Nadesico is a hilarious spoof of everything anime it could think of wrapped around a great sci fi epic.
The Jovian lizards have attacked the Mars Utopia colony, devastating the area and taking over the planet. Earth will be next. Because Earths current military plans are still failures a year after the invasion, Nergal Heavy Industries has taken matters into its own hands by constructing a new high mobility Battleship, the Nadesico, to combat the threat. The crew of the Nadesico are "The very best, even if it means some with slight personality problems". (direct quote)
Captained by the United Earth Forces Admirals daughter, the Nadesico must safely leave earth and begin its journey to mars. From step 1 theres trouble, as a Jovian attack on the base where the Nadesico is secured forces the premature deployment of the ship. Even if they survive the attack, they must still face the United Earth Forces defensive lines to begin their journey.
At its core, Nadesico never takes itself too seriously. All aspects of the show are generously wrapped in humor and spoof. Despite this it manages to be a very coherent well developed Science Fiction/Space anime as well. Personally I think the genius of Nadesico was the ability to balance the diverse elements into a show that grabs you from the start and carries you through a fun, emotion filled ride.
A second anime show, Gekigangar 3, ties itself into the show. Some of the crew of the Nadesico are hard core Gekigangar fans, otaku in every sense of the word. Indeed, the crew includes a voice actress and a manga artist. Nadesico works the anime fan mentality up to new levels as anime fans get to take part in an actual space anime.
Mr Goat Nergals project leader, he was hired with the promise of many girls working on the project and a hefty after-tax bonus. Hes an unemotional ex-military man, but has a heart and comes to believe in his crew.
Yurika Misumaru Blon
err Blind to what most people see as stunningly obvious most of the time, Yurika is sometimes ignored by her own crew. She has childlike naiveté and optimism which become infectious, both to her crew and the viewers. Shes obsessed with her childhood mate Akito, now the cook on the Nadesico and oblivious to the love her first mate Jun has for her. Despite this, given her background as a fleet admirals daughter, Yurika is a tactical genius and a superb Captain when the crunch is on. You cant help but like her, even if you want to strangle her sometimes.
Jun Aoi Jun is totally in love with Yurika, but so far his feelings have been unrequited. He is in it more for Yurika than any personal commitment to fighting the Jovians.
Megumi Reinard A voice actress, Megumi was hired for the position of Communications Officer of the Nadesico. Which of course makes perfect sense. Without getting into her past, this Megumi is inspired by Megumi Hayashibara, and there are parallels to them drawn throughout the show.
Akito Tenkawa - Akito is a cook who survived the attack on the Utopia Colony and escaped back to earth. He has the pilots markings, and is able to pilot small craft, but he insists that he is a cook only, and only reluctantly ends up piloting mecha. He is the object of affection throughout the show for most of the female cast, and like a good male anime star, runs away from them most of the time.
Jiro Yamada Insisting on being called Gai Daigoji, his souls true name, Jir
err Gai is a Hardcore Gekigangar Fan and the primary mecha pilot on the Nadesico. He uses moves from the anime while piloting his own mecha, and refers to the mecha (called Aestivalis) as Gekigangars. He is one of the funniest elements in the show initially.
Ruri Hoshino A mysterious 11 year old sold to Nergal by her parents and raised on computers and testing, Ruri is cold, calm and calculating. She is also the pilot of the Nadesico itself, and the Computer/Science Officer. She is convinced shes surrounded by idiots and vocalizes this frequently.
Nadesico has good art and direction, although for the most part I have to say it wasnt groundbreaking. Character design, ship and mecha design are also good. Again, generally nothing tremendously new, but solid and accessible to viewers; you know what youre looking at when you see it.
While the content isn't necessarily unique, the style of the characters is distintive and well rendered.
All in all, the animation is reliably good with some shining moments.
The voice acting is above average, and the translation effort is noteworthy. Given things like characters with a predilection for puns, the translation was tricky to turn into English, but it was pulled off nicely. There is a fair bit of intentional overacting, and the ability of the voice cast to just go over the top is part of what makes the show funny.
The fun humourous core of Nadesico wrapped around a serious sci fi storyline makes it a fairly unique show. Its a fun casual watch that isnt too demanding on the viewer, well balanced between humour, action and drama.
The only thing I would say I dislike even a little about Nadesico is the lack of originality in the art direction; everything looks like something Ive seen before in another anime. Having said that, I suspect thats not entirely un-intentional, and its a minor point against the backdrop of this great show.
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