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[ a parent's guide to anime ]

[ rated pg ]

Martian Successor Nadesico

A Parent's Guide to Anime
Rated: PG

Parental Guidance Advised

Reviewed by Jaya:

I am reviewing the dubbed version of Martian Successor Nadesico: Volume 1. I haven't seen other volumes, so this review does not apply to them. The animation was great. It wasn't very choppy and was beautifully done. The dubbing was also fine. No objections on that.

This series takes place in the future. Humans have colonated Mars, in fact, the main character was born there. Aliens from Jupiter are attacking humans, and now a battleship called Nadesico is all that can conquer them. With a crew of a cook, an otaku, ^_^ and other weird people, this series is hilarious and surprising.

Additional review by Amanda Faber:

The Earth is under attack from a faceless, hostile alien race. The only hope of survival for the human species is a brooding young mecha pilot with a muddled past. Sound familiar? If you're thinking that this resembles the plot for just about every giant mecha series under the sun, from "Mobile Suit Gundam" to "Evangelion", your suspicions will be well-supported - for the first ten minutes or so. After the bare bones of the story have been laid out and the audience introduced to the main characters - including the mysterious Jovians, the villians of the piece, and our hero, Akito Tenkawa - the series abruptly drops its dramatic pretense and takes a turn for the silly.

When all military attempts to repel the attacking Jovians fail, a civilian contractor orders the construction of the Nadesico, a mighty battlecruiser of unparalleled power, capable of destroying an entire Jovian fleet with a single shot. Since the ship is not affiliated with the military, her contractors must assemble a crew of civilians, all of whom - despite their brilliance in their respective fields - are more or less crazy. The chief mechanic is a lecher who spends his spare time building bizarre robots in his garage; the hotshot pilot Gai Daigohji is an obsessed anime fan living in a fantasy world; and the ship's captain, Yurika Misumaru, while a tactical genius, is in all other areas something of a witless ditz. Into this madhouse stumbles poor Akito, an unlikely hero who only wants to be a cook, and who quickly falls prey to Yurika's unwavering affections.

The beauty of the "Nadesico" series, however, is that while its characters and situations are often humorous, they're not always played for laughs. The emotional focus of individual episodes swings like a pendulum, ranging from intense deep-space action to sidesplitting humour to heart-wrenching pathos. Characters die, and often at the most unexpected times (anyone who's seen as far as episode three can attest to this). The crew of the Nadesico - and, surprisingly, their enemies, the Jovians - are fully realised, right down to Howmei, the ship's cook whose determination is driven by guilt, and Jun, Yurika's idealistic, self-sacrificing second-in-command. We laugh with - and at - the characters often, but we mourn with them, too, and their struggle to make sense out of the madness of petty conflict becomes our own.

There's not a great deal in "Nadesico" that parents would probably find objectionable. In the early part of the series most of the space battles involve robots being blown up by other robots, so there is no human loss of life; what character death is present throughout the series is not portrayed as trivial or glamourous, but tragic and profound, with lasting effects. There is a bit of gunplay, but again, the results are handled fairly seriously. The series has its fair share of comic violence as well (ie, frying pan-to-the-head sort of stuff).

There's not a great deal of sexual content, although some may find the comments of Yurika's father about her blossoming womanly body somewhat offensive. Nor are the female characters of the show afraid of flaunting their shapely figures, but there is no actual nudity in the series.

Profanity is probably no worse than one would hear on prime-time TV - a few "damn"s and "hell"s, and a "bastard" or two in particularly emotional situations.

Parent's Guide Rating:

yellow (parental guidance advised)

warning: I'd say, in America, this would be rated PG-13. Near the beginning, a man accidently walks in on a young woman while she is changing and comments on her chest size. ("That girl's quite a woman!")The girl is not shown. Also, the same girl walks in on a boy when he is changing. There is no nudity, though, the boy is wearing a towel around his waist. There is no nudity, exept for a preview advertising another film in the beginning. However, no nudity is in the movie itself. There is no sex, or profanity, although there is swearing. (h*ll is used often)Also, there is violence, since the movie deals with *fighting the bad guys* ^_^ The violance is nothing bad though. No gory scenes at all, mostly guns. There really isn't any Japanese-American cultural differances shown. Nothing that would begin a long discussion. All-in-all, this movie is funny, surprising, and has great animation. I would consider it a must-see. -J.

One of the things I find most interesting about "Nadesico" is its portrayal of conflict. Like the "Gundam" series, this anime refuses to lay things out in pat, black-and-white terms; in "Nadesico", there is no cut-and-dried sense of "good guys" and "bad guys". While the Earthlings are initially seen as being "good" and the Jovians "evil", it eventually becomes plain that such is not necessarily the case: there are good and evil *individuals* present on both sides, and in the end that seems to be the point the series is trying to make, that conflict affects individuals as much as it affects whole alliances. -A.F.

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