Martian Successor Nadesico Chronicle 1 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 4 - Australia / South America
  • Released By: Madman Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.95 AU
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Martian Successor Nadesico

Martian Successor Nadesico Chronicle 1

    December 29, 2001


Martian Successor Nadesico Chronicle 1
© Madman Entertainment


What They Say
The aliens have destroyed our base on Mars, wiped out our space fleets, and now, only one ship stands between Earth and total annihilation! Disgusted by the incompetence of Earth's military, the independent arms manufacturer Nergal has built its own space battle cruiser. But due to the shortage of trained soldiers, they've had to assemble the most unorthodox crew to ever launch into orbit. With a cook who's also a pilot and an Admirals's daughter in command, the new starship is the most formidable fighting vehicle ever conceived. But before it can see action against the Jovian invaders, the crew must win their first victory against their own species as they fight off a ruthless attempt by Earth's military to seize the Nadesico! Get ready for the wildest space adventure ever in the amazing new series that was voted the "Best Anime Show Of All Time" by Japanese animation fans, MARTIAN SUCCESSOR NADESICO!

The Review!
I would have never thought Nadesico would be released in Australia, let alone on DVD. Madman is bring a lot of good stuff from the ADV Films catalogue into Australia, and continue to improve the quality of their discs with each release.

Audio:
Both the Japanese and English tracks sound good. Both are Dolby Digital 2.0 and sounded quite decent on my simple set-up. I didn’t notice any drop out or distortions on either track. ADV’s English dub is up to their usual standards; decent acting for the most part, decent script, and lots of miscasting (Ruri, a 12 year old girl, sounds likes she’s 26). The actors also mispronounce the characters names all the time, which becomes quite annoying after a while.

Video:
One of the reasons I don’t buy PAL anime DVDs is due to what they look like after they’ve been converted from NTSC. To me most live action PAL DVDs look fine. With anime I find that the colours are somewhat duller than an NTSC disc, and I can sometimes see a kind of ‘ghosting’ in some action scenes. Comparing my Japanese LD with this disc, I would say the LD wins out. The main problem I have is the ‘ghosting’ which appears sometimes where there is rapid movement. I know this probably due to conversion issues, but it really bugs me. Comparing it to other Madman discs, it seems really noticeable on this disc. Other than that, the video looks really good. Much better than some of Madman’s earlier releases which had some authoring problems.

One thing I have to make mention of is ADV Film’s insistence of changing the Japanese on-screen text to English. Sometimes overlays can be done well and can be blended seamlessly into the anime. In a show like Nadesico where huge amounts of text are splattered over the screen, overlays would probably make sense rather than having a screen full of subtitles, but ADV haven’t done a good job. I would have to say that the overlays on Nadesico are the worst I ever seen. They’re ugly and not even consistent. Japanese text still appears occasionally.

Another thing that bugged me was a scene at the beginning of the third episode. In the original Japanese version, the characters are speaking English (badly), and there were translated Japanese subtitles down the side of the picture. In ADV’s version we get the hard sub translations of the text (if you’re watching the dub they’re speaking in perfect English anyway, so why do we need a translation?), but the dub is totally different to those subtitles (the soft subs are identical to what the Japanese actors are speaking). What in hell is going on? The characters are speaking English in the first place, yet we have three different versions of what is being said (Japanese cast speaking English, English cast speaking English, and English hard subs). It’s quite possibly the oddest thing I’ve seen on an anime DVD (besides Madman accidentally sticking a still from “Sex: The Annabelle Chong Story” on to one of the bios on an Evangelion disc).

Totally beyond comprehension is the removal of the opening animation in episode one. It just doesn’t make any sense. Why remove it? It doesn’t really alter the show, but to me it just seems rather pointless editing. The new computer graphic logo, which replaces the original, looks quite out of place. I don’t know why ADV couldn’t have at least made to logo look similar to the original.

The subtitles are the usual Madman ones. I really wish they would change the font to something that’s a little clearer, and increase the font size a point or two. Another thing Madman needs to do to use different colour subtitles. With a show like Nadesico, at times there are 3 sets of subtitles up on screen at one time. Having three sets of dialogue in the one colour makes it extremely difficult to distinguish who exactly is talking. Other than that, the subs are fine.

Packaging:
The cover is basically the same as the ADV Films US release, which uses the same artwork as the Japanese LD. On the back we have info about the show, specs, and in a separate box the staff list, which is unfortunately purple lettering on black which makes it very hard to read. On the reverse we have adverts for other Madman DVDs, and more Nadesico artwork including a circular picture of all the main female crewmembers, which is hidden under the disc. The disc itself has an excellent looking screenprint of the cover art on it. This all comes in a clear keepcase with the oddest hub I have ever seen, but it works and gets the job done. As with all region 4 releases (not just anime, ALL Australian R4 releases) there’s no insert. At least Madman haven’t tried to print the chapter listing on the reverse of the cover like other Australian studios. That looks quite ugly, and you can’t even read it most of the time.

I have to make special mention of ADV Films rather creative sleeve copy. In it, it states that that Nadesico won the 1998 Animage Grand Prix. No, actually the End of Evangelion movie won. The Nadesico TV series has never won the Animage Grand Prix ever. The Nadesico movie “The Prince of Darkness” did win in 1999, so I suppose that’s what they’re referring to. Yes I’m probably being picky here, but gee they’re bending the truth a little.

Menus:
As per usual, Madman’s menus are quite well done. Everything is clear and quite well laid out. The only problem was the scene selection, which is on the main menu. To get to the desired scene, you have to go to the episode number and hit the right arrow key, and it lights up a portion of a bar. It’s a little minimalistic and not really self-explanatory, but it works.

Extras:
Not much in the way of extras except translation notes and character bios. Due to some of the references and puns in the show, the translation notes are essential. There are some really interesting facts about the show in the notes too. The character bios cover of most of the main characters and there aren’t any real spoilers in them. The only other thing we get are ADV trailers for Evangelion, Gasaraki, and Nadesico. We also get a textless “karaoke version” (no words along the bottom of the screen, just music and no vocals) of the opening of Bubblegum Crisis 2040, which they label as a trailer. Would have been better used as an extra on one of the BGC 2040 discs.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Nadesico is not the greatest anime series made. It is however very clever, quite funny, and at times a little annoying.

In the year 2195 the Earth has been invaded by an alien force called the Jovian Lizards. We pick up the story from Mars, which has been colonized by human beings. It is also the frontline for the battle against the humans and the Jovian Lizards. In a last ditch attempt, the Earth defense forces crash their ship into one of the enemy’s motherships. It’s clear that the United Earth Government are losing the battle. Meanwhile on Mars below in one of the colonies shelters, we meet Tenkawa Akito. After the shelter is attacked, and Akito tries to save the people in the shelter, he finds himself on Earth and can’t remember how he got there.

Akito manages to get work on Earth as a cook but is fired from his job because his employer thinks he’s a deserting pilot. He soon bumps into Yurika Misumaru, a childhood friend from Mars, who is now the captain of the Nadesico, the most advanced ever made. The ship was made by a private company called Nergal. Due to fact the United Earth Government was incompetent in repelling the invaders, Nergal has built a ship to defend Earth and Mars. Akito doesn’t recognize Yurika at first (and she doesn’t recognize him), but remembers her after finding a photo of them together as children. He follows her to the ship where he is caught by security, and manages to join the ships crew as a cook.

The ship is soon attacked by the Jovian Lizards, and Akito is accidentally sent out in a robot to fight off the invaders. He soon shows his skills as a robot pilot, but after the battle the crew of the Nadesico have another problem on their hands. The United Earth Government is a little miffed that Nergal wants to use the Nadesico to protect Mars, not Earth. It looks as if the Nadesico will have to fight the Earth Defense Forces to get to Mars.

This series has some great characters. Apart from Akito and Yurika, the rest of the crew they chose for this Nadesico aren't exactly people you could rely on to save the Earth. While the captain neglects her duties and is more interested in chasing Akito (once she remembers who he is), and Akito is more interested in cooking than Yurika or fighting, the rest of the crew aren’t exactly normal as well. Here are some of the oddest members; The main pilot, Jiro Yamada (who likes to call himself Gai Daigoji), is a big fan of the 1970’s anime Gekiganger 3, and even shouts out names of attacks from the shows whilst in battle. The other pilots are just as odd. Hikaru Amano is a doujinshi (fan manga) artist, and Izumi Maki who makes the worst puns known to humankind. We also have Seiya Uribatake, the main mechanic on board, a model making otaku. Ruri Hoshino, the 12 year old computer expert seems to be the only sane one amongst them. She thinks the whole crew are a bunch of idiots.

This show is rather deceptive as the first few episodes makes it look like a comedy. It does have its share of serious moments, and the plot has plenty of twists and turns, and is rather unpredictable. You think a show will end one way, and the writers do the total opposite.

One of the best things about Nadesico is that it continually parodies anime, and anime fans that take things too seriously. The anime show that the crew watch, Gekiganger 3, is a parody of Go Nagi robot shows like Mazinger Z and Getter Robo mixed in with other 1970’s action anime like Gatchaman. Often what happens in Gekiganger 3 is mirrored in the lives of the crew. Akito is equal parts Amuro from the original Gundam TV series, and Tenchi (yes, there are several girls after Akito). There’s also a love triangle ala Macross, and the five female assistants to the main chef look VERY similar to the Hummingbirds, an idol group from an obscure OVA series called "Idol Defense Force Hummingbird". Other anime fandom references include Cosplay, Garage Kit making, Doujinshi, and even one of the crew members was a voice actress in an anime TV series.

One of the only negative points I have about this series is the inconsistency in the animation. A fair chunk of a couple of the episodes have obviously been farmed out to Korean or Chinese animation studios, and it’s very obvious. Also at first I couldn’t get used to the comedy of the first episode where people seem shout at each other all the time. This may put people off watching the rest of the episodes. Also anybody looking for excellent robot fights will be rather disappointed in this disc. The fight scenes are not choreographed well, but that’s not the point. The story mostly focuses on the characters, not the battles themselves. One thing I really love is Keiji Goto’s (Gatekeepers, Those Who Hunt Elves) character designs. Especially Ruri. She’s what every spaceship needs; a sarcastic but incredibly intelligent 12 year old computer genius.

I really like this series, but found the latter episodes in the series a little annoying. The early episodes are great however, and I would recommend this series to anyone with a good knowledge of anime from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. I do think that the Nadesico movie “The Prince of Darkness” is far superior in both animation and plot, but you’ll have to watch all 26 episodes of this series to understand what’s going on in the movie.

Features
Japanese Language Dolby 2.0,English Language Dolby 2.0,English Subtitles,Character Bios,Translation Notes

Review Equipment
Toshiba SD-2019Y DVD Player (PAL/NTSC, Region Free), 60cm Panasonic TC-59R62 TV set (PAL/NTSC)

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