Three years after the defeat of Gargoyle and Neo-Atlantis, a new threat has surfaced bent on bringing the world under his control. Geiger, using advanced robot technology, is attempting to begin a world war, and take control of the devistated world after the destruction has stopped. Once again, Nadia and Jean must fight to save the world, only this time from itself.
The ending of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water provided a sense of closure to the story, and that is one of the many problems with this theatrical sequel: there is no reason for it to exist. The consensus from many is that Nadia: The Motion Picture is actually worse than the awful island/Africa episodes combined. The movie isn't quite that bad, but this should not imply that it's of the same caliber as the series--on the contrary. There are a lot of bizarre inconsistencies in the plot, which basically feels like a hastily cobbled Saturday morning cartoon episode, minus
much of the depth and richness that made Nadia as a series so appealing. The whole thing tries to be a funny, fast-paced sci-fi mystery adventure, and there are some laughs to be had--but it's hilarious for all the wrong reasons. The action sequences, in particular, are implausibly staged (one involves Jean and Nadia fighting bad-guys--he removes a grenade from his pocket... and destroys a group of enemies in one shot, yet he and Nadia escape unharmed!). Even one-liners from the Grandis gang runs dry in places.
Regrettably, the "cartoonish" aura is made even more apparent by the animation. "Sub-par" doesn't even come close to describing how sloppy and unattractive it is. Compared to even the Lincoln and floating island episodes (which were visually awful in comparison to the better eps), it simply looks dreadful. The recycled footage that makes up the first thirty minutes (ironically the best part of the movie, except it's all poorly edited and sequenced in a way that will confuse all but those who are familiar with the series) only reinforces the dubious quality of the movie as a whole. Actually, wasting the first thirty minutes with footage is a major mistake on the filmmakers' part: it provides little to no time for whatever story there is to fully develop.
Worse still, the new characters come across as cliché, cardboard cutouts. The villain of the piece in particular, Dr. Giegar, a sort of mad scientist with a silly-looking hairdo, is laughable--it is suggested early on that he is worse than Gargoyle, but he turns out to be just the opposite. He's nowhere nearly as frightening or fully-realized. The central new character to the show is Fuzzy, a blonde (and not very talkative) girl who serves to reunite Jean and Nadia after two years of living apart, and unfortunately, she comes across as the dullest in the show. Probably the only character to show any depth is her distant father, Dr. Whola, the sort of gruff man who at first rejects his daughter for being a carbon copy of the real thing who was killed (oh, surprise), only to realize his error. But even then, there is something about him that feels very forgettable.
Remember how most of the island episodes (and the Africa ones) seemed to press reset on most of the main characters and have them behave in over-exaggerated ways? Well, this movie is guilty of doing the same--the biggest problem I have is why Grandis and her gang would go back to a life of crime... *and* even attack Jean! Didn't they already establish a close relationship with the leads? It's also baffling that the movie starts out with Jean and Nadia separated. The pair had already confessed their feelings for each other by the end of the series, so why is Nadia trying to be an independent reporter in London? And how in the world did Jean end up with an annoying parrot as a pet? Well, at least when they become paired up, their relationship at least isn't as grotesquely warped as in the worst episodes, but it still feels hokey and weird. It's even more surprising that Marie, King, Electra, and even Ayerton were written out of all this. (There is a disclaimer that this happens before the events of the epilogue, but come on now!)
Even the music proves to be very disappointing; on its own it's not bad, but for much of the time it comes across as irritating and ill-fitting with much of the visuals. There were times when the BGM tracks in Nadia were a little bland, but they were not as weak as in this film. Shiro Sagisu has done a lot better work than this. The vocal tracks are not much better, although the closing number, "My Precious Trick Star", does at least emerge as decent.
One thing that is fairly well done about the movie is the relationship between Nadia, Jean, and Fuzzy--not something I was expecting to say. Unlike the Africa village episodes, which jammed in a useless and mean-spirited love triangle, this one is not as annoying--there is no issue about Fuzzy's age and Jean remains consistent. In fact, there are two very cute romantic interludes between Jean and Nadia which at least provide some charm (one on a boat, and at the end). And while the resolution of the triangle regarding Fuzzy did feel very much like a cop-out and lacked emotion, it at least wraps out inoffensively (albeit predictably).
Believe it or not, the other saving grace about the movie is the dub, provided by ADV's Monster Island studios. Nadia has always been one of my favorite dubs to listen to, and it's a treat to hear the principal cast reprise their roles. Rather amusingly, the script even works in a joke about Jean's French accent! (And while it's still pretty shaky in this movie, I can't imagine Jean without it.) The new characters are fairly well voiced too, particularly Eric Henshaw as Dr. Whola; they do their best with their cardboard cut characters and provide consistent energy and liveliness.
All in all, however, I will not be visiting Nadia: The Motion Picture again any time soon. Even though it wasn't as hideous as most reviews were making it out to be (it's definitely better than the Africa episodes, but inevitably worse than both island sequences combined), I do believe that its poor reputation is well-deserved. Wasting 30 minutes of recycled footage, as mentioned, was a bad idea, and it's even more disappointing that there wasn't much more thought put into the script. The original creative staff also had nothing to do with this movie; it was simply made just to cash-in on the show. As a matter of fact, you can just skip it and you won't miss much at all.
It's not very often where I wonder why under the member stats, there are scores given as high as a 5 on an anime because usually, i can see at least one reason why someone would like a certain anime. This? No way.
Speaking as someone who really liked the original Nadia series, this movie is a disgrace to everything the series stood for and everything that was great about it. The story is horrible, the characters are just a fragment of what they were like in the series and the animation is just plain bad. Even the hardcore Nadia fans should stay away from this
one and it's definitely an experience that needs to be wiped from your memory. There is just nothing here worth watching.
I write this review having only 10 minutes ago finished this film, a film I was really unsure about going into it. This film has a reputation and I was wary of it but also incredibly curious. Could it actually be that bad? The average scores for this film are quite low, reviews warned of the horrors within and for all intent and purpose the film has been retconned from the annuls of the franchises history.
Sure sequels can certainly be terrible but I wasn't overly convinced this could really be as bad as everyone made it appear. I mean the series is truly fantastic, one
of the all time classics and even at it's worst it's still okay, the Island filler Arc is still quite enjoyable in my opinion and is nowhere near as bad as many would have you believe. At least in the case of the Island Arc its bad because it ruins the pacing but it stays somewhat true to the characters and the overall vibe of the show. So obviously having differing opinions from most about the Island Arc as a completionist I saw fit to track down the DVD release of the sequel film and see what I had mercifully avoided or simply missed.
So here just over 90 or so minutes later I sit with this one truth having been learnt and that is simply this—it's all true. Every bit of it is true and in some ways I believe it's worse than what I had heard prior to viewing. Nadia the Secret of Blue Water The Motion Picture is indeed total garbage! So with a deep breath and a stretch of the fingers lets get into why...
The film opens with a sequence about the world powers on the brink of World War (which in the Nadia universe would never have happened before) ending with a Navy Admiral literally evaporating while making a speech, umm okay then. After that we get the credits and find Nadia working at a Newspaper in London as the news of human evaporation's continues to spread. Now if you remember that the epilogue to the TV series takes place 12 years later then I suppose this film is meant to fit inbetween. So Nadia has moved to London to become a journalist and Jean remains back in France. Anyway even in this first sequence of Nadia on screen there are some early warning signs of the horrid nature of this film to come because the Animation here is woeful, looking like it had been made in the sixties and this trend continues for much of the film but I'll return to that abit later.
Because first this 90 minute sequel (or 1 hour and 27 minutes or so to be more exact) isn't even really that long because after that short scene with Nadia in London the next 25 minutes of the film are spent recapping the TV series and not of a lick of it makes sense. The TV series is 39 episodes long with a running time closing in on 15 hours. So the opening of this film tries to cram that story into just 25 minutes! It doesn't even use narration to join the huge jumps in story beats despite having a totally easy way to justify it as the recap was started by Nadia writing a letter. Instead it's just a mish mash of some of the more stand out moments from the TV series all spliced together and it's utterly incomprehensible. Sure if you have seen the show then you can start throwing mind darts at trying to pinpoint where this scene takes place and quickly try to piece together the hows and whys from your fuzzy memory (it's been 2 years since I saw the TV series) but in the end it's not worth trying. We literally get scenes of Nadia and Jean being split from one another only for the next recap scene to have them back together. Bad guys are suddenly good guys between scenes, it's a total mess. It also comes to an abrupt end before entirely recapping the series and jumps straight back into the film timeline.
My question is what was the point of this recap? If it was to get those who had not watched the show upto speed then it's totally useless. Was it a refresher for those of us who have seen the series? Probably but it again is damn near incomprehensible and is a highlights package at best. Basically the whole thing is pointless and it takes up a third of the film and ends abruptly as it had started.
Right so once the recap is over we now join Jean in France where he discovers a girl washed up on the shore and proceeds to help her. Her name is Fuzzy and she is key to the plot with the evaporating Humans and all that rubbish. As both Jean and Nadia on either side of the Channel piece together whats going on fate brings them back together and the adventure begins. I won't talk about anymore of the story except that the whole thing is pretty boring and weird. So yeah the story isn't that good but is that really enough reason to hate this film, well it doesn't help but no it's not the entire reason I think this film is garbage. The main reason is how this film looks and how the characters are in this version.
This is an ugly film, the original series was made by Gainax and has some incredibly iconic designs, Nadia's especially looks amazing and her ethnicity being represented with such beauty was really fantastic and not something often done in Anime at the time and honestly even now to some degree. Anyway suffice to say the original series was a great looking production for the time period, feeling streets ahead of what most TV productions were at the time. The film is god awful by comparison. It's worth mentioning the film wasn't actually made by Gainax at all, instead it was a production by Sogo Vision, who did work on the TV series in some capacity but here they were in charge (so far as I'm aware). The main issue is the character designs are a poor representation of those in the TV series, sure the characters have grown up abit but Nadia especially looks awful, her whole design feels like a bootleg version of the design in the original TV series. But the problems with the animation continue beyond just the characters and straight into the actual motion of the film. For example there is a sequence of Nadia in London running into a warehouse away from some pursuers and it's so stilted looking, as if entire frames of animation have gone missing. It truly looks amateur and her face in that warehouse looks like a brown blob with with giant white blobs for eyes, it's so poor. As for the characters themselves I feel as though again they are just really poor versions of the originals. It's weird to say this because it's Anime but it genuinely feels like they are all just ringing it in as it were. No one feels genuine or invested and are all hollow. Nadia and Jean's relationship is just cold and stagnated throughout. All the charm they had and the love is just not portrayed at all. Just plain and lifeless across the board.
Anyway I'm just going to summarize now as my fingers are tired from all this typing. My recommendation is don't watch this film unless you feel you have to. I understand the completionist mindset and yeah if you want to you should totally watch this film just to see how badly handled a property can be even with the best intentions.
But if you don't have that morbid curiosity then steer clear from this and remain pure and your mind crystal clear with the memory of the beauty of Blue Water and not this rancid polluted swamp this film turned it into.