Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Niea Under 7 - Box Set|
Actors: Taliesin Jaffe, Yűko Miyamura, Ayako Kawasumi, Fumiko Orikasa, Tomoko Kawasaki
Directors: Takuya Sato, Tomokazu Tokoro
Genres: Comedy, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
As a starving student, Mayuko?s life consists of many part-time jobs, a small apartment over a bathhouse, and sleepless study nights. Unfortunately for her sanity, this hard life is complicated by Niea. Niea is a young 7... more »
Like eating chicken soup on a cold night...
Dan Benge | Atlanta, GA United States | 08/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Niea_7 is essentially about folks who aren't perfect, who arent rich, who are barely getting by, who somehow seem to be optimistic and push on through lifes problems, even accepting it when things don't turn out so well.
I've seen this series two times already within the three month's I've owned it. I've recently been going through some personal problems, and so I decided to pull Niea out again for a third time. I've watched one episode each night before going to bed, and it's exactly the prescription I needed.
It makes me laugh, but also makes me realize that even with life's problems, we can all muddle our way through and even have a laugh at the things that make us human. To keep enjoying what you like to do no matter how tough life is.
Whether it's Kotomi's ruthlessness as she tries to keep the bathhouse afloat or Nenji's (who is in charge of heating up the water at the bathouse) penchant for burning things. It's obvious that they both like their jobs and are happy to be doing what they are doing, even to the extreme.
Each character's purpose is clearly defined, even hilariously over-defined in some instances.
This is why Niea_7 is really Mayuko's story as she struggles to find her purpose in life when things seem piled up against her. She seems to just drift through life devoid of anything in her life that could make her forget her problems for awhile and make her happy.
This is what makes her sort of an outcast amongst her peers...and it takes the most unlikliest person, um I mean alien, to remind her of something she used to enjoy doing and get her motivated.
Niea_7 is definitely something to treasure. It'll put a smile on your face, make you laugh out loud and give a warm glow to your heart."
A quiet, beautiful series that should have been much longer.
Courtland J. Carpenter | Fort Wayne, Indiana United States | 12/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Niea Under 7 is a series that seems to be trying to combine anime genres for laughs. You'll see elements of Maison Ikkoku, and Urusei Yatsura (LUM), two Rumiko Takahashi series, although she had nothing to do with this anime. I really think the alien element, was added initially as an audience hook. Much like in Kimagure Orange Road, where most of that story could have been told without some of the characters being ESP'ers. Niea could have just been a bratty friend, and not an annoying alien girl.The series focus explores the life of a poor ronin girl, named Mayuko, seeking to make ends meet, and wondering how to approach the rest of the world, on a social level. I believe the presence of Niea, is a device to help get her, to come out of her shell. We see a character, much like a lot of young people who is diligent in school, honest, very hard working, with a misplaced sense of pride. Mayuko is also a character, who needs to be brought out of her shell. She's mistakenly seen by other students, as standoffish or arrogant, when she's really shy, and nervous in social situations. The alien plot has some interesting dynamics to it. The aliens have been there for years, and have integrated into society. There are apparently levels of aliens, the lowest of which is the Under 7 type like Niea, who lacks an antenna, and appears to be dirt poor. I think the aliens are a convenient method to show cultural class struggles, similar to the poor, and the rich elite of our everyday society.This series is probably too quiet for hard-core mecha lovers. It's slow moving, and many of the plots are inconclusive, and often depressing. I would have liked to see the development of Mayuko, played out till its conclusion. She's an interesting, but often a very sad character. Still as anime comedy plots go, some are very original, and quite funny.Those looking for a definitive ending will be disappointed. The DVDs are well packaged, with some interesting extras, and insights into the Japanese culture. This was produced by the same people who did, Serial Experiments: LAIN, but it does not have as confusing a story. While it lacks the wild humor of LUM, or other similar series, it makes up for it in depth of emotion. The character development is such, that you can often feel yourself in the same position, (or at least in sympathy) of the characters in their situations. A good watch if you like story over action."
NieA sub par
D. K. Malone | earth | 06/01/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"One of my favorite anime series was Serial Experiments Lain. Later, I heard that the creative team behind Lain made another series called Haibane Renmei. I had so much faith in the team that I bought the entire Haibane Renmei series cold, knowing absolutely nothing about the show. I hit the jackpot, Haibane Renmei quickly became another series that I loved and hold in high regard. On one of the Haibane DVDs was an interview with the creators, and they spoke of another series they'd previously done together. That series was NieA_7. With my faith in the team doubled, I bought the NieA box set without a second thought. Unfortunately however, the third time is not the charm.
I don't know which series came first, but there's a very striking resemblence between NieA and a show called FLCL (or Fooly Cooly or Furi Kuri, depending on how much of a pompous anime elitist you are.) I think they were both released in Japan in 2000, so I doubt either one ripped off the other. But both series are about a young and awkward main character leading a dull existence in a quiet town, whilst co-habitating against their will with an annoying alien who causes them trouble. The lead character of NieA_7 is Mayuko, a girl going to cram school so she can pass her college entrance exams. She's demure, shy, and plagued with self-doubt; a common archetype most anime fans will recognize. NieA is the name of the alien who lives in Mayuko's closet. Her class designation is an "Under 7," which means she has no antennae on her head and is generally lower class and financially poor. Like FLCL's alien character Haruko, NieA is a 'kitsune', essentially a trickster-god character. But unlike Haruko, I find her nothing short of totally unlikeable. Take Ed from Cowboy Bebop and subtract any and all charm whatsoever. Her single minded obsession with food causes her to be an obnoxious, trouble-causing pest. On the surface, her role in the show is simply to irritate Mayuko. She never fails at this, and in turn Mayuko never fails to overreact, screaming at the top of her lungs and making hyper-stylized scary face faults. All of this is supposed to be funny. Personally, I've never enjoyed this cliche. They did too good of a job at making NieA an annoying character. She should annoy the characters in show, not me. I should find her amusing and fun to watch, but I don't. I just want her to go away. No appeal whatsoever. I think the fatal flaw in the formula is that NieA also has a self-righteous attitude and often tries to justify her irritating behavior. Imagine Bugs Bunny stopping in the middle of a cartoon to explain to Elmer Fudd, "Look bub, ~you're~ the one who's trying to kill ~me~. That's why I'm screwing with you. So relax! Sheesh!" Thankfully, I like most of the other characters, and the story rarely focuses on NieA. And while I don't find the NieA character to be funny, there's still a lot of good "intentionally lame"* humor in the show.
I think part of this is my own personal problem. It's somewhat rare that I enjoy comedy anime. Some examples that I have enjoyed (or was at least able to sit through in their entirety) are His & Hers/Kare Kano, Love Hina, Chobits, and FLCL. But there have been far more that I couldn't stand and never finished: Slayers, Vandread, Nadesico, Excel Saga, to name just a few. As it stands now, I'm only halfway through NieA_7 and am open to the possibilty that like Trigun, there will be some kind of shift in the second half of the show and I'll fall in love with it. If not, I'll just watch FLCL again.
* According to the liner notes, the team was consciously going for a 'lame' style of humor. 'Lame' is their word, not mine.
EDIT June 3, 2005-
I've finished the series. All in all, it wasn't a bad little show. NieA did indeed briefly calm the heck down and show a bit of heart. However, I stand by my 3 out 5 rating. NieA Under 7 is definitely what I'd call a postmodern anime. It seems to willfully eschew fundamental pillars of story telling such as plot, character arc, and resolution/closure. Instead, it's more of a stream of consciousness. The show itself can be entertaining and enjoyable to watch, especially if you like the bittersweet and wistful side of things. It often hovers around the themes of dealing with change and coping with loss, but never seems to really do anything with them. In the end (and I use the term loosely,) it's just "some stuff that happened." There are other postmodern anime series I would recommend before this one. For starters: Haibane Renmei and FLCL. If you've seen those already, I say go ahead and take a chance on this. You may enjoy it more than I, as is evidenced by the reviewers who came before me."
Diamond in the Rough
Aion | England | 06/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"NieA 7 - 8.5/10
A diamond in the rough. For a series with such a lowly average on MAL, it's surprisingly good. It's reminiscent of Haibane Renmei because of its slow, dialogue heavy and relaxing style.
After watching the first volume, I wasn't too taken with it. It started off reasonably well, showing the struggles of a very believable young woman, Mayuko, as she tries to survive with little money and, at the same time, studies to get into college. But my interest levels dropped as soon as it was revealed that an alien, NieA, lived in Mayuko's closet, eating some of her food and causing her trouble. My interest continued to decrease as more cartoony aliens got involved and the usual anime silliness ensued.
Why did this bother me, you ask? Because NieA 7 didn't need an alien living in a closet and attempting to build a UFO. The highly enjoyable and realistic slice of life elements were, from my perspective, getting damaged by the random slapstick comedy elements. I can see and fully understand one of the reasons for the involvement of carefree NieA - to show the contrast between stressed Mayuko, trying her best to survive, and NieA, an alien so carefree that she comes across as thoughtless - but I feel the main reason was to take the anime away from the realm of the real. The thinking probably was that most viewers want to use anime to escape, and that if the story was too realistic it would've taken away from the enjoyment. This sort of thing is viewed as a negative by me because I like to see some anime that contain believable stories.
The good news for people like me is that after the mixed opening volume the series started to focus more and more on realism and less on anime insanity. Rather than having a UFO blow a hole through the roof and the like for giggles, the second volume had an episode where an arcade gaming competition was used for laughs, involving the staff at the bathouse where Mayuko lives and works playing against a small army of kids. I found it funny because it wasn't over the top; because it tried to be real. In my the eyes, the best kind of comedy is the kind I can imagine happening in the land of the real - not just on some nutyy planet on the other side of the galaxy.
After the first volume, there were also a lot of episodes that focused on the serious sections of the story without resorting to slapstick humour in an attempt to brighten up the mood randomly. My favourite depressing episode is probably the one where Mayuko gets invited to a 'Go-Con' (basically random group dating) and eventually decides against going because she doesn't have any nice clothes to wear and can't afford to have her hair cut. Simple, I know, but the feelings and thoughts Mayuko had during that episode are the kind many people have over the course of their lives and it was effective on an emotional level because of that. Slice of life is at its best when it allows you to go into the shoes of the characters and feel how they feel, and Niea 7 achieves this on a number of occasions.
Really, the reason Niea 7 is so endearing is because the cast, aliens aside, come across as real people. Mayuko struggles to get by and lacks a goal to work towards; the owner of the bathouse attempts to handle two jobs in order to keep the bathouse running, despite it bringing her debt, because of her ties to the people who work there; Genzo, the shy guy with a crush on Mayuko because of her helping him when they were kids, tries to help Mayuko by bringing her rice, yet struggles to express his feelings for her...etc, etc. It's very easy to get into the heads of the cast and see things from their points if view, and that's what makes NieA 7 a fantastic series to spend time watching.
The message of NieA 7 is to live life to the full, instead of worrying about everything constantly. Life flies by very quickly and there's little joy to be had if everything is always too difficult. That's why Mayuko is envious of NieA for being so carefree, like nothing can bother her. As Mayuko lives with NieA, she understands how it feels to be 'free', and I'm sure the objective of the series when it was created was to make the viewers feel the same way as Mayuko.
Watching the series is a relaxing, occasionaly depressive and mostly fun ride - a journey worth the time of any bored anime fan looking to unearth a gem. Do I recommend the series? Providing you can handle lots of talking and little in the way of action, yes. It's a charming series that fans of Haibane Renmei and its ilk will lap up."