Martian Successor Nadesico Vol. #6 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, August 28, 2001
Overall Rating: 3.9
(on a scale of 1-5)
English Acting: 5
Martian Successor Nadesico comes to it's hilarious finale. Does that mean Akito will finally pick a girl? Does that mean the war is over? Does that mean the death of another beloved character (or many)? Does that mean that all the secrets of the show will be revealed? Well it does mean more anime cliches will be made fun of and you'll even get a anime convention thrown in for good measure. Let Gekifest Begin!
Technically speaking the scores stay the same from the previous disc. That means great picture and sound. You get a pretty good menu. The keepcase features everyone's favorite sleazy pilot (and so much more) and Erina. We are still missing the number of channels of sound used by the disc, as well as the volume number and the episode listing. There are also no extras on this disc. (sigh) I will state again that I loved the dubbing notes on the first disc. This was a great extra and should have been continued in the rest of the series. Compared to the wonderful release style of Gasaraki, Nadesico pales a bit. I was also less than crazy about the time between each release. The long release schedule slowed down the overall pacing of the show. As a result when you watch a disc you get all excited about the show (again) and then realize that you have 2 months to wait till the next disc, it becomes less of a priority to watch. This same thing really hurt Trigun as well. You've still got the trailers starting right when you pop the disc into the player... blech! Overall this series has had a pretty good technical release. I think we could have gone a bit more extras heavy but the might have been licensing problems in that department.
I'll cover the final disc in the first part of my review (spoiler free) and then review the entire series (spoiler filled). So if you don't want to know the secrets of Martian Successor Nadesico don't read past the asterisks!
The final five episodes are here and they attempt to bring some kind of conclusion to this wild and wacky series. How successful are they? Well it all depends on how you look at it. A visitor from the Jovians comes to the Nadesico. It's a little girl and she only has one thing on her mind . . . to keep her older brother from falling for Miss Minato! There is lots of sneaking and goofing around. Until, bum, bum, bum the Jovians try to create some peace negotiations with Earth. Is it all a ruse? Can Gekiganger bring peace to our war torn solar system? Treachery ensues and the crew of the Nadesico decide to take things into their own hands and defy Nergal, the United Earth Forces and the Jovians. They head to Mars. More secrets are revealed and final confrontations are made. Of course being a spoofy mecha show almost everything is nicely wrapped up in the end.
With the final episodes of Nadesico being presented here you almost expect a bit of a boost in the animation and sound department. Well it doesn't happen but things do remain looking pretty good. Most of the battles are smooth and the discovery of the hidden ruins in Mars creates an unusual local for the end of the series. It feels that some of the settings could have been thought out a bit more, but for the most part everything is pretty standard. The sound work remains consistent with previous discs. In many cases the sound design surpasses the animation.
This last set of episodes pretty much all flows together into a final story arc. The melding of the serious war drama and the goofy antics of the crew continue to work well. You keep expecting them to face the camera and give you a knowing wink as "secrets" are revealed and Gekiganger is fully explored as a piece of art. I especially loved the anime convention on board the Nadesico. Gekifest was a great self mocking moment that perfectly rounded out the use of Gekiganger. As the ending itself, I can see some people being disappointed by it, but if you look at it in a self mocking nature, it was really damn funny. This disc was a great conclusion to the rest of the style and plot that had been unspooled in the previous episodes.
The English cast also continued to keep the energy going and the spazziness complete. I really got to hand it to them. This is a show where the appropriate amount of over the top acting and serious meaningful dialogue. Everyone, did a great job. Well done, ADV dub cast! Whoo Hoo!
The music has been appropriately gauged to the rest of the show. Most of the score is appropriately over the top during the battle moments, the dramatic moments and any moment really. I enjoyed all the poppy tunes that appeared in the series as well. This score would probably not hold up by itself but combined with the rest of the series it does a great job.
With these final five episodes I found myself enjoying the show as much as I had when I first started it. This series has been consistent in the entertainment area and it a good bet that if you liked the first episodes you'll enjoy the rest of them. The plot isn't anything new, but the character interaction and the many anime cliches that are explored and laughed at made this a real fun series. I think this might get stuck in the view once a year pile... probably back to back with Gundam Wing or EVA for maximum comedic value.
Martian Successor Nadesico has been a real treat for me. It had a great sense of what it wanted to do and how it was going to do it. I mixed wacky comedy with well written parody and made each episode very entertaining. I can't recommend it to everyone, and I've even seen some reviews by people who hated it, but I do think that most anime fans who have seen quite a bit of anime will find something funny about his series.
The biggest drawbacks to Nadesico were mostly in the animation and sound area. This series didn't seem to have that big of a budget. As such some of the mecha and settings really didn't seem too well thought out or realized. I did like the character design. But the fluidity of many of the scenes could have used a bit more work. One area that was really well done was the Gekiganger series animation. This captured the look and feel of those olde tyme anime (like Voltron or the original Gundam series). Had the regular animation been a bit cleaner, the contrast would have been even funnier.
My only other disappointment came in the fact that the plot was very non linear and that none of the characters really had much depth to them, except Akito. But if viewed as a parody these elements make much more sense. Most of the anime Nadesico makes fun of has shallow characters and episodic plots. But I'm just one of those viewers that enjoys a real juicy plot and juicier characters. But put in perspective of the series it wasn't enough to bring the grade down.
I love the way ADV chose their dub actors, especially in the parts of Akito and Ryoko. Since both cast members were in EVA and in similar roles it was great to see how the actor could take these Nadesico versions of the EVA characters and mess with them. I also loved the voice actress for Yurika. She captured all the innocence and bubbly nature of the character and made her straddle that line of annoying and cute very well. As I said above the cast as a whole was very impressive and seemed to know just how to approach this series. I can't say enough good things about them.
Nadesico is on my list of very entertaining series. But it is a tough recommendation. If you are looking for a serious sci-fi or something with depth, you'll have to look elsewhere. I also don't think you can get someone into anime with this show. Most of the really funny jokes take a well rounded knowledge of space and mecha anime. Sure there are lots of clever moments and lines, but the general tone of the show seems to shift from wacky to intensely serious. But when looked at from a distance you can see that those serious moments can be the funniest of all. Even if they did kill Gai!
Roman J. Martel
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General Electric Performance Plus (25 Inch), Sony Playstation 2
Mania Grade: NA
Audio Rating: N/A
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Martian Successor Nadesico