We Have Met Nadesico and It Is Us
By the Nozomi Entertainment Production Team, 2012
Remember that feeling when you first really got into anime? Spending weekday afternoons with Tom on Cartoon Network's Toonami, or playing a tape for the first time after anxiously waiting weeks for it in the mail? Maybe sitting together with friends in a darkened classroom once a week at the local anime club, or even late-night marathoning on Youtube of what just became your favorite new show. It's a feeling of relaxation, of excitement, of immersing yourself in stories full of ideas and characters that resonate in your mind and make you go "Yeah! That's how life should be!" Martian Successor Nadesico is like that.
More than one of us on the Nozomi staff has fond memories of watching the show back when it first came out, and seeing it today, those same feelings come bubbling back to the surface. Nadesico is labeled a comedy, and rightly so, but that comedy flourishes thanks to a strong dramatic foundation. The plot would be at home in any number of traditional mecha series - full of invading aliens, political troubles, advanced weaponry, and scheming private corporations - and it's as dramatic as one could wish. Crisis and tragedy are no strangers to the crew of the Nadesico, the only ship in Earth's fleet with the shield technology capable of standing against the Jovian Lizard menace.
All that drama could really get a person down, and that's why the Nadesico's eclectic crew takes life as unseriously as possible, escaping the horrors of war through comedy and romance. They're comprised of civilian "experts" rather than experienced soldiers, and the only sane one among the crew is Ruri, the 10-year-old ship operator. She's not shy about insulting the idiots surrounding her – especially if she can get a laugh from the audience out of it. Captain Yurika may be a tactical genius, but she's a complete ditz who spends most of her time pursuing Akito, the cook who really wants to stay a cook and not get dragged into piloting the ship's advanced mecha all the time, thank you very much. The communications officer is a former star voice actress, because who else would you get to handle communications, the lead mecha pilot is a die-hard otaku who learned all his moves from that classic anime, Gekiganger 3, and so on down the roster. Ship discipline is more like a competition to see who can best parody venerable sci-fi franchises than anything approved of by the military.
…Wait, back up. Gekiganger 3? Not only does Nadesico embody good anime, it's also about watching good anime. Gekiganger 3 is an in-show anime series with no-few similarities to Getter Robo and a growing fandom that starts with two members of the crew and gradually consumes the entire cast. Over the course of the series, stark differences and too-close parallels are drawn between the "anime" world of Gekiganger and the "real" world of Nadesico. Some Nadesico characters vow to uphold the noble ideals of love, death, and war espoused in Gekiganger 3, but are confronted with real-world consequences to those vows. Other, less-fanatical characters simply take comfort in watching their favorite show when the rest of the solar system seems determined to screw them over. We see characters teased for being grown-ups who still enjoy "children's cartoons," and we see friendships bloom over shared interests. We see characters who watch just because everyone else is, and characters who take their love of the show way, way too far. In short, we see us: an anime community - if, you know, we had an alien invasion to worry about.
So you can see why we wanted to put together a totally sweet package for the show. As with Revolutionary Girl Utena, Nozomi Entertainment's goal in bringing back Martian Successor Nadesico has been to create the definitive set for the title. Our new release contains not only the TV series and Prince of Darkness movie, but also the long-awaited Gekiganger 3 OVA, plus scores of extras previously unreleased in North America, including interviews with the entire main cast and a documentary with the staff. Among the audio options are both the original ADV Films English audio as well as a Japanese 5.1 surround sound track, never before available in North America. Furthermore, we were able to obtain the newly remastered footage from the recent Japanese re-release of Nadesico. This footage is actually doubly improved from the original U.S. release, which used the original TV broadcast version of the show. First, when Nadesico was released on home video in Japan, the animators went back and cleaned up the animation in a number of places - adding shadows, making lip flaps match more closely, and making other tweaks. Then, when the show was remastered for a new Japanese DVD release, the footage was cleaned to remove dust and scratches and to correct colors. The final result: Nadesico has never looked or sounded better. To top everything off, we've packaged the entire set in one of Nozomi's famous sturdy, high-quality chipboard boxes.
Whether you consider anime a casual hobby or a way of life, we hope you'll enjoy our upcoming release of Martian Successor Nadesico. Maybe you'll watch it for the dramatic plot, full of twists and turns, as old memories and dark revelations come to light. Maybe you'll watch it for the character-derived comedy, realistic in its outlandishness as the characters strive to cope with war through ever-crazier antics. Maybe you'll watch to find yourself in the Gekiganger-obsessed cast, and delight in each Gundam and Macross homage. We suggest you watch for all three and then some.