12 Days of Christmas Anime, Day 12: Nanoha A’s

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, especially its second season A’s, is one of my favorite anime, and just hit its 10 year anniversary. At the least, it’s probably the anime I’ve rewatched the most number of times. The climax of the second season takes place on Christmas Eve, as the protagonists Nanoha and Fate engage in a final battle against the Book of Darkness. Among other plot revelations, the real predicament Nanoha encounters is not how to defeat her opponent, it is how to save her opponent (and this is a recurring theme throughout the series). The Book of Darkness was originally called the Tome of the Night Sky, but at some point in time, its name and purpose were forcibly changed for malicious goals. Even so, the conscious entity known as the Book of Darkness is aware of this change. Unfortunately, she believes there is nothing that can be done to stop herself from going berserk. Therefore, Nanoha desires to save and redeem her. Although the Book of Darkness has already given up on herself, Nanoha doesn’t.

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In the same way, there may be times in your life that you feel you have fallen too far; you cannot be saved. However, God does not give up on you. He will continue to reach out to you until you respond. This Christmas, remember that God sacrificed his Son Jesus Christ at the cross to save all of us. No matter how far you’ve strayed from the right path, He is by your side, waiting for you to accept His help, love, and salvation.

Meanwhile, the Book of Darkness is having an inward conversation with its master Hayate, who has been absorbed by it. Although being its master is also the source of much of Hayate’s suffering and pain, she is still able to sympathize with the Book’s sadness as well. As the master, Hayate temporarily overrides the berserk program to help Nanoha. Although the Book of Darkness feels there is no hope, Hayate grants her a new name: Reinforce, and the two are separated from the malicious program.

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When God chooses people to do His work in the Bible, it often comes with granting them a new name. Oftentimes these people feel no hope in themselves, that there is no reason to choose them. However, as if to reinforce the idea that they are capable of what He wants, God grants them a new name, usually with a specific meaning. Hayate bestows a name which means the opposite of what the Book of Darkness believes itself to be: one who supports and blesses others. It is clear that names hold more meaning to God than a way to call someone by,  and when it comes to the meaning of names, remember that Christmas is all about the birth and name of Jesus, who saved us from sins.

And they will call him Immanuel – which means ‘God with us.’

Merry Christmas everyone!

Kaze

Kaze is a graduate from the University of Tokyo who currently works on developing gene therapies for genetic diseases. He is a Nanatard since 2009 and mostly spends his time reading VNs and studying Japanese. Strangely enough, also a devout Christian.

3 thoughts on “12 Days of Christmas Anime, Day 12: Nanoha A’s

  1. Yikes! I love the show and the season in particular, but I still missed some of those parallels.

    Hayate renaming Reinforce is memorable for being the moment when she truly takes possession of the Tome, moving from passively accepting the events around her to actively taking charge of her destiny. But this could also be seen as yet another Bible parallel, where God is a Jealous God and he actively desires to possess His believers. Of course, His jealousy is one of love, and He only takes what is offered to Him. In the end, just like the Yagami household, the Lord and the Church are one big family.

    In this vein, the ultimate conclusion of this season is one of hope, despite the tears. No human can be truly free of their sinful nature as long as they walk this earth, just like Reinforce could not be rid of the corrupted parts of her programming. But believers are promised a second life in their rebirth through Christ. And likewise, the spirit of Reinforce lives on, reborn through Hayate as Rein Zwei, now free of her burden.

    1. Yes! The renaming of Reinforce is just such a great scene in general. You could even go further with how Hayate revives all the knights, as they are reborn under her possession. I think Nanoha as a whole is largely about a second life despite whatever sins they have committed in the past, but I can see A’s being the best example, with a literal rebirth of Reinforce.

      1. The theme does come up from the very beginning. Fate’s mother, one of the very few casualties this series has produced, ultimately only falls because she chooses to refuse the outstretched hand offering her another chance at the very end.

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