Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Nadia The Secret of Blue Water - Collection 2 |
Actors: Noriko Hidaka, Carl Domaski, Judson L. Jones, Craig Kanne, Talbot McKitt
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
The good, the bad, and the ugly of NADIA. It's all here!
Jonathon Turner | Highland Park, NJ USA | 05/21/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hot on the heels of their first 5-DVD+2-CD Collection edition of NADIA: THE SECRET OF BLUE WATER, ADV Films releases the second "collector's" installment of the franchise, in a 6-DVD+2-CD package. However, while NADIA: THE SECRET OF BLUE WATER COLLECTION 1 was brilliant -- featuring the best episodes of the show -- I'm afraid that COLLECTION 2 is weaker by comparison. Although the package DOES include some more must-see treasures, it also houses a very strange mixture of mediocre to awful episodes and a totally useless, unnecessary movie.
Originally intended to be a 30-part TV series, NADIA proved so popular in Japan to prompt the producers to extend the series by nine. Due to production and financial issues, however, the animation was outsourced to other studios in Korea and Japan. Regrettably, no thought was given to the story either, resulting in some of the worst batch of filler episodes ever produced. It's a shame that a show as exceptional as NADIA would suffer from this fault, as it DOES end with a bang, but it would have been better if the filler remained on the cutting room floor. It's bad enough that NHK almost sank NADIA with such poor episodes, but two years after the show completed its first broadcast, a theatrical feature was made: an attempt which is almost universally hated to this day.
So what's good about this set? The closing of the Nautilus arc which opens the second collection -- 21 and 22-- are some of the best you'll ever see in NADIA. Herein lies a spectacular showcase of animation, music, action, and an emotionally charged confrontation where some of the secrets we've been waiting to discover are revealed. Even better are the final five episodes (35-39), which end the show even stronger than it starts. The artwork in these episodes is amazing, and the climactic showdown features more suspense, unexpected surprises, dramatic staging, and a tearjerking ending that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
As for the episodes in between, only one of them, Episode 31 "Farewell, Red Noah", in which Nadia learns a vital clue to her past, has some valid plot points and emerges as solely watchable. Episodes 23-30 feel very much like two episodes needlessly stretched out, with painfully bad animation (with several scenes in which the characters' mouths aren't moving while speaking lines of dialogue) and even more idiotic concepts. Most distressing of all is the attempt to work in slapsticky "cartoonish" visual gags (in one scene, Jean steps off a cliff, yet stands suspended in mid-air; about ten seconds later his eyes bug out and he falls!), which clash with the "normal" tone. Worse still, the characters all turn into caricatures of themselves; Nadia in particular, devolves from an interesting heroine into a totally annoying and downright unlikeable bitch.
While there are some important moments to be had in this island sequence, it ultimately succeeds in damaging much of NADIA's entertainment value. The only episodes that truly hit rock-bottom, however, are a totally pointless and downright despicable adventure in an African tribal village which make up episodes 32 and 33 (with boring, uninspired new characters and a poorly conceived plot) and episode 26, half of which is a mindnumbingly repetitive dream sequence (it's the same one where Jean does that aforementioned Wyle E Coyote stunt). And then there's Episode 34, which basically recycles clips from various episodes while the characters break into song. Although meant to be a transition, this is, again, a skippable episode. And don't even get me started about that "King VS. King" race; where they got the materials to build two mechanical robots is never explained, just like much of whatever happens in most of the island sequence. I'd strongly recommend skipping around these poor episodes if you decide to go through with purchasing this collection; NADIA will surely play much better, and the impact of its ending will be a whole lot stronger.
Finally there's the Motion Picture, which basically wastes a third of its 90-minute running time with (badly edited and sequenced) footage from the TV show, rendering the remaining hour very rushed and underdeveloped. And there are character stupidities to be had here too: Grandis and her boys attack Jean after all that they've went through? Nadia wants to be an independent reporter? Preposterous! Matters are not helped by the absolutely DREADFUL animation and the dull, uninteresting new characters (especially Fuzzy, a not very talkative blondie who puts a new meaning in the definition of lifeless). Although better than the awful Africa episodes, one can easily skip it and not miss much at all.
But I do have to give credit to ADV for finally releasing this collector's set, since most people probably can't afford to shell out over a hundred bucks for all ten individual DVDs. I won't deny that there are some episodes which provide for some first-rate, delightful entertainment, and the voice work on the English and Japanese language tracks are spot on. As mentioned, however, there are too many mediocre to hideous filler episodes overflowing with uncharacteristic stupidities and ludicrous writing, and a movie that falls flat on its face."