Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water simulwatch

Professor Irony

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Episode 3

Jean's accent seems to have settled in a bit now, so I switched to the dub this time around. It's not bad, I like Nadia's VA and Sanson's unexpected Englishness. Other than that, again, not much to say here - the ship is impressive to look at and, as WMD pointed it, it's nice that the US navy are actually humane and helpful, rather than the villainous foreigners it might have been easy to paint them as. Old school animation nerds might also spot a hair in the gate towards the end when Nadia and Jean are in the water.

I really like the calm granny recap voiceover.
I think she's the best part of that dub, I want her to read to me when I'm sad.

I keep meaning to watch the dub of it, too, sometime. I haven't heard the English dub yet.
I like the English version (Michael Keaton's well cast), but I actually want to see the French dub - they got Jean Reno to play Marco!

And I'm warming to Jean before I'm managing to warm to Nadia at the moment. Although she's probably written that way on purpose.
I was wondering when someone would comment on this. It's interesting as, despite Nadia having been a really popular character in the fandom back in the day (iirc, she crops up in those Animage polls a lot during the 90s), I can't remember hearing anyone coming to the show now who's said they actually like her. Given the kind of life she seems to have had, it probably makes sense for her to be the way she is, but she's definitely not as fun to be around as that OP might lead you to believe. Famously, this show started life as a project intended for Miyazaki in the 70s, so one wonders what Nadia would have been like as a character with him at the helm.

And my favourite VA Kouichi Yamadera's in this episode! πŸ˜€
I hadn't realised that was Yamadera, but there is a strange synergy there - with his shifty agenda, Ayerton does feel a bit like a prototype Kaji...


 

Neil.T

Railgun
I was wondering when someone would comment on this. It's interesting as, despite Nadia having been a really popular character in the fandom back in the day (iirc, she crops up in those Animage polls a lot during the 90s), I can't remember hearing anyone coming to the show now who's said they actually like her. Given the kind of life she seems to have had, it probably makes sense for her to be the way she is, but she's definitely not as fun to be around as that OP might lead you to believe.
I think, at least so far, that Nadia's difficult to really get behind. She's very fickle: her opinion of Jean's various inventions goes from genius to junk in a heartbeat, and that's not an endearing trait at all.

She's resolute in her viewpoint β€” I'll give her that β€” but I think it goes beyond resoluteness and into pig-headedness. She refuses to budge from her ideals despite the fact that people, including herself, are in actual mortal danger here. That's a concern.

But then it may end up being a double-edged sword and prove beneficial somewhere further along the line in the series.

I'm not especially a fan of the character so far, though.

###

Episode 4

Japanese VA Akio Otsuka is Captain Nemo! Hooray! πŸ˜ƒ

Another favourite of mine, he's probably best known as the voice of Batou in Ghost in the Shell.
 
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Professor Irony

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Episode 4

At last, actual main character Captain Nemo! We finally get a proper look at the Nautilus and even some submarine combat, so I think this one is a big change of pace from anything we've seen so far. It's still quite silly when it needs to be though - the little exchange between Nadia and Jean while they're cast adrift on the plane is funny and I don't know who the heck Electra thinks she's going to fool with that disguise (or why she had a domino mask so readily to hand). It's a good episode and I'm actually a bit surprised that the kids leave the submarine so soon after it's been introduced.

Saying that, I suppose it makes sense to give the viewers a taste of what's in store - I don't feel the first couple of episodes are a great indication of what the rest is like.
 
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Neil.T

Railgun
At last, actual main character Captain Nemo!
Hohh? πŸ€”
Interesting. Say no more. πŸ˜‰

I don't feel the first couple of episodes are a great indication of what the rest is like.
I've jumped slightly ahead of our simulwatch pace to compensate for the latter part of this week when I won't have the chance to watch any episodes and, yeah, this is absolutely true. I'm glad of that, because the first few episodes were struggling to really get me engaged. (Episode 6 was where it dropped into place for me, but that's for a future post.)

Meantime...

Episode 5

Oh my goodness, that digging scene managed to pack an emotional punch even with its economy of visuals. πŸ˜₯
How tragic.
 

WMD

Great Teacher
Episode 4

I like how much agency Jean has as a character. Even in a story where they are just picked up by others he still finds a way to go and do something. Hes so optimistic and full of wonder though I have to say I think I'd side more with Nadia this episode. Why would you trust these people who have secretly built the most technologically advanced warship on the planet?!

The tension during the submarine encounter was tremendously well done. The shot looking up at the captain with the other submarie visible through the sun roof passing overhead was very cool.
 

WMD

Great Teacher
Episode 5

Wow what an episode. Really cranked up the heavy with this one. Really nice insight into Jean finally showing some cracks in his optimistic armour when confronted with death (something hes telling himself hasn't happened to his dad). The way Jean and Nadia struggle with how to help Marie is really sad. Jean stepping up to risk his life to bury these strangers whilst they are hiding from truly awful people is really touching and the finally scene is pretty heartbreaking. Three orphans bonded by pain and loss.

It's also a pretty big step up in villainy from the other episodes. We see our villains up until now havent actually been all bad, though they are very selfish and self serving but these new masked villains are a while new level. Cold blooded and decidedly evil!
 

Professor Irony

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Episode 5

Yeah, I think this one is maybe the first real standout for the series. It shows the kids dealing directly with death in a sensitive, but fairly upfront way that feels much more sophisticated than anything we've seen so far. We also see a much more appealing side of Nadia herself, clearly moved by Marie's plight and, along with Jean, doing everything she can to comfort her.

The shift in tone could well take people off guard though. Nadia seems to owe a lot to the early Ghibli adventure films, but they had a lightness of touch that I feel Gainax either can't replicate or simply don't want to be beholden to - it's hard to imagine the KKK nazis blasting merrily away at the kids of Castle in the Sky, for example. Maybe this is all exactly as planned? Would anyone ever believe Grandis and co were going to be the real villains of the piece? I suppose they did shell Jean's house and attempt to 'buy' Nadia, but even so...

On an unrelated note, I also noticed a few out of focus shots in this episode. It looks to be quite a clean transfer otherwise, so I'm guessing the original materials may have been damaged?

Hohh? πŸ€”
Interesting. Say no more. πŸ˜‰
Maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I do get the impression at times that Anno would have been quite happy to forget about Nadia and Jean, and just make a show about Nemo and his really cool submarine...

I've jumped slightly ahead of our simulwatch pace to compensate for the latter part of this week when I won't have the chance to watch any episodes and, yeah, this is absolutely true. I'm glad of that, because the first few episodes were struggling to really get me engaged. (Episode 6 was where it dropped into place for me, but that's for a future post.)
The nature of the show changes a few times during its run, but the defining part of the series for me doesn't really start until (world's mildest spoiler) Nadia, Jean and Marie join the Nautilus crew properly.
 

WMD

Great Teacher
Yeah, I think this one is maybe the first real standout for the series. It shows the kids dealing directly with death in a sensitive, but fairly upfront way that feels much more sophisticated than anything we've seen so far. We also see a much more appealing side of Nadia herself, clearly moved by Marie's plight and, along with Jean, doing everything she can to comfort her.
Very much this. Nadia has never known family but dreams it might be possible to find her family somewhere. Jean has lost his parents and steadfastly refuses to even entertain the idea they may be gone. Marie embodies both their worst fears, that their families are lost to them forever but instead of shunning and rejecting her they both, very maturely, work out how to help Marie begin to process her loss.
 

Neil.T

Railgun
Maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I do get the impression at times that Anno would have been quite happy to forget about Nadia and Jean, and just make a show about Nemo and his really cool submarine...
Perhaps Anno should have a go at that with one of his other projects, then. Perhaps, I don't know... Evangelion Rebuild? πŸ˜‰

On an unrelated note, I also noticed a few out of focus shots in this episode. It looks to be quite a clean transfer otherwise, so I'm guessing the original materials may have been damaged?
I noticed a couple of parts like that in earlier episodes, too, and it's something I've noticed before in other cartoons of the cel era. I'd just assumed that the overhead camera had gotten knocked out of focus during filming. I would've thought that that problem's built into the original negative.

###

Episode 6

I'm glad to say I'm getting into the series now. πŸ‘

The villain of the piece enters the fray, and it's... Fuyutsuki from Evangelion wearing a mask?! 😱

Oh no, it's not. It's just the same voice actor. πŸ˜…
Although...
... there's been recent speculation about how much Fuyutsuki's role in 3.0+1.0 will overlap with Gargoyle's in Nadia.

Also, anyone else think that that fascist music that accompanies Gargoyle's arrival sounds somewhat reminiscent of Rule Britannia? 😬
 
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WMD

Great Teacher
Episode 6

Another great episode. A nice little arc for Nadia, at first she doesnt want to take risks to help anyone and by the end shes willing to risk her life for Jean to get away. Shes starting to see the bigger picture and the threat these genuinely menacing villains pose.

I also enjoyed how Jean and Nadia go from arguing about how to deal with the situation to showing moments of genuine teamwork like when she helps him get off the conveyor of doom.

The show is becoming quite adept at tension and the cliffhanger has left me quite excited for tomo!
 

Professor Irony

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Episode 6

Poor King, Marie certainly asserted her dominance over him pretty quickly (didn't even t-pose). But yeah, the series is really starting to show its hand now - we get our first proper introduction to Gargoyle and some indication of what the Blue Water's relevance might be.

It's also quite interesting how the series is using electric lights as a kind of marker for advancing technology. Jean's windup torch pales in comparison to the big battery (?) powered one he took from the Nautilus, but everything is eclipsed by the huge floodlights of the Gargoyle compound.

It does still bother me a little how anachronistic the show can be with these things though. I can't help feeling that a Ghibli production set in 1889 would take great pains over designing machinery that looks like it would have sprung from the imagination of people in that era, whereas so many of the pieces of advanced tech or settings in Nadia just look like they've come from 20 or 30 years in the future. Most notably in this episode, the armoured car looks like something from WW1, but I think we also see a diesel locomotive in either the next ep or the one after too.
 
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WMD

Great Teacher
Episode 7

Phew the ante is firmed upped after that one!

The calm venom on Gargoyle is quite something to behold. The way he shows off his weapon shooting the wall, then a bulb them just kills a guy is crazy. Just killing the guy would've got his point across but it's like hes quietly enjoying himself! Also the way this group is willing to starve people to death rather than just execute them is so sadistic!

The colour palette used in the overhead shots of the garden scenes were amazing. A grand evil greenhouse!

Was a little cliche how Gargolye just monologues his plan at Nadia when she isn't even remotely interested in what he has to say. Would be such a tough choice. Put your friend in danger to keep your other friend (dependant child) hopefully safe for now! Though I feel like Jean would be totally fine with that. Hed rather they be after him than hurt Marie I'm sure.

So after rambling about God and whatnot hes basically a crazy with a weapon of mass destruction! Though that satellite being I orbit for 12000yrs is pretty nuts! Wonder how much the religious side will be weighed into during the show.

That explosion though! Some stunning work by the animators there!

Incidentally how weak were those prison bars that a guy could just bend them?!
 

Professor Irony

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Episode 7

Given that his gun fires darts, I was genuinely expecting some kind of 'aha, it was only a tranquliser!' explanation, but no, Gargoyle straight up killed a man...

Much as I'm griping about the setting being anachronistic (19th century space laser now?), I do really like the look of Gargoyle's compound. The symbols spread over the floor during the masked ball give the whole thing an appropriately masonic flavour, and I particularly like the kind of Greco-Roman look to the base of the particle cannon too.

That explosion though! Some stunning work by the animators there!
Coming from another studio, I'd be less sure, but given that it's Gainax, I'm willing to bet that's a nod back to the A-bomb blast in their Daicon IV short.
 
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Great Teacher
Episode 8

It seemed like the scientists in Gargoyles group had actual eye holes in their masks so they could see properly. Whereas everyone else who is blindly indoctrinated has masks with eyes also covered.

I enjoyed the way Jean and the group came up with the plan and then when Gargoyle was pressuring him he never gave up on the plan or his impromptu allies.

I cant tell if Gargoyle is just deluded and sees himself as God or if he really isn't human as he claims. Gona be interesting to see how he plays out.

It really felt like the animators enjoyed the shot of the tank knocking the robots off the track. There was what, 10 of them?! And the final battle and explosions (so many explosions) were all well done too.

Definitely felt like an end of part 1 so wonder what track the show will take next...
 

Neil.T

Railgun
It seemed like the scientists in Gargoyles group had actual eye holes in their masks so they could see properly. Whereas everyone else who is blindly indoctrinated has masks with eyes also covered.
That's yet another great observation! πŸ˜€
Wow. I didn't even think of that.

###

Episode 8

Those heat and shimmer effects early in the episode are another triumph of old-school analogue animation.
 

Professor Irony

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Episode 8

This one definitely feels like the show's hitting its stride now - I am a simple man, I like swashbuckling adventure and crazy contraptions. This episode had plenty of both. I am a little disappointed Hanson never acquired a disguise though; surely the 'aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?' schtick would have been perfect here. It also seems like some of what would later feed into Evangelion is starting to hove into view, with Nadia held aloft on the not-quite cross as Gargoyle tries to flush out Jean. The Gratan Katherine even seems to be continuing to hold the thing aloft after the island blows up, as if it's warding off evil spirits.

Anachronism Watch: The soldiers all use auto-loading rifles. I'm sorry, I'll stop, I promise.

Also maybe I'm overanalysing already, but when I saw the rotating lens on the patrol robot's face, I immediately thought of the Votoms scopedog.



Definitely felt like an end of part 1 so wonder what track the show will take next...
It hadn't occurred to me to put it in those terms, but that seems about right, actually. I guess you could say that, broadly speaking, the show has four parts, in that case?
 
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Professor Irony

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Something I meant to bring up last night, but didn't want to take time to go into, is that the series had a lot of little omake bonus featurettes, packaged in along with the home release after the show had finished airing at the rate of one for every four episodes (presumably one per volume on tape or LD). Unfortunately, I don't think these have ever been included on any of the official English language releases, but they are subbed and quite easy to find if you're interested. I haven't actually seen them before, and it looks like they can be surprisingly spoilery about things that happen in the main series, so I'll try to include some notes here on what each one is like.

Similar to the science lessons in Gunbuster, the first episode mostly goes through facts and figures about the Eiffel Tower, although we also get another look at Jean's Etoile de la Seine series of flying machines, the latest of which now seems to be hanging in a museum. Not much else to say about this one, although the little chibi versions of the characters are cute.

jean_nadia.jpg

The second short is presented as a piece of newsreel-style footage, showing Gargoyle holding a very nazi-esque rally for his supporters. It doesn't add anything much we don't already know or would have been able to infer, but it certainly makes explicit that Gargoyle wants to become a fascist dictator, and intriguingly, a subtitle tells us that they are 'unable to disclose how this film was obtained', perhaps implying that they had a spy in their midst.

gargoyle.jpg
 

Neil.T

Railgun
Episode 9

Crikey, our Captain Nemo doesn't half like a bit of drama. His pipe organ playing caught me completely off guard. πŸ˜…
 
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WMD

Great Teacher
Episode 9

I do love some of the mechanical aspects on show. The way the Nautilus collected the Katherine was great and I loved that Jean had someone to share his enthusiasm for all the advanced technology.

I also loved the way the line "it's just good science" was delivered straight to camera as if to say learning is good kids!

We also started to get more of a sense of the bigger picture. Clearly Nemo has some link to Nadias past what with that massive blue stone he has! And his unwillingness to directly acknowledge her.

King in bed with the damp cloth on his face was pretty cute!

Episode 9

Crikey, our Captain Nemo doesn't half like a bit of drama. His pipe organ playing caught me completely off guard. πŸ˜…
That was insane. It was like he distilled dread into a lullaby to give everyone nightmares!
 
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