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Martian Successor Nadesico: The Motion Picture - The Prince of Darkness Review

Genres: Science-Fiction Drama Mecha All
Series' Year of Release: 1998
Number of Episodes: 1
Review Date: 8-7-2009
Review Language: Dub
Review DVD Region: R4 Available in Australia
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Review By: Bradley Beeck

Three years have passed since the crew of the Nadesico discovered the secret of Boson jumping and the truth about the Jovian Lizards. Akito, Yurika and Miss Fressange all apparently died in a shuttle accident during this time. Ruri captains the Nadesico B as the fate of the trio is unraveled and the Martian Successors revel themselves.

nadesico_movie008There are two general routes anime movies take. Either they retell the story from the TV series in compressed form or they tell an entirely new story. Nadesico: The Motion Picture Ė The Prince of Darkness takes the second approach occurring three years after the events of the TV series. Unfortunately for us the gap between this movie and the series was filled in by a Sega Saturn game Ė Nadesico: The Blank of Three Years Ė which was never released outside of Japan. Learning Japanese is something I should probably do one of these days.

nadesico_movie021The movie starts off by showing us the graves of Yurika and Akito. Who have apparently been killed in a shuttle accident along with Miss Fressange. The fate of Yurika and Akito plays a central rule in the movieís story along with the Martian Successors. Miss Fressangeís role is very minor and hardly explained. The red herrings about her in the TV series were probably explained in the aforementioned game. Ruri, the electronic fairy, is now the main character as the captain of the Nadesico B and somehow sheís less expressive than in the series. She has two other characters that travel with her through the plot Ė Hori, a genetically engineered kid similar to herself, and Saburota, a playboy former officer of the Jovian fleet. Neither of these characters is introduced enough although Hori gets some development.

nadesico_movie003The starting of this movie is very rough, a confusing mess even. After seeing Yurika and Akitoís graves the movie jumps to some guys dressed in feudal Japan era clothes killing a group of scientists. Among these Ďsamuraií types is the filmís villain but his exposition is completely lacking. In the end I was left wondering why exactly he was so bent on chasing down a certain character. Following this it jumps again to random scenes of battle and we see a familiar face Ė Jun Ė in charge of one of the battleships. Most of the crew has token appearances and it takes over two thirds of the movie before theyíre all reunited. The majority of the former Nadesico crew is retired by this stage.

nadesico_movie034Once the Nadesico crew is brought together again the movie resolves itself extremely quickly. They basically board the Nadesico C and itís all over. Yeah, another Nadeisco although I donít remember what was wrong with the Nadesico B. The movie references things that we donít know much, if anything, about like the Hisago plan. Which I think is about constructing jump gates/Tulips that link the solar system together. They really should have given us a booklet with the movie to summarize the game. As confusing as things are there is a scene about half way through that made the movie for me. Itís where we find out what happened to Akito and itís twisted. Itís the same deal with Yurikaís fate. It did leave me thinking about things as the credits rolled so it had an impact. The movie is definitely much more serious than the TV series but itís not entirely without comedy.

nadesico_movie031The animation quality is a significant step up from the series, as you would expect from a movie's budget. Some of the character designs have changed like Ryoko and Ruri. Iím glad that the dub actors returned because it would have been troublesome to recognize some of the characters if they didnít. I completely missed Ryoko until I remembered her voice. The dub has also been mixed into 5.1 (Japanese is only 2.0) to mild success. The dialogue is loud but the sound fx and music are soft, itís usually the other way around, and it makes battles sound underdone. The soundtrack is sweeping and orchestrated. Itís not bad it just didnít leave an impression. It might have been too quiet to really hear. The song that plays over the credits is Dearest by Yumi Matsuzawa. I really like it; itís gentle, easy listening and a great way to end a movie.

Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness is a movie that sets out to tell its own story rather than rehash the TV series. It also takes a different tone being more serious. However it just doesnít explain anything thatís happening, spends most of itís time bringing the crew back together and resolves far too easily and simply. The Nadesico movie is decent entertainment, it did have something of an impact, it just really needs to be watched along side the game.