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Martian Successor Nadesico – Essential Anime Collection (Vol 1)
ADV has already released all 26 episodes of this series as 6 individual DVDs and as a Complete 6 DVD Deluxe edition. Martian Successor Nadesico – Essential Anime Collection (Vol 1) offers up the first 9 episodes of this terrific series with some nice extras at a reasonable price, making it a must-have for any true Anime fan… if you don't already own it that is. I feel a bit spoiled being able to watch such an impressive chunk of a well crafted series in one sitting. I can't tell you how many times I've tried to get into an Anime series halfway through it's full episode run, only to be turned off by the vast amount of minutiae many of these series introduce regarding their characters and their relationships with one another. Many have summed up Anime by calling it Soap Operas for teenage boys, and their right (I mean, am I the only one who worried almost daily about Rick Hunter's love triangle between Lynn Minmei and Lisa Hayes?).
Taking all of the stereotypical characters found in many of these sort of shows, Martian Successor Nadesico throws them into a "classic" Anime storyline. Earth's Martian colony has been overrun by the Jovian Lizards, an alien race who pilot advanced Mecha and Spaceships which look like enormous bugs. Their main weapon however is called a "Chulip," and what this does is provide a dimensional gateway between time and space. These "Chulips" have rained down on Earth and now the Jovian Lizards are emerging by the score. The United Earth military is unable to deal with the onslaught, so it's up to the Nergal Corporation to step in. They've created a massive battleship called the Nadesico to head to Mars and rescue any survivors, as well as bring back any "technologies" that may have been left behind by the colony scientists.
The episodes included on this two disc set are:
Episode 101: "To Go Like a Man": It's the late 22nd century, and the Jovian lizards are attacking Earth. Nergal Heavy Industries decides to build its own battleship, the Nadesico. Captained by the ditsy yet tactically brilliant Yurika Misumaru, and crewed by an bunch of misfits, how will the Nadesico fare in its first battle against the Jovians?
Episode 102: "Leave the Blue Earth to Me": Not liking the idea of a powerful battleship in the hands of civilians, the United Earth military sends Admiral Misumaru's fleet to take control of the Nadesico. Will Yurika be able to protect her ship from her own father? And will Akito ever find out the truth about his parents' deaths?
Episode 103: "A Goodbye That Came Too Soon": The Nadesico's next destination is Mars, but in order to get there, it has to pass through the Earth's various lines of defense, including the Big Barrier. Can the Nadesico convince the United Earth forces to take down the barrier, or will they just have to defy Earth and punch their way through?
Episode 104: "Charmed By Aqua Space": The Nadesico heads out to the L2 colony to pick up some new Aestivalis pilots, but end up on a rescue and retrieval mission of a more urgent nature after the colony is destroyed in a surprise attack.
Episode 105: "Ruri's Navigation Logs": On the long and boring trip to Mars, Mr Prospector insists that Yurika take the time to perform funerals for all the crewmembers and civilians that have died so far, a never-ending task that leaves her no time to see Akito.
Episode 106: "Sort of Like a Fateful Decision": Having made it to Mars, the Nadesico fends off an attack and locates an underground colony of survivors. But rather than being grateful to be rescued, the survivors have no intention of leaving their home, because they believe the Nadesico will be desroyed before it gets back to Earth! Can Yurika prove that the Nadesico is up to the task, or is the colonists' dire prediction all too accurate?
Episode 107: "The Song That You Will One Day Sing": Whilst Yurika and Inez put together a "Get to Know the Nadesico" broadcast to explain the Nadesico's recent adventures on Mars, the crew's thoughts turn towards finding a way to repair their ship enough to leave Mars and head home. Meanwhile, Akito has issues of his own to work through when he learns that it was Admiral Fukube's fault the Jovian Chulip destroyed his home on Mars.
Episode 108: "The Lukewarm Cold Equation": The Nadesico returns to Earth via the tulip on Mars, only to find that 8 months have passed while they were inside the chulip, and that Nergal has built a second battleship. Meanwhile, on the battlefield, Akito discovers that his paralyzing fear has returned, making him a vulnerable target for the Jovians...
Episode 109: "The Miracle Operation of the Kiss": Whilst Admiral Munetake sends the Nadesico to rescue a goodwill ambassador from a glacier, Megumi decides to use her free time to get closer to Akito in a virtual reality simulation of a high school fantasy. But can Akito commit to Megumi when his childhood memories of Yurika keep interfering?
Martian Successor Nadesico is similar to another smart comedy, Shaun of the Dead, in that both equally love and lampoon their source material. To have a show that is so knowledgeable about its own genre and can just as easily make you empathize, as well as laugh at its characters and situations is certainly a rare find. Martian Successor Nadesico has quite a mammoth cast, but main character Akito Tenkawa, professional robot jockey/wannabe fry cook, is an instant classic. He's been described as the "Anti-Shinji," in a reference to the whining martyr that the Evangelion series is centered around. He has more girl problems than Tenchi, a mysterious past complete with amazing piloting abilities, but somehow he always finds time to relax with Gekiganger 3, which is a "Mecha" Anime within the Anime.
Picture: Martian Successor Nadesico – Essential Anime Collection (Vol 1) is presented in Full Screen (1.33:1). The show still looks amazing, with a nice clear image and bright, crisp colors that complement it's style.
Audio: This 2 DVD set features an English Dolby Digital 2.0 and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 audio tracks, which both sound pretty good. I normally listen to the Japanese Language track when available with the English subtitles, but upon hearing what an amazing job the American Dub Actors did with the show I comfortably listened to the English Audio track, which sounded great. To make sure they kept themselves honest, I also made sure to watch with the English subs on and the translation was pretty spot on, wit only minor changes which didn't affect the storyline.
Extras: There are several notable Extras between the two Discs, including Commentary by some of the Voice Over Actors on Disc 1 and Character Bios, Production Sketches, Clean Opening & Closing and Previews for several ADV releases.
Conclusion: Once again, all I can say is "Wow!" When I first sat down to watch Martian Successor Nadesico, I was just glad to be watching the first episodes of a new series, but now I am hooked. I must admit that the show's short run (26 episodes) combined with the way that ADV is releasing this series, is making it a must-have for Anime fans looking to scratch that itch. If this was Martian Successor Nadesico – The Complete Chronicles I would give it a Highly Recommended Rating, but since this is just Volume 1 of a 3 Volume series, I say Recommended.