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Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water Collection 1 (1989) – DVD Review


Based upon the novel by Jules Verne
Directed by Hideaki Anno
Character Designs by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto


  • Two OSTs
  • Clean opening and closing animation

Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:

  • Bumbling villains
  • An aquaphobe’s nightmare
  • Literary adaptation–you might be inspired to READ
  • Mild violence

Released by: ADV
Region: 1
Rating: 12+, but younger kids could handle it with supervision
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: A must-have for every anime collection

Based loosely upon the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is a classic tale of adventure and discovery, as well as one of the best known and loved anime series of all time.

Gargoyle is obsessed with Atlantis and with returning the Atlantean culture to world dominance, but to achieve this end, he needs a sacred pendant known as Blue Water. Nadia, a young orphan, has had this pendant since she can remember and knows nothing about it. Luckily, she does not have to stand alone against the evil machinations of Gargoyle; clever inventor Jean Ratique and the legendary Captain Nemo are both on her side versus Gargoyle and his forces. Nadia and Jean flee with Nemo on the Nautilus and begin the adventure of their lives. The show begins as Jean meets Nadia the circus-performer and her pet lion at the Eiffel tower.

The visuals are simply amazing. This is Hideaki Anno’s first series, and since he went on to create the blockbuster Neon Genesis Evangelion, you can see the roots of his style and flair for visual dramatics. You can also see where Disney got their inspiration for the much less spectacular Atlantis.

The introduction of the Nautilus and the scenes of the initial chases through Paris are remarkable. Unfortunately, your enjoyment of this art will be a bit muted, along with the colors on the digital transfer. While dirt and scratches are minimal, they are present here and there, which is a shame on a series of this magnitude and beauty. The English and Japanese tracks are both digital stereo and sound great. The voice acting is even quite skillful in both languages, avoiding the annoying traps that so many voice actors get into. Jean even has an appropriate and realistic slight French accent that never slips.

This release does not suffer from lack of charity on the part of the producers. We get twenty episodes on four discs, which is half the series in one fell swoop. We also get two soundtracks full of the show’s amazing music, both vocal and orchestral. The music, composed by Yoshimasa Inoue, Yukihiro Takahashi, and others, is simply wonderful, accompanying and enhancing the show at every turn. The extras on the discs proper are a little spare: just clean openings and closings and the usual trailers for other releases. Again, a series this important to the history of anime and entertainment should have interviews galore, retrospectives, featurettes on the making-of, and manga comparisons.

If you are a fan of the original Verne novel, then you will be interested rather than offended by this retelling. Don’t expect faithfulness, however; the story divulges significantly at several points, and many of the details are quite different. However, the feeling of intrepid adventure and courageous heroism is the same. ADV has produced a solid collection that every anime fan will need in his or her collection. While the villains are in places bumbling cardboard clichés, you can’t fault the production values, the art, the characterization of the heroes, or the tale itself. If you don’t yet consider yourself an anime fan, then this is a wonderful place to start—as adventurous as Akira, but less disturbing.

Buy it from Amazon.
Buy 20,000 Leagues from Amazon.