Reviewby Josh Lipowsky,
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water
DVD 1: The Adventure Begins
The World's Fair, Paris, 889; a young inventor crosses paths with an enigmatic girl and her pet lion. Suddenly they find themselves pursued by a villainous trio intent upon stealing the magical Blue Water. Thus begins an epic adventure inspired by Jules Verne's masterpiece 20,00 Leagues Under the Sea. Join Nadia and Jean as they travel the high seas in search of Nadia's homeland and her past with the jewel she wears as their only clue. Can they unravel the Secret of the Blue Water before it is too late? Discover Nadia, The secret of Blue Water, the animated series beloved by millions and find out for yourself!
Jules Verne never imagined his work like this. Based (loosely) around 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Nadia The Secret of Blue Water takes audiences on fanciful adventures in the style of Verne but with a touch of Gainax flare. "The Adventure Begins" in the 1889 at the World's Fair in France. Jean and his uncle have entered an invention contest to propel man through the air. While preparing their glider-like flight invention, the subject of conversation turns to the sea monster that has been plaguing the oceans, and the American battleship sent to hunt it down. And in classic "boy meets girl" fashion, who should bicycle by on the bridge above them? Of course, it's Nadia ringing her bell with her lion perched behind her. She does not notice Jean but he immediately takes notice of her as his eyes widen and his jaw drops. He gives chase and the three of them end up at the top of the Eiffel Tower, where they are confronted by a sinister trio who want to steal the jewel around Nadia's neck, known as Blue Water. Lead by Grandis Granva and her henchmen Hanson and Sanson, the Grandis Gang follow Jean and Nadia through their adventures trying to steal Blue Water.
Not taking no for an answer, Jean tracks Nadia down after her daring escape through gravity-defying acrobatics. Where would a lion and an acrobat go? To the circus of course. Of course the trio of villains also tracks Nadia down and then the chase begins with Nadia, King and Jean making their escape on one of Jean's inventions and the Grandis Gang following in the Gratan, a giant tank. The two end up on an American battleship sent to investigate the mysterious seamonsters plaguing the Atlantic Ocean. Then they get washed overboard and get picked up by the Nautilus.
Since the episodes are all viewed through the eyes of Jean and Nadia, the anime brings with it a certain humor that only a child's perspective can bring. The simplistic animation helps with this perspective and enforces the two dimensional simplistic view of the world that only children have.
Of course, this doesn't mean that the series is meant only for children. The child's view of the world reminds the older audience of simpler times when technology didn't get in the way as much. While technology obviously plays a part in the series, the characters aren't sacrificed so that the mech can get more airtime. The Grandis Gang take precedence over the Gratan. This fact alone makes Nadia stick out from many shows coming out now. While corny at times, the dialogue keeps the episodes going and the audience interested. Nadia and Jean go back and forth in entertaining insults and gushing over Jean's faulty inventions, reminding the audience about the early days of the Ranma/Akane relationship. Starting in episode 1 Nadia begins a tradition of complimenting Jean on his inventions, right before they break and she declares him "not such a genius after all."
Unfortunately the DVD itself, while providing great video quality, does not do much else. The only features it has are trailers for the episodes on the dvd, a preview for next DVD (which is also available on the main menu), and a textless opening and closing. So much more could have been done but was not. Of course, the dual Japanese/English tracks still make the DVD more valuable than the video cassette, especially when it comes to price. Of course, the bad French accent Jean has in the dub would make even the most persistent of dub fans scream out for subtitles.
Created by Gainax, the 39 episode series ran from April 1990 through April 1991 in Japan where it received critical acclaim. The original Japanese name - Fushigi no Umi no Nadia, or - translates literally as "Nadia of the Mysterious Seas," but Gainax soon added the English line "Secret of Blue Water" and released here by ADV Films as "Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water."
Overall (dub) : B-
Overall (sub) : B
+ Exciting action and the plot moves quickly. The lively soundtrack helps greatly to illustrate the sense of urgency felt in escaping the Grandis Gang
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