Type: TV (26 episodes)
Reviews @ Archen's Anime Page
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Martian Successor Nadesico
The alien invasion force came from beyond Jupiter. Mars quickly fell in the onslaught, and the only survivor lives on Earth as a cook. And actually Akito doesn't even remember how he managed to escape, but is quite defensive about not fighting against the aliens. The Earth found itself in a bad situation since earth weapons were basically in-effective against the aliens. One commercial company decided that the destruction of humanity would probably hurt their profits and thus decided to build their own battleship to combat the aliens.
Nergal industries didn't just go to the best military people to do the job, they actually went for anyone who could do the job best, regardless of their experience or former occupation. Akito ends up accidental attached to the crew. Also rather unfortunate that the Nadesico hadn't received it's pilots yet before it was forced to launch, so Akito ends up being a part time pilot in addition to being a cook.
So how can this crew of oddballs do better than the military? That depends on the way you define better, but they do usually get the job done...
When talking about anime classics, few would name Martian Successor Nadesico. As one of my all time anime favorites, I do my best to keep the flame burning and talk this one up as much as possible. Why? Because it's one of the most ingenious titles ever made. However many, if not most; people don't actually GET Nadesico. So keep in mind that what I'm talking about here may not be what you hear about Nadesico, and it may not be what you get out if it either. Many people would say it's just another giant robot show, but I've always thought of it as an anime fan's anime.
In many ways Nadesco is about as typical as a giant robot show gets, however it's cliche on purpose. One crafty part of the show, is how the main character Akito becomes obsessed with a 70s style anime called Gekiganger - which is totally ridiculous as those shows often were. Nadesco pretty much does all those same things. However it doesn't avoid that stuff, instead it revels in that stuff and often points out just how silly it all is, and has a blast doing it.
Counter to what you'd expect, the characters are a likable bunch and quite well developed. Ruri took Rei's popularity from Evangelion and honed it into a package that reached new heights in rabid Japanese fandom. Even if many of the characters are often silly, they have solid characterisations to back them up. Likewise the story floats between fun comedy pieces, and action / drama based material. Some of the drama gets a bit thick towards the end, but a part of Nadesico having drama and plot twists is that all good giant robot shows have drama and plot twists!
Oddly enough Nadisco is somewhat sly in using its humor in quite insightful ways. For instance modern ships have such advanced computer systems that the outcome of any given battle is already pre-determined with ship crew ship being pretty much irrelevant. As such the captain is basically worthless. Thus ship captains have evolved from old geezers to more youthful attractive figure heads, that are basically symbolic. Thus having such a ditsy captain like Yurika who scored good on simulations makes honest to God sense! The show can be oddly clever if you catch those parts.
Nadisco is a fun title, but it's not for everyone. If you see it only as another giant robot show, it's just ok. If you see where those anime parody elements fit in, it's ingenious. For those reasons, I think of it as I said before: "an anime fan's anime". So I believe it's with good reason this is one of my anime favorites.
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reviewed by archen in 2000