Martian Successor Nadesico Series Overview
Nadesico, being a sci-fi, is set some time in the future. Mankind has colonised Mars, developed new technologies in space travel and invented those cool pop-up screens like the ones in Minority Report. The only threat to mankind's newfound land is the Jovian Lizards - an alien race of which very little is known. They attack using unmanned ships that are teleported through a plant-like technology known as the tulips. To combat this threat the private arms company Nergal has developed a new super-ship, the Nadesico, complete with all the latest gadgets such as the graviton field which keeps the ship safe from Jovian attack. Their mission is to rescue the survivors trapped on Mars (now Jovian territory) and return safely to Earth.
For a company that wanted the best crew they get their hands on, Nergal sure picked a bunch of misfits to pilot the Nadesico. Akito, the traumatised hero of the piece, is the focus of female attention aboard the ship and probably the only male who doesn't actually want it. This attention comes from Yurika, the ship's airhead captain and Megumi, Image 1 of 3. Click to enlarge
Image 1 of 3. Click to enlarge
So, we have a love triangle with a reluctant male lead. There's nothing new or particularly inspiring about this relationship, we've seen it done a million times before, but there is something to be said for the execution. Both Yurika & Megumi are likeable fellows and by the end of the series you won't want either of them left with a broken heart.
Yet hearts will be broken in this series - and characters will die. For a series that makes you laugh so often, Nadesico is surprisingly adept at the drama side of things. Perhaps the laughter amplifies the shock of a favourite character dying? In any case, don't expect Nadesico to be all light and fluffy when it comes to the grittier aspects of war.
The action is marred by the lacklustre animation. While the artwork is fine, the animation is often choppy when it comes to the more demanding scenes, such as the fights with the mecha Aestivalis. The designs of the mecha and technology isn't anything to write home about, except perhaps for the mighty Gekiganger III.
Ahh, Gekiganger. Early on in the series Akito becomes close friends with Jiro, a hardened Otaku who introduces him to Gekiganger III, an old anime show in the vein of Mazinger Z or Gatchaman. The simplistic artwork, the corny plots and the overly dramatic voice acting on Gekiganger Image 2 of 3. Click to enlarge
Image 2 of 3. Click to enlarge
This 'anime within an anime' concept is novel, a unique attribute to the series that adds and extra layer of depth to the characters, the plot and the comedy. Without it Nadesico could well have been yet another love/comedy sci-fi. With Gekiganger III, Nadesico is a brilliantly satirical love/comedy sci-fi. The jokes may be a little broad at times, but the humour is easily on par with the likes of El Hazard or Tenchi. The majority of the comedy comes from either Gekiganger III/anime related jokes or the love triangle between Akito, Yurika and Megumi.
As with many anime comedies, the female quota isn't adverse to a little fanservice. It's nothing compared to Burn Up Excess, but those figure-hugging uniforms and jokes about Yurika's breast size won't please the more conservative among you. That said, there are Image 3 of 3. Click to enlarge
Image 3 of 3. Click to enlarge
But even she isn't particularly villainous. Despite having a strong war theme, Nadesico is staunchly anti-war. From the early episodes right down to the last war is presented as a fruitless exercise that brings nothing but pain, death and sorrow. The Jovians may appear to be a faceless enemy during the first half of Nadesico, but as the story progresses we learn more about these lizards and their reasons for fighting. With such a strong anti-war message it should come as no surprise to learn that Nadesico does not present us with a victor.
The end of the series does not draw many conclusions. As Ruri points out, it asks more questions than it answers, which will disappoint many of you who dislike loose ends. But don't let that put you off. Nadesico is a brilliant show that will appeal to anyone who likes to laugh, anyone who likes a bit of drama, romance, sci-fi or even action. I hope I've expressed clearly my reasons for giving this anime a perfect score. But when all else fails, aim for the lowest common denominator:
BUY IT!! NOW!!! IT'S GREAT!!!! WOO!!!!!
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