the many SD-faces of Yuuno and Nanoha, etc… I also found it endearing that Nanoha had a policy of shooting people if they do not want to listen to her… *LOL* Honestly, she is probably the scariest one out of the whole group. :P

    The second season however, was a different story. :) I wrote a few words about it at Kurogane’s animeblog, and if anybody is interested, you can continue to read about it via the following link.

    Thoughts on the Nanoha Series

    In the end, I enjoyed the series for what it is. I look forward to any possible future seasons.
    ~~~~ ~~~~

    One ‘Theory’ That I Like:
    —- —- —- —-

    ..) Raging Heart is a bloodthristy weapon. It is always demanding Nanoha to shoot more, shoot bigger, shoot everything. Everytime Nanoha blows somebody out of the sky, and she goes ‘Oops’, I wonder who is more crazy, the weapon or the master?
    ~~~~ ~~~~



  5. Seriously, Nanoha is like the Flood. Almost every “center-fold” poster in Megami is about Nanoha. Usually front and back. I finally broke down and hung up grown-up Fate-chan, but there’s just no end to it.

  6. Girls don’t watch that moe-fest. Nanoha is a moe-anime so that sappiness is part of its appeal, it’s innocent charm if you will. Going by traditional male tastes teh cuteness of things like Magical Pokan and Kokoro Library would be considered the pinnacle of gay. Yet here we are, guys watching lolimoe girls act cute. Granted Nanoha isn’t as shallow, but the fact Megami pimps Nanoha to no end tells me who the intended audience really is for.

    And no I am not buying that figurine, Nanoha isn’t quite my cup of tea anyways.

  7. Maybe you said this and I just missed it, but the thing about Nanoha which many people just don’t GET at first is that its NOT AIMED AT GIRLS.

    Nanoha is a SHONEN series, it is aimed squarely at a male demographic.

    Essentially, its a Gundam series with the giant robots replaced by overpowered loli’s.

  8. Fencedude is pretty close (though I too also initially thought this was primarily a girl’s show which simply echoed the increasing independence of girls… I still think its a good show for girls).

    Its a show about nine year old girls with enough firepower to liquify continents and blow holes through planets. If you aren’t frightened by that you should be :) :) :)

    I saw zip loli/pedo about the show and have become convinced that people find perversion where they want to. Otherwise people aren’t even going to be able to remark a young girl is cute without being burned at the stake… o wait they already do that.

  9. The Stripey Seal of approval makes me curious and apprehensive at the same time. Still I think I have it in the depths of my anime for deployment hard drives. I might as well join you (and many others) on thine journey to the River Styx to get between Scylla and Charbidis in explaining it all. My BT is temporarily severed while I am here any ways (until September, maybe…) the lack of anime is driving me nuts along with the daily blunder of government procurement. My friends with BT are gone for vacation leaving me in a dry spell. Besides I am a mahou shoujo junkie of the days of yore when Sailor Moon had its heyday, and old habits die hard. Yayoi, eh? So far Princess Princess is the only thing on my tally and I am sure that my pals threw some more yayoi for a good laugh.

    So where is Zyl and his 3koma?

  10. You can no longer judge anime from what it seems to be. Years ago, Magical Pokan would’ve seemed to be for girls. Taimahou Tonge would be for girls. Gundam Seed would be for guys. Ouran would be for girls.

    But audiences have evolved or mutated. I find myself watching PPGZ in the hope of finding it good. I was sorely mistaken but surely that was the normal reaction. Which 20 year old healthy male watches girly kids’ cartoons?

  11. I try watching it a while back but couldn’t get through ep3.

    However since strupy is putting his seal on it with his sis-con and loli-con leaning. I should give it another shot. Besides all those Dark Nanoha sigs i seen is making me curiosite.

  12. Meh. I never really got into Nanoha ^^. On the other hand, I’ve just discovered the new series Kamisama Kazoku. I’m getting the first 5 episodes right now, but the setting seems sort of like a cross between The Law of Ueki and SHUFFLE!, if that gives you any idea at all. We’ll see how it turns out when I actually watch it.

  13. Ok… revise my assessment of the series to toss in the light-hearted ecchi fun of Amaenaideyo.

  14. I never really understood why Nanoha is so special. I watched second season and I guess it’s ok series if you want some bad ass action with lolis. Many mahou shoujo that are targeted toward girls aren’t about action at all, more like about girls themselves and action is just necessary evil to keep anime moving. For me that was probably reason for lack of any major impact, way too little girly stuff.

    tj_han86: How any 20 year old healthy male can watch shounen shows? =)

  15. About the Shoujo-Shojo spelling difference thing, wouldn’t that mean that the American publishers have already screwed things up big-time by calling their manga magazines Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat? ^^;

    “First Year” Jump and “Virgin” Beat indeed. ^^;

  16. There are so many words that are read the same in Japanese, it’s not significant.

    For example, the watch maker SEIKO, can be read by n00bs as SEIKOU, which is to have sex.

  17. I never really understood why Nanoha is so special. I watched second season and I guess it

    1. i don’t get why nanoha is so great either? i mean while i did enjoy the series so things didn’t make sense like the sci-fi element? why is something like that in a show about girls battling each other? i wouldn’t mind if it was just computer based weaponry but yeah also the lack of screentime for nanoha’s friends and family. To me Nanoha was a little unrealistic for a nine year old because someone that young doesn’t have depression about lacking a purpose in life and she mastered her powers too quickly. Sakura kniomoto is much more realistic portrayal of a child because despite the fact that she has magical powers she still acts like a kid and does kid like things like hanging out with her friends, helping her family, and going on clss trips and she took her time when it came to her learning about the cards and what was needed to capture them.

      1. CCS is also THE standard for lolicon shows. You are not a true lolicon until you have done CCS.

        Nanoha and the 2nd A’ss season were good. You might say the appeal is the equivalent of CCS meets Gundam. Otakufest.

  18. most magical girls save the day with the power of love. nanoha saves the day with superior firepower. >:D
    this alone puts her a cut above the rest.

  19. Thanks all for the insights. :) I think we pretty much established (from the construct of the series and MEGAMI magazines) that Nanoha’s aimed at guys despite the mahou shoujo tag. And while they employ really young girls, the supposedly loli subtext exist only in the minds of those who wants to see it. I sometimes wonder about the size of this group and if it was large enough for the studio to insert subliminal undertones which would escape the typical upstanding anime citizen but grant loli-induced highs to these special ‘interest’ groups to garner their viewship. :P

    DrmChsr0: My siscon radar didn’t pick up any traces in the 2 seasons. But come 3rd season (pls let there be one!), I want to hear Fate call Chrono, “Nii-san”…. The fact that they’re not blood related only serves to heighten the siscon-vibes. :)

    yuribou: No.. thank you instead for such a loving post on Nanoha.. :P Thanks also to Enz for highlighting it. :)

    XelloS^_- / Icteridae : Do give it a 2nd chance if you will. Should the 1st season stifle your interest, skip it and proceed to Season 2 where the real meat is. :)

    tj_han86: LOL! seikou… another word in my arsenal for my Japan trip in the far far far future…

    Crusader: Zyl’s on it, I’m sure. Have probably given him enough working material to get me busted for loli-activities in my country :)

  20. Nanoha is the combination of lolimoe and super robot anime with triple the plot development of both combined.

    I think its biggest audience would be older guys that have exhausted both of those traditional genres and is looking for something that has the same appeal but is not boring and predictable. It combines the best of both genres, the fast paced action in interesting fights and female sensibilities added to hotbloodness. It is also fun and not so “serious-serious” that appeals to people that have watched alot of anime. It is like a complete anime diet combined into one show!

    This is like the ultimate anime for the group of people that collects MS-girl pictures. The cartridge system is t3h best innovation in the mahou shoujo genre ever, instantly converting vague sprituality into down to earth mechanical joy while preserving the best part of magical cuteness. A giant robot transformation sequence is not so different from a magical girl’s one in anycase. The usual turn off factor for mahou shoujo for guys is this fluffy dreamy (and stupid) substance of young girls, where nanoha with “touhoufuhai school of communication” (aka beat them up till they get it) does not fall into. The entire cast, in fact, are appealing in different ways. (from the cool to the funny to the moe)

    The balance of moe, hotbloodness, drama, humor, romantic quesi-tension means nanoha As= THE WIN!

    *P.S* I want a Hayate-chan figure

    side note: while we aren’t looking, a large subsegment of shounen have been stolen by the fangirls. The reverse harem casts of many current shounen shows make me wonder their intended audience….. The sad truth is that Nanoha outmatches most comtemparory traditional shounen in its own game. (badass characters (as opposed to lame indecisive bishi-boi), decisive and dynamic action, progressive plot, sheer visual beauty)

  21. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s summarised in three minutes. ;) WARNING, do not watch if you do not want to be spoiled on the ending.

    Lyrical on Fire

    The following YouTube clip is for those who say that the Nanoha girls are giant mechas masquerading as little girls. ;)

    Of Nanoha & Gundams


  22. I am disappointed. Stripey hasn’t watched Nanoha? Nanoha is like the show that all otakus need to watch, esp. if you’re qualified of already having a fetish for a mo

  23. Somehow, the producers are huge fans of the Super Robot Wars series. I mean, three ultimate weapon forms can be traced to SRW games… And as Stephen Wang said, A’s is a super robot anime in disguise…

    Hot blooded lolis FTW.

  24. And before I forget, my favourite Nanoha video from youtube.

    Super Lyrical Wars: Original Generation OP (Meikyuu no Prisoner by JAM Project)

    And an honourable mention. The Melancholy of Nanoha Takomachi

  25. Stephen Wang: Wonderfully, wonderfully said. I’m sure that Hayate figure is on the drawing board somewhere in Japan. Keep our fingers crossed! :P

    Skane: I have started to pimp Nanoha by showing them Lyrical on Fire. And the coordinated choreography for “Of Nanoha and Gundam” is impeccable! Thanks for highlighting them

    Kurogane: Haha! I camped out for haruhi too! Mondays for the last 3 months has been erm awfully unproductive for me :P Actually I have seen Nanoha. 15 yr old Fate and Hayate FTW! :)

    Bridge Bunny: Thanks for the Nanohiism clip. :) Good to see nanoha fans are also haruhi fans. :) The Super lyrical wars clips seems to be a mislink. Could you post it again? Thanks!

  26. LOL! I’m so envious. Can give us your thought when you are done. Enjoy! :)

  27. I am currently halfway through nanoha A. Here is a quick observations: For 3rd grader both Nanoha and Fate are certainly well develope. Fate form the transformation looks to be a bit more develope then Nanoha.

    PS. I am not a lolicon.

  28. I think we’ve established that a lot of anime designers are totally unfamiliar with female anatomy at any age :) much less 9 yr olds. Their character designs strike me more as 12 yr olds than 9 yr olds…. Fate even a bit older (13-14).

    Moving on… that Fate figure is just fantastic looking… I’ve got it on pre-order as well as the other one (which I may just leave in the box and resell).

  29. Xellos-_^ : I sometimes wonder if it’s the Japanese diet. :P Too much growth hormones injected into their poultry? No comments on your disclaimer though. :P Just don’t quote this blog when the Mounties kick down your door. :)

    crimson: LOL! Well, for myself, even in anime, I set some credibility boundaries, subject to the context of the series. Anytime my brain fuses, I drop the series so that I have more good years of anime-viewing. You take care there, bro. :)

    vexx: Hmmm actually I believe it is intentional in order to cater to niche preferences or create hooks for special interest groups to stick with the series. And wow! You pre-ordered both Fate figures from Alter and Goodsmile?

    Bridge Bunny: Thanks for the highlight. I haven’t seen super robot wars though. :)

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