11 Random Things to Love About Martian Successor Nadesico

I kid thee not when I say that one of my original reasons for going through the Macross canon was so that I would get more of the jokes when I eventually watched Martian Successor Nadesico. (The other main reason being, of course, that I enjoyed Macross Frontier and wanted to experience the rest of the franchise, a decision that led to a pretty damn good summer of anime!) I was a bit too impatient to partake in the other series Nadesico lovingly lampoons (Space Battleship Yamato, Mobile Suit Gundam, various super robot series, etc.) before watching the series, because I had been staring at the boxset every day since I bought it at Anime Expo nearly two months ago.

So I watched the series a couple of weeks back and greatly enjoyed it. What surprised me most is how serious it is a lot of the time . . . I knew beforehand that there were serious moments, but based on its reputation, I thought the show would mostly be fun, lighthearted parody, with the serious parts serving as extreme mood whiplash. In reality, the ratio is a bit more balanced, probably tipping just a bit toward comedy/parody (like 55/45, more or less). That balance actually worked for me, because the humor and drama is so smart, unlike, say, Angel Beats!

But that’s just one thing I enjoyed about Nadesico. Here are 10 more, in no particular order, but numbered for convenience (there are also a couple of major spoilers here and there) . . .

1. Inez Fressange: Maybe my favorite character in the entire series, simply because she does what I previously thought impossible: Make info dumping fun. She jumps into her explanations with so much zest and zeal, and lord help you if you try to explain anything about the Nadesico or any of the other technology around the universe in her stead. Her “Getting to Know the Nadesico” segments are some of my favorites in the show. Really, nobody would understand what in the hell is going on without her. And, of course, she is at the center of the craziness that develops with the show’s plot late in the game.

2. Gekiganger III: The super robot show du jour of the Martian Successor Nadesico universe. (Or is Martian Successor Nadeisco the real robot show du jour of the Gekiganger III universe?) I’ve only seen bits and pieces of 1970s-era super robot shows, so I can only imagine the nostalgia trip that this show-within-a-show invoked within those who were there for the ride: The old school character designs and animation, the black-and-white stories, the thick melodrama . . . I have to say, I would watch this. And the way it is integrated into Nadesico is borderline genius, such as . . .

3. The Recap Episode: Is this not one of the great recap episodes ever conceived? It’s framed as the cast of Gekiganger III watching their favorite series — Martian Successor Nadesico, which, at the same time, has the crew of the Nadesico watching episodes of Gekiganger III. There is meta, and there is Meta . . . but this is META. Absolutely ridiculous, and the writers must have been giggling to themselves as they conceived of this.

4. Ryoko Subaru: I’m usually not a huge fan of the tsundere archetype, but when it works, it fucking works, man. Probably helps that Ryoko is a wildcat on the battlefield. And that her teammates know just the right way to tease her~ (Not a huge fan of the darker hair in the movie, though. I like my crazy anime hair colors!)

5. The Miss Nadesico contest: Probably the most overt Macross reference in the entire series, and a perfect excuse to dress up all the female characters (or dress down, more like). And the gap between how seriously Yuriko takes the contest (she thinks it’s like one of those Principal for a Day gigs, where the winner gets to have fun as captain of the Nadesico for a day) and how seriously those who put the contest together take it (they’re so frustrated by Yuriko that they use the contest as a thinly-veiled excuse to replace her) is hilarious.

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18 Responses to “11 Random Things to Love About Martian Successor Nadesico”

  1. Great list. We Remonstrate Love.

    That First Star idol contest is made of win and love. It was brilliant how Ruri rigged her own entry using Omoikane… and effectively illustrated the power of lolimoe in the mind of the (otaku) viewer.

    I too liked the movie a lot.

  2. What about Macross 7

  3. Nadiesco as a whole didn’t do much for me, but I have to admit how much I loved Gekiganger III and can’t deny how it was integrated into the show was very clever.

    Haven’t watched the movie though, and people do say its different so I might end up really enjoying that.

    • I honestly don’t think the movie is so different from the series that you’ll love it. If you dislike the show, you’ll probably dislike the movie.

  4. Izumi, heh.

  5. ojisan Says:

    I’m you in Canada’s parallel dimension – I’m halfway thru watching Macross and halfway thru rewatching Nadesico. And you know, as much as I love Nadesico (and that’s a lot) there are times when I think that Macross is almost as funny, whether by intent or not…

  6. I still like how the mechanic dude does model dioramas.

    I thought the mecha action in Nadesico was pretty good. I rank the Aestivalis near the top of my favorite mass-produced mechs.

  7. It’s kind of funny that this show was the second one I finished (The first being Lodoss War) and yet I got most of the jokes through osmosing the mecha genre so that it was still funny even though I never had actual experience with the genre. The tropes were easy to pick up on though.

    Since I can’t shut up about it, I’ll also add that this was the first anime series that really caught my attention, music-wise. I remember listening to the soundtrack for hours on end because the orchestral stuff scattered throughout was really enjoyable and memorable.

    • I think Nadesico is constructed in a way that if you’re at least familiar with mecha tropes you’ll think it’s funny, but if you know specifically what it’s lampooning, then it’s outright hilarious.

      The music is pretty cool throughout Nadesico, and I loved the OP. Had that mid-90s feel to it that I seem to like a lot.

  8. I watched it before ever seeing an episode of any Macross series and only having seen about 1/2 of UC Gundam, but I loved it anyway and it’s still among my favorites. Nadesico is only one of about three shows that can transition instantly from comedy to serious and back again and make it work. And I’ll always love it for that.

    I too <3 Izumi.

    And I guess I loved the tragic/grim moments even more because they engaged in a favorite pastime of mine: ripping into the idealistic conflict and war narratives of the super robot shows and many other series. Gai was a fun character, but words cannot describe how much I LOVED how he died. Shot in the back out of nowhere by an unlikable minor character. Perfect.

    Also, the movie was based at its core on the (very unimpressive) manga, hence Akito showing up blind in a mask and all. The only part about the manga that I did kind of like was how Akito was blinded in battle and could only see when hooked up to an Aestevalis so he could see through its sensors (and in the movie he must have had some custom sensor mask built. He stayed blind throughout the manga iirc.) He also had a creepy, desperate, sex-but-no-love relationship with Haruka after he was blinded, which I also thought was tragically delicious. But aside from that the manga was definitely not worth the time it took to read.

    • Yeah, Nadesico really does an excellent job of making its war mean something by showing the harshness in such simple ways. Gai’s story is the perfect example. Just cold-blooded.

      So, wait, Grimdark Akito is actually supposed to be serious? I’m not sure if that makes it funnier or just terrible.

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