Based (loosely) upon the novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Directed by Hideaki Anno and Sho Aono
- Voice actor interviews
- Character profiles
- Bonus film: Nadia: The Motion Picture
- Soundtracks for the series and the feature film
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Some clichés
- Naughty Atlanteans
- Decreasing animation quality
Released by: ADV
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Definitely worth it if you like adventure or pulp
Created by the anime powerhouse Gainax (of Wings of Honneamise fame, among others), Nadia is an icon of anime history and one of the most beloved series of all time. Inspired in part by Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the show is set in 1889 and tells the story of Nadia, a circus acrobat and orphan. Her only possession is a mysterious blue gem known as Blue Water, which might be the only clue she has to her past, a gem desired by the mysterious Gargoyle and the king of the Neo-Atlanteans. The heroic Jean, a feisty fourteen-year-old genius, rescues Nadia and the gem and begin a wild chase across the oceans of the world, along with Captain Nemo and his Nautilus. Now in this second half of the legendary show, Gargoyle has attacked the Nautilus, and all seems lost. Jean and Nadia manage to escape the sinking sub, but just when they think they can spare the time to learn more about each other, forces from Nadia’s past conspire to capture the gem and thereby control not only Nadia, but all of the lost civilization of Atlantis.
This series is a fantastically imaginative take on Verne’s classic, but, especially toward the end, it does devolve into a few clichés. You won’t be surprised by anything in the last few episodes, except maybe the inclusion of the epilogue that details the rest of the main characters’ lives. If you’ve stuck with the long series this far, then you must love it, and so it might be a little bit of a disappointment that the creativity and excitement of the early discs leads to a slight anti-climax here. On the other hand, it’s still better than most of what you’ll see on TV and in theatres today, so enjoy it in good health. At least the epilogue closing the series provides more closure than many a contemporary novel or series. One of the strengths of the show is in the characters; Nadia is a firm vegetarian, as befits an Atlantean princess; Grandis is a rebel who lives life in her own wacky, special way; and Nemo is the archetypal strong captain who always knows what to do when danger rears its head. Not unlike the crew of the Yamato from another venerable anime series, the crew of the Nautilus is fiercely devoted to Nemo.
The animation style is much like that of other late 80s shows, but is very nicely digitized here. The colors are bright and clear, and only on the motion picture does the animation quality falter. The sound is also pretty good, especially since the originals are fifteen or so years old. You can find better, but you can also find worse, and the quality is plenty good enough for you to enjoy the show and feel you got your money’s worth.
The features list is a bit astonishing. The box set comes with both the third of three CD soundtracks for the series, and also one for the movie, as well. We also get a host of interviews with the English voice actors in a text Q&A format. It would have been nice if these had been filmed instead, as reading the smallish text off of a TV can be hard on the eyes, but who would quibble with such unusual riches? How often do we anime fans get to hear from our beloved voice actors? Not very bloody often, I’ll tell you. Even if you’re usually a fan of the Japanese language track, these interviews will give you some insight into the actors who do the English, as well as the dubbing process.
We also get clean opening and closing animations for both the series and the movie and the original trailers for both, as well. Finally, two discs also have a few character profiles, though oddly, not of the principal characters, and all of them have a preview for the next disc.
If you like adventure, the ocean, tales of Atlantis or the sea, or pulp adventure, then Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is for you. Even if you end up being less than thrilled with the flawed motion picture, the series is strong enough to make you forgive a few qualms about the last handful of episodes. It is, at heart, a pulp adventure, and people who love such will enjoy this. Besides, between the nineteen episodes, two soundtracks, and bonus features, the value is truly hard to beat.