If you like Nanoha then you might also like…
- Symphogear – Singing and befriending and all around badassery. Plenty of yuri subtext to get you salivating too.
- Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero – Huge scale magic girl fights and a serious look at the price of power. Plenty of yuri hints too, naturally.
- Madoka Magica – You all know this already.
- My HiME – More magic girl shenanigans with some yuri subtext (be warned there is a male love interest). Rather than full on magic girls, here they just have specific weapons and giant monsters to fight for them.
- My Otome – Extremely distant sequel to the above, it’s a more standard magic girl stuff with transforming heroines. There is actual yuri, but mostly kept to the side characters.
- Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya – Intense magic girl action, yuri subtext… You seeing a pattern yet?
Current season recommendations:
- Bikini Warriors – If you’re a fan of RPGs you’ll get a kick out of this show about a group of scantily clad warriors hanging a giant lampshade over various genre tropes.
- Gakkou Gurashi a.k.a School-Live! – A group of girls form a club that involves living at the school. It may seem like a cutesy slice of life show at first but not all is as it appears. Can’t really say more than that, you have to watch it for yourself. It’s a refreshing spin on a genre I’ve long since become bored with (and I don’t mean slice of life).
- Joukamachi no Dandelion a.k.a Castle Town Dandelion – the lives of nine super powered siblings are broadcast to the country to determine which one of them will become the next king. A colourful and fun show sure to resonate with you if you, like me, have a ton of siblings.
- Overlord – A virtual game comes to life as a high ranking player finds himself in a fantasy world as his character: an all powerful skeleton lord. Protagonist is OP as hell but the show is very smart with how he approaches the new world he finds himself in. Add in a group of super loyal now sentient NPCs and you’re in for a good time fit for a demon king!
- Rokka no Yuusha a.k.a Braves of the Six Flowers – Six heroes are chosen to save the world… But why did seven show up!? Starts off with a standard fantasy set up, but it adds a mystery element to really hook you. The characters are great and their interactions engaging. Few shows can have an episode with 20 minutes of nothing but talking and keep its claws in you the whole time.
- Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist – In a world ruled by prudes who stamp out any kind of sexuality only the ero-terrorist group SOX can bring back toilet humour for all! Honestly as a comedy I don’t find it that funny, however the social commentary regarding how harmful it is to repress and control sexuality keeps my interest. If we keep giving in to those helicopter parents who flip out over every little thing this is the future that could await us.
- Symphogear GX – If you like Nanoha, you’ll love Symphogear. Non-standard magical girl action with befriending and yuri subtext and singing! I actually prefer it over Nanoha.
I’ll list a few anime that I’m watching on the current season. Some would be the same as Setsuna but with a different point of view that may add the anime into your interest? What about that?
- Symphogear GX – If you liked Nanoha (or Fate, depends), you’d love this series (it’s the third season). Somewhat similar to Nanoha it touches upon relics (although Symphogear is based on real relics from Mythologies). I asked if you liked Fate because her seiyuu Mizuki Nana, is in this show. Also singing (and a land of subtext Yuri and OTPs everywhere).
- Shimoseka/Shimoneta – Shimoneta or sex jokes is a great anime with a lot of great… well, sex jokes. It gets worse (❛ᴗ❛人)☆
- Gakkou Gurashi / School-Live! – If you liked Highschool of the Dead, forget it and watch this anime. Tons of “slice of life” I swear. Or “sliced life” depends.
- Castle Town Dandelion – Other than the OP being sang by YuiKaori (Hikari and Kanade respectively in the anime itself) and the ED being sang by Ogura Yui (Hikari), it’s a great comedy / school life / show. It’s very well written and is very up to par with the quality of the manga. Very recommended if you love light hearted shows.
- Himouto! Umaru-chan – if you liked OreImo and hated Kirino, then this may feel the same to you, so you can watch it if you want life frustrations (like who has gotten enough of that anyway). On another note, it has quite a few subtext and has good comedy, I recommend it for both the comedy and the frustrations.
- Million Doll – A story about a popular blogger who makes rising idols insta-popular. This show is a short (10min/ep), but it depicts the 2.5D and 3D fandom very well. So if you’re part of it and/or curious about it, you should watch this.
- Aikatsu! – Idols, idols, idols. Airs all year round! (Currently it’s on Season 3, with 145 episodes out.) It’s based off the arcade game Data Carddass Aikatsu!
My recommendations are more along the lines of old classics and hidden gems you might have missed. I’ve filtered these down to just the ones that might still resonate with fans of Nanoha.
- Uta~Kata – Want to see one of the first truly dark magical girl anime? This one beat them all to the punch. A young girl is given magic to use at her own discretion. But not all is as it seems, like looking into a broken mirror.
- Strawberry Panic – Ever wonder what it would be like if a fanfic written by a multitude of yuri fangirls ever got converted into a somewhat cohesive story? This anime set the bar for yuri overload for years to come. It’s an all girl boarding school where everyone is gay. What could go wrong?
- Magic Knight Rayearth – Among the last of a generation of shows animated on old celulose. Three girls from different schools are transported to a magical world and tasked with saving it. At times it feels like you’re watching a tabletop RPG in action. It played to the “magical warrior” trope with strong and memorable characters.
- Re Cutie Honey – Cutie Honey was the first female heroine to use transformations as a superpower, paving the way for the magical girls to come. This 3 episode OVA is a retelling of her origin story with modern animation and storytelling with just enough of the 70’s cheese that helped shape its identity.
- Puni Puni Poemi – Made by the same minds that created Excel Saga, this 2 episode gem brings one of the most insane magical girl parodies I’ve ever seen. It’s like the entire show is on a sugar rush. It’s one to watch with friends as everyone keels over in laughter and tries to make sense of what just happened.
No Simoun on that list? It’s a lot more yuri than most listed series. And I like Nanoha franchise a lot (though my favourites are generally not what most fans like) but Symphogear S1 is in top 20 if not top 10 of the worst stuff I have forced myself to finish and going by comments elsewhere the following two seasons only got worse.
Haven’t seen Simoun so I can’t comment, but isn’t that more of a mecha show? Seeing as how Nanoha is a magic girl show we kept to choices along those lines.
First season of Symphogear isn’t the greatest but it was a passion project and the fun the people working on it were having was infectuous. Subsequent seasons got more of a budget and have kept getting better.
Simoun certainly isn’t mecha, it’s.. Simoun. On the other hand Nanoha actually kinda is mecha, see this Nanoha review for why: http://assessingtheanime.blogspot.com/2010/08/number-1-nanoha-takamachi.html
That was a wonderful write up there. And yeah, I think any fan of Nanoha that is aware of the styles and tropes of Mecha anime can see where some inspiration was drawn from. And it turned out all the better for it.
Oh, and then there’s also http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ShoutOut/LyricalNanoha (Gundam mentioned 9 times!) and somewhere else (possibly another TV Tropes article) I read that Nanoha’s color scheme actually was “borrowed” from Gundam as a joke back when they were making something along the lines of this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_RBghAfiW8 (note the different battle dress and no gun-staff) and realising that a CCS rip-off in 2001 is not gonna fly they ended up writing the combat scenes also as if she was a Gundam which in turn, I dare guess, made Nanoha actually a bit macho because lead Gundam pilots are always male.
Correction, the first Nanoha series aired in 2004 not 2001.
It’s nice to see that Uta-Kata is not forgotten !
I can’t find any english translations.