Reviewby Christopher Macdonald
Niea_7 (pronounced Knee-Ah Under Seven) is the latest 13 episode offering from Yoshitoshi ABe, Yasuyuki Ueda and Chiaki J. Konaka, the people who produced Serial Experiment Lain. As with Lain, Niea_7 is being brought to American fans by Pioneer.
Not only are aliens out there, but they might even be in your closet.
Niea_7 takes place in and around Tokyo in a modern day earth very much like our own with one slight exception. Aliens. At the beginning of the series there is no explanation as to how the aliens have arrived on earth, but it would seem that their ships recently crashed on earth and that the aliens are trying to fit into earth culture are much as possible. The Aliens, who even refer to themselves as "Aliens" look very much like humans with the exception of elf like ears and a radio antenna on the head of most aliens. The more powerful the antenna, the more elite the alien. There are some aliens, called "unders" who do not have antenaes, these are the lowest class of aliens and are shunned by the others, although it would seem that unders don't really want to have anything to do with the other aliens either.
Mayuko is an impoverished girl who lives in a rented room on the far outskirts of Tokyo while she attends school inside Tokyo. In order to cover her rent and tuition every morning Mayuko wakes up in the early morning to deliver newspapers before making the long trip into Tokyo. Mayuko can hardly support herself let alone a free loading under. Unfortunately, much to Mayuko's chagrin, Niea decided that Mayuko's closet looked like a nice place to live and decided to move in, expecting that Mayuko would feed her.
Mayuko may not be happy with Niea's presence in her closet, as well as in her life, but it certainly makes for an interesting story. At this point it's still to early to tell where Niea_7 will be going, while the art is very similar to Lain, and Niea_7 is even weirder than Lain, these are two very different stories, Niea_7 is a comedy, and so far most of its entertainment value is derived from comedy. Much of the comedy comes from the fact that Mayuko and Niea are polar opposites. While Mayuko is quiet, shy and hardworking, Niea is loud, extroverted and lazy. Where this will eventually take us, no one knows (except those of you who have watched the fansubs) but it's sure to be an interesting voyage.
Artistically Niea_7 is very similar to ABe's previous work on Lain, although somewhat mellowed at the edges. Niea_7 shares the same beautiful watercolor backgrounds and character designs are very similar, however the jarring scene switches are gone. The music, which also had a part to play in said scene switches has also mellowed significantly.
Now that Trigun is almost finished, Niea_7 will take its place as Pioneer's premiere title, and Pioneer is giving Niea_7 the treatment it deserves. Look for some exceptionally good dubbing from New Generation Pictures, who also did 3x3 eyes, Nazca and Nanako..
Niea_7, coming from Pioneer this summer, is an Anime to watch for, it's witty and funny and sure to entertain many Anime fans here as it already has in Japan.
Freeloading Aliens have never been so fun
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