A Review of Episodes 27-39 of “Fushigi no Umi no Nadia” [Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water”]

Jean and Nadia from "Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water"Hey guys, Samurai here and believe it or not…we’re coming to the last thirteen episodes of “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water”. I have to say, this show has been nothing if not a challenge. It’s had its highs and its lows, that’s for dawg gone sure, and heaven knows the last thirteen episodes were truly the lowest of the low. But, with these last thirteen episodes, can “Nadia” pull off the required 70% needed to acquire a passing grade? Well, let’s quit dawdling and jump right into it. I’m Cajun Samurai, and this is Part 3 of my review of “Fugishi no Umi no Nadia” or “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water”.

The final thirteen episodes we will be looking at are: #27. The Island of the Witch, #28. The Floating Island, #29. King vs. King, #30. Labyrinth in the Earth, #31. Farewell, Red Noah, #32. Nadia’s Love, #33. King’s Rescue, #34. My Darling Nadia, #35. The Secret of Blue Water, #36. The New Nautilus, #37. Emperor Neo, #38. To the Sky and #39. Successor to the Stars.

Warnings and Other Objectionable Content: Once again, this show is rated TV-13, and I would hold it to that. There are a few episodes in the beginning of this set when Nadia is completely in the nude, but absolutely nothing is detailed or shown. Some viewers might take issue with episode thirty-two for religious reasons. In this episode, King is kidnapped by an animal hunter. He is then tied to a cross and in the English dub, just before the ending credits, the hunter threatens to “remove the ropes from the lion and replace them with nails.” Umm…yeah. There’s also some familiar talk about Adam and the Old Testament and how the events therein related to the Neo-Atlantans.

Story Breakdown (Episodes 27-39): The final triodecad of episodes has our group of heros…well…still on the freaking island for the most part. Though the story tries to get back on track by making some revelations, by all accounts, the first five episodes are the same Island Episodes we experienced earlier. By my estimate, the Island Episodes added about 10 or so episodes to a story that could EASILLY be told in 26 episodes. However, our crew eventually gets off the Island and finally arrive in Africa, Nadia’s presumed birthplace. It’s there where she learns the truth about her past, and where we’re treated to an episodes worth of filler and a pointless adventure involving The Crew of the Nautilus...King. Then, as though the creators wanted to give us another kick to the teeth, what is Episode thirty-four? A Clip Show…oh, but not just ANY clip show…this is a MUSICAL clip show. Yep. Each character reflects on their adventures through song…for no clear reason. You know, this show has many Achilles heels, but if there was one major heel that stands out among all the others is the fact that this show wastes a LOT of time. Here we are, the last thirteen episodes…this is NORMALLY the time when animators try to bring things together—sharpen their plots and have things start to make sense so the viewers say “Oh! So THAT’S what XYZ was about!” This is NOT the time to start putting in filler episodes or musical recaps. Episode thirty-four marks the moment when the story gets serious and back on track. And let me tell you, these last four episodes really show what makes this series worth watching, even with the gigantic glaring flaws. While I won’t get too much into spoilers on how this whole thing wraps up, The return of the crew of the Nautilus, the big reveal of the true bad guy of the series, and the ensuring final battle puts this show on an epic level and it makes me, quite literally, scream at my TV and ask “Where has THIS show BEEN all this time?!” The ending of “Nadia” is about as conclusive an ending as you can get from Hideaki Anno. For a director known for screwing with his audiences with his cryptic and often confusing anime conclusions, “Nadia” Is remarkably cut and dry. Everyone gets the ending they deserve, and the viewer feels a sense of satisfaction, if not relief, that the trip has ended. There is just one…small plot thread that really makes me scratch my head in wonderment. [Spoiler Alert!! Spoiler Alert!! Highlight for Reveal!!In the epilogue, Marie [who is narrating] is shown to have grown up and married Sanson…and is also expecting their first child. Umm…WHAT? Now, for those of you keeping track at home, Marie was Four-Years-Old when this adventure started and Sanson was twenty-seven. Add twelve years to that as mentioned in the epilogue, and we have Marie at sixteen and Sanson at thirty-nine. Now I know age ain’t nothing but a number, but still! SIXTEEN YEARS OLD?! Sanson is taking the term “robbing the cradle” to new and almost literal meaning…and I thought “Usagi Drop” was…you know, skip it…END SPOILER ALERT!!! END SPOILER ALERT!!!] But, all that being said, these final thirteen episodes, while extremely weak in the beginning, found a way to draw this wayward story to a satisfying conclusion. (6.3 / 8.3)

Characters (Episodes 14-26): 

Nadia la Arwall

The first half of this set, Nadia is pretty much the same as always…and I found a few “Oh, for the love of—JUST SHUT UP” slip past my lips, but for the last 4 episodes, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how mature Nadia got. It’s really refreshing to see, and it makes me wish all the more that we could’ve seen this level of maturity throughout the series. Her treatment in the epilogue—classic.

Jean Roque Raltique

Save for the earlier episodes in this final set, Jean really comes into his own in the last few episodes. He’s not the boy we saw in Episode 1, but he still has that innocence and curiosity that we know and love about him. He’s really matured from the beginning of the series, and it was great seeing him in the epilogue, remaining true to character.

Marie en Carlsberg

These last thirteen episodes don’t focus on Marie, and they don’t do much for her character, but her role in the ending epilogue is classic. Though I still question what EXACTLY happens to her in the future. I mean come on…REALLY?! But, overall, it could’ve been worse, I guess.

Grandis Granva

Grandis is back where we want her to be in this last set—in command of the Gratan (Katherine) in full fabulous mode with Hanson and Sanson at her beck and call. We also see her softer side and her more emotional side, which is always a treat with characters like her. Her treatment in the epilogue is quite true to character.

Sanson

Not much of a difference this time around with the Gratan’s Helmsman. He’s still the epically awesome character he’s been throughout the series. In the epilogue…well…I won’t spoil it, but I’ll just say this…REALLY?!?!

Hanson

Our brilliant Gratan engineer is just as awesome this final set as he has been throughout, and the epilogue doesn’t change him at all…save for the jowls.

Captain Nemo

Nemo is awesome in this final set of episodes. From the moment he comes back on the screen up to the last moment we see him, Nemo makes his presence known. No longer just the cold observer, Nemo now has a fire in his belly that has come to the surface.

Electra

This is almost a new character than the one we left on the Nautilus bridge sinking into the depths. It’s almost as though she was reborn in the time we haven’t seen her. This could be due to an unspoken but blindingly obvious addition to her character.

Gargoyle

A true bad guy to the very last. Even when you think that he was just being used as a puppet and there might be a chance he could repent for what he’s done, he surprised you and commits several brutal acts that cements his status as the baddie. It was a pleasure watching him work, though he did make his fair share of stupid errors.

King

Well, not much happens to King in this set…aside from the Island Episodes and one additional episode before the finale. The epilogue does him great justice and is cute in its own way.

Marie in the Series Epilogue...So, indeed, though it took them a long time to get here, I can finally say that the last handful of episodes finally does justice to these characters we’ve come to know and…tolerate. Our true bad guy is all kinds of awesome, even with his short time on the screen, and he gives a gravity to the whole finale that we, honestly, didn’t get from Gargoyle. (7.3/8.3)

Animation (Episodes 27-39): As is the case with much of everything else in this set of episodes, things don’t really clear up until the last handful of episodes. At that point, we’re given quite a nice round of episodes with regards to animation. This show is clearly the precursor to “Neon Genesis Evangelion”—you can see all the subtle animation cues in the character designs, camera perspectives, displays and readouts. It’s all there, and it’s fun to look for. I do have to ask though; what’s with Electra’s new wardrobe? Not quite sure what’s going on with the catsuit, but it seems like it’s only there just to be ripped partially away during the last episode. Ah well, it’s not too bad. (4 / 4.16)

Music (Episodes 27-39): We’re still given the same opening and closing themes as per usual, but I have to question the decision to keep the opening theme for the last episode. I mean, it just doesn’t fit with the overall theme of the first half. “Blue Water” is a happy, upbeat theme…Episode thirty-nine…ain’t. It’s pretty depressing all the way up to the epilogue. Couldn’t they forgo the theme to save a minute or two for more story? Ah well. The incidental music is a joy to listen to, as always. It sets the tone as it should and it adds an invisible gravity to the really dramatic scenes. It’s no wonder that Gainax reused some of the pieces from this show in their next big work, “Neon Genesis Evangelion”. (4 / 4.16)

Performances and Production (Episodes 27-39):

Characters

Japanese Voice Actor/Actress

English Voice Actor/Actress

Narrator

???

Karen Kuykendall

Nadia la Arwall

Noriko Hidaka

Meg Bauman

Jean Roque Raltique

Yoshino Takamori

Nathan Parsons

Marie en Carlsberg

Yuko Mizutani

Margaret Cassidy

Grandis Granva

Kumiko Takizawa

Sarah Richardson

Sanson

Kenyuu Horiuchi

Martin Blacker

Hanson

Toshiharu Sakurai

Corey M. Gagne

Captain Nemo

Akio Ohtsuka

Ev Lunning Jr.

Electra

Kikuko Inoue

Jennifer Stuart

Gargoyle

Motomu Kiyokawa

David Jones

King

Toshiharu Sakurai

Shawn Sides

For the conclusion of “Nadia”, it seems ironic that I have to ding the title character’s English dub this time around. My issue this time is only minor. Her screams during two key scene in the finale really pale in comparison to the original Japanese and, even though I know she is only a child actress, I feel that she could’ve taken it up just one more notch. But I suppose it averages out with the rest of her stellar performance during the last episode, so she keeps her green With regards to the narrator…I think I’ve beat that dead horse enough. I guess I’m finally used to it…and it only took 39 episodes. (8 / 8.3)

Scoring Summary (Episodes 27-39):

Story Breakdown – 6.3 / 8.3
Characters – 7.3 / 8.3
Animation – 4 / 4.16
Music – 4 / 4.16
Performances and Production – 8 / 8.3

Total Point Tally (Episodes 1-39) 

Story Breakdown – 16.45 / 25
Characters – 13.6 / 25
Animation – 9 / 12.5
Music – 8.3 / 12.5
Performance and Production – 22.3 / 25

Final Score: 69.65/100 = 69.65% – (F +)

Typical Nadia Reacting to her Scores...So, where does that leave us? Simple. “Nadia” had the potential to be one of the best anime Studio Gainax has ever produced…at least until “Neon Genesis Evangelion” came out. However, its own shortcomings pulled this show down…WAY down. Though there are some great episodes dispersed here and there throughout the thirty-nine episodes, and the acting on both sides of the Pacific Ocean was very well done, the fact remains that faulty storylines with inconsequential and pointless episode arcs, characters with personalities that you can just barely tolerate and inexcusably inconsistent animation brought “Nadia” WAY down past the point of no return. While it could be argued that I could’ve simply skip the poor episodes and watch the series in an abridged fashion, for the purposes of this review, I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I bought this collection as one cohesive ten-volume unit and that’s how I graded it. To me, cutting away episodes would not only cheat you, the reader, out of a complete review, but it wouldn’t be fair to the anime or its creators. The Island Episodes may’ve been awful, but they still deserve to be judged along with the rest of the series. And yes, I am fully aware of the issues that Fushigi-no-umi-no-Nadiawent on behind the scenes—that Gainax was ordered to create more episodes by NHK to expand the series by nine episodes and that at one point Hideaki Anno left the project in the hands of another director, Shinji Higuchi, but personally, and to be brutally honest, that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is the end result—what I actually paid for and what I got for the money. There are loads of anime projects out there that went through their share of issues during production, but the end product still winds up being awesome. There is simply no excuse that justifies what happened to this series.

And so, that’s the end of my review of “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water”! That was an interesting voyage, but you’ll understand my relief with it finally being over. Up next on the block for review is another Studio Gainax production. It’s another boy/girl story, but it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. If “Nadia” was the precursor to “Evangelion”, then this show is the clear precursor to “FLCL”–heck, even the main male character looks like Naota. So grab your money and enhance your bartering skills because we’re going to the shopping arcade…

The Main Cast of "Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi"

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi

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3 thoughts on “A Review of Episodes 27-39 of “Fushigi no Umi no Nadia” [Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water”]

  1. It sounds like the island episodes prevented it from receiving a passing grade. I’m rather a sucker for old anime and Jules Verne, so I expect that I’ll watch this series at some point. Hopefully, I can find it on hulu.com–they have a ton of anime for streaming and many which I would not expect.

    Thanks for bringing this show to my attention and your most thorough reviews!

    1. Yeah, the “Infamous Island Episodes” did this show no favors at all…nor did the “recap musical” episode…nor did the “Nadia in Love” episodes… nor did the abrupt downgrade in animation quality. This show pretty much had the deck stacked against it from the moment the kids became shipwrecked. This show could have and should have been done in 26 episodes. It just wasted time with these inconsequential pointless episodes and story arcs. Even with the issues I brought up about Nadia being unbearable or the Narrator’s voice being not quite what I expected, or the off-putting Ending theme…this show would easilly pull a “B+” at most or a “C-” at the very least if it wasn’t for the factors mentioned above. I have to admit it’s upsetting to me that it got the scores it did because “Nadia”, at it’s core, is a GREAT show with a great premise. But this show simply got weighted down and it couldn’t recover.

      1. You are absolutely right. Nadia should have been a 26 episode series, not a 39 one. Hence why I choose nowadays to judge this show as episodes 1-22, 31, and 35-39. That’s the way Gainax wanted to do the show to begin with.

        Incidentally, Gainax DID make a shorter version of this show called “The Nautilus Story”, which you can find on YouTube. It shortens the show considerably and makes Nadia’s character more consistent and less irritating. (The aforementioned bad episodes are also excised from it, cut down to 15 minutes keeping only the important parts — none of the Lincoln Island BS, King races, or the Africa/music video garbage.)

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