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ADV Films presents

Martian Successor Nadesico #1: Chronicle 1 (1996)

"Let's go, Gekiganger!"- Gai Diagouji (Tomokazu Seki)

Stars: Yûji Ueda, Houko Kuwashima, Omi Minami, Tomokazu Seki, Naoko Takano, Chisa Yokoyama
Other Stars: Kentarô Itô, Miki Nagasawa, Maya Okamoto, Tomoko Kawakami, Miyuki Ichijô, Ryôtarô Okiayu, Shiho Kikuchi
Director: Tatsuo Sato

Manufacturer: IFPI
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Suggested for children over 12 for cartoon violence)
Run Time: 01h:29m:08s
Release Date: 2000-11-07
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A AA-A- C+


DVD Review

Love. War. Giant Robots. The sales plug sums it up for the first installment in another popular TV series from ADV Films, Martian Successor Nadesico. The series, Kidoseiken Nadeshiko (which roughly translates as Mobile Battleship Nadesico), was originally broadcast in Japan from November 1996 to April 1997, and was voted "Best Anime Show Of All Time" by fans. We get a fair share of big-eyed girls, wacky characters and, you guessed it, big robots.

The year is 2195. After destroying mankind's Martian outpost and capturing our moon bases, the Jovians, giant lizards from Jupiter, are now attacking the Earth, and the United Earth Forces, with their entire space fleet wiped out, are fighting a losing battle. As episode one opens, we witness a flashback of the Jovian attack that destroyed the Mars colony, and meet Akito Tenkawa (Ueda). A young pilot, he was raised on Mars and does his best to fight off the attacking robots, but ultimately fails. Now back on Earth—though he doesn't know how he got there—he finds work as a cook, but when he accidentally meets up with a childhood friend from his former planet, he hopes she can unlock the mystery of his parent's death. Little does he know that twenty-year-old Yurika Misumaru (Kuwashima), the daughter of the Admiral of the United Earth Forces, is also the commander of the Nadesico—a space battleship being built in secrecy by Nergal Heavy Industries, a private company who have been developing the ship for their own purposes. Due to a shortage of trained space personnel, Nergal rounds up a crew of unorthodox characters for the mission they plan to launch imminently. In addition to the ditsy-but-brilliant-in-battle commander Yurika, the crew consists of second-in-command, Jun Aoi (Itô), who happens to be in love with his captain, and a gung-ho robot pilot that goes by the title Gai Diagouji (Seki), a name inspired by his favorite obsession: a 2070's Giant Robot series, Gekiganger. We also have Megumi Reinard (Takano), a former anime voiceover star; Haruka Minato (Okamoto), an ex-secretary who dons nonstandard uniforms (of the heavy fan service variety) and the cynical yet hyperintelligent Ruri Hoshino (Minami), who can't refrain from calling the rest of her crew members "fools" ("idiots" in the dubbed version), a psychotic engineer who signed up to escape his wife and kid. Through a twist of fate, poor Akito also gets drawn into the crew as a robot pilot, though he just wants to be the cook.

If the Jovians weren't enough of a problem, after witnessing its effectiveness in battle, the United Earth Forces see the Nadesico as a ship they must capture as their only hope against the Jovian onslaught. However, her captain and the Nergal Corporation are planning to send the ship to liberate Mars. Not only must the Nadesico avoid being destroyed by the Jovians, they now also face danger from their own army.

Nadesico takes pleasure in poking fun at its own genre, especially the subplot of the Gekiganger anime series which adds an interesting dimension to the show (and proved so popular that it was actually spun off into its own OAV series) by mocking the dedication of anime fandom. There is no shortage of love interests either, which set up some great interpersonal situations, and the series wouldn't be complete without an array of human-piloted robots that do battle with the Jovians and United Forces. You also have a father lusting after his daughter in the Admiral (more pronounced on the English dub), and enough fan service to raise this one above kiddie fare.

The most obvious issue with Nadesico is the frequent and obvious English overlays, which for the most part consist of white boxes filled with text on computer screens, which aside from being impossible to read without rewinding, occasionally float against the background, and in my opinion, are in many instances unnecessary. These aside, the series looks to be headed in a good direction, and it will be interesting to see how everything plays out, especially as three new female crew members are added to the mix in the third episode. By the end of the fourth episode enough interpersonal relationships are set up to make things really complicated.

The disc features the first four episodes of the 26 part series. Each episode features opening and closing credits, with alternating English and Romanji subtitles for the songs (except episode one, which has dialogue over top of the opening sequence). All in all this is another winning series from ADV!

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The full frame image is well rendered with solid blacks and good saturation. A few instances of shimmering here and there, but overall a very nice-looking transfer. While perhaps not as sharp as some newer series, it is still impressive.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Stereo tracks are available in the original Japanese as well as dubbed English. There are no problems with either track, though I found the voice acting on the English dub a bit overdone; the Japanese track plays better with the animation. There are many discrepancies between the dub and the subtitling, and even hard subs in one section did not match the original English spoken on the Japanese track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A- 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Lost Universe, Bubblegum Crisis 2040, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Slayers The Motion Picture, Blue Seed, ADV compilation promo
Packaging: other
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Translation notes
  2. Textless, animation only, opening and end credits sequences
Extras Review: There are few things of note in the extras section, so I'll start withthe positive. We get a reasonable character overview for the principles,giving more background to the characters than is exposed in these firstfour episodes. The opening and ending sequences can be viewed separatelywithout any credits, so you can watch just the animation in thesesections. The openings of each episode have both the credits and eitherromanji or English subtitles for the title song. A nice feature. Thereis also the promo clip for Martian Successor Nadesico available from theextras menu. An interesting bit is the inclusion of translation notesexplaining some of the choices for the subtitling, including somedefense of the choices made (the dub track doesn't seem to be covered).We get a bit of a Japanese lesson here, and an education in thesubtleties that don't necessarily come across from the original languagescript. Each episode has five chapter stops, which includes the endcredits and preview for the next episode.

Okay, here's the part that gets mixed reviews. There are also fivetrailers for other ADV titles, Lost Universe, BubblegumCrisis 2040, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Slayers The MotionPicture, Blue Seed and an ADV compilation promo. That isgood, however these are only accessable when you first insert the disc,and the promos have to be chapter skipped through to select themindividually, or by pressing the menu button to get to the main menu. Iwould much prefer these trailers be accessed optionally from the menus(where they aren't accessable from at all), and have the disc cue up themain menu with no front end trailers when you put it in. The trailersthemselves look pretty good aside from some interlace issues, but don'tbelong as quasi-forced intros to the main feature, in my opinion.

Extras Grade: C+

Final Comments

This series has a lot going for it so far—kooky characters, lots of anime babes, some cool mechanicals and an involving storyline which covers a lot of ground. Humor abounds, and the relationships set up in these opening episodes promise to keep things interesting as the series progresses. This gets my recommendation for anime fans.

Jeff Ulmer 2000-10-06