Mania Grade: NA
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- Audio Rating: N/A
- Video Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Menus Rating: N/A
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 75
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Nazca
Nazca Vol. #4
By Roman Martel
February 16, 2002
Release Date: July 18, 2000
Overall Rating: 3.9 (on a scale of 1-5)
English Acting: 2.8
Intro Well, Nazca has completed itself with this disc. It was an uncertain ride for me. Chris asked me to review this series for the site and who am I to refuse. I wasn't planning on getting this series at first and now what would I say if someone asked me about Nazca . . . Well you're gonna have to read the review for that information. But if you've been following my previous reviews, I think you know what to expect.
Technical Review The technical marks on this disc change a bit, mostly because of comparison to other discs. The picture looks great on my set up. The sound follows the same pattern as before. It works well for a TV show and was nice and sharp. The menu looks good and works smoothly; it just lacks the flash more recent menus from Pioneer. The overall look of the keepcase art is just as good as the previous ones. Nice and eye catching and tells you all information you need to know on the back. The mini manga are back. But for some reason they aren't as well done as the previous installments. It seems like the creator didn't know how to end the manga. Could this be foreshadowing for the series? All in all this is a solid disc release from Pioneer. Technically, this whole series was been up to par with all of Pioneer's previous releases.
Content Review Now on the artistic side, this release was not as good as some of Pioneer's previous offerings. While not as badly done as El Hazard the Alternative World (the pain of writing that title still hurts), it is not nearly as good as Serial Experiments Lain or even as entertaining as Trigun or Sol Bianca. Nazca is weak, and looking back on all 12 episodes, there were few memorable moments.
From the beginning, Nazca showed promise. There was enough of an idea to really create some good characters and do something very interesting an dramatically satisfying with the plot. Instead what came out was lots of moments of something almost happening, and yet you are just left with nothing really ever happening. And of course if you have a weak plot to begin with there isn't much the rest of the show can do to help save it.
Basically you have the final three episodes that are meant as a finale to the whole show. In the first episode, you have our heroes waking up from yet another defeat at the hands of Tate and his group. Daimon shows that he can't take Tate any more and helps his former best friend Kyoji. This episode is filled with flash backs to the Inca past, when we see all the main players fighting it in front of the great door of Iriyatesse. The episode ends with Tate suspecting Daimon (he must have seen this one coming a mile away, as well) of betraying him. The next episode has our heroes rushing to stop Tate and Daimon revealing his true colors. There is battle and destruction and then another huge surprise when yet another character reveals his true colors. I know my jaw dropped to see that moment (wink). The final episode brings everyone back to the Inca past. They have a final confrontation and everything is resolved.
The animation has remained a steady quality all the way through the series. It's typical TV with some moments that remind you of OAV quality. What really impressed me about the animation, especially in the first three episodes was the use of camera angles and editing technique. While these elements remain present in the first three discs, I didn't notice anything remotely artistic in the last disc. The focus seems to be more on the plot moving forward and not on the animation style in the last three episodes. The last episode does incorporate elements from the opening credits and that was neat to see, but they stand out against some of the more typical animation. Also, the CG comes back and boy does it come back. It's not bad, but there are moments when you realize that they are just showing off the cool CG effects and not using it constructively. We get too many pans and tilts and angles over the same 3D effect. Nazca's strong point in the animation department is in the character design and the costume design. Overall the characters and the costumes look great and add to the whole feel of the show. The moments of artistic technique aren't bad, but they are too few and far between.
The sound remains consistent with the animation and adds enough atmosphere to the scenes. There were some moments were the sound added more to the scenes. But again this disc didn't have as many moments that worked as well as they did in previous discs. There was some creative sound design for the powers and spells used by the characters. All in all, the soundtrack worked well with the show.
The plot for the show is the weakest element. Mostly this was due to lack of character development and not giving the audience a chance to really care or feel for any of the characters. Sure some of the characters change. In fact one of the main character changes should have been the climax of the story. Unfortunately, I didn't really care what happened to most of the cast by the end of the show. Originally it seemed to me that this was mostly due to the fact that the show was too focused on moving the plot from point A to B sacrificing character development at the same time (Phantom Menace syndrome). However the ending of the show has given me a more morbid fate for Nazca. It seems to me that the creators had an idea for a show. It would deal with reincarnation and it would involve the Incas. There are some ties that could be made between the two cultures and it looked like it could work. They got some good character design and some ideas for scenes they wanted to use and then got the O.K. to make the show. They just didn't have a complete script. Now this is all speculation, but it describes what happens in this show. A connection of scenes that have an overriding idea to them. Unfortunately no one seems to have any idea about how to resolve the conflict. What you get at the end of the series is a bunch of stuff happening, some if it making no sense, and not really explaining anything and then it's over. Some of the stereotypical climax moments are used, there was no real surprise at the ending and it wasn't too original. But it didn't seem too well planned or executed as well. It feels like we get to a point in Nazca were the creators ran out of cool scenes and then were left with no ending, so they made one up on the fly, basing it off other similar shows or movies. The result is a hollow ending to a mediocre series.
The English cast has gotten more and more bored sounding as the series has progressed. At first I was excited to hear some pretty good acting coming from all the parties. Now in this last disc even the most energetic performances have gotten weak. I'm pretty sure this is due to the lack of any acting challenge presented by the script. How is an actor supposed to get into the part when they don't even know what the part is? Without the focus, the acting has come to its weakened state, and although not badly acted you get bored sounding actors and actresses.
The music has remained the best part of the whole series. I have enjoyed it from the opening theme to the closing credits and most of the score during the show. You've got a great mix of all kinds of music in this show and it really works well with the animation. If only the plot had lived up to the music.
The music, the cover art and the mini manga are the best parts of the show. Unfortunately that is not enough for me to recommend this series for purchase. It makes an interesting rental, but only if you've seen pretty much all the other anime available. It's pretty forgeable and will pass the time but nothing more. Frankly you'd probably do better to purchase Trigun, or if you want a really great 4 disc series Serial Experiments Lain is awesome. Nazca is something that could have been great, but instead is a disappointment in a pretty box, with a great soundtrack.
****Spoiler Rant! You have been warned**** O.K. What is the deal with Garos? He was introduced in the last disc he has about a total of 20 minutes of screen time. He has about 20 lines and then... he betrays Tate (I couldn't believe it! I fell over in surprise! I gasped in shock! I fainted and LadyCat had to revive me). What I couldn't have predicted was that he would get sucked up by a giant glowing spider into the sky and disappear from the face of the show. This is what we writers like to call "a device". Usually these devices are much more subtle and help the writer get out of a jam.
So basically the writers of Nazca said, "O.K. Garos betrays Tate and becomes all evil and stuff. The audience has a coronary from the shock, and then..." Big pause. "And then..." Bigger Pause. "Oh man, what do we do with him?" "He's served his purpose. Get rid of him." "How?" "I don't know... how about we just put some random images together and suck him up and out of the plot and then he disappears." "Sounds good, now what do we do about the end?"
LadyCat and myself came up with an explanation of what happened to our favorite character Garos (we love him because of all the depth and meaning he brought to the show). O.K. get this.... Garos betrays Tate and whips out his knife and shoots his beam of light. Now that huge flash of light caught the attention of some aliens that were passing by. They look on their scanners and say, "Hey there's a crazy guy! If we abduct him no one will believe aliens abducted him." "Sounds good Ortugg, beam him up!" So they use their super high tech space beam (that happens to look like a big ole giant spider) and suck him into the ship. He is prodded and probed and reduced to a whimpering pile of priest. They drop him off in a trailer park where he becomes the local "character". "Oh there goes ole Garos, telling the tourists how he got abducted by aliens when he was an Inca priest."
Well I think it's a good explanation, don't you? ****Spoiler Rant off!****
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