R2 DVD Reviews
Sunday, 02 May 2010 00:00
"Endgame" is as good a description as any for the events of this volume, but annoyingly, it's just the endgame of what feels like a subplot in the bigger story of the war - that goes on and waits for another day. In true Nadesico style, though, expect surprises...
22 - Protect the Visitor?
An enemy shuttle arrives at the Nadesico, containing a young girl, Yukina Shiatori. She's the little sister of one of the Jovian men that Minato and Megumi had spent time with earlier in the series, and she's got a score to settle with Minato: her brother's suddenly become a peacenik, and it's all her fault. Her plan to get even with her doesn't go entirely to plan, though. Erina, meanwhile, has a few issues of her own to raise with Akito, but her rising anger with his own desire for peace leads to her letting slip that she'd worked with his father...
23 - A Place We Call Home
Half of the Nadesico's crew have abandoned the ship, including most of the command staff, with Yurika and Akito now working in a Chinese restaurant and Misato looking after Yukina. For Akatsuki it's a good excuse to man the Nadesico with a more compliant crew (even though they gave no idea what they're doing) - he's also arranged for a close watch to be kept on the mutineers, although four of them are unaccounted for: Ruri, and Ryoko and her fellow Aestivalis pilots. And Ruri in particular has a plan in mind...
24 - Ubiquitous Righteousness
The Nadesico has fled Earth and is headed for Jupiter - the plan is to reach a negotiated settlement with the Jovians, but there's the nagging doubt that they won't be willing to talk. That's a fair concern, too - unknown to them, Yukina's big brother Tsukumo is getting ready to leave the Jovian fleet, ready and willing to be a part of peace talks, but not everyone there is ready to give him their support. Tsukumo soon arrives at the Nadesico, but before any talks can begin, there's some Gekigangar to be watched...
25 - Being Myself, Being Yourself
Only a few hours after being killed by one of his own, the Jovians are blaming his death on the Earth fleet and using his death as an excuse to push on with the war. But Nergal has their own plans for dealing with the Jovian advance - they've secretly been working on bosun jump technology, and it seems they've cracked the problem of safely jumping normal humans. With the Kakitsubata equipped with a bosun jump drive, and Akita naturally proficient at powering it, Nergal's latest and greatest ship jumps to Mars, where Akatsuki hopes the ruins left there by an ancient civilisation will hold the key to winning the war. But with Nergal now on the wrong side of both Earth's and Jupiter's forces, time is running out for them to find what they need...
26 - For the Lady We Will Meet Someday
Deep within the ruins, Akito is briefly reunited with someone he never thought he's see again: young girl Ai, who he'd tried to save when the Jovians first attacked Mars, but who he'd thought was long dead. Actually, he's been with her for a while now, and just never realised it - but that's something else for Inez to explain. Back on the surface, a Chulip has appears and is spewing forth a massive Jovian fleet, and the Kakitsubata is soon destroyed, leaving the Nadesico to fight alone. But with the ship facing overwhelming odds, Yurika decides that destroying the ruins by setting the Nadesico to self-destruct may be the only way to end the war...
Hmm. So if the Jovians are so chivalrous and protective of their women, to the point where they don't bring them on their warships (as explained on a previous volume), what the heck is Yukina doing here? Just one of many questions that are best ignored, as Nadesico worries more about entertainment value than consistency or continuity. Yukina, this volume's new recruit to the Nadesico "crew", is a hoot to watch - she's clearly there for comedy value - so I'm not going to complain too much about the way she was introduced.
The disc really falls into three main parts - Yukina's arrival & the fallout from that, the abortive peace talks with the Jovians, and the final battle on Mars where Akito learns a few surprises about the past and finally gets his paws on Yurika. The first part of that lot is the most "fun" - between Yukina's antics and the way that Ruri goes about taking control of the Nadesico ("nyaa!"), there's plenty to laugh at - but that's also the end of the out-and out comedy, so make the most of it while you can.
The peace talks are a rather darker passage of story, with betrayal & death featuring fairly strongly. Nadesico set the standard for surprise deaths with Gai was done away with way back in episode 3 or so, and there's an attempt in episode 24 to pull off the same trick again - it doesn't quite have the shock value of Gai's death, but it is still a surprise and has its own knock-on effects on the rest of the crew, so it works well in the context of the story. The other thing you learn at this point is that the Jovians really aren't all that interested in peace, which in turn is a pointer that the war isn't going to be resolved by the TV series.
And so we go to Mars, for a conclusion to the series that ticks the boxes of relationships and surprises, but that doesn't really do anything to to provide a sense of closure to the story. Things happen, but as Ruri drolly notes in her epilogue, nothing really changes and things just carry on as they had, with the only changes being Akito's better understanding of his past, and his new relationship with Yurika.
After that, you can't help but be a little disappointed. It's true that Nadesico has always been more about poking fun at both its characters and various anime stereotypes, but there's nothing to say that you can't do that and have a decent story at the same time, and Nadesico really does neglect the story in favour of the parody. Annoying? Sure. Unforgivable? Not really. This is one of those shows that's hard not to love despite its failings, and this volume closes it out in an enjoyable if untidy way, and is well worth seeing.