Nadia Vol. #08 (of 10) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Sunday, March 24, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002



What They Say
Nadia, Jean, and the rest of the Nautilus have gathered together on a beautiful, yet mysterious island in the South Pacific. However, this tropical paradise turns out to be anything but - while the children try to find a way off the island, the adults are busy bickering amongst themselves.

And when Nadia and Jean venture deep into the heart of the island, their entire world is turned upside down. Now, it's a race against time to get off the island before disaster strikes and destiny claims an innocent life. What will Nadia learn of her past, and what effect will it have on her friends and shipmates? It's a thrilling adventure for the whole family as Nadia continues!

The Review!
This installment of Nadia is something of a mixed bag, but it at least starts to get things moving beyond what we’ve had before with the Island episodes. There’s still some character stupidity, but there’s progress to be made back to the real storyline.

Audio:
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.

Video:
The transfer here is about on par for the series so far, and definitely avoids some of the animation troubles that plagued the previous volume. The animation starts to pick back up here again. Colors look about the same, though in some scenes you can see the paint strokes such as Nadia’s hair in the first episode. Cross coloration is pretty minimal again as well as jaggies. There’s still some dirt and scratches in a few places, but otherwise things look decent.

Packaging:
While the overall design continues with this volume, we get a nicer image this time around with Nadia communing with her crystal while wearing what appears to be a Gargoyle outfit. It’s a good image and gives hope that the storyline picks up again here. The back cover shows off a few animation shots as well as a good summary of the episodes. Episode numbers and titles are also listed and the discs features and production information is clearly listed. The insert provides another shot of the front cover while the reverse side just has more boxart for other titles.

Menus:
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.

Extras:
The only extra here is a rather nice one, one that a number of people here have been looking forward to since submitting questions, and that’s the text interview with Nadia’s English voice actress, Meg Bauman. There’s some good stuff in there about how she approaches the characters and some of the cultural differences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As said earlier, this disc is a mixed bag of content. For some people, getting past the first episode is going to be a challenge. With everyone having been on this floating island now for about four months, some tensions are running rather high, particularly between Hanson and Sanson. The two are pretty much at each others throats and are ready to kill. Ayerton decides to help settle things by getting the two to race. Sanson will race King, as Sanson is able to train King, while Hanson will have to use his skills to build his own mechanical King.

Yeah, King racing. Where’s the government when you need to close something down.

What all of this does lead to though is something at the end where Jean is underwater and discovers huge sheets of metal under the sand. This is all very curious to him, but he ends up not telling anyone and then essentially forgetting about it for the remainder of the next episode. Which is just entirely out of character, but at least starts the whole plot of wondering just what is up with this island.

Things don’t pick up too quickly after that either, as Ayerton begins to make his move on Grandis once Hanson reveals that he and Jean have fixed the Gratan and they just need to sew up the balloon and they can leave the island. His “abduction” of Grandis doesn’t sit well with either Hanson or Sanson, especially since Ayerton took the Gratan to secret her away with. Pretty much everyone tries to avoid doing work here and acts rather out of character and loud and brash. But we do get things moving to the next stage as Nadia and Jean do a little island exploring while trying to find a goat, and stumble upon an entrance into the island.

The islands interior, as they eventually move deeper into, is very reminiscent of the Gargoyle base where Nadia was held hostage before. This is where things get very interesting as Jean and Nadia travel along one of the trams and just absorb everything. But as luck would have it, the tram eventually just ends at a wall, and the two are pushed against it. But every time Jean says Nadia’s name, her Blue Water crystal begins to glow, and this time is no different as Nadia begins to sound like she’s channeling another being, and she eventually disappears through the door.

This leads to two things that begin to occur; Jean heads back out and eventually gets everyone together to start staging a rescue operation to bring Nadia back and Nadia finds herself being educated as to the true origins of the Atlanteans and their subsequent history which covers millions of years on Earth. There’s so much information and action going on between these two storylines running through the final two episodes on this disc that saying any more will really spoil things. For those who’ve suffered through the Island episodes, there’s some payoff at the end to be sure.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Interview with Meg Bauman

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: B
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Nadia, Secret of Blue Water