Martian Successor Nadesico (Japanese: 機動戦艦ナデシコ, Hepburn: Kidō Senkan Nadeshiko, lit. "Mobile Battleship Nadesico"), sometimes referred to as Nadesico (ナデシコ, Nadeshiko), is a science fiction comedy anime TV series, and a later manga series created by Kia Asamiya. The manga, published in English by CPM Manga, is significantly different from the anime.
In 2005 Anime News Network reported that plans for Nadesico 2 were scrapped, citing an entry on Stellvia director Tatsuo Sato's blog.
The series takes place in the year 2196. Earth is at war with a race of alien invaders called the "Jovian Lizards". A company called Nergal designs a space battleship, the ND-001 Nadesico. While the ship is powerful and its crew consists of the top civilian experts in their fields, these individuals tend to have "some slight personality disorders".
The primary protagonist, Akito Tenkawa, is a boy with a mysterious past; once a resident of Mars' Utopia colony, he escaped its destruction by the Jovian Lizards and arrived on Earth, with no memory of how he got there but a terrible fear of the invaders. He hates fighting and only wants to be a chef. However, he is constantly called on to act as a pilot of one of the Nadesico's Aestivalis - humanoid combat robots. While on board the Nadesico, Akito has more problems to deal with than just the Jovians; nearly all the female members of the crew, especially the vessel's captain Yurika Misumaru, seem to be head over heels in love with him, though all he wants to do is cook and watch his favorite anime, Gekiganger III.
The series features an energetic juxtaposition of comedy and drama, as the characters engage in lighthearted antics in between facing the drama of war. Many of the characters are themselves anime fans, and there is often comparison between the campy, sanitized war of the anime within an anime Gekigangar III and the much harsher reality that the crew of the Nadesico faces. The show intentionally includes a number of science fiction anime clichés, including time travel and alien invaders, but turns these concepts on their heads by the end of the series through a number of plot twists.
There are many anime references, particularly to the series Space Battleship Yamato (the name Nadesico is a play on the phrase "Yamato nadeshiko", which represents the traditional Japanese ideal of femininity, and also the name of a flower). One of the characters was a voice actress before joining the crew (and in fact is a parody of a specific voice actress, Megumi Hayashibara), another is a fangirl who likes to draw her own shōnen-ai doujinshi, and a third is an otaku who bases his entire life on Gekigangar III.
In an episode late in the series, the ship holds an anime convention complete with a viewing marathon of Gekigangar, people engaged in cosplay, and tie-in merchandising. Another episode makes a parody of the Macross anime, as the crew celebrates a Miss Nadesico contest to decide a new captain and public figurehead, in which all the female crew members participate. The contest includes a swimsuit competition and singing.
The Gekigangar anime show is in fact an homage (and parody) of many Super Robot mecha anime of the 70s and 80s, most particularly the Go Nagai/Ken Ishikawa collaboration Getter Robo. The battles between Earth and planetary colonies featured throughout the show is a reference to Gundam, while the assortment of odd-ball characters on the ship who prefer to choose their own battles, rather than take sides, is a nod to Harlock. In addition, writers from previous popular sci-fi mecha shows occasionally get announced in teasers for various episodes of Nadesico.
The Martian Successor Nadesico anime was directed by Tatsuo Sato and produced by TV Tokyo, Xebec, and Yomiko Advertising, Inc. The series aired on the Bandai Channel and TV Tokyo from November 1, 1996 to March 24, 1997. Martian Successor Nadesico was licensed for released by ADV Films. The company released the series originally on 12 VHS tapes. Later, the series was released on a total of six DVDs. On September 24, 2002, ADV Films released a box set containing all of the DVDs entitled Martian Successor Nadesico: Complete Chronicles and, on January 1, 2008, a collection of all the episodes entitled Martian Successor Nadesico: Perfect Collection. At Anime Expo 2011, Nozomi Entertainment announced that they had re-licensed the series, following ADV's closure in 2009. They will re-release the series, along with the movie and the Gekiganger III OVA, in 2012.
Martian Successor Nadesico's opening song is "You Get to Burning" by Yumi Matsuzawa. The main ending song is "Being Myself" ("Watashi Rashiku") by Houko Kuwashima, with episode 26 featuring "Itsuka...Shinjite" by Matsumura Kazumi as its ending.
A manga series loosely based on the anime with a whole new story line and written for a mature audience.
A Gekigangar III compilation OVA was also released.
A sequel movie called The Prince of Darkness is a 1998 anime film written and directed by Tatsuo Sato, and it is a sequel to the series Martian Successor Nadesico. The story is a direct sequel to Nadesico: The Blank of Three Years, a video game for the Sega Saturn that takes place immediately after the TV series ends, and before the movie begins.
Four games based on the series were released in Japan. The first game, released for the Sega Saturn in 1997, is entitled Mobile Battleship Nadesico. It is a dating sim game with a few mecha elements included. A second game, also for the Sega Saturn, was released in the following year under the title Martian Successor Nadesico: The Blank of Three Years. It is an interactive story of the events which occurred in between the television series and the movie. Released on the Dreamcast in 1999, Martian Successor Nadesico: The Mission, continues the story from Prince of Darkness. Finally, a mahjong variant game was released for the Game Boy Color entitled Mobile Battleship Nadesico: Ruriruri Mahjong. Nadesico also appears in games in the Super Robot Wars and Another Century's series, where the setting is combined with other mecha series' such as Gundam, Mazinger, Full Metal Panic! and Tekkaman Blade.
There have been mixed reviews to the series, although most reviews have been positive. One review written when the series was released on DVD gave it average ratings, commenting that while the show was dubbed into English poorly, it commented positively on the use of characters saying, "Despite his heroic calling as a robot pilot, Akito is remarkably approachable—after all, what could be more down-to-earth than a cook? Yurika, the world's most unlikely starship captain, may seem like a troublesome ditz at first, but demonstrates resolve and emotional depth as she learns the art of leadership. The characters may be billed as goofballs, but they also provide some of the most touching moments in the show. The Nadesico mindset shows that heroism and self-sacrifice are still respectable virtues, and that nobody needs to hear whining about why you can't or won't pilot a giant robot."
Other reviews have been generally positive, with one saying, "Nadesico is one of those rare series that has something for everyone. Comedy, action, romance, drama...you name it, this series has it (well, almost). What's even more astonishing is that Nadesico keeps everything tied together in a neat little coherent package, so much so that you'll hardly even notice the blend of genres. It's a pretty cool little package, too." Another review praised the English dub, saying "I first watched this show multiple times in Japanese, but eventually gave the English dub a try and found I loved it. The cast is excellent, with Jennifer Earhart's Yurika being especially noteworthy. Even minor characters, such as a Jovian pilot played by Jason Douglas, give great performances. His reading of 'If only the humans appreciated life as we do, I would not have to kill so many of them' is brilliant."
The series quickly became popular. The film won the Animage Grand Prix award in 1998. In other polls conducted by Animage in the same year, Akito was voted the ninth most "Favorite Male Character Of The Year", Ruri Hoshino was voted second and Yurika eighth most "Favorite Female Characters Of The Year" and the TV series was vote the third "Favorite Anime Of The Year".