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"Martian Successor Nadesico Volume 2" Not Essential, But Enjoyable

by on February 13, 2005

The Nadesico, a high-powered space ship piloted by a highly-out-of-place crew, is leading the fight for survival against the Jovians, a lizardian race from Jupiter hell-bent on destroying the Earth after having destroyed the colonies on Mars years ago. But when the crew of the Nadesico meet an unexpected enemy, the fate of the war and the drive of the crew may be forever changed.

Episodes included on Martian Successor Nadesico Essential Animé Collection Volume 2
-Disc One-
Episode 10: “The Dangers of Femininity”
Episode 11: “Finding Yourself in a Routine Plot”
Episode 12: “Those Unforgettable Days”
Episode 13: “There is No Single Truth”
Episode 14: “Let’s Go With Hot-Blooded Anime”

-Disc Two-
Episode 15: “The Significant Other From a Star Far Away”
Episode 16: “The Beginning of Nadesico’s War”
Episode 17: “A Reunion that Came Too Late”
Episode 18: “Echoes of Self, Echoes of War”

Ah, Nadesico. One of the greatest animé series of all time, right? Well, that’s what people keep telling me. I caught the little bit that aired on Toonami back in the day and was swayed into picking up the budget release of Essential Animé Collection Volume 1 of the series. (Nine episodes for thirteen bucks is a pretty darn good deal. I thought it worked, but it didn’t grab me the way it grabs others.

Oh, sure, I enjoyed it, but when you watch it intermittently with Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 you’ll find that one show definitely eclipses the other. Does this volume make it rank higher, or is it still just “pretty good”?

The Nadesico is still fighting the Jovians while its pilots are fighting with/falling in love with each other. Ridiculous comedy is balanced by dark drama: The story swings from a beach episode where an official gets buried neck deep in sand (and apparently left to drown alongside a crazy blonde) to a story of someone going insane over their past sins). One reason for the shift in tone involves a major revelation about the Jovians. No spoilers, but it might remind you of Galaxy Quest.

Part of the humor of the series comes from the fact that it’s very self-referential. Akito’s a fan of the mech show Gekigangar 3 and comes off like any real mech fan, except for the fact that he pilots one on a daily basis. During the Christmas episode, one of the characters start singing the theme song of the show; it’s hilarious to hear “you get to burning!” transformed into a Christmas jingle. There’s also some unintentional Engrish humor (“Gay Daigoji” is probably not how Gai Daigoji wishes to be remembered) and some jokes that are universal (the persistent instant video windows that bug pilots are always funny).

When they lay on the drama, they lay it on thick. With such an enormous cast of characters (over one hundred and twenty reoccurring ones), you might only get five minutes of drama for one person, but those five minutes are well done. Everyone will find a character they can relate to, whether it be the voice actress pining for Akito or the mech fan taking a female friend’s interest in his hobby a little too seriously. In fact, some moments may hit a little too close to home.

All in all, this set continues a good story, though one that developes through individual episodes rather than multi-parters. It’s like Fruits Basket in that way: so many characters, so many episodes, and so hard to describe. It’s gold, but it might not all register at once, and it’s hard to try to explain.

The two discs are filled out with character bios, a production sketch gallery, clean open/close, and previews. There is a commentary with Kira Vincent Davis (Ruri), Kelly Manison (Haruka), and Paul Sidello (Prospector). I always like commentaries, but there’s only one on these two discs. The actors have fun talking about the way they had to voice multiple characters. There’s nothing truly informative, but it’s a fun listen.

Martian Successor Nadesico continues to be a fun ride. I’m not sure if I’d classify it as “Essential,” but it’s a pretty enjoyable series that crams enough worthwhile material into each episode. Go get it; it doesn’t cost that much, but you get a whole lot.

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