Martian Successor Nadesico Essential Anime Vol. #2 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • 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. #2

By Mike Dungan     December 18, 2006
Release Date: November 30, 2004

Martian Successor Nadesico Essential Anime Vol. #2
© ADV Films

What They Say
The crew of the Nadesico, the most powerful ship in the fleet, has to be ready to fight anywhere, anytime, and at a moment's notice. From Harrowing rescue missions to fierce deadly battles against evil foes like the Jovians, the team always fights with fury and might. But what will they do when their ship's main computer develops a mind of it's own? And, then, when things couldn't get worse, the Gekiganger team tales over and the entire universe gets turned upside down and inside out as the shocking truth about the Jovians is finally unveiled!

The Review!
With all of the character introductions done, the story reaches its stride, revealing the awful truth of who they're fighting, and who they're fighting for.

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.

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.

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 the female Aestivalis pilot trio of Ryoko, Maki and Hikaru against a dark background. The back cover is a rather too-densely packed flurry of quotes, synopsis, list of features, specifications and art. It also has an error, claiming that Kira Vincent-Davis, the English voice of Ruri is on the commentary track. However, for whatever reason, she was replaced by John Swasey, the English voice of Uribatake on the actual commentary. 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 an Aestivalis on one and Ryoko on the other. Overall, the look is very similar to the original releases.

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.

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, Kelly Manison (Haruka), Paul Sidello (Prospector) and John Swasey (Seiya Uribatake) talk about the show while watching episode 10. They discuss the dubbing of the show, and the challenge of trying to keep in character when they only had a few lines every couple of months.

Content: (Please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the Nadesico now working for the UEAF, they find themselves taking on missions on Earth. One of them is to take on a new type of Jovian robot that's landed on a remote, beautiful South Pacific Island. The crew takes the opportunity for some fun in the sun. Both Megumi and Yurika look at is as an opportunity to get closer to Akito. But what they don't realize is that Akito has already met the owner of the island, a beautiful and incredibly wealthy young socialite named Aqua Crimson. She looks just like a character in Gekiganger, Akito's favorite anime series, and he's fallen for her. Unfortunately, she's a complete nutcase who is using the Jovian lizard to realize her greatest dream, to die with the man she loves.

On their next mission, they travel to Russia to take on another Jovian weapon, but this time, it's far more powerful and dangerous. It's necessary to use the Aestivalis robots in ground configuration, forcing the pilots to try to act as a team for once. That's especially true when the Jovians start using the existing tanks on the ground to fight back against the pilots.

During their next mission, the Nadesico's computer begins to malfuction, causing the ship and Aestivalis robots to lock onto all targets, friendly and foe alike. The UEAF sends a team of computer experts to rewrite the computer, but Ruri doesn't want them to. She asks Akito to help her save the memories of Omoikane, the computer. Akito enters the virtual world of the computer as an anthropomorphized version of his robot, complete with a chibi version of Ruri sitting on his shoulder giving him directions. This leads to a confrontation with the computer itself, who has taken on the form of Gekiganger to defend itself.

With all the damages from the computer's malfunctions, Nergal is forced to fully integrate itself in the UEAF. This leads to Akito leaving the ship, his pilot duties assumed by a new female pilot. Megumi decides to leave with him, much to the dismay of Yurika. It turns out Akito's usefulness to Nergal isn't over. Erina Kinjo Won realizes that Akito is the key to the Nadesico's successful boson jump from Mars to Earth. There has been no successful boson jump that involved organic matter, with the exception of the Nadesico. She's figured out the reason. It's the chulip crystals that have been mined on Mars. Akito had one when he originally left Mars for Earth, and he was instrumental in the successful jump of the Nadeciso back to Earth. When he realizes she's just looking for a guinea pig for her ambitions, he turns her down. However, seeing a pilot killed fighting a Jovian robot on Earth forces him to accept her help. With the aid of the chulip crystals, he and the robot warp out of existence. While examining the wreckage of the Jovian robot, an amazing discovery is made. The Gekiganger theme music is playing inside it, and there is Gekiganger merchandise left inside it.

Break time! With the animation for these episodes happening at the time of the holidays, the animators openly admit they're throwing together a clip show to give themselves a little bit of time off. Fortunately, the do it in a clever way, portraying this episode as a clip show being watched by the characters of Gekiganger. Despite this being a clip show, there is still plenty of original animation, but it's almost entirely of Gekiganger, where they're using the show to learn how to fight their enemies. Since the Gekiganger animation was subcontracted out to Studio Yu, this was some smart thinking on the part of XEBEC.

The crew of the Nadesico is mourning the loss of a pilot, and Akito as well. Megumi has returned to the ship, since she has nothing else to do. But Yurika receives a surprising call. It's Akito, and he's alive. He's been on the Moon for the past two weeks. Unknown to him, he had traveled back in time two weeks, and he's been the subject of intense study by the UEAF. Once he realized what day it was, it was too late to warn Yurika to save the life of the pilot he saw killed. Yurika sends the Nadesico to the Moon to retrieve him. As they arrive, the Jovians mount an attack. They've figured out the key to organic boson jumping, and a piloted robot is now attacking the base Akito is at. He's pressed into service, piloting a robot to fight the Jovian attacker, at the same time the Nadesico arrives to defend another Nadesico class ship nearing completion.

Meanwhile on the ship, the truth of the Jovians is revealed by Erina to Admiral Munetake. The Jovians are human, not alien. They were part of a space separatist group from 100 years ago. The Earth government manipulated them to destroy their power, and exiled them into deep space. The incidence was erased from history books, and the separatists were never heard from again. At least not until they found an alien weapons factory orbiting Jupiter, which they're using now to fight the Earthlings. These revelations demoralize the humans, since up until then, they thought they were fighting a noble fight to save the human race. Now it turns out they're fighting other humans, and for suspect reasons. The Gekiganger connection is from the fact that the anime is from the same time as the separatists were exiled, and they took copies of the show with them. Now they've built their entire society on the themes and imagery of the show. Meanwhile, the Nadesico's defense of it's sister ship is unsuccessful, but they are able to salvage something called the Y-Unit, which will quadruple their offensive firepower.

Admiral Munetake is put to task by the UEAF for letting the truth about the Jovians come to light. In a desperate attempt to redeem himself to admiralty, he demands that Uribatake put a prototype Aestivalis to work. However, Uribatake mothballed it in the first place, despite it's incredible power, because they robot would destroy itself if anyone ever attempted to use it. Meanwhile, Uribatake and Hikaru have gotten surprisingly close recently. It's a shared interest in model making, which he's teaching her. It's a bittersweet time for them, and one of the more touching moments in the show. Bittersweet doesn't begin to describe the scene when Munetake, half crazed with remorse and ambition, decides to use Uribatake's robot himself.

The final episode of this release is the closet thing to a filler episode in the series. Ruri, who has only vague memories of her parents and growing up in a home with other children who shared her gifts, suddenly learns she's the daughter of the King and Queen of Peaceland, a floating theme park that is now it's own country and quite wealthy due to some rather liberal banking policies. It's from them she learns she was raised in Scandinavia. With Akito in tow, she travels to the house she was raised in. It turns out she was part of a collection of test tube babies who were discovered in the possession of terrorists. No one knew who they were, and only a few of them were still viable. It was decided to use them for experiments in genetic manipulation, which accounts for her extreme intelligence. The trip has helped her figure out her memories, even though they aren't necessarily happy one. Satisfied, she makes her decision about becoming the princess of Peaceland or returning to the Nadesico.

In Summary:
Taking us through the middle part of the show, the story line changes dramatically from fighting unmanned robots from Jupiter to fighting humans who were wronged by Earth. While there is plenty of comedy, there is also plenty of pathos, with two character deaths to deal with. One of the things I've always like about Nadesico is that even the most minor of characters get some character development. Even in a cast this large, every character is well realized and sympathetically portrayed.

I first watched this show multiple times in Japanese, but eventually gave the English dub a try and found I loved it. The cast is excellent, with Jennifer Earhart's Yurika being especially noteworthy. Even minor characters, such as a Jovian pilot played by Jason Douglas, give great performances. His reading of "If only the humans appreciated life as we do, I would not have to kill so many of them" is brilliant. This has always been one of my favorite shows, and with the removal of overlays and the addition of new commentaries, this is the definitive release. If you can find it, get it.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean open and ending animation,Character bios,Production sketches,Commentary with John Swasey (Uribatake) Kelly Manison (Haruka) Paul Sidello (Prospector) and Matt Greenfield (ADR Director)

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


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