Nadia Vol. #07 (of 10) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, February 15, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2002
What They Say
Nadia and Jean have escaped Gargoyle's terrible wrath, but must now survive a battle with nature itself. Along with their fellow shipmates, Marie and King, the two must put all their skills to the test when they find themselves far from modern society.
While Jean attempts to bring a little civilization to their new home, Nadia tries to commune with a nature that's less than friendly in return. Stranded together in the middle of nowhere, their future is uncertain. Will Jean win Nadia's heart? Or will their differences seal their doom?
This volume of Nadia deals completely with the Island Story arc and reminds the viewer that yes, bad anime can happen even with a solid creative team. And it can happen spectacularly bad too.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Being an older show, its stereo track sounds more like a mono one but a good one. Dialogue is definitely center channel based with music making decent use of the left/right speakers, along with the sound effects, to give the show a full forward soundstage feeling. Listening to both tracks, we didn't notice any dropouts or other distortions.
There's two ways to look at the video here. The first is that the transfer itself is definitely good with hardly any macroblocking in nighttime blue skies, no cross coloration and very little jaggies when the camera pans. The other side of the coin is in the source material itself, which has some issues. In the first episodes, there's a sequenec where the characters get a charcoal burn-like look around them for a few seconds and shift back and forward. This happens in a few other areas as well. But as you really pay attention to the animation itself in these episodes you'll see just how subpar things are. You'll find instances where a characters body is moving but the head is stationary, giving the whole scene a truly bizarre look. These episodes just look and feel filler.
You can tell from the cover what to expect with even some of the character designs here looking a little off and the feel its giving off being not quite what the previous six volumes were like. The back cover provides a number of screenshots and a summary of what to expect. Features and production credits are nicely listed and episode numbers and titles are also provided. The insert provides another shot of the cover while the reverse side just provides some boxart for other titles.
The menus follow the simple is best method here, with the main screen being an image of the characters 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.
The only real extra here continues to be the character profiles.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Over the course of the first twenty four episodes, we went from mildly interested to really excited about various parts of it. While there was some slowness in the beginning, partially stemming from having seen only the first couple of episodes repeatedly over the years, the show did grow into something we were genuinely interested in finding more out about. But then came the Island Story arc.
Picking up where things went in the previous volume, Jean, Nadia, Marie and King are all stranded on a sizeable island. They go through various ways of keeping themselves sheltered, fed and with water. But some of these methods cause some trouble. We get something of a 15+ minute tirade from Nadia on the wrongs of eating meat and killing animals for food. We also get a fair amount of her being just a royal pain to even listen to.
There's also an amusing segment where after Nadia eats some rotten food that washed ashore from Gargoyle that Jean goes out to try and find some herbs that will help her get over it. He instead finds a cave filled with... magic mushrooms. The scene is amusing, but the animation for it is just so bloody poor it makes it even funnier, with the spores floating through the air just not moving.
I swear if I see King's nads one more time I'm gonna go ballistic.
The show does manage to rescue itself a slight bit towards the last episode here. During the night, another island mysteriously appears so everyone goes over to check it out. The island is just bizarre in its having lower gravity, people able to run fast and other oddities. After some of the usual weirdness one would expect at this point, the thing that makes a lot of these episodes enjoyable to me returns as Grandis, Hanson and Sanson make their return appearance.
With a good portion of the cast back together and the light hearted nature of Grandis and her boys, things are at least a lot more amusing here through the writing. Far too much of the earlier episodes had tried to do the humor through Saturday morning cartoon techniques like bugged-out eyes and a Scooby Doo plot. The previews for the next episodes though...
After hearing for months just how bad these episodes could be and not really believing people, I have to side with them now. This is almost painful. It's like the kids took over most of the writing and animation duties. It does however make the earlier episodes seem all the more better.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles
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: C-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Nadia, Secret of Blue Water