Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is definitely one such anime. Aside from the single greatest hunk of trash ever made -- I'm pointing at Suzuka here -- it isn't complete devil spawn, but it most certainly ranks in the top "Worst Anime" I've seen this year.
It isn't any surprise to know that Nanoha is actually a spin-off of a series of H-games and OVAs called Triangle Heart, in which Nanoha Takamachi plays a reletively average role. The anime was produced by Seven Arcs, which isn't any big shock considering they are also responsible for shows like "White Album" and the highly sexualized "Sekirei".
The premise of the series is obviously a complete rip-off of almost every other magical girl title released in Japan, and the characters are about as compelling as a sack full of dry, once wet, and deformed cardboard.
The plot is also very familiar, reminding me of Cardcaptor Sakura mixed with a little bit of Sailor Moon; but I'll explain why a bit later on. It's not to say that the plot doesn't have good potential, it's just that combined with the characters, and the story progression, it stalls in too many places.
The story of Nanoha revolves around middle-school girl Nanoha, and inter-dimensional traveler shapeshifting mage Yuno, who while in his own world accidentally let loose some powerful artifacts called "Jewel Seeds" which just so happened to come to Earth and start making a bother of themselves.
It's not very clear if the roman numeric gems are cognitive or not, but they manifest and start taking names, and conveniently start appearing one by one . Yuno being something of a better-than average magical boy, does his best but gets torn up, and summons the help of the first person who can hear his telepathic plea for assistance.
Now as soon as Nanoha arrives on the scene Yuno has exhausted his magic and becomes some sort of talking ferret, enter the Cardcaptor rip off of Kero, along with the premise of needing to capture something before the world is wrecked -- and you get the idea.
For the next several episodes it's pretty much business as usual, and Nanoha and ferret companion take on the daunting task of capturing all the Jewel Seeds. The transformation sequence is really un-necessary, and is rather embarrassing to watch, since Nanoha is reduced to a naked Barbie doll body in each one as she gets stripped and re-clothed with her battle costume. Insert face-palm here.
After about half of the series, there appears the token antagonist named Fate, along with Dog-girl familiar-slash-sidekick "Arf"; no, I'm not making that up, a Dog-girl named Arf, they should have just named her Woof!
So the first thing the two middle school girls do is fight. Yup, Fate is evil, and wants to collect the Jewel Seeds for her wicked cruel abusive mother Precia, and Nanoha just wants everyone to get along, and sure enough, she gets her pip-squeak ass handed to her. Jump ahead a few more episodes, they meet and fight, and Nanoha gets beaten. Jump ahead again -- they meet and fight, and after a while you get the feeling that it's going to be a long and bumpy ride.
Now I'm not trying to imply that Nanoha can't handle her own against Fate, but all her "I just want to be friends" chanting repeatedly makes her annoying and usually a sitting duck, for Fate's attacks. So for a good portion of this anime, you just sit and groan internally over the brutal treatment of Fate by her mother -- which includes S&M style beatings -- and the fact that Fate wants to get the Jewel Seeds for her, and the fact that Nanoha is losing her own friends to all her secret-keeping ways. Dear Lord, this show is an out right mess.
It gets further complicated when the "Time Space Administration Bureau" shows up and FINALLY breaks up Nanoha and Fate from wrecking the fabric of the cosmos with their magical tug-of-war over the seeds, and then she and Yuno get recruited by them to save the universe or some nonsense by helping them to officially collect the Jewel Seeds.
What started out as a cute and entertaining magical-girl show, quickly went sour very fast. It has too many gaps in the plot, not enough elaboration on the secondary characters, and things that -- were they added or expanded upon -- would have made it way more rounded of a story altogether.
In short, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha isn't just a bad series, it's a bad concept from start to finish. It isn't entertaining in the least, and has way too many slow moments that could be better spent offering the viewers anything other than what they are getting.
It seems that in their attempt to cash in on the Cardcaptor Sakura fanfare the creators of Nanoha failed to realize that Sakura & Co. had an equal balance of drama, comedy and cute. Nanoha has none of that, while crammed into a meager 13 episodes. It's no wonder the series seems convoluted and strangely warped by its own premise.
I can't say that I would recommend this show to anyone, as it only makes me regret having spent the cash for it.
Bottom line; this show is pointless, and accomplishes nothing. The only people that would really like this show are the ones that just have a pre-teen fetish and enjoy watching the transformation sequences; because it can't be because of the story or plot, or characters themselves.
Avoid this one at all costs.