Yenya's World

Thu, 13 Apr 2006

Destination: Mars

I have decided to write another anime review. Hope it will be useful for somebody. Let's go to the outer space :-) ND-001 Nadesico

In a distant future, the mankind has inhabited the Moon, and it even has a small Mars colony. However, the Mars base is attacked and destroyed by an unknown weapons, which are later given the name Jovian Lizards. One of the inhabitants of the Mars colony, Akito Tenkawa, is found unconcious on the surface of the Earth shortly after the Lizards' attack. The long war between the Earth military forces and Jovian Lizards starts. The enemy seems to have better weapons, and they can even transport them using an instant space jump devices. The situation is really bad for the Earth. In the meantime, a privately owned company Nergal Heavy Industries has secretly developed and built its own space ship, ND-001 Nadesico (image on the right), which could be a welcome help to the Earth defense forces. However, being a private company, Nergal has its own plans with Nadesico. As the captain of Nadesico, Yurika Misumaru, the daughter of the Earth defense forces admiral, is appointed. By a pure coincidence, Akito gets a job as a cook at Nadesico few minutes before launch.

Nadesico bridge Who are the Jovian Lizards, and why are they attacking the Earth? Will Nadesico crew help the Earth forces, or will Nergal act according to its own secret agenda? How comes Akito appeared on the Earth shortly after the attack on the Mars base? Who killed Akito's parents shortly before the Lizard's attack? And what the last episode of Gekigangar 3 contains?

On the surface, Kidou Senkan Nadesico (Mobile Battleship Nadesico is the translation, and Martian Successor Nadesico is the English title) is a typical crappy space opera, this time as an anime. However, I was surprised that unlike most space operas, the Nadesico story is full of unexpected twists, and the viewer can never be sure what will happen in the next moment. In addition, Nadesico is quite innovative. One of the most original concepts is "anime within anime" - some members of the Nadesico crew enjoy to watch a fictional 1970's-style mecha anime named Gekigangar 3. It then serves as a parody part of the series, as some situations of the real life of the crew are similar to the episodes of Gekigangar 3. Nadesico has quite a lot of interesting characters as well: the child prodigy Ruri, former voice actress Megumi (a character inspired by a real voice actress Megumi Hayashibara, who played Rei Ayanami in Evangelion and Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop), ace pilot Akatsuki, and many others. As for the characters: guess where the Full Metal Panic got its character design?

Nadesico versus FMP characters

Full Metal Panic (2002) versus Kidou Senkan Nadesico (1996):
On the left: Chidori Kaname (FMP) and Yurika Misumaru (Nadesico)
Upper right: Theresa Testarossa (FMP) and Ruri Hoshino (Nadesico)
Lower right: Sousuke Sagara (FMP) and Akito Tenkawa (Nadesico)

Nadesico is funny - I would say "a pure entertainment". Except that it is often more than that. It is quite serious sometimes (especially in the later episodes), it has an interesting plot, and (strange, strange) the main character is not annoying. The animation is a bit aged (Nadesico was created in 1996). The sound fits the series well, including the opening song of the fictional anime Gekigangar 3, OP and ED songs. There are few filler episodes (such as the episode when Nergal wants to choose a new captain of Nadesico in a singing contest :-). Anyway - I have to admit I liked Nadesico. As for the value, I have rewatched it after some time, and even then I did not find it boring. Ryouko Subaru My favourite character is another pilot, Ryouko Subaru (on the right), and maybe Ruri as well. Nadesico is recommended, maybe except for those who expect a deep, brain-screwing plot like in Evangelion.

After the success of the series, the studio XEBEC even made a bonus for Nadesico fans, an OVA Gekigangar 3: the fictional anime-within-anime has been made real :-). The true sequel of Nadesico, however, is the movie named Nadesico: Prince of Darkness. It is quite short and fast-paced (do not even try to watch it without watching the series first), and it has much darker mood. Even if you are suspicious about any movie-as-a-sequel, give it a try. I think I liked Prince of Darkness even more than the series itself. And (minor spoiler ahead:) in the movie, Ruri is a captain of new Nadesico B.

Oh, and by the way, Ruri thinks you are a complete fool :-)

Overall rating: 7/10 (Prince of Darkness: 8/10)


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