UPADATE Sep 4/09 this post is under revision!
If you asked me to name an anime I truly and utterly hated, my immediate response would probably be ‘Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha.’ I found the original series to be utterly horrible in every way, in spite of it being the work of my favorite director, Akiyuki Shinbo. I’d heard from a number of people that Nanoha A’s was much better and would justify the first season. To my surprise, it went above and beyond mere justification and was in fact one of the outright best anime I’ve seen in a long time. I’d go so far as to call it a masterpiece.