Nadia Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Karen Cross
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2001



The Review!
Fushigi No Umi No Nadia is one of the greatest shows ever made. Period. It starts off with a fun, lighthearted adventure and ends 39 episodes later with one of the biggest bangs and best finales ever written. The characters all work together to form the greatest ensemble cast the small screen has ever seen.

Do I love Nadia, you ask? No. My feelings for Nadia go far beyond love. I've seen the entire series fansubbed 6 times. I've even been buying ADV's Fansub line of tapes. I've been hunting down original sound tracks and out of print art books for years.... But now, I and everybody else can see Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water the way it was meant to be seen: with glorious picture quality and with great subtitles on DVD. It looks like Nadia was made specifically for this disc.

Audio:
Niiiiiiiiiiiiiice. The Japanese track is the best I've ever heard it. It's very clean and the music, sound effects and voices are all level and sharp. Although it might not be audio, I feel I must comment on the subtitles here too. They're good. ADV has begun using a very nice and legible font with a good, thick, black border. Bravo!! Banzai!!! Yattah!!!!

As for the dub.... Well, it isn't the worst I've heard, but there were a few things I'd change about it. For one thing, Grandis' voice actress overacted every single one of her lines. I was kinda hoping that ADV would have gone back to the original Streamline dub and gotten the woman who did their Grandis to do the new Grandis (I believe it was the woman who did Lisa Hayes for Robotech, Melanie McQueen? ). Definitely the best part of that old dub... But I digress. The idea of using kids to dub the kids' roles is nice, but they sounded a bit stilted at times. And the "outrageous French accent" on Jean was a bit much. Nadia was okay though and for some reason I liked Hanson and Sanson too. But Nemo was way too 'wannabe' gruff. It should have been more 'natural' deep though. All this makes me wonder what future voices will be like. Especially Marie. Once again the Streamline dub for her was really good. Gonna be hard to live up to.

But for me, I've gotten so used to the Japanese cast that any other voice for any character sounds wrong. I only really listened to the dub for key lines to see how they were handled.

Video:
SPECTACULAR! This disc looks better than a lot of brand new shows that other companies are bringing out now. The colors are vibrant and dark tones are for the most part solid. The picture is very crisp (maybe a bit too crisp.... Just maybe ;p) and every shot looks fresh off the original cells.
ADV, whoever did this disc MUST FINISH THE SERIES!! They must do every episode on every disc till Nadia is done! They did an incredible job! Please don't experiment around in the middle of this show with other DVD authoring studios (like with Nadesico). This is better than I ever thought my Jean and Nemo could look! I can't wait to see what the final 3 episodes look like now!!! I'm so HAPPY!!! ^_^

Packaging:
Cover art taken from classic art books is always welcome. The cover is very nice (an image of Nadia in Paris with Jean and the Grandis Gang in the air behind her in a nice and funny action shot) with some cool Blue Waterish circuit art as background. The back of the cover has basic selling info with some pretty small screen shots. Nothing to complain about and I hope this look keeps it up for all of the volumes.

Menus:
Very simple. I liked the ocean effect behind Nadia on the main menu. Everything is very easy to figure out and use. I'd personally like more animation, but it works well so why screw with it. It fits the mood of the show too.

Extras:
Opening and ending without text (not even any Japanese!). They look just as good as the rest of the disc.
Two Nadia trailers and a preview of the second Nadia DVD. A bunch of ADV trailers are added at the main menu too (wouldn't exactly call these 'extras' though).

One thing missing that I feel I must comment on (you knew I was going to bring this up ^_^): No Nadia Omake Theaters. ADV couldn't get these shorts in time for the 1st DVD release, but they hopefully will before the series is over. Different companies own the rights to different parts of Nadia and the Extra Bonus theaters were not included in the original deal. This is a total shame for newcomers who are just now getting into this series. They may never know the 'complete' Nadia. Not only are the Omake Theaters fun (think of the Gunbuster Omake for a good example of some of them, and the Blue Seed Omake to get an idea of how the rest of them play out), but they explain a lot of the show and the superscience that the story just speeds by sometimes. Plus they are all filled with lots of humor. Marie rules most of the Bonus Theaters ^o^. But enough of that. Hopefully ADV will be successful and get the American rights to these so that everybody can enjoy them!!!

Content: (spoilers down below in a Cliff's Notes format)
It is 1889 and ships are being sunk all over the place. Sea serpents are being blamed and the world powers are all getting a bit restless and edgy. If you know your history, you know that war was just itching to be scratched across the globe and most countries were just looking for an excuse to start fighting. But in the midst of all that we have Nadia, Jean, Grandis, Hanson and Sanson. Nadia and Jean meet and are soon chased by Grandis and her two henchmen in order to get their hands on her mysterious Blue Water pendant that lights up whenever Nadia is about to face danger (like a Victorian Era 'Spider Sense'). After a lot of chasing around Paris, and soon Jean's house, in some retro designed mecha and airplanes, Jean and Nadia fly out to sea to escape Grandis. They eventually get rescued by an American battleship that's hunting the sea serpent that are, in turn, sinking the world's ships. A brief battle with the Gratan and then some man made sea creatures leads the way for Nadia and Jean to get taken aboard the Nautilus and meet Electra (and see the back of Nemo-sancho).

Well, that's a good start for you to see how fast the show moves. Soon there'll be even bigger and badder villains and lots more 'splosions. And of course lots more future technology in the past. Suffice it to say that Gainax knows how to tell a story. This is only the first 4 episodes! It only gets better from here.

So, what have we learned here? We learned that Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is one of the most fun TV anime ever drawn and that ADV went beyond the call of duty in producing this gem of a disc (pun intended). As long as they continue to make the remaining Blue Water DVDs look as good as the first this will be a great addition to the essentials collection.



Review Equipment
Sony Trinitron KV-24FV10 24" TV, Sony S530D DVD player, Sony 5.1 Surround Sound receiver/speaker setup R4600W



Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & 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