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ADV Films presents

Martian Successor Nadesico #2: Mission To Mars (1996)

"What is the meaning of being a captain?"- Yurika Misumaru (Houko Kuwashima)

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

Manufacturer: JVC
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (12+ for violence)
Run Time: 01h:29m:05s
Release Date: 2001-01-09
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A AA-A- C+


DVD Review

The second installment in the popular TV series from ADV Films, Martian Successor Nadesico covers another four episodes from the twenty four television shows and final two OVAs. Episodes on this disc are Ruri's Navigation Logs, Sort Of Like A Fateful Decision, The Song That You Will One Day Sing and The Luke Warm "Cold Equation".

The Nadesico is now in deep space on her way to Mars and life aboard the ship has settled down, due to its heavily automated systems. Still under occasional attack from the Jovians, these are handled routinely by the defense mechanisms. While helmswoman Haruka Minato (Maya Okamoto) catches up on her beauty rest, vessel operations officer Ruri Hoshino (Omi Minami) tends to monitoring the ship's sensors, with the ship's communications officer, Megumi Reinard (Naoko Takano), her only companion on the bridge. The journey has had its casualties though, and young captain Yurika Misumaru (Houko Kuwashima) is beginning to understand that her role has less to do with battle strategy than it does with taking care of ceremony aboard ship, which includes tending to the many funerals required, although this is distracting her from what she really wants to do, which is spend time with her childhood companion Akito. Meanwhile, under the watchful eye of the ship's head chef, Akito's (Yûji Ueda) interest to become a cook is enhanced after discovering the ship's extensive spice collection, and he still resents his job as a robot pilot. Though unscathed on her voyage towards Mars, as the ship finally reaches her destination, the Nadesico's domination in battle may be at an end, and Captain Yurika also has to learn the weight of her decisions in their battle strategy. Now returned to the site of his former colony, Akito tries to discover the fate of his homeworld and its inhabitants, while the Nergal Corporation who are behind the operation, exercises new options in their strategic plan against the Jovians.

With the continuation of the series, the roles of the three new female robot pilots begin to expand, as do the rest of the cast, and as expected, Akito is the center of every girl's love interest, though like most anime males, he is more interested in other pursuits, in this case the Gekiganger anime series, than he is in the women vying for his attention. Through the course of this disc the action heats up, and the story moves in an interesting and unexpected direction. We begin to see better definition in all the characters, and as with the first disc, the relationships between the characters is fun to watch, especially Yuriko's attempts to interfere with Megumi's advances towards Akito. We get lots of battle scenes with the crews of the robot Aestivalis as they take on all comers, and fresh characters are added to the mix adding new dynamics to the whole setup. Just as things look like they are resolving one way, a curve ball is thrown, keeping the situation interesting. It is not hard to see why the series is popular, as I'm certainly looking forward to more.

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 solid with good color saturation and solid blacks. Shimmer is at a minimum and highly sporadic. Overall the image is comparable to the first disc in terms of quality, with perhaps a marginal improvement. English overlays are present that don't really match the animation style, but given their infrequent appearance and the amount of text they need to convey, they seem a necessary evil if alternate angles for the original Japanese screens aren't employed.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The original Japanese and dubbed English tracks are available in stereo, and though primarily dialogue, do feature appropriate directionality when required. I found no issues with either track except the tendency for the English dub to feel overacted and slightly hollow sounding, which makes it feel more detached from the animation than my prefered Japanese track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A- 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Reboot, Battle Angel, Queen Emeraldas, Gasaraki, ADV compilation promo
Packaging: other
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Character profiles
Extras Review: Like the first disc in the series, we get character overviews for more of the cast, this time, the three female Aestivalis pilots Subaro Ryoko, Amano Hikaro, Maki Izumi and UEAF Admiral, Munetake Sudaaki, though none of these characters feature prominently in this set of episodes, so these profiles might be better being passed over until the series is farther along and the characters are more developed. Opening and closing credits are again available without the text overlays.

The openings of each episode have both the credits and either romanji or English subtitles for the title song. The trailer for Martian Successor Nadesico is available from the extras menu. Each episode has five chapter stops (not four as listed on the insert card), which includes the opening and end credits, two episode breaks and a preview for the next episode. While the main menu is static with the show's theme music audible, the chapter selection screens feature full motion insets.

There are also four trailers for other ADV titles, Reboot, Battle Angel, Queen Emeraldas, Gasaraki and an ADV compilation promo. These are only accessable when the disc is first inserted and can't be accessed from the main menu, and you have to either chapter skip past them, or press your menu button in order to go straight to the main menu.

I must again rant about the packaging of this title. I do wish ADV woulddecide on a spine look and keep the design consistent throughout theseries, as the placement of logos and catalogue numbers is reversed on the first and second volumes of this series. The first disc omits the"Chronicle" title from the spine, while the second has "Mission To Mars"added. These details do affect the presentation on the shelf, and I'm seeing this far too often on ADV's discs

Extras Grade: C+

Final Comments

With the number of lengthy anime series now making their way to DVD, deciding which ones are worth the investment is geting more difficult. From the two discs I've seen of this series, I continue to recommend Nadesico for those who enjoy witty relationship humor (the comedic content is high in the series), robot battles, and an evolving story line with lots of smaller arcs contained within it. With four complete episodes per disc and the delays between releases getting smaller, you shouldn't be waiting for the next set of episodes for too long.

Jeff Ulmer 2000-12-19