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Martian Successor Nadesico Review

Genres: Science-Fiction Comedy Mecha All
Series' Year of Release: 1996
Number of Episodes: 26
Review Date: 24-6-2009
Review Language: Dub
Review DVD Region: R4 Available in Australia
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Review By: Bradley Beeck

Earth is under attack by the Jovian Lizards. Mars has already fallen and the Earthís defense forces seem powerless to stop the alien invaders. Enter the Nergal Corporation and its newly constructed vessel the Nadesico. Itís crewed by expert specialists who also happen to be off the wall idiots. This includes Akito, a cook who somehow escaped the Jovian attack on mars and ends up becoming an Aestevalis pilot (mecha). And Yurika, the captain of the Nadesico who madly loves Akito regardless of his protests.

nadesico002Martian Successor Nadesico or just Nadesico is a comedy mecha series thatís also a parody. Itís not a parody of the genre per se but a parody of itself. It contains its own Power Rangers-esque mecha cartoon that mirrors events in the show proper. Akito and other members of the crew love this cartoon Ė Gekigenger - and itís intimately entwined with the story in an inventive way.

nadesico006The series starts off quickly with the crew assembled and heading out in the Nadesico in no time. Youíll need to be paying attention to catch who everyone is as some people arenít immediately named. The story continues as the Nadesico escapes earth despite the defense forceís best efforts and heads to Mars in the hopes of rescuing any survivors. Once there Boson jumping is discovered which becomes a vital element in the plot. It allows semi-instantaneous travel through space. Some of the things that happen in the story could have been really good Ė powerful even. Itís just that the comedy elements overplay them and the show comes across as being all over the place as a result. Like when the crew is complaining about their contracts and it abruptly snaps to a battle. Still the show is funny, even if the early parts of the series suffer from it.

nadesico012The characters are off the wall but not all the time. Some of it even makes sense, like the way Akitoís love for Gekigenger plays out. Itís a reflection of his character. Yurika on the other hand is in denial about Akito and seems to be completely oblivious to his rejections. Sheís also known Akito since childhood. Most of the female crew seems to be in love with Akito at one point or another. Then thereís Ruri, the twelve year old System Administrator, who constantly refers to the crew as idiots. Sheís the sensible one. These three characters are really the central cast of the series although there are a lot more. Akito gets most of the development but everyone getís some screen time. The series does struggle to tie everyoneís story up in the end, barely managing to resolve the Yureka/Akito plot line and leaving things unanswered about Miss Fressange.

nadesico044The Aestevalis, the mecha, look similar to some of the mecha from Full Metal Panic (came later). They have a cool appearance; theyíre just never used in a cool way. The animation is decent, consistent, but Yurekaís design could have been tightened up like it was for the movie. The first part of the series has a lot of yelling. Itís seems like most of the first episode was yelled; itís rough on the ears. The dub actors arenít bad in the long run though. Yurekaís voice for instance has a distinct sound and suits her perfectly. The OP You Get to Burning by Yumi Matsuzawa has some great hooks but the music in general isnít that good. The best tracks are the ones that play off the theme. The ED Being Myself by Houku Kuwashima has a pleasant ring to it.

Martian Successor Nadesico combines parody of itself with Sci-Fi and mecha action. It does this through off the wall characters that produce plenty of funny moments. The story has some great elements and ideas that get squashed by the comedy; it feels like a mishmash sometimes. This is a shame because I think Nadesico could have been fantastic if it was more serious.