Gainax' finest work.
Ryk E. Spoor | Troy, NY USA | 05/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gainax Studios is something of a legend in anime circles, and deservedly so. Started when a couple of fanboys decided to go beyond being mere fans, it first created a couple videos for the large convention "Daicon", and then shifted into high gear, producing four works that are generally considered classics of the anime world: Wings of Honneamise, a startlingly realistic depiction of an alternative space program on an Earth that COULD have happened; Gunbuster:Aim For The Top!, a mecha-space opera which reaches scales of conflict beyond anything before or since; Otaku no Video, a self-parody and incisive look at the fanboy world; and Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (actual title would translate more as "Nadia of the Mysterious Sea").Based on the world of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and using an outline created by Hayao Miyazaki (known for his magnificent works like Totoro, Laputa, Princess Mononoke, and Kiki's Delivery Service), it takes place in 1899, at the World's Expo in Paris. Young Jean, a genius inventor obsessed with flight, is present to compete in the heavier-than-air flight challenge. He is, however, smitten when a mysterious, dark-skinned girl goes by, and he chases after her. The girl, Nadia, knows nothing of her own past, not even sure of where she comes from originally; the only remainder of her past life is a huge jewel called the Blue Water. Unfortunately, the Blue Water is being sought out by a number of forces, and pursue Jean and Nadia from Paris to the open sea to hidden fortresses. Their adventures feature gadgetry ranging from simple gliders to a multi-formed Victorian steam-tech transforming gadget called the Gratan, and weapons from normal bullets to the mighty Tower of Babel, a super-weapon capable of wiping cities from the earth. Captain Nemo and his Nautilus play a large part, though their origin is different from that of Verne's original. The music is first-rate, and most of the episodes are wonderful as well, with some being pure character interaction and others slam-bang action second to none. The only flaw in the series is the infamous "island sequence" which not only doesn't advance the plot but features second-rate animation and truly stupid plot (if it can be called that); this was apparently due to Gainax realizing they were running short of money and needed to save some for a while in order to be able to make the finale of the series live up to the beginning.Nonetheless, this is a top-notch anime series, good for any age range, and worth viewing whether you're 9 or 90."