Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Nadia The Secret of Blue Water - Collection 1 |
Vols. 1-5 + 2 CD soundtracks
Actors: Noriko Hidaka, Carl Domaski, Judson L. Jones, Craig Kanne, Talbot McKitt
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Anime & Manga, Animation
This long, involving anime series should provide a wonderful stepping stone for youngsters being weaned from Pokémon. Based partially on Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water begins as... more »
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The best episodes of NADIA in a conveniently priced pacakge!
Jonathon Turner | Highland Park, NJ USA | 05/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Combining elements of Jules Verne's 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA with Hayao Miyazaki's CASTLE IN THE SKY, this 39-part TV Anime series (which had originally been conceived, interestingly, by the man himself but produced by GAINAX) has proven to be a popular favorite with millions of fans since its initial 1990-1991 broadcast in Japan. In particular, Nadia, one of the most interesting (and occasionally annoying) characters ever to be realized, has shown up on the Japanese Animage polls as favorite Anime heroine, dethroning Miyazaki's NAUSICAA. Despite having an impressive fan base, NADIA: THE SECRET OF BLUE WATER has had little exposure to U.S. audiences, but ADV Films has recently released the entire TV show (plus the infamous, ill-fated theatrical version) to introduce this charming, involving, and sometimes traumatic fan favorite to budding Anime fans. What makes NADIA: THE SECRET OF BLUE WATER so much fun are the characters that propel this action-adventure set in 1889 Europe. First off, I absolutely ADORE the main character, an endearing 14-year-old aspiring aviator named Jean; he displays an incredible depth of bravery, confidence, and brains -- he handles EVERYTHING by using his intelligence. He's also consistently sweet, honest, loyal, and compassionate -- probably the sort of Best Friend or Love Interest ANYONE would ever want to have. He treats everybody with kindness and respect, and, as such, everyone likes him, too. Actually, the primary reason why the show keeps us interested is BECAUSE of Jean. Nadia herself, by contrast, is, as stated above, not always the most likable character in the show. She is the sort of girl who has her own share of problems and really has a lot of growing up to do. While Nadia is capable of showing goodness to her friends and finds herself falling in love with Jean, she does not know how to express herself to him. Nor does she know how to talk about her problems; she often reduces herself to fits of anger and frustration which, of course, damage her relationships (thankfully Jean is loving and patient enough to forgive her). Nadia has never had any experiences trusting anybody other than animals, and, as such, is socially inept. She's also, at times, frustratingly stubborn and impossible to reason with -- particularly when it comes to her rather shrewd opinions about eating meat, killing, and/or especially grown-ups. However, she DOES do a lot of things which show that she cares deeply about Jean throughout the show, and it is endearing to watch her self-centered, distrusting, suspicious, strong-willed nature slowly change as a result of her love for the boy. The rest of the characters are richly created and developed. There's Marie, a cheerful and happy little girl who shares some of the best moments with Nadia's pet lion cub, King, as well as a howlingly funny trio of bandits who at first are enemies but later prove to be true friends -- loud-mouthed Grandis Granva and her "boys", vain, arrogant Sanson and mechanical nerd Hanson. Where NADIA feels like 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA is that it employs the submarine, Nautilus, (and yes, the captain's name is Nemo) as a character. This Nemo is portrayed not as a cold-blooded killer, but a benevolent figure fighting for peace in the world who, too, suffers from his own set of mistakes. He is aided by his Bridge Crew and overprotective (not to mention easily jealous) First Officer, Electra. What's most unusual, though, is the series' chief bad guy, Gargoyle, a misanthropic doppleganger who desires world conquest. He hides his face behind a mask (ala Darth Vader), covers his head in a tall hood, and wears a red suit and tie. Manipulative, sarcastic, and very deadly, he threatens to kill anybody he pleases, and taps into other people's weaknesses in order to make them do his bidding. This mixture of his calm, soothing voice and inner malice makes Gargoyle all the more terrifying a villain, even when he displays surprisingly casual manners. Yet for all its likability, NADIA does not always stay afloat. It gets off to a great start and for a while, rides high on a plateau of adventure and imaginative animation, but things get completely out of hand in the second half and do not return to its initial roots wherein lies its appeal until the last five episodes. Fortunately, the first five DVDs out of ten feature the fantastic first eight episodes and the slightly slow-going but nevertheless entertaining Nautilus episodes (Episodes 9-22). My one complaint is that the last disc on the set ends at an unsatisfying cliffhanger, leaving one anxious for more (and the Nautilus arc concludes on the Second Collection which then, sadly, delves into stupidities). Also included are the first two soundtrack CDs from the TV series. Major kudos to ADV Films for putting together this convenient collector's set at a nice price. I should also mention that while serious hardcore fans would rather watch the series in Japanese, the English dub made by ADV Films' Austin-based Monster Island studios is not bad for what it is. Three gifted young children, 14-year old Meg Bauman (Nadia), 12-year-old Nathan Parsons (Jean), and 11-year old Margaret Cassidy (Marie) all produce fantastic chemistry with the more experienced adult members of the cast. Granted, the dub is not perfect -- the French accents do take some getting used to -- but on the whole, this is a commendable English track, and one to which I do not mind listening. The DVDs themselves have great visual transfers and the audio on both Japanese and English tracks are well mixed, but the extras are a bit lacking; the later DVDs have more meat in the form of the voice actor/actresses interviews. Presented here are the creditless opening and ending sequences and some character profiles, which aren't bad, but they don't feel like enough. Still, this is a great collector's box for longtime fans and newcomers to the series, as well as a solid purchase. Just be warned, though, the second collection isn't as good."