Martian Successor Nadesico Essential Anime Vol. #3 (of 3) (Mania.com)

By:Mike Dungan
Review Date: Friday, December 22, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, January 25, 2005



What They Say
This volume is full of revelations! Get an eyeful as the lovely ladies of the Nadesico strip down to their bikinis for a non-military beauty contest! But the fun and games turn deadly when they become the target of a new Jovian weapon. Then an alien visitor ignites the final phase of the war with the Jovians. As betrayals and deceptions threaten to destroy the last chance for peace, the crew decides to return to Mars, and to get there, they'll have to fight both the Nergal and Jovian fleets! It's the epic space battle to end all space battles!

The Review!
Yurika, Akito and the rest of the Nadesico have to face some harsh realities as the series draws to a close.

Audio:
For purposes of this review, I watched this show in my native language of English. The audio still sounds great after all these years. Dialogue flows well across the soundstage, especially useful where there are two or three conversations going on at once.

Video:
Once again, one of the big highlights of this release is the elimination of the controversial overlays ADV created when this show was being released on VHS. All of the original signs and computer screens are back in Japanese with complete removable subtitles. The rest of the video looks great, with only the occasional spot of dust to intrude on the show, probably an artifact of the original filming of the show in Japan.

Packaging:
These eight episodes are on 2 discs, each one pressed into the interior of the disc case. There's no tray to break. The front cover features a head-on shot of Ruri with data streaming across her eyes, set against a starry background. The back cover is a rather too-densely packed flurry of quotes, synopsis, list of features, specifications and art. Inez Fressange is prominently displayed, appropriate considering how central she is to these final episodes. Because the case is clear, the inside of the cover is a list of all the features on each disc with complete chapter stops for every episode. The discs are printed with Ruri on one disc and Erina on the other. Overall, the look is very similar to the original releases.

Menus:
The menus are almost identical to the original releases, just updated to included the new extras, and extra episodes. That means images of the characters against a blue space background, and choices listed on the bottom. The navigation is easy and there aren't any transition animations, so everything loads quickly.

Extras:
All the extras from the original DVD release are included, such as character bios, and line art. Newly created for this Essential Anime release are new commentaries. ADR Director Matt Greenfield, Jay Hickman (Akastuki), Cynthia Martines (Hikaru) and Tiffarny Grant (Ryoko) reminisce about recording the show and how much fun it was for them.

Content: (Please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This volume opens with what is probably the most famous, or possibly infamous episode of the show, the beauty contest. The UEAF isn't pleased that the truth about the Jovians being humans has been discovered by Captain Yurika, so they arrange to have a beauty contest to find someone even more ditzy than her to be the new Captain of the Nadesico. This episode is an homage to the even more famous beauty contest episode in Macross. There's plenty of laughs, but nothing is as much fun as Ruri giving in and joining the stupidity. What I liked most about the episode is that it really focuses on Ryoko, even though she's not in the beauty contest at all.
Once that's resolved, it's back to protecting the Earth. From the rear lines. The UEAF still doesn't trust them, but that doesn't stop the Jovians from trying a new weapon that can boson jump bombs onto the ship. Yurika immediately sends the Nadesico into space to give her more room to operate. The episode is another homage, this time to the classic submarine drama "Run Silent, Run Deep." It's Yurika versus the Jovian captain in a battle of wits, and proves that Yurika is captain for a reason. This episode also has one of my favorite Fressange explanation shticks, as she uses kamishibai, a traditional street corner storytelling artform that is all but gone from modern Japan.
The next episode is one of my favorites, a fascinating episode that is told out of chronological order. The Nadesico is involved in a giant space battle, and they are the crucial weapon that needs to be in a specific point at a specific time. But the pilots are acting strange and the new Y-Unit they installed from their destroyed sister ship is malfunctioning. The show takes place on two levels. On one level, the main characters are disassociated from their bodies, existing in a level where their memories are commingling. In the physical level, their consciousness is being led by their repressed personalities. Akito is a tough guy. Jun is a gung-ho warrior. Inez is happy to sit in her room and eat strawberries instead of explaining everything in site. A couple of strong hints are dropped in this episode that alludes to a couple of ongoing mysteries, for anyone paying attention.
The Nadesico gets a visitor from the Jovians, a young girl named Yukina Shiratori. She's the younger sister of Tsukumo Shiratori, the Jovian who was temporarily a prisoner of the Nadesico. She's come to the Nadesico to kill Haruka Minato, the Nadesico helmswoman who stole her brother's heart. But after meeting Haruka, she can't help but be charmed by her. However, her presence on the Nadesico is troubling to the UEAF. Enough so that they send Yurika's father, Admiral Misumaru, to try to talk her into giving up Yukina. When Yurika refuses, Akatsuki takes the opportunity to reveal that he's the president of Nergal and take over the ship. Prospector is able to get Akatsuki to talk about the murder of Akito's parents, which leads to a shipwide rebellion. Akito takes Yukina with him and they escape the ship together, pausing just long enough for Erina to reveal how she really feels about him.
Everyone deserts the ship except for a few. Company man Goat Hory stay, as do Inez Fressange and Miss Howmei, who both have their own reasons for staying. Nergal has everyone under observation. Akito, Yurika, Haruka, Yukina and Jun all go to work at the restaurant where he was working in the first episode. Yurika as a waitress is a big hit, and Yukina and Haruka grow closer. Everyone else from the Nadesico mostly go back to their old jobs. Only three people are unaccounted for: Ruri, and the Aestivalis trio of Ryoko, Hikaru and Izumi. When the time is right, Ruri reveals herself to the former shipmates and they all return to steal the ship back from Nergal, in one of the more fun action scenes in the series. A word of warning: Don't cross Prospector or the Howmei Girls. And don't underestimate company men.
With the Nadesico firmly in Yurika's command and their destiny in their own hands, they head to Jupiter, to find Yukina's brother Tsukumo and persue peace with the Jovians. Tsukumo arrives on the Nadesico as an official peace envoy from the Jovians. His arrival is a chance for the crew of the Nadesico to go crazy with Gekiganger, hosting a convention to learn more about the show and by extension, the Jovians who have based their entire culture on the show. (My favorite moment is seeing Ryoko, Hikaru and Izumi cosplaying as the Gekiganger crew. Izumi was born to wear Akira's black school uniform.) The peace negotiations don't go well, however, and there's a betrayal that leads to one of the most heartbreaking moments in the show.
Yurika is convinced that neither the Jovians nor the Earth will willingly accept of even try for peace, so she decides to take matters into her own hands. She takes the ship to Mars, aided unexpectedly by Akatsuki, in another ship who has come to her rescue when the peace negotiations fail. Akito, Yurika and Inez are able to boson jump the entire ship to Mars, where everyone is converging. There are ruins on the surface of the planet from a long dead Martian race. It is those people who created the phase transition engines, the means for boson jumping and all the other high technology that both sides need to continue the war. A final battle on the surface of Mars takes place, with the Nadesico between both human and Jovian space fleets. The final pieces of the puzzle concerning some ongoing mysteries are finally revealed in a scene that gets me choked up every time I watch it. One final lovers quarrel, broadcast to both fleets, will resolve the fate of humanity.

In Summary:
Sho Aikawa's writing in Nadesico is something that has always impressed me. Clever homages, unique stories and well-considered concepts enhance this show, making repeat viewing worth your while. Keiji Gotoh's character designs, based on Kia Asamiya's conceptual art, has always appealed to me as well, although I realize it's not to everyone's taste. The show's blend of comedy and heartbreak is what makes it special. No show has ever handles it better. As for the English dub, it remains a favorite of mine. After seven years, I still find new things to enjoy, just like the show itself. This truly deserves the title of "essential anime."

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles, Commentary for Episode 19 with Tiffany Grant (Ryoko); Cynthia Martinez (Hikaru) & Jay Hickman (Akatsuki), Character bios, Production sketches,Clean open and closing animation

Review Equipment
NEC CT-2510A TV, Pioneer 440 codefree DVD player



Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 19.98
Running time: 200
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Martian Successor Nadesico