Nadia Vol. #02 (of 10) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2001



What They Say
The World's Fair, Paris, 1889: a young inventor crosses paths with an enigmatic girl and her pet lion.

Suddenly they find themselves pursued by a villainous trio intent upon stealing the magical Blue Water. Thus begins an epic adventure inspired by Jules Verne's masterpiece 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Join Nadia and Jean as they travel the high seas in search of Nadia's homeland and her past, their only clue the mysterious jewel Nadia wears.

Can they unravel the Secret of the Blue Water before it is too late?

Discover Nadia, Secret of Blue Water, the animated series beloved by millions, and find out for yourself!

The Review!
While the first volume of Nadia was something that didn't get us jumping up and down in our seats, it did do a good job of putting into place the setting and the general feel of the show. The second volume takes all of that, throws in some surprising new situations, and provides an arc that feels like it belongs at the end of a series as opposed to the beginning. We're intrigued.

Audio:
For the purpose of our primary review, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Throughout the track, which is essentially a stereo mix, dialogue was clean and clear and the music and effects sounded pretty much on target. There's not much in the way of directionality, but the whole front soundstage works pretty well with the varying number of locations used throughout the show. While it's not a huge standout, it's a solid sounding track.

Video:
This transfer pretty much follows in the steps of the first volume as well. Colors are pretty good looking, the blues hold up fairly well, with most of the above-water scenes looking very good. There's a lot more land bound and darker sequences this time around, and they come across just as nice. There's about the same level of minor nicks and scratches on the source material, and color banding is very minimal. There were less animation related problems visible this time around, and if it wasn't for the nicks and scratches, this would probably rate even higher. Some of the colors just look great though, such as Grandis' red hair early on when they've come ashore on the island.

Packaging:
Considering how much I enjoyed the style of the first cover, it's little surprise that this one is just as well liked, if not more for its darker style and the image of Nadia on the Y-cross. Even Grandis looks great here. The back cover provides a number of great shots of animation and a couple of the menus, lists all the features in a good sized font and gives a brief summary of the episodes as well as listing their episode numbers and titles. If it wasn't for the cover background being so busy, it'd rate higher since we had a slightly more difficult time reading the text. The insert is another shot of the front cover while the reverse side is box art for other shows coming out.

Menus:
The menus follow the simple is best method here, with the main screen being an image of four lower characters from the front cover while the opening song plays along. Everything's laid out in a simple and straightforward manner and the access times are pretty quick. We had no problems at all with this layout.

Extras:
The extras of interest here for me are the textless openings and endings, which look great. Including these on the first volume is always a big plus since we generally want to see them clean after watching the show. ADV has also included the collection of promotional trailers they made for the show and a quick preview of volume three.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having his aircraft repaired and basically being told to get along, Jean and Nadia streak away from the Nautilus and continue their journey. As they go along, they come across an island where Nadia recommends that they set down to recover, as her faith in the flying craft isn't exactly rock solid at this point. Jean proves his piloting skills by trashing his aircraft and throwing everyone all over the place.

Nadia, Jean and King recover and head off to find shelter and to figure out just where they are. While exploring, they come across a family laying the road, the parents shot and the child either asleep or unconscious under them. When the young girl, Marie, is awakened, they eventually learn that there's something definitely wrong on this island. Her parents were fleeing from the village, but were gunned down by some masked men.

Marie is accepted into the small group, as Nadia tries to reassure her that her parents aren't dead but are just away. The group starts to bond, but are found out by the masked men and are attacked during the night. The group hides themselves off in the island interior, and tries to figure out exactly what's going on.

It's around this time that we also come across Grandis and her two guys, who've also found themselves stranded on this island. Being inept at times helps, and they're quickly captured by the secretive masked men, who never remove their masks. They're interviewed by the leader of the men on the island inside the castle, which is at the top of a crater. Inside the crater is a sizeable port city designed for mysterious purposes, and is definitely ahead of its time from the rest of the world in 1889.

As luck would have it, Nadia, King and Marie end up in the hands of the evil mysterious men, who we learn are bent on world domination. They're also the enemy of the nice folks we met in the Nautilus in the prior disc. Jean hooks up with Grandis and her gang and they all head off to try and rescue Nadia (and thereby the Blue Water crystal), as well as deal with a variety of subplots that come along the way.

There's quite a bit of material in these four episodes, and as mentioned above, material that's generally used at the end of the series, such as when the enemy base is discovered, or the incredible power that the enemy holds. The rescue attempts feel just like a final arc and the action is well done. There's a lot of mysteries that are brought to the fore here with these mysterious hooded men, about almost all of which I didn't include here so as to not spoil it. The show is definitely growing on me with these four episodes and I'm looking forward to seeing how they build on all this new information and progress. Recommended.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Textless Ending,Nadia Trailers (ADV),Vol. #3 Preview

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Nadia, Secret of Blue Water