Martian Successor Nadesico Perfect Collection (Thinpak) - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 49.98
  • Running time: 650
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Martian Successor Nadesico

Martian Successor Nadesico Perfect Collection (Thinpak)

By Chris Beveridge     January 07, 2008
Release Date: January 01, 2008


Martian Successor Nadesico Perfect Collection (Thinpak)
© ADV Films


What They Say
The Earth, the Moon, and our Martian Colonies are under alien attack and our space fleets are powerless to stop the invasion. Disgusted by the incompentence of the Terran military, the independent arms manufacturer Nergal builds its own space battle cruiser and launches a new offensive in a desperate attempt to save the Earth. Unfortunately, due to a shortage of trained military personnel, the crew is a little unorthodox...

With a reluctant assistant cook as a pilot, a ditsy general's daughter in command, and the largest contingent of geeks, misfits and anime fans ever sent into orbit, the poor enemy Jovians won't stand a chance!

Contains all 26 episodes.

The Review!
You get to… mild burning!

Audio:
The audio for the series is definitely indicative of the time as this series was initially released during the VHS days and took a bit of time to come to DVD. It didn't merit an upgrade to 5.1 over the years either in any of the configurations it's been released in. That said, both language tracks are quite good with the 224 kbps stereo mixes they do have, even if it is pretty much a full center channel presentation. There isn't much in the way of strong directionality to be had here, but it's not really needed either. Dialogue doesn't require placement and the action effects when used are good, though they lack some of the oomph a more current mix could provide. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 1996 and 1997, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The video for this release is different from what I had originally seen with the first DVD release as it contains the transfer that doesn't include the overlays, which is very welcome. Nadesico is certainly showing its age now though for the most part this is a rather good looking show with solid production values. Colors are generally very solid with only some occasional strong moments of background noise. Cross coloration is sprinkled throughout the series at times but never to a level that really distracts and line noise during some of the panning sequences isn't a bother either. The materials here are in good shape but it definitely has that film feel as opposed to the very clear and distinct transfers of more current shows, not that that is a bad thing. Overall, it's a very pleasing transfer considering its age.

Packaging:
Unlike the previous Nadesico collection, this one is given the full thinpak treatment which really looks good. The heavy chipboard box has some really nice artwork on it along with the classic Nadesico logo. One panel features a large detailed shot of Ruri with a smaller shot of Megumi alongside it while the other features more of the cast with Yurika taking the forefront as Akito, Megumi, Ruri and an Aestavlis are behind them. The outward spine uses the logo that doesn't match either the original logo from the Japanese airings or the logo used within the show by ADV Films, but it does look good. Inside the box are six black thinpaks which for the most part uses artwork that wasn't on the original releases or not in such a clean form. Three of the volumes feature just character artwork, with Minato providing a very sexy one while Ruri has a cute one and one that uses the box artwork. The remaining covers use group shots, with one featuring the trio of female pilots and their mecha, another with a shot of Akito along with several of the girls and the mecha while the last one has the close-up of Akito with his mecha behind him. The cover artwork is very pleasing overall and the back covers for each of them reflects what episodes are on it and what extras you can find along with production credits and a technical grid.

Menu:
The menu design for the series is the same across all six volumes as it uses a good piece of artwork that features a good chunk of the primary cast of characters. Set against a beautiful star filled backdrop, it includes an Aestivalis as well and has a brief bit of the opening vocal song in rotation. The menus themselves are static and utilize the English language logo while providing instant episode access and the usual submenus. The colors and design overall really look good and it stands out well even against more modern shows. Access times are nice and fast with easy navigation and all the discs correctly read our players' language presets.

Extras:
The original extras from the 2004 Essential Anime Edition releases are retained here which makes for some good value added content. The extras alternate between volumes one, three and five having a commentary track on it while volumes two, four and six have character biographies, production sketches and clean opening and closings. None of the extras are terribly strong, but they're welcome additions and interesting things to listen to when it comes to the older commentaries.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While not quite the "evergreen" property that Neon Genesis Evangelion has been for ADV Films, Martian Successor Nadesico is a show that they do seem intent on bringing out every few years in a new configuration. The timing of this release is fairly off though when it comes to marketing it properly since they really did just miss the tenth anniversary aspect of it, depending on whether you wanted to go by the start or end of the series. Regardless, this twenty-six episode series has seen a number of variations over the years but this thinpak release can be considered the definitive version of it.

Taking place in the year 2195, it's been a year since life changed for humanity after their Martian colony and Lunar colony was destroyed by a mysterious race of creatures known only as the Jovian Lizards. This enemy from Jupiter has been sending numerous unmanned ships and fighters through portals called Chulips to Mars and then on to the Moon in order to drive humanity to extinction. The series is very much an ensemble piece, but the central character is that of young Akito, a man who was on Mars during the initial attacks and saw numerous people die before his eyes. This comes years after watching his own parents die when he was but a child, and his helplessness in this situation hamstrings him for the entire series.

The war effort against the Jovian Lizards by the United Earth Armed Forces takes a curious turn when they seemingly get help from one of the biggest conglomerates on Earth known as Nergal. Nergal has been bringing in all manner of interesting personalities for their new venture which is a civilian based battleship built to fight the invaders. Akito, who has been having little luck on Earth since he mysteriously woke up there after the invasion of Mars, is accidentally recruited after he comes into contact with the captain of the Nadesico, a young woman named Yurika who was actually his next door neighbor back on Mars. Yurika is a classic superior intelligence ditz who has earned her position but comes across as unfocused and silly. Her reunion with Akito has her believing in fate and she's still very much in love with him, though he can't figure out why and avoids her a lot of the time.

Nadesico has a fairly large cast of characters to it as it uses the battleship to move about the solar system and interact with the military, Nergal itself and eventually the Jovian Lizards. The setup of the series is what lets the characters shine as it moves fairly well between serious moments and comedy. There is also a strong harem aspect as several women are interested in Akito to varying degrees, though he's not the only one to be involved in a relationship. Curiously, Akito is resistant to Yurika right from the start but he's a bit more ambivalent with Megumi, a former voice actress turned communications officer. Megumi is quite attracted to him and is outgoing enough in her competition with Yurika, but Akito is fairly oblivious to how serious she is about him. The helmswoman, Minato, finds herself in a relationship with one of the Nergal execs on board but it's one of the weaker ones since it gets so little time. As the series expands, the relationships get a touch more complex as well which adds nicely to all of it.

One of the things that really sets Nadesico apart from other shows is the way it's somewhat self referential. A good deal of the show revolves around an anime series that several of the characters are very keen about called Gekigangar 3. The series, which runs for thirty-nine episodes, is something that harkens back to the good old days of giant robot shows in which it's all about hot blooded passion and little real sense to it. The actions of the characters in the show sometimes reflect what the Nadesico characters are going through, and it inspires certain mecha related actions, but its influence is far wider than realized at first. As the series goes forward and we actually get to know who the Jovian Lizards are and how they came to be, Gekigangar 3 takes on a very strange feeling but one that isn't wholly unbelievable either.

Going back to Martian Successor Nadesico seven years after seeing it for the first time has been an interesting experience. While I had enjoyed it at times during that first viewing, it left me feeling somewhat off about it and disliking a lot of the Gekigangar 3 elements. In the time since then, I've seen a lot more anime and a lot more older shows such as Gatchaman which helps to reconnect some of the lines to this series. Going back into it, things I had missed before are now more apparent and my appreciation has grown considerably because of it. The entire Gekigangar 3 aspect of the series has more appeal and it makes more sense when looked at in total.

The other really nice change is that in a way it's my first time seeing parts of the series since it doesn’t feature the video overlays that were being used back in those days. So much of the text, more early on than later on, was "covered" up by English language translations that sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. Getting to finally see the show in its clean and original form, sans part of the opening sequence with the logo, is one of the things that made it worthwhile to dabble in the show again. Some series require a good deal of time before I can see it again and Nadesico just hit that mark with the seven year difference since finishing it off the first time.

It's not all coming up roses though as there are certainly flaws to be had with the series. The harem aspect of it bothers me still but it does feel more restrained in this viewing than back in 2000. So many shows have gone so much further over the top that it feels quaint in a lot of ways. The show also does feel like it was trying to ape aspects of Evangelion as well with the way it brings text onto the screen, giving lots of military jargon and doing quick cuts to lots of fancy military equipment and settings. The part that is still the weakest though is the ending. In viewing the series again, I had found the show as a whole clicking very well up until I got to the last few minutes of the last episode. Once the credits finished out, I simply felt like it was a copout ending and one that pretty much cheated the viewer of any kind of real resolution. This isn't new and there are plenty of shows where the journey is far better than the destination. Nadesico simply fails in this area though and it left me not wanting to really think about it any more than I had to as it was just disappointing all around.

In Summary:
Martian Successor Nadesico was a difficult show to get through at times when I first saw it, but I had liked a number of aspects of it. This return to it was one that I wasn't intending to make, but circumstances had me putting it into the player and marathoning it over four days. While my appreciation of the show overall has grown as my exposure to more shows and more history has occurred, the series suffers from a really bad ending. It's a rare show that can go from a strong and engaging final episode to leaving me feeling like it's an utter copout with only two minutes of story left. As a whole, Nadesico is a fun show that blends a lot of genres together well and works today even if it feels a bit quaint in comparison to what comes out today. This collection firmly serves as the definitive western release of it and is one that is very easy to recommend to people who want to sample one of the bigger titles of the mid nineties.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Commentary Tracks, Character Profiles, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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