Martian Successor Nadesico Essential Anime Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • 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: 225
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Martian Successor Nadesico

Martian Successor Nadesico Essential Anime Vol. #1

By Mike Dungan     December 13, 2006
Release Date: September 28, 2004


Martian Successor Nadesico Essential Anime Vol. #1
© ADV Films


What They Say
The Jovian Invaders have destroyed our base on Mars, wiped out our space fleets, and now only one ships stands between Earth and Totally Annihilation!

Privately funded by the mysterious Nergal Corporation, the High Mobile Battleship Nadesico is the most formidable fighting machine ever conceived, but due to a shortage of trained soldiers the crew is a little unorthodox. Against an assistant cook as a pilot, a general's daughter in command, and the largest contingent of geeks and misfits ever sent into orbit, the poor Jovians won't stand a chance!

Get ready for the wildest space adventure ever!

The Review!
One of the more memorable sci-fi comedies gets repackaged at a lower price with more extras. Is that a good business model?

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:
This show is slowly starting to show it's age, but the traditional 2-D animation is welcome. I didn't notice any artifacts or macroblocking, even in the scenes set in space. The colors are still clear and bright. Character designs are by Keiji Gotoh based on Kia Asamiya's original designs, and I still like them. One of the big bonuses of this release for a lot of people is the elimination of the controversial overlays. Nadesico is a very text-heavy show with computer screens and signs popping up every where, and often when there are three different conversations going on at once. When watching the show subtitled in Japanese, there are times when the screen would be nothing but subtitled text. ADV decided to deal with it by overlaying those signs with English translated signs, rather than subtitling them. This was in the era of VHS, where there was no possibility of switching the subtitles off to see what was behind them. While I personally never had an issue with it, a lot of other fans did, especially when ADV originally released the show on DVD with the overlays still in place. Now they can have it without the overlays. I admit I bought this release, even though I already owned the first DVD release, because I was curious to see what it looked like without the overlays. I have to admit it looks pretty good. I'm glad to be able to see what was behind them all this time, and I'm glad ADV finally decided to do away with them.

Packaging:
These nine episodes are on 2 discs, each on pressed into the interior of the disc case. There's no tray to break. The front cover features Akito with his right hand raised, highlighting the interface tattoo on the back of his hand. The back cover is a rather too-densely packed flurry of quotes, synopsis, list of features, specifications and art. 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 Akito on one and Yurika 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 except in the character bios, where I keep hitting "enter" instead of the left or right button. I guess I'm just easily confused. There aren't any transition animations, so everything loads quickly.

Extras:
All the original extras are included, such as character bios, and line art. Newly created for this Anime Essentials release are new commentaries. ADR Director Matt Greenfield, Brett Weaver (Gai Daigoji), Mark X. Laskowski (Jun Aoi) and John Swasey (Seiya Uribatake) talk about the show while watching episode 1. It's clear they all remember the show well, even after 6 years, with actors say "Wait, wait, I love this part!" repeatedly.

Content: (Please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Akito Tenkawa is a young man from Mars now living on Earth. The Jovians have been attacking the Earth, having previously overrun both Mars and the Moon. Akito had been in a shelter with a young girl named Ai when they were attacked by the Jovians. Akito woke up on Earth with no memory of how he got there. He now makes his living as a cook while Earth futilely fights off the Jovian attacks. An encounter with a beautiful young military woman jogs his memory. She's Yurika Misumaru, a childhood friend from Mars. He follows her, only to discover she's the new captain of the Nadesico, a giant, highly advanced space battleship that has been privately financed by Nergal Heavy Industries. Akito's parents were killed when he was young, and he's convinced she knows something about it, perhaps was even involved with it. When he's found trying to get on the ship, the Nergal accountant decides to bring him on as an assistant cook. He joins a decidedly odd crew. Besides Yurika, there is the staggeringly beautiful and buxom Haruka Minato who was once a secretary to a powerful company president, but is now the helmswoman. Megumi Reinard is a voice actress, trained nurse and pilot who signs on to be the communications officer. Seiya Uribatake is a mechanical genius who is a notorious skirt-chaser. Goat Hory is a large, powerful former military man who is in charge of personnel, and Prospector is a quiet unassuming accountant who is far more interesting than he appears at first. But the most memorable character is Ruri Hoshino, a 12-year-old girl who is far smarter than anyone else on the ship, and she knows it. She's the science officer, and something of a mascot, which she endures stoically. Think Mister Spock with an attitude and you're not far off.

Akito meets Gai Daigoji, the gung-ho pilot of one of the Aestivalis giant robots on board. When Gai breaks his leg, Akito ends up in the robot just as the ship tries to take off. The launch is hampered by an attack by the Jovians. He tries to leave the ship to get away from the fighting, but it's seen as an attempt by him to draw the Jovians away from the base long enough to safely launch the ship. When Yurika realizes that the person in the robot is her childhood friend Akito, she goes into a romantic swoon, professing her love for him on the spot. Despite the distractions, the ship launches safely and Akito inadvertently saves the day.

The ship is privately owned, which doesn't suit the military. They want it, and send Yurika's father, Admiral Misumaru, to talk his daughter into surrendering the ship. At first, it seems she doesn't, but it was all a ploy to talk to her father about the death of Akiro's parents. It's clear he knows something about it but is trying to hide it, at which point all bets are off and she returns to the Nadesico to launch it into space. Left behind is Jun Aoi. He's her friend and executive officer on the Nadesico. He's madly in love with her, but can't bring himself to tell her. He sympathizes with the military and tries to stop the ship forcefully while it's accelerating to escape the Earth's gravity. He ends up in a dogfight with Akito, but is convinced to come back to the Nadesico to look after Yurika.

Once the ship makes it into space, one of the admirals on board, Munetake, stages a coup and takes over the ship, imprisoning all the crewmembers. Gai Daigoji uses that opportunity to boost everyone's spirits by playing an old anime show called Gekiganger. It's a classic giant robot show done in 1970s-style. It inspires Akito to revolt against their captors and the crew regains the ship. But not before there are casualties that will have fans of the show screaming in frustration.

On the way to Mars, the ship begins to rendezvous with a space station where they are scheduled to bring on new pilots and robots, but the station is attacked as they arrive. They are able to rescue the pilots, though. Ryoko Subaru is a no-nonsense pilot with short green hair. Maki Izumi is a tall, beautiful woman with long black hair and a penchant for the worst puns imaginable. Hikaru Amano is a cute little brunette who loves anime and manga and likes to write her own shonen-ai doujinshi.

The ship makes its way to Mars, meeting only minor resistance from the Jovians. Once there, they discover survivors living underground. One of them, the beautiful but slightly dour Inez Fressange comes aboard. The main Jovian fleet finally engages the Nadesico, forcing Yurika to make a horrifying decision.

The ship manages to survive the attack, and heads to an old Nergal facility at the Martian North Pole in an attempt to find spare parts they can use to repair the ship. What they find is a ship they saw disappear into one of the Jovian chulips, which they thought was a ship. But they realize the chulip is a conduit, transporting ships instantaneously across space. Admiral Fukube, and old sailor that Yurika idolizes and has been her advisor on the Nadesico, uses an attack by the Jovians to force the Nadesico into the chulip, saving the ship but at a cost.

This ship reappears in the middle of a battle and fires blindly, nearly destroying the Earth fleet that was engaging the Jovians. Once everything is sorted out, they discover that 8 months have passed in only a couple days, and Nergal has aligned itself with the Earth's military, meaning the Nadesico is now under their command. A new pilot with his own robot joins the crew, Nagare Akatsuki. He's handsome, and he knows it. He's also as good with a giant robot as he thinks he is. He takes great pleasure in goading Akito, the pilot who would be a cook. This is just more frustrations for Akito, who has the captain in love with him, Megumi who is in love with him, and now Ryoko is starting to fall in love with him.

In Summary:
This was a big production for ADV when this show was first released. With more than 120 different characters, Matt Greenfield had to work hard to cast the show just right. He hit a home run with the majority of the cast. Jennifer Earhart was brilliant as the ditzy tactical genius captain Yurika Misumaru. Spike Spencer as Akito got to work against his previous role as Shinji in Evangelion. And Brett Weaver gave the performance of a lifetime as the anime-crazed giant robot pilot Gai Daigoji. When this show was first being released, I was buying it on subtitled VHS. Then I bought the first DVD release. I tried it a few times in English and didn't care for it. Now, all these years later, I'm discovering I really enjoy it in English. I still love the Japanese performances. After all, it has Houko Kuwashima, Omi Minami and Naoko Matsui. But I've discovered I like the English dub just as well.

As for the show itself, I've always loved it. It's a beautiful homage to anime and giant robot shows, with clever writing and great characters. The show is able to handle being both a comedy and a serious parable about war. Some scenes have stayed with me for years, such as Yurika agonizing over a decision that will affect the survivors on Mars, or the brilliant transition in the first episode when everything is getting tense, and then the music switches to a smarmy Burt Bacharach-like version of the ending theme when Yurika realizes the stranger in the robot is her childhood sweetheart and goes into a rapture of romantic joy. The show does that repeatedly, poking holes in the show when it gets too serious, but bringing the reality of war back into the show when it starts getting too silly or too full of itself.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean open and ending animation,Character bios, Production sketches,Commentary with John Swasey (Uribatake) Mark X Laskowski (Jun) Brett Weaver (Gai) and Matt Greenfield (ADR Director)

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

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