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Deciphering Nadesico: Prince of Darkness 20 Years Later

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Collector ExtraordinaireCollector Extraordinaire

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:33 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, the idea of releasing an interlude game (on the Sega Saturn no less) between the events of the the TV anime and Prince of Darkness makes the film somewhat of a barrier for Western anime fans of the series due to the significant shift in tone and mood between both anime. Yes, it is not much of an issue for Japanese audiences since the Saturn was madly popular in Japan during the late-90s and anime-based games did get decent enough sales over there. But perception was quite different for the Saturn here in the states and anime was still rather niche viewing back then where it wasn't commercially viable to release an anime-based game stateside. Even with anime more popular and known than it was a couple decades ago, the chances of The Blank of 3 Years getting some sort of stateside release is virtually nil considering the age of Nadesico.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:34 pm Reply with quote
Overall, this was a very good write-up, but I felt the writer left some of his thoughts on the specifics a little too vague and unspoken towards the end. In other words, I was left wanting more elaboration on the subject. Still, this was a nice read and I appreciated the nuance.

For the record, there is a Dreamcast game that appears to serve as a sequel to the movie. It's called Nadesico: The Mission. It's a real shame the creators weren't able to make a proper animated sequel once again, instead of trying to fill in the gaps with such games.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:48 pm Reply with quote
I very much like Nadesico Prince of Darkness despite it's flaws and frankly it was perhaps too much of step for some hell-bent fans of parody series suddenly taking itself seriously with only elements of humor.

I agree with jroa that's terrible shame that the film wasn't enough spark a sequel nor it's rare video game continuation. I didn't know there was another video game out there to be honest.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:00 pm Reply with quote
Something I'm still lost on here is just how much the Saturn game actually matters: do the details it has result in Prince of Darkness somehow making more sense or having more meaning? I didn't really feel lost watching the film without meticulously witnessing the rise of the Martian Successors or anything.

I suppose the thing is, if I didn't know Blank of Three Years existed, I wouldn't assume there was something I was missing, because Prince of Darkness seems to provide all the necessary information, and I'm left wondering if people are assuming the game is essential simply because it exists at all. I suppose even the title "Blank of Three Years" suggests to me it's intentionally a side story/"here's the full info for nerds" type of deal.

See also: Getter Robo Armageddon, which refers to a previous Moon War in brief, and because a prequel drama CD exists, people assume it's somehow an important missing bit of information - despite how the drama CD came out AFTER the anime, and all you really need to know is "there was a war and we won". Since the Nadesico game came out after the movie, as noted in the article, it seems like a similar situation.

Last edited by Kicksville on Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:18 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:53 pm Reply with quote
I actually quite enjoyed it when it released(got it day 1 when ADV released it). While it was indeed quite the tonal shift from the normal series, I was too elated to see the old cast in new form, esp since I had a thing for Ruri back then =03. Only thing that bothered me was the end; wanted to see what would ultimately become of Akito and if he would ever come back to Yurika and Ruri.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:57 pm Reply with quote
This explains a lot about why the movie didn't fully make sense. Thanks for the insight; now maybe I'll try watching it again and see if knowing about the game details makes that much of a difference.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:30 pm Reply with quote
I will have to give it a watch, it came with the TV show, but I'll I've rewatched the TV show a few times, i have not yet tried the film as what I was told about it was very off putting. Thankfully another user on ANN gave me a plot summery of the Saturn game.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:39 pm Reply with quote
I still remember this movie as my first big disappointment in a franchise. Love the TV series and the OVA is fun, but I watched this back when ADV first got it and I was just so confused as to what was happening in the Nadesico universe during the movie. I didn't find out about the Saturn game being plot-crucial until yeeeeeaaaaars later because it was so hard to find actual information about the thing in English that didn't sound like a hoax at the time. I watch the TV series every once in a while, but I don't think I've seen the movie in over 10 years. Maybe I'll dust it off from my shelf after my next TV viewing, but I don't anticipate liking it any better than before.

Another example of canon story getting stuck in gameverse is Galaxy Angel, though. It's also a parody series with some plot happening on the side and the English-speaking world is missing some of it through the games.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:39 pm Reply with quote
The movie didn't have to be the same tone as the TV series. Many fans understand times change as the characters on the screen mature and on the demands of the plot.

It has been years since I watched the movie, but the tonal shift and the massive character shift in Akito is what killed the franchise. It probably could have survived the tonal shift, if they had nailed the ending, but they didn't. I loved the main characters in the TV series, but I hated Akito in the movie. I don't remember anything about Yurika in the movie, so maybe she was just 'meh'. I hated the movie, and felt it was just too depressing because of how it ended and what they did to the characters we loved.

In some ways it reminds me of what they did to Yuji in the final season of Shakugan no Shana. This article makes me wonder if Madoka Magica (anime main line) will survive the changes in Homura in the Rebellion movie. Or are they going to pretend Rebellion never happened by playing the multiverse/timeline thing which seems to be where they are going right now.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:44 pm Reply with quote
Doesn't the origin of Prince of Darkness actually lie in an attempt to produce a sequel from the get-go (not, as the article suggests, that it was created as-is with an unrealized plan for sequels)?

And then at some point during the pre-production phase, it was repurposed into a movie project when it became clear a full-on series wasn't going to happen for various reasons, not unlike Gundam F91 and a handful of other movies out there which present an interesting premise, lots of setup, a weirdly truncated third act, and an abrupt ending with the promise of a lot more story.

At least it happened early enough that a pivot to animating it properly as, if nothing else, an amazing animation showcase piece, was able to be realized. That, versus a last-minute change that involved just smashing together a few nearly-completed TV episodes and the bare minimum of connecting tissue.

I like the movie a lot, but it's certainly not lost on me that like 3/4ths of its runtime is comprised of very carefully getting the gang back together, followed by a rush to have everyone show up on Mars for a final showdown that resolves very little outside of expeditiously addressing a few of the more immediate plot points. You can really feel the possibility of this originating from a series outline and like 4-5 episodes' worth of scripts.

On the subjects of Tatsuo Sato and sequels, I've always been more interested by the idea of a continuation of Stellvia. Sadly though, Sato has expressly discounted the possibility of a sequel there as well.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:25 pm Reply with quote
Really interesting examination of this. I've yet to watch Nadesico. But I've always found the determination of anime studios to split up what should be a cohesive narrative over not only different parts, but different projects and different forms of media, INSANELY irritating.

It bemuses me how anybody can think tying a beloved TV series to a theatrical movie by using a video game as a bridging work is a good idea. It actually puts me in mind of the time I reviewed Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact! over on YouTube and got a slew of crappy comments from idiots who protested that it was okay for the show to feature explicit references to unrelated works.

"But it makes sense if you've read this obscure manga!"

"But telling a complete story over several different forms of media that might not be accessible to everybody is a great idea!"

"If you don't understand this, it's because you're not a true fan!"

"Having another of Go Nagai's characters show up, jarringly out of place, without a shred fo foreshadowing, to literally save the hero's life is GENIUS storytelling!"

I deleted the lot of them because, frankly, speaking as somebody who's edited fiction in the past, there's only so much license I'll allow for dumb commentary by non-creatives before it aggravates me. I might love anime, but holy cow, sometimes I think the industry producing it could really learn a thing or two about clarity of communication and storytelling.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:55 pm Reply with quote
I too remember watching the movie and wondering, " what the **** happened?" Yurika missing, Akito an apparently hopeless, manipulated tool, and Ruri as a confident, well adjusted teenager--it was just a mess. I told the wife, who was even more upset, that what the story needed was "13 episodes before the movie--and 13 episode behind it." We had no idea that there already was a released storyline--but in the form of a game never released in the US.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:15 pm Reply with quote
An intriguing analysis. Like HdE, I haven't yet seen Nadesico, but I'm aware of how beloved it is. It really is a shame the Saturn game never saw the light of day here in any capacity (we all know who to thank for the console suffering its sad fate due to being an idiot with tunnel vision). People want to make sure they can connect the dots with proper lines rather than barely make out shapes they haven't seen.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:32 pm Reply with quote
Super Robot Wars V for the PS4 and Vita would feature the characters and plot of Prince of Darkness, ironically alongside the Yamato from 2199!

The game has a Southeast Asian English release, so you can import the game and play it on either system and enjoy the story in English! For anyone who can't, you can follow the story from playthroughs on YouTube. Otherwise, here goes...

The timeline and world setting of Nadesico is contextualized to coexist with Gundam Seed Destiny (fitting because both series have a war based around xenophobia), Gundam 00, Brave Express Might Gaine, and Cross Ange! Since it features so heavily in the game, along with other robot anime involved, the plot manages to wrap it up nicely and give more for the cast of Nadesico to do and contribute to the larger story while tying up its own rather nicely, something the movie could never do.

Apart from that, Nadesico is slated to appear in next year's release, Super Robot Wars T, for the PS4 and Switch.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:48 pm Reply with quote
All these years and I never knew that there was a game based on this series that bridged the two together. Maybe I ought to dust off the DVDs and re-watch this series for old times' sake.
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