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Anime: Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water

"Are you adventurers? Are you prepared to climb the blue waterfall named The Perilous? Do you seek the truth of the legend that lies therein? If you do, then you must first find me."
Opening narration

Set in 1889 and extremely loosely based on Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water tells the story of Nadia, a girl who's trying to find out about her past, Jean, a boy who wants to build a flying machine, and the Blue Water, a mysterious gem of Nadia's with strange powers. Their world is home to two shadowy groups in conflict: Neo-Atlantis, who want to rule the world, and the crew of the submarine Nautilus, who have sworn to oppose Neo-Atlantis. These two plots are not unconnected...

This series originally aired starting in 1990 on NHK – Japanese public broadcasting (their equivalent of BBC). Carl Macek's Streamline Pictures released a VHS of the first eight episodes. Years later, ADV translated, dubbed, and released the entire 39-episode TV series (as well as the maligned, mostly forgotten movie sequel) on DVD.

(Entry originally written by Rob Kelk for The Anime Primer, and used with permission of the author.)

Just for the record, this series was the one that gave Hideaki Anno his first Animage Grand Prix before he penned out his biggest masterpiece, Neon Genesis Evangelion... and it's possibly the reason NGE is such a Mind Screw. It has been purported that the stress of working on a tight schedule for a series over which he had almost no creative control was a key factor in precipitating Anno into a four-year-long bout of depression from which he emerged just before (some say while) doing Eva.

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: As a teenage boy, Jean is constantly fighting his hormones to avoid looking at Nadia's... ahem... blossoming figure, particularly when she ends up showing more than usual.
  • Adorkable: Jean, definitely. Nadia's English voice actress has said she would date someone like him "in a heartbeat". Hanson, too, once he switches sides.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Invoked and discussed within the story itself. Nadia's brown skin, straight hair, green eyes, and "stateless" anime heroine looks are all in marked contrast to the rest of the crew who all have recognizably ethnic features. Most characters only have a vague idea she might be African... or Indian... (turns out she's Atlantean)
  • Anachronism Stew: Most of the non-Atlantean technology seems more appropriate to 1910 or even 1920 than 1889.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The true origin of Atlantis, and therefore several major characters.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Behind the separation of the Blue Water.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Nautilus runs on a recycled star drive, and the Blue Water fires up whenever the plot starts to drag.
  • Arc Words: The opening narration.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Given on numerous occasions to Nadia, especially after her undue What the Hell, Hero? moments. Also to Electra after she attempts to kill herself after betraying Nemo.
  • Arrow Cam
  • Art Shift:
    • In Electra's flashback during episode 22.
    • Also done very effectively in Episode 35, where merely 3/4 of the exploration of the ruins of Tartessos are entirely in black and white, with only the blue light from Nadia's Blue Water being the sole source of color.
    • During all twelve episodes of the Island/Africa arc, the animation both takes a dive in quality and resembles a cut rate Looney Tunes cartoon. These episodes were produced by other studios in Japan and Korea.
  • Babies Ever After: The title character (Nadia, married to Jean), the narrator ( Sanson of the Terrible Trio, married to a much younger lady, the now grown-up Marie), and the most "complex" character (Electra). Hanson, the other half of the team, has kids but we don't see them (or his wife for that matter). Grandis (the boss of the trio), notably is still single, and loving it.
  • Bad Boss: Other than the usual You Have Failed Me, Gargoyle will shoot his own mook to convince Nadia that he would shoot Marie.
    • On one occasion, however, he casually tells a mook who slipped up not to worry about punishment.
  • Bamboo Technology: Armed with a bit of salvage, Jean builds a camp worthy of the Professor from Gilligan's Island.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Back and forth. An early scene of Sanson and Jean peeping on Grandis and Nadia changing includes a quick peek of Nadia's nipples, but the episodes where Red Noah explains Nadia's origins has her gone full Barbie-doll. Unusually, King the lion cub has a rather prominent scrotum, but no visible sheath (showing feline scrotum is not as big a deal in Japan as it is in the West). Played straight in the movie.
  • Batman Gambit: Gargoyle lures Nemo into a trap using himself as bait. He knows Nemo will do anything to follow him and so leads The Captain to a cavern which he blocks off with mines.
    • It's also a Xanatos Gambit: If Nemo does nothing he will eventually starve, but if he tries to remove the mines with conventional means they will detonate. Also because of the shifting tides, the mines will go off eventually. Even if Nemo somehow survives the mines and escapes, Gargoyle can observe how his experimental mines will work in the field and save the data for later.
  • Beach Episode: Repeatedly. Most of Grandis' backstory can only be explained when she is in a hot tub or on a beach.
  • Because Destiny Says So
  • Berserk Button: Nadia easily loses her temper over trivial matters, particularly when anybody eats meat. (Mostly, though, it's shouts of frustration related to her inability to convey what she wants from Jean.) She eventually changes that behaviour, and of course, Jean constantly forgives her.
  • Between My Legs: When Nadia stands up in the bath.
  • Big Bad: Gargoyle
  • Big Damn Heroes: Often with the Nautilus, pulling the gang to safety in the nick of time. Subverted later, where help arrives just a minute too late in Tartessos.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Jean, with the obligatory Dropped Glasses scene. To the point that without the glasses, his eyes are drawn much smaller than the usual "anime" size.
  • Blue with Shock
  • Blush Sticker: Jean.
  • Body Motifs: Eyes. Eyes, everywhere. The Neo Atlanteans are particularly fond of them, having huge, eye-shaped symbols wherever they can put them, even built into their ships, and on their creepy masks.
  • Bowties Are Cool: Hanson and Sanson wear one as part of their uniforms.
    • Jean also wears a bowtie.
  • Brainwashed: Nadia in episode 38.
  • Broken Bird: Nadia, due to her personal experiences with adults; particularly her circus ringmaster at the beginning of the series. This causes her to distrust adults and people in general, believing they either want to use her or simply want the Blue Water she possesses. Thankfully, she gets better with help from Jean, Grandis, and the Nautilus crew.
    • Electra and Captain Nemo also qualify, albeit for entirely different reasons.
  • Canon Discontinuity: When the show returns in Episode 35 after the infamous Island/Africa arc, it all but neglects the events that happened in them (save episodes 30 & 31), suggesting they were never intended to be part of the plot.

    Hideaki Anno is said to have been dissatisfied with the final result of the TV show, and as a matter of fact made a shorter, more streamlined compilation called "The Nautilus Story", which all but eliminates the filler arc and concentrates on the struggle between Nemo and Gargoyle (some scenes in the more pivotal episodes are cut as well). This version, clocking in at approximately six hours, was only released in Japan on VHS and laserdisc. In fact, this release was as close as Anno came to doing a remake of the show theatrically.
  • The Captain: How much bigger a Captain do you need than Captain Nemo?
  • Charles Atlas Super Power: Sanson breaks out of prison by bending the bars. Later he stops the punch from a mecha twice his size. Both were bare handed.
  • Circling Birdies
  • Cliffhanger: Nearly every episode ends on one. Including the filler arc.
  • Clip Show:
    • Over twenty minutes straight of the sequel movie is show clips, recapping the entire story thus far.
    • Also, the Musical Episode consisted almost entirely of reused footage, which was used Music Video style as background for the songs.
  • Collapsing Lair
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: After Nemo shoots a Neo-Atlantean to save Nadia from being killed, Nadia shows no gratitude, but instead calls Nemo a murderer, ignoring all arguments that said soldier was aiming at her.
    • Later in the Island arc, she almost drowns while clinging to Nemo's cabin, and shows no gratitude to Jean and Marie for saving her life (she wanted to be rescued instead by her "real friends", the animals and the fish in the sea and doesn't like that they've caught fish.) Marie, of all people, calls Nadia out on both her surly attitude and stubbornness, yelling, "What do you expect us to do?! Do you want us to starve to death instead of catching some fish?! I think those fish understand that more than you!" Nadia is obviously embarrassed and stunned by this response; up until now she has never seen Marie so angry at her.
  • Convenient Enemy Base: Twice!
  • Cool Big Sis: Electra and Grandis appear to take turns filling this spot for Jean and Nadia.
  • Cool Ship: Several.
  • Cross-Popping Veins
  • Crucified Hero Shot: While Gargoyle's prisoners, Nadia finds herself tied to a cross (Marie and King dangle below her on a rod). Later happens to the Grandis Gang when they are captured by Gargoyle.
    • In the Africa arc, Grandis' ex-fiancee ties King to a cross and threatens to nail him to it unless a ransom is paid.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Grandis' ex-fiancee in the infamous Africa arc. Or rather, his portrayal as one, which is enough to make one wonder why Grandis fell for him in the first place - or even falls for him again after the latter destroyed her life!
  • Dead Person Conversation
  • Death by Irony: Electra is electrocuted (although she did not die). Jean, the boy that loves to fly, falls (he gets better). Finally, the Atlantean-supremacist Gargoyle dies while discovering his true nature – he is a human adopted by the real Atlanteans, and he never found out before entering an energy field that turns non-Atlanteans to a pillar of salt. Oops.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Nadia is gradually transformed from a cold, aloof, churlishly temperamental pessimist to a caring, trusting young woman as a result of her relationship with Jean.
  • The Determinator: Played partly for laughs with Grandis at the beginning. But applied dead seriously in the final episode, where Emperor Neo makes his unpowered robotic body move by sheer force of will to save Nadia.
  • Disney Death: Jean, before being revived.
  • Distant Finale: A grown-up Marie lists what everyone is doing years after the story is complete.
  • Dramatic Wind: Whenever Nemo looks off into the distance and broods.
  • Dream Sequence
  • Dress Hits Floor: Most of the female cast at one point or another. This is a Studio Gainax production!
  • Driven to Suicide: Nadia reaches this point after learning the truth about herself and the Blue Water, on top of coming to the conclusion that she's a horrible person; which leads her to believe the world would be better off without her. The attempt is foiled, but not without repercussions.
    • Electra does the same when she finally learns that Nemo does care about her, and tries to shoot herself. Nemo talks her out of such behavior.
  • Dropped Glasses: Minor subversion: the glasses are repaired almost immediately to demonstrate the technological capabilities of the Nautilus.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Subverted. The people who call Nadia "princess" rarely seem to have her best interests in mind.
  • Evil Chancellor: Gargoyle used to be this, before pulling off a (mostly) successful coup and moving on to better things.
  • Evil Counterpart: Nemo and Gargoyle are always going on about their vague but important pasts.
  • Evil Overlord: Subverted. While Neo ( Nadia's brother, Venusis) is the emperor of Neo Atlantis, he is just a puppet re-animated by Gargoyle.
  • Evil Plan: Gargoyle wants to Take Over the World by reviving ancient Atlantean technology.
  • Explosive Instrumentation
  • Expy: Captain Nemo is Captain Global from Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Anno worked on Macross and reused the design as a Shout-Out.
    • Since the series and Evangelion shared character designers, a few faces are unmistakably similar. Most notable is Shiniji, whose unmistakably girly face is mostly due to being drawn more similar to Nadia than any of the male characters.
  • Face Fault: Mostly in the Filler.
  • The Faceless: Except for his death scene, the villain is always masked.
  • Fanservice:
    • Nadia runs around in her Circus Acrobat costume for most of the series, despite having a full wardrobe available to her. When she does change clothes, she wears sheets and cutoffs.
    • Electra is that blonde in the pic up there. She's quite bouncy in the show.
    • The bath scenes serve this purpose quite well, particularly when Nadia stands up out of the water.
  • False Flag Operation: In Episode 15, Gargoyle easily suckers the Eagle Land navy into attacking the Nautilus. By sending a Neo-Atlantean agent in a mask and a pirate hat to drop an "anonymous tip." They succeed in severely damaging the Nautilus, which only survives by pretending to sink. Three of the crew die when the ship's reactor breaches and floods a compartment with radiation, as they can't surface to vent the radiation without breaking the ruse.
  • Faux Action Girl: Much is made of Nadia being a circus acrobat but these skills are seldom put to use As the first episode demonstrated, Le Parkour skills are great if you're only saving yourself. Not so great when you've got an acrobatically disinclined geek along for the ride.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Gargoyle
  • Filler: There is a long arc about 2/3 of the way through the series that involves the kids not doing much on an island then escaping and not doing much in Africa while the rest of the cast has adventures off screen. Their low quality simply earns them the polite title the Island Episodes.
  • First Kiss: Named an episode after it, even if one of them is high on mushrooms when it happens. A more traditional one happens later. Unfortunately it is treated as a cruel tease, because the writers quickly press reset on the leads' relationship immediately after.
    • The spin-off Japanese-only Mega Drive game by Namco (which is a loose retelling of the show) handles this much better. There, it's treated as a genuine turning point in Jean and Nadia's friendship and there are no mushrooms involved. (Nadia also admits her love for Jean, which is something that never really happens in the show.)
  • Flash Back: Most main characters get some exposition in this way. Over twenty minutes straight of The Movie is made up of flashbacks.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Nadia, though she's suspicious of most adults.
  • Fully Automatic Clip Show: A good twenty minutes straight of the movie.
  • Furo Scene: Two with Nadia. The first one is shared with Electra and Marie and the second one (on a western bathtub) is with Grandis.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Two of them – Jean, the heroic and goodhearted main character, and Hanson, a member of the Grandis gang.
  • Granola Girl: Nadia is a vegetarian, a pacifist, and generally skeptical of technological progress in general – which sometimes poses problems in her friendship/budding romance with Gadgeteer Genius Jean - although she does eventually abandon this attitude.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Gravitational Cognizance variety.
  • Good Costume Switch: Grandis is the first villain of the series and wears a military uniform. When she announces her Heel-Face Turn she's wearing a dress and it becomes her standard outfit (unless she's going into battle).
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Grandis, mostly for comical effect. Nadia also has this, which poses serious problems for her relationships. It takes her a long time to learn to control it.
  • Head Pet: King, on occasion.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Grandis and her minions, somewhat unique in that it happens about 1/4 of the way into the series.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Nadia obviously has feelings for Jean, but she impulsively declares otherwise to both Grandis and Marie when both call her out about it. (Naturally, since she has never known anything about love before, she does not know how to acknowledge it or express herself.)
    • Even funnier because in episodes 17 and 30, after she denies it to Marie, she ends up approaching Jean for attention anyway (the former episode to give him a snack of seaweed).
  • Heroic BSOD: While Jean is, at heart, a very optimistic and cheerful character, there are at least two moments where he becomes completely depressed: first, in Episode 15, when he traumatically overhears a sailor he's friends with gassed to death (he is surprisingly melancholy after that), and then, in episode 16, when he learns that Gargoyle killed his father. This latter revelation crushes Jean so much that he considers giving up inventing until Nadia, who doesn't like seeing him so gloomy, tries to cheer him up and succeeds by suggesting him to build another aircraft so that they can go on another airflight.
  • Hidden Eyes: Happens any time Nadia gets mad. Sometimes it also happens for moments of Nadia in contemplation, like in Episode 21 after she figures that she is the cause for the Nautilus being in danger.
  • Homing Lasers: One of the Nautilus' primary weapons. Seems like Hideaki Anno loves these!
  • Human Aliens: So much so that they appear to intermarry and reproduce just fine. Apparently, humans were designed by the aliens to this aim. In the end of the anime, it's revealed that Nemo and Nadia are the only "true" aliens left; all enemies including the Big Bad were, unknown to even themselves, in fact humans.
  • Humans Need Aliens: During the time he holds Nadia captive, Gargoyle lauds this as the Neo Atlantians' "right" to rule humanity.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Most anything Nadia wears.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug
  • Interspecies Romance: Between the two lead characters: Jean, who's a human boy, and Nadia, who's an Atlantean. It also doubles as an interracial relationship.
    • Happily Married: Seen at the series' conclusion, which shows an older Jean and Nadia living happily together at his uncle's home.
  • Iris Out: With pause for comment.
  • Ironic Echo Cut
  • Jerkass: Nadia comes across like this several times in the show when she takes her rage out on Jean and Nemo, saying rather undeservedly cruel things to both. (She gets even worse in both the Island and Africa arcs.)
    • In episode 20 she becomes extremely jealous of Jean's friendship with Electra, irrationally believing that the latter is going to take Jean away from her (when, in fact, nothing romantic is happening between Jean OR Electra). Her inability to express her concern with losing Jean nearly ruins her own relationship with him. (All that Jean is doing is just trying to learn more from Electra so that he can help mankind and Nadia herself; despite being stuck in the books at times, he is obviously very dedicated to helping her, to the point where you feel sorry for the boy every time Nadia takes out her anger on him.)
    • On the flipside, she does apologize to Jean numerous times for her misdirected anger, even going out of her way to bring him something to eat, go on walks with him, or anything else conciliatory (in the canonical episodes), but she never gets to do so to Nemo, even though she realizes too late that she could have been nicer.
  • Just Between You and Me
  • Kill Sat: Neo-Atlantis' "Tower of Babel", a ground-based Wave Motion Gun bounced off a satellite to rain death from above.
  • Lampshade Hanging: For King's non-animal behaviors.
  • Lethal Chef: Subverted with Grandis.
  • Lightning Glare
  • Limited Wardrobe: See Fanservice above...
  • Long-Lost Relative: Emperor Neo is Nadia's older brother.
  • Lost Curls: In early production art, a later version of Nadia has textured hair which the designers admitted they liked, but found difficult to animate.
  • Love at First Sight: About the sole reason Jean is following Nadia from the beginning.
  • Loveable Rogue: The Grandis gang. In most ways they end up being much bigger heroes than the title character.
  • Love Martyr: Electra.
  • Love Redeems: Nadia gradually abandons her stubborn views and sociopathic temper as she grows closer to Jean. (It helps that the latter loves her unconditionally and constantly forgives her for her mistakes.)
  • MacGuffin: The Blue Water itself.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The primary form of Sub-to-Sub combat.
  • Magic from Technology
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Neo Atlantis. Literally all of them wear creepily-smiling masks with freaky yellow eye symbols painted on the foreheads.
  • Market-Based Title: The Japanese title, Fushigi no Umi no Nadia ("Nadia of the Mysterious Seas"), was basically used by Gainax to forestall Executive Meddling, by ensuring their title followed the same pattern as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Amusingly, Hideaki Anno was a lead animator on that film.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Gargoyle's suite is immaculate red and worthy of the dinner party he invites sponsors to. The only flaw is his mask and KKK style hat.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Electra, as in Electra Complex which basically sums up her relationship with Nemo. She's also close to Electra of mythology. Her main motivation is revenge against the people who killed her parents. At one point, she even threatens to take it out on her adoptive father.
    • Sanson is a very strong, vain, and bullheaded man. Like the Biblical Samson.
      • Meanwhile, Hanson's name may be a pun on "Handsome", which he, uh, isn't.
    • Nemo's name means "No one" or "Nobody" in Latin, as they helpfully point out.
      • And "Nobody" in Spanish is Nadie.
      • On a minor note, Nadia is also similar to "Nadar", the Spanish word meaning "to swim".
  • Meat-O-Vision: Jean saw Marie as a plate of turkey after eating some mushrooms.
  • Meat Versus Veggies: The source of Nadia's Berserk Button, as explained above. She tries to impose her views on her friends while turning a deaf ear to Jean's reasoning that they only eat meat for food, not to do murder. Nadia eventually abandons this aggressive attitude, though, when she finally confesses her tragic past to Jean and Marie.
  • Montages
  • Mouth Flaps: In an interview, Gargoyle's English voice actor mentions being incredibly lucky to voice a character who always wears a mask; that way, matching the flaps isn't a concern.
  • Mr. Exposition: Various characters at different times.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Nadia is Ambiguously Brown, spends the majority of her screen time in a Stripperiffic circus costume (which includes a loincloth), and is quite nubile for a fourteen-year-old girl. Plus, she's an agile acrobat.
  • Multinational Team: Nemo's crew is assembled from people who hate Gargoyle for various reasons. It seems Gargoyle is unpopular the world over...
  • Mushroom Samba: Involving actual mushrooms!
  • Musical Episode: Episode 34, at the end of the Filler arc, using Image Songs strung around a plot of Jean trying to express his feelings for Nadia through song. (It eventually devolves into one where Jean calls the latter out for her bad attitude and moodiness.) The English dub cast sang their own versions of the songs in this episode.
  • Mysterious Antarctica: Nemo's base is here. Also the World Tree.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Nadia has this kind of look on her face in Episode 20 after she learns from Electra in the bath scene that Nautilus is merely fighting to destroy Gargoyle and that she is not in danger of losing Jean to Electra as Grandis had suggested. Earlier, she was stubbornly determined to believe Nemo and the Nautilus were both evil and was quite nasty to Jean (in a fit of jealousy) when he attempted to compliment her (as advised by Electra). She looks quite remorseful for making such bad calls of judgment.
    • The same is true in Episode 23 when she reflects on how she had mistreated Nemo.
  • Nadia, I am your father: Captain Nemo.
  • Narrator: Later revealed as a slightly older Marie.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Gargoyle
  • Narrator All Along: As above.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: King
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The balls on the pair of robo-Kings.
  • Not Good with People: Nadia. Having spent fourteen years of her life in a circus with a cruel, unloving ringmaster, she dislikes grownups with a vengeance. As such, she does not know how to interact with people. Nemo is also like this when it comes to children, although he does gradually warm up to them.
  • Not So Different: When Jean and Hanson stop fighting over the blue water, they realize they're both mecha geeks and simultaneously squee over the Nautilus.
  • Number Two: Electra.
  • Ocular Gushers
  • Official Couple: Obviously Jean and Nadia. This also applies to Nemo and Electra, as well as Sanson and Marie.
  • Off Screen Villain Dark Matter: averted by Gargoyle's mooks reporting how his dark matter, I.E. commerce in wool and banking, is proceeding and how it is paying for things like his submarine and the Tower of Babel.
  • Oracular Urchin
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: The Blue Water, which was given to Nadia by her father, Nemo.
  • Other Stock Phrases
  • Panty Shot: Considering what little Nadia wears, this is unavoidable. So, yeah, expect to see frequent flashes of her undies.
  • Parental Abandonment: Many of the characters are orphans or otherwise deprived of their parents, from Nadia up to Gargoyle, the Big Bad.
  • Parental Incest: Nemo initially viewed and treated Electra as a surrogate daughter to replace his own children whom he believed were both dead. However, she had already fallen in love with him upon reaching puberty, but decided to continue to keep it a secret as she felt it would just be unrequited after accidentally overhearing how he felt about her. They eventually get together after she snaps and confesses her feelings. When his real daughter, Nadia, turns up she realizes that he no longer has any need of her as a surrogate daughter.
  • Pillar of Light: Whenever the Tower of Babel fires up.
  • Plot Hole: What does Nemo hope to accomplish by blowing up Gargoyle's ships while never doing anything about his shipyards?
  • The Pollyanna: Jean is a shoo-in for a inventors' competition which he ditches to save Nadia, and not only does his plane crash but he is perpetually on the run and in constant danger. Through it all, he is cheerful and even enthusiastic about the technology from both sides in general. (The only exceptions are when he and Nadia are exploring Gargoyle's base, and when he reacts in horror to two deaths—one of an escaped fugitive, and another of a crew member.)
  • Precursors
  • Previously On
  • Public Domain Artifact: Just about everything in Jules Verne's closet that wasn't nailed down. Plus the "Blue Water" from Beau Geste, of all places.
  • Puppet King: Emperor Neo. quite literally
  • Putting on the Reich: The Neo-Atlanteans. They greet each other with a reversed version of the Nazi salute (right arm extended, then placed to chest). In addition, they also wear black uniforms reminiscent of the Nazi Schutzstaffel, and black Ku Klux Klan-like hoods (officers in charge wear orange).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Anything that Nadia says out of unjustified anger. Inverted in Episode 35, where Nadia admits her faults and that she hates herself.
    • Humorously, Grandis calls Electra out for wanting to kill them all in episode 21 just to defeat Gargoyle (when the Nautilus is trapped by the villain's superweapon).
    • Electra gives one to Nemo as well in Episode 22 during her memorable breakdown scene.
  • Relationship Upgrade: All the couples in the series who successfully end up together.
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors: Sanson has bad luck at this game.
  • Romantic False Lead: A villager from the Africa arc who recognizes the Blue Water turns out to be engaged all along to a surprisingly larger, bulky warrior woman who happens to know WHERE Tartessos is -- but how is never made clear. This arc is both out of step with the rest of the show and frankly, doesn't make sense — neither does it work, since Nadia admitted that Jean was important to her in the previous episode. The motivations behind her subsequent betrayal of Jean and behavior in Africa is not at all clear. Unsurprisingly, Episode 35 promptly disregards this two-episode side story. We don't even find out much about Nadia's birthplace except a vague reference to a silver city which is never mentioned again.
    • Could also qualify as a Big Lipped Alligator Moment, although the island/Africa arc has plenty of such pointless scenes, hence the reason why it is criticized so harshly.
  • Sand Bridge At Low Tide: The only way to access their escape pod during the unfortunate island arc. (Get the picture yet? SKIP THE ISLAND AND AFRICA ARCS!)
  • Save The World Climax: When the series opens, it focuses on two teenagers being pursued by jewel thieves. By the closing episodes, these two are the center of a battle for the entire planet.
  • Schizo Tech: One of the more infamous examples is an '80s-looking telephone on board the Nautilus (in 1889), which is supposed to be thousands of years old.
  • Seeker Archetype
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Jean installs one in the cockpit of the plane he builds.
  • Sigil Spam: See Body Motifs. So many eyes.
  • Shadow Archetype
  • Shout-Out: To Indiana Jones, Gamera, Tarzan, Uchuu Senkan Yamato, 2001: A Space Odyssey and others.
    • And, of course, multiple shout-outs to Jules Verne's works that weren't directly used in the plot
    • The extremely strong Sanson is a reference to the superhumanly strong Samson from the Book of Judges in The Bible.
    • The dream sequence in the Island Arc also contains an extremely obvious reference to Thunderbirds, specifically, Thunderbird 2, for which it replicates the entire launch sequence down to the most obsessive-compulsive levels of detail. Even the aircraft looks suspiciously similar to T2.
  • Sneezing
  • Snot Bubble: Especially when it comes to King.
  • Spider-Sense: The Blue Water flashes red when Nadia's about to be in danger.
  • Spiritual Successor: Nadia has certain similarities to Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle in the Sky.
    • More than you'd think; the original plot outline/treatment was written by Miyazaki himself back in the 70s – pre-Laputa, and in fact reused by Miyazaki for his film.
  • Steam Punk
  • Stock Footage
    • In the sequel movie, about 30 minutes (one third of the entire running time) was taken up by a long flashback sequence (made from footage from the TV series, re-cut without regard for chronological order).
  • Stock Phrases
  • Submarine Pirates
  • The Sweat Drop
  • Tank Goodness: The Gratan.
  • Techno Babble: Whenever someone explains how all this tech works.
  • Teen Genius: Jean. The kid beat the Wright Brothers by twenty-four years! He also invented a helicopter. And a rocket. And a music recorder. Which, if you take it at face value, means he invented the speaker, the microphone, the amplifier, and vinyl records. Which means he may well have invented the vacuum tube. And plastic. He also seems to have invented the Ukulele.

    In a dream sequence, he goes on to invent the television, the computer, and the A-bomb. He also invented an ice cream machine.
  • Terrible Trio: Grandis and crew are an Expy of the Time Bokan gang, with the twist that this time the fat guy is the genius engineer and the skinny guy is the strongman.
  • That's No Moon!: An island that the gang had been situated on turns out to be the Atlantean battleship Red Noah.
  • Time-Compression Montage
  • Transforming Mecha: "Catherine", a.k.a. the Gratan.
  • Trap Door: Basically one of Gargoyle's trademarks.
  • Tsundere (Type A-1): Nadia (she gradually gets better, however, if you don't count her actions in the filler arc.)
  • The Unreveal: If you expected some huge revelation regarding Gargoyle's face, you'll be disappointed. Besides some suspicious resemblance to Fuyutsuki, his face is completely unremarkable.
  • Underboobs Nadia inadvertently reveals hers while adjusting her top. Naturally, poor Jean can't help but look.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Tower of Babel, located in several places in the show: Gargoyle's base, Tartessos, and, ultimately, Red Noah.
  • What The Hell, Nadia?!:
    • Sums up everyone's reaction after Nadia's suicide attempt; especially Grandis and Sanson. The former wallops her for it, the latter chews her out for being selfish and scaring them all. ("Quit playing this tragic little game of yours!") Jean calls them off, and forgives Nadia.
    • Marie when she witnesses Nadia lay into Jean (unfairly and undeservedly) in episode 10. (Nadia eventually apologizes to him for that.)
    • When Nemo shoots a Neo-Atlantean to save her from being shot, Nadia accuses him of "murdering in cold blood". From that point on, she stubbornly determines to despise him... despite Jean's attempts to reason with her that she would have died if Nemo hadn't acted.
      • In episode 20, Nadia misunderstands Jean accepting a reprimand from Nemo (for nearly endangering the Nautilus with yet another failed invention). She makes the situation even worse by laying into Nemo. Then she nearly ruins her own relationship with Jean out of jealousy when she irrationally and wrongfully believes she is losing him to Electra — when, in fact, the latter had given him advice on how to please Nadia. (She regrets her mistakes, though, after talking with Electra in a bath scene.)
    • Just about everything she does in the island/Africa arc.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
  • White Mask of Doom: Gargoyle, and all who follow him wear variants of his creepy white mask that appears to be crying while smiling sadistically.
  • Wife Husbandry: Not played entirely straight with Electra and Nemo. Nemo thought of her as a daughter for thirteen years before they get together, and apparently never thought of her as anything else until after the destruction of the ''Nautilus''.
    • Played more straight, however, with Marie (age 4 in the main story) and Sanson (age 27).
  • You Are What You Hate: the Big Bad Atlantean-supremacist Gargoyle didn't know he was a human that was adopted by Atlanteans.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: For good, or ill, Nadia is destined to use the Blue Water to change the world and there's no escaping it. Though she goes to extremes to fight it. The Blue Water wouldn't let her. Ironically, once she gives in, the Blue Water permits her to destroy it - in order to resurrect Jean.
  • You Have Failed Me: Gargoyle's way of dealing with some subordinates that have failed to meet expectations.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle

NG Knight Lamune 40Anime of the 1990sRecord of Lodoss War
Mythical Detective Loki RagnarokCreator/Section 23 FilmsNEEDLESS
AppleseedCreator/Studio GainaxPrincess Maker

alternative title(s): Nadia And The Secret Of Blue Water; Nadia The Secret Of Blue Water
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