Martian Successor Nadesico-Volume 1: Chronicle 1 (1996)

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Released 12-Sep-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Notes
Biographies-Character
Trailer-Bubblegum Crisis 2040; Neon Genesis Evangelion; Gasaraki
Theatrical Trailer
DVD Credits
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 88:50 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Tatsuo Sato
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Yuji Ueda
Houko Kawashima
Kentaro Ito
Naoko Takano
Maya Okamoto
Omi Minami
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Takayuki Hattori


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, After credits next episode preview

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Martian Successor Nadesico: Chronicle 1 is the first four episodes from this popular Japanese animated TV series. The series was voted the Best Anime Show of All Time by Japanese fans at the 1998 Animage Grand Prix.

    Nadesico is a twenty six episode animated television series that was first produced in 1996. The series is based around the battleship Nadesico and its crew as they help fight the Jovians, an alien race that have taken over Mars and are attempting to capture Earth.

    This science fiction series features an unusual combination of action, mecha, romance and comedy. Numerous references and in-jokes are spread throughout each episode and are unlikely to all be understood by casual viewers. Many of these jokes rely on the structure of the Japanese language and specific Japanese cultural references. Luckily, the high frequency of these puns means that even if viewers do not understand some there are many others that they can appreciate.

    The crew of the Nadesico also often refer to an old anime called 'Gekiganger 3'. This is a thirty nine episode mecha based anime series made approximately one hundred years earlier. Numerous crew members are fans of the series and it is because of this series that Jiro Yamada a.k.a. Gai Daigouji became a pilot. Due to the popularity of Nadesico, a Gekiganger OVA series was later produced.

    This first DVD release contains the following episodes. I have included a very short description for each episode but as these contain some very minor spoilers you may wish to skip directly to the Transfer Quality section.

To Go Like A Man
    The Nergal corporation is planing to launch their private battleship and the initial crew of the Nadesico is formed from a strange group of misfits. The Jovian invaders try to attack the ship and Akito Tankawa pilots an Aestivalis (mecha) acting as a decoy while the ship is launched.

Leave The Blue Earth To Me
    After witnessing the power of the Nadesico, the military decide that they must commandeer the ship for the defense of Earth. During the attempted take-over of the ship, the Jovians launch an attack and the crew of the Nadesico come to the rescue.

A Goodbye That Came Too Soon
    In an attempt to keep the Nadesico on Earth, the military utilize a series of defensive lines that were originally designed to protect Earth from the invaders. The crew of the Nadesico must battle their fellow humans as they attempt to make the journey to Mars.

Charmed By Aqua Space
    After leaving Earth, the Nadesico heads to a space station to pick up additional crew and supplies. As they approach the station, it is destroyed and the ship damaged. Amazingly, three pilots and their Aestivalis survive and they join the crew.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Throughout this transfer, a large number of overlays are used to allow English viewers to understand the various signs and monitor displays seen in each episode. This is done by placing English text directly over or next to the original Japanese artwork. While this does make the text more legible for non-Japanese viewers it does cover the original animation. As the quantity of Japanese text would not be practical to translate via subtitles, the use of overlays is unfortunately essential. One solution that would allow viewers to retain the original animation while providing the overlays for English viewers would be to utilize alternate angles. This solution would require access to the original non-overlay source material and was not employed for this series, but may hopefully be seen in future releases.

    The full frame transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, as you would expect for an older television series.

    The episodes are never extremely sharp during the transfer but as a consequence of the animation style employed, this is never a problem. No low level noise was detected and there were never any problems with shadow detail during the brightly animated transfer.

    The colours displayed during the transfer appear slightly muted as typically seen in television animation of this age.

    Disappointingly, a number of small MPEG artefacts were seen during this transfer. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 18:51, 20:42, 42:59 and 46:39. These artefacts are usually quite small and only slightly distracting to the viewer. During each of the episodes' closing credit sequence, Gibbs effects may be seen around the scrolling text and the lyric subtitles.

    As often seen during anime transfers, the fine lines in the drawings do produce some aliasing artefacts. Some examples of this aliasing may be seen at 12:18, 19:18 and 79:18, but as these artefacts are quite minor they are not distracting to the viewer. A number of very minor film artefacts may be seen during the transfer, such as at 34:20, but these are never distracting. Some minor examples of NTSC to PAL conversion artefacts may also be seen throughout the transfer. Examples of these artefacts are at 1:36, 25:32, 42:16 and 42:40.

    In addition to the previously-mentioned overlays, a single set of yellow English subtitles are provided on the disc. These subtitles are clear and easy to read but do appear rapidly at some points of the transfer. When compared to the English audio track, numerous differences may be seen but the general information conveyed is the same. During the opening and closing credits for each episode, subtitles for the song lyrics are burned into the image and are non-removable. Unusually, the second and fourth episodes feature the lyrics in Japanese but written in English characters allowing the viewer to sing along if they wish. During a UN meeting at the start of the third episode, a number of English subtitles are burnt into the picture but these do not match the Japanese or English audio tracks or the English subtitle stream. This is a little confusing for the viewer, but this only lasts for around a minute.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The default English Dolby Digital 224 kbps 2.0 track is supplemented with the original Japanese Dolby Digital 224 kbps 2.0 track. I listened to both tracks in full and found both to be of high quality with the voice acting suiting the characters. Viewers may recognize that the English voice talent for Akito Tankawa is provided by Spike Spencer who was also responsible for the English voice of Shinji in Neon Genesis Evangelion.

    The dialogue was always clear and easy to understand during both tracks.

    As this is an animated feature, there are the expected obvious problems with audio sync for each soundtrack. No dropouts were detected at any stage during the transfer.

    The musical score by Takayuki Hattori varies considerably during the episodes, ranging from pop numbers to classically based pieces, but this does always seem to suit the on-screen action.

    The surround channels were not utilized during either audio track. The subwoofer was only used minimally to support the musical score and effects in both tracks.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The simply animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Translation Notes

    These are a very interesting collection of multi-page notes for each episode by Dan Kanemitsu relating the problems he had when developing the English translation for this series. When reading these notes, the problems arising from the numerous cultural specific references made throughout the episodes become apparent.

Character Profiles

    A single page profile is provided for the following characters: Akito Tenkawa, Gai Daigouji, Haruka Minato, Jun Aoi, Megumi Reinard, Yurika Misumaru and Ruri Hoshino.

Trailer: Martian Successor Nadesico (1:31)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Japanese musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 (1:27)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Neon Genesis Evangelion (1:08)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Gasaraki (1:31)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English musical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    While the exclusion of the textless opening and closing sequences is disappointing, the difference is very minor and the availability of the local release should satisfy nearly all viewers. Hopefully future discs in the series will include these omitted sequences.

Summary

    If viewed as the obvious parody of anime series that this is, Martian Successor Nadesico: Chronicle 1 is the beginning of a series that should be enjoyed by most anime fans, but if you are new to anime then I suspect that you may find the comedy and references within the series a little confusing.

    The full frame transfer is easily adequate but does exhibit a small number of flaws.

    The inclusion of both English and Japanese tracks will satisfy fans of both dubs and subs.

    The translation notes for each episode are extremely interesting and provide an insight into the problems faced when bringing anime series to a foreign market.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Friday, September 14, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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