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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