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Dated 1 August 2007: Referring to Martian Successor Nadesico as Kidou Senkan Nadeshiko since 2007

Nadesico logo
The Nadesico logo.

In addition to watching Figure 17, I am also re-watching Martian Successor Nadesico. Actually, I'm not even sure if that's an accurate title. I mean, the show refers to itself as Kidou Senkan Nadeshiko, which suggests High Mobility Battleship Nadesico is the more proper title. But is Martian Successor Nadesico a name ADV slapped on, or is it an official English title like how Gainax uses Neon Genesis Evangelion for Shin Seiki Evangelion instead of New Century Gospel?

The Nadesico
The Nadesico.

But I digress.


I'm re-watching Nadesico because it smartly hits the space opera, harem comedy, and parody trifecta so well I'm dumbfounded I don't re-watch it more often. I'm also dumbfounded that I don't re-watch it more often because Nadesico is really good.


As a space opera, it posits the viability of fighting enemy aliens with a corporately-owned, civilian-crewed high mobility battleship. Nergal Heavy Industries has its own goals in offering the Nadesico to the military, but she is still successful in her purported tasks thanks to her advanced weaponry and talented crew. This is no small achievement since Nergal is more Mitsubishi than it is Mithril.


As a harem comedy, it features a reluctant male protagonist managing advances from a flock of eager girls, including his commanding officer nee childhood friend. Like most harem comedy leads, Akito doesn't know what to do with his suitors. He certainly does not take the obvious route (read: trophy-fucking them all), but at least he doesn't act like they all have terminal cooties.


As parody, Nadesico is masterful. Its use of parody is respectful to the source material while remaining clever and amusing. It treats anime idioms with affection while gently making fun of them. And God help me, I love parody in anime.


If you're unfamiliar with the series of screenshots chosen for this entry, they are taken from the end credits which are themselves a tribute to Yurika, just as the end credits of Macross 7 are a tribute to Mylene. Yurika is notable for being the debut role of the very accomplished Kuwashima Houko, who also sings the Nadesico ED. Yurika is also a genius, which we don't notice especially often, as her genius often manifest itself subtly, sometimes in the show's unexpectedly crueler moments.

Dated 4 August 2007: Nadesico-type note to self: Get to burning

Ruri Hoshino.

The best part of the Nadesico OP is when Ruri does that crazy shit with her eyes.

Dated 6 August 2007: Nadesico as a harem comedy

Yurika comes on to Akito
Yurika comes on to Akito again.

I think the best explanation for why Nadesico succeeds as a harem comedy is because Mr. Male Protagonist is not despicable. This seems to be a very important metric with regards to a harem comedy's opportunities for success, a likable male lead—even more important than having charismatic, aerodynamic girls.

If only Gai could make the impossible possible.

And there's not much to dislike about Akito. This is less of a feat since Akito is really more a space opera lead than a harem comedy one. After all, he is a reluctant mecha pilot (in Akito's case, one that just wants to be a cook), who continues to combat the relentless enemy in his giant robot because he wants to protect the people and ideals that he cares about. I, mean, he comes right out and says it in episode eight and all. Being someone the viewer likes is a given for his idiom.

Also, his love interests call him senpai instead of onii-chan during their fantasies. Thank Heaven.

In other news, Chibi no Nothing contends that Ruri's acid-trip interfacing skills are a superior aspect of the Nadesico OP to her doing that crazy shit with her eyes. However, Ruri herself admits that the Nadesico is so automated, there's really little for the bridge to do except play video games (which she's probably doing in the acid-trip interfacing bit, I suspect).

Dated 6 September 2007: The real Nadesico dilemma lies between Yurika and Ryoko

Ruri casts a glance askance.

I finished re-watching Nadesico. I don't have any remarkable revelations to report, although I can say that I've come to like Ruri more over the years. This is not to say that I ever disliked Ruri, but the first time I watched Nadesico, I couldn't understand why she had so many fans until I got to the episode explaining her origins.

Ruri and Akito
Ruri and Akito.

Now, I better appreciate Ruri's droll narratives and find her amusingly precocious. I also have the benefit of seeing in retrospect how her character influenced various immitators. For example, Primula from Shuffle! certainly borrows heavily from the Book of Ruri.

Dated 9 September 2007: Nadesico blamed for compulsion to re-watch VanDread

Akito and Ruri
Ruri shows Akito the way.

After finishing Nadesico, the obvious follow-up is VanDread. Okay, maybe not "obvious," but for reasons I can't quite explain, I do get similar vibes from the two shows, even though they're pretty different. Objectively, they're really only similar in being space operas with mecha battles and harem-comedy elements. Well, and they both center around a spaceship and its crew.

Hibiki meets Dita
Hibiki meets Dita the hard way.

As harem comedy leads go, both Akito from Nadesico and Hibiki from VanDread are above average—Akito because he's a decent guy, as opposed to the loathsome deadbeats you'll find in Shuffle! and Da Capo—Hibiki because he's such a punk.