Finished Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water

Well, I have at last finished watching Hideaki Anno’s interesting take on Jules Verne.  The long course of time over which I watched this show renders me less able to give a comprehensive review, so you might want to check out Cajun Samurai’s three part review (Part One, Part Two, Part Three) for a more in-depth take on the series.  On this blog, the show managed to inspire a post on vanity and another on unlikely animal lovers.  The greatest problem with rating Nadia overall is that the parts which are good are really good, while the parts of it which are bad are really bad.  The Lincoln Island arc and even the episodes following until the final four episodes make for a very painful memory.  While slogging through them, I was ready to give the show a 6/10.


However, the nail-biting action and gripping drama of the last four episodes saved the show’s rating.  How did the studio ever allow the show to get so far off track?  If they had compressed the events of episodes 23-35 (Yes, it was that long of a slog) into two or three episodes, I would gladly have given this show a 9/10 or even a perfect score.  But, I just can’t ignore what must be deemed the worst sagging middle in all of anime.  And I thought Glass Fleet had a terrible sagging middle!  But, it does not even compare to Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water.  I am never watching that part again!

Samson on left.

And so, the great story arcs, moments of striking originality, and the likable characters of Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water–especially Samson, Hanson and Senorita Grandis–merit for this show an 8/10.  I found myself a little annoyed by the show’s alternate history of the human race, but, as I mentioned above, this does come from the director of Neon Genesis Evangelion.  The similarities between the two shows will delight the fans of Evangelion–as would watching Gunbuster, amuch more focused and of higher quality work of Hideaki Anno’s than Nadia.  Even if you’re not a fan of Evangelion, you might want to give this show a shot–if reading Cajun Samurai’s adverse and more critical opinion does not put you off.


13 comments on “Finished Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water

  1. John Samuel says:

    My understanding is that the Island episodes were the result of a late addition of a third cour. As in: the first cour was such a ratings hot that a third one was ordered when GAINAX knew that the Macross option (of additional story AFTER the original ending) wasn’t going to work.

    So, combine the panic of Shirobako with a need to produce filler episodes at VERY short notice and you get the Island episodes…

    • They certainly feel exactly how you describe. A part of me doesn’t want to include the Island episodes in my evaluation of the show; but they are there, and even the episodes following when they get off the island seem to be infected with the previous arc’s stupidity until the last five episodes.

      I need to watch Shirobako at some point. So many bloggers seem to be enjoying it. But, I needed a break from shows decribing how anime or manga are made after Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun.

      • John Samuel says:

        You might want to wait on Shirobako until a version of episode 6 reappears…

      • Version of episode 6 reappears? There must be an interesting story behind that! But, I’ll wait until that happens. That must make for a gaping hole in a twelve episode series.

      • John Samuel says:

        Stepped on a couple of potential copyright landmines, at least one went off.

        If you dont mind spoilers I discuss what might have triggered the withdrawal of the episode here:

        Also i think Shirobako is two cour.

      • Interesting article. I had no idea that any folk song was under copyright–and Katyusha is 76 years old! According to an article, the fault lies in that America did not recognize Russian copyright laws until late in the Cold War. So, it’s only been under copyright in the free world for around thirty years.

        Shirobako did not catch my attention because I had already seen Nozaki-kun and Mangaka-san to Assistant-san in the prior seasons. So, the idea of a show focusing on how anime is made did not sound appealing. But, I’ll surely give it a shot in the near future.

      • John Samuel says:

        That explains a lot actually. I suspect that Girls Und Panzer in Japan still has the folk song in place, it’s only in western versions that it will be substituted out.

        Shirobako is definitely recommended.

      • John Samuel says:

        Oh and it looks like episode 6 is back. I’ll have to rewatch it at some point to see what (if anything) changed.

      • Jon Turner says:

        “They certainly feel exactly how you describe. A part of me doesn’t want to include the Island episodes in my evaluation of the show; but they are there, and even the episodes following when they get off the island seem to be infected with the previous arc’s stupidity until the last five episodes.”

        That’s because those episodes were never supposed to be part of the show. Period. Simply put, the better idea would have been to keep episode 31, parts of episode 30, and completely cut episodes 32-34 from the show altogether. Seriously; there’s no place for them. As far as episodes 23-30 go, they really should have been chopped down to two episodes and stripped of all the stupid, cartoonish, character derailing nonsense that really causes it to stink big time.

      • Indeed. It’s one thing if they had made the cartoonish humor work, but it never did. I’ve never seen an anime add so many bad episodes simply because they thought that they might get some more money out of the show that way.

  2. Jon Turner says:

    The tragic truth is that Hideaki Anno himself was not particularly happy with how “Nadia” turned out. In fact he would have removed those episodes altogether if he was truly in charge of the show. The problem was, he really wasn’t; it was NHK who was calling the shots, not Gainax, and so they were not exactly happy with having to tinker around with an otherwise great show.

    My real biggest problem with those filler episodes is in how they rape the characterizations, turning everyone into caricatures of their former selves. Nadia herself in particular really annoyed me. Granted there were moments in episodes 1-22 where she could be a bit grumpy, but even so she was much more realistically portrayed like a real person who even felt bad for the occasional rage she takes on Jean and tries to make it up to him. The Atlantis and gryocopter episodes being two great examples. In the filler arc, however, she loses all her sympathetic traits and becomes insufferable. That was a huge mistake, especially since the point of the show is for Nadia to become a more mature individual; by overemphasizing her worst qualities in those episodes, it kills any respect or admiration one might have had for her.

    That’s one other reason why it pays to watch the show like this: episodes 1-22, 31, and 35-39. In particular, jumping from the end of the Red Noah episode where she embraces Jean and admits he’s important to her to when they arrive at Tartessos in episode 35 makes a lot more sense than the unnecessary and insulting Africa village stint. The singing episode, too, was a mistake. Although I liked hearing the English VAs sing, the real truth is that that episode was really a commercial for character VA CDs in disguise, hence why the credits of that episode consist of bizarre Asian aliases.

    • Of all the filler episodes, the singing episode was the funniest. I especially cracked up hearing Jean’s song about Nadia. But, next time I will watch it in the order you suggest. It’s too bad NHK was thinking more about making some more money than having a focused and well-rounded story.

      • Jon Turner says:

        Yeah, well that’s just it; NADIA wasn’t supposed to be a 39 episode show. It just plays much better with the route.

        I initially thought the music video episode was cute, but now when I think of it, it doesn’t really fit into the atmosphere of [i]Nadia[/i]. Considering how it begins and ends, I don’t think it works really well in the context of the show.

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