Anime / Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nadia_8134.jpg

"Je, wewe ni mjasiri ambaye, kwa kupite chini ye meporomoko ya moji yanayoitwa hatari, unetafuta ukweli wa hekaya unaojificha nyuma yake. Keme hyuyo, unitefute"
From the original Swahili card

"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 (original Japanese title: Fushigi no Umi no Nadianote ) 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, jointly produced by Studio Gainax, Group TAC and South Korean studio Sei Young, 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. A series of humorous bonus featurettes were also released in LaserDisc as Nadia's Omake Theater during the original broadcast of the anime in Japan.

(Also little known: Hideaki Anno, dissatisfied with the end results of the show, recut the show into a six-hour compilation released only in Japan called "The Nautilus Story.")

(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:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A to C 
  • 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. She starts paying no mind to it with time.
  • 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.
  • Aerith and Bob: The survivors of the Atlantean Royal Family of Tartessos: Eleusis note  and his kids Venusis note  and Nadia.
  • The Alcoholic: Grandis and Ayerton are very fond of booze, though Ayerton is more prone to go off the rails when drunk.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Nadia at the beginning of the series; she won't even give Jean the time of day. (She changes her mind when he rescues her from Grandis.)
  • Always Second Best:
    • Grandis at the end.
    • The Atlantean's first choice for a servant race was not the humans; they had chosen whales first until they found it not too practical.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Invoked and discussed within the story itself. Nadia's brown skin, straight hair, teal 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.
    • Women using pants in the late 1800's? Good luck with that!
  • Animals Not to Scale:
    • The whale Irion is gigantic even by whale standards.
    • The nautilus at Antarctica is exactly the same size as the Nautilus submarine.
    • King is very small and lanky for a lion cub; he later does grow to a regular-sized adult lion.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The true origin of Atlantis, and therefore several major characters.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Behind the separation of the Blue Water.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Gargoyle throws the most venomous and spiteful funeral in honor of Nemo, calling for all Neo Atlantis to commemorate the day that they "destroyed" their foil.
  • 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 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.
  • Artifact of Attraction: The Blue Water, though it can be only used by exactly three people in the whole planet, not including the main villain, who is the one that most covets it.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Blue Water, if used incorrectly.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • The semi-mythical settlement of Tartessos is originally from the southern Iberian Peninsula in what is now Andalusia, not in Africa as it's stated in the series. It does have connections with the legend of Atlantis. Considering Spain is right next to France, the trip wouldn't have been as long, nor would it have involved the sea at all.
      • In the same vein, Namibia and Angola had already been thoroughly charted by the 1880s, giving little room for an uncharted territory like it's shown on Nadia.
    • The Tower of Babel and Marie's residence are located in the island of Mahar in the Cape Verde archipelago, which doesn't exist in reality.
  • Artistic License – History: Too many to count, as the series is an Anachronism Stew:
    • Tartessos itself is roughly located south of the Belgian Congo either in Namibia, which was then a colony of Prussia, or in Angola, a Portuguese colony. The story takes place in a setting where the German and Portuguese don't seem to exist at all, yet Italians, Americans and Frenchmen are plentiful (though the first arc showing New Atlantis takes place in the Cape Verde islands, which were a Portuguese colony too).
    • As stated in Teen Genius, Jean beats the Wright brothers by two decades in the development of the first glider with sustained flight. As such, this comes as a vague nod to the French aeronautics pioneering engineer Alphonse Pénaud, the main inspiration for the Wright brothers' enterprise; he also beat the Breguet-Richet design of a manned helicopter by almost two decades.
      • Similarly, Hanson beats the invention of the tank by at least 25 years; the invention of the tank, being a collaborative effort mainly promoted by Winston Churchill.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The main strategy of Captain Melville of the US Navy when facing the "sea monsters"
  • 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.
  • Badass Adorable: Jean bravely puts his life at risk to save Nadia, especially during the Tower of Babel arc.
    • Nadia gets away from the Grandis gang on the Eiffel Tower by stomping on Sanson and Hanson's heads!
    • Marie and King have their share of moments.
  • 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.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Nadia in most of her outfits. She even points out that she feels constrained in baggier clothes, ripping a Nautilus crew uniform to a crop-top and shorts.
  • 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
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Jean might be the first person that ever showed love and affection to Nadia in her whole life up to that point. Though she doesn't quite know how to handle it, she sticks with him because she does reciprocate his feelings for her (although she is the last one to admit it).
  • 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.
      • She also despises the thought of people being killed, even when their intention was to murder her.
    • Played with regarding Grandis. She is a lot more patient, kind and sensitive than she lets on, but this is largely overshadowed by her being a Large Ham. She is not a fan of criticism to her cooking skills in particular.
    • In the previous point's respect, Grandis is the only person that can get inside Electra's skin and both are the only two allies that definitely do not like each other. Electra is particularly irked at the fact that Grandis pays her no respect whatsoever where everyone else does, and by her advances at Captain Nemo.
  • Between My Legs: When Nadia stands up in the bath.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • This is the main reason Nadia distrusts Electra initially, as she sees her getting a little too close to Jean for comfort (she later learns the hard way that Electra poses no threat to her relationship with Jean).
      • Electra ends up venting on Captain Nemo and shooting him.
    • If you trust Ayerton too much with his flattery, he'll flat out steal all your booze.
    • Gargoyle is one of the most refined and polite people in Nadia, even considering he is a genocidal maniac.
  • 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. Justified with him being a redhead.
  • 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.
  • Bread and Circuses: Apparently, no one came in kicking doors and asking names when a UFO attacks and destroys part of Paris. Jean reveals in the Nadia Omake Theater featurettes that the Eiffel Tower was rebuilt, but nothing else raised any concern in the public.
  • 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.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday:
    • The Grandis Gang pay very little mind to being imprisoned, meaning that they have been in custody before and have successfully escaped as well.
    • There is very little wonder from the protagonists and the crew of the Nautilus at the fact that they just fought and survived a gigantic battle in space.
  • 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.
  • Can Not Spit It Out:
    • Nadia is unable to talk about her problems in an appropriate manner other than resorting to hateful rages and vicious insults. She's also unable to admit that she genuinely does love Jean. Again, due to being a Not Good with People type of person. (Jean is much more open and demonstrative.)
    • Nemo is altogether incapable of telling Nadia that he's her father for fear that she will never forgive him for what he did to their family and to Tartessos. It doesn't help that she is openly hostile towards him from the get-go.
  • The Captain: How much bigger a Captain do you need than Captain Nemo?
  • Captain Ahab Syndrome: As noted in Meaningful Name, Captain Melville of the US Navy has a personal and passionate grudge against the "sea monsters" that sunk his first ship, regardless of whether they are the good guys (the Nautilus) or the bad guys (the Neo Atlantis Garfish fleet). However, it's shown that he is somewhat aware that they are not deep-sea creatures, but rather submarines.
  • Chain Reaction Destruction: The apocalyptic week that wiped the Tartessians off the planet began with the destruction of the Tower of Babel, which rained lightning over the country, followed by fire storms and an all-encompassing flood that didn't even leave evidence of a country ever being there. It's surprising that anyone was able to survive a catastrophe of such an enormous proportion.
  • 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.
    • In the much maligned Island arc, Nadia is shown lifting a rather hefty boulder well over her shoulders in order to crush open cans of food. This strength, alongside her athleticism and acrobatics are not given major development in the story even to her advantage, as Nadia is staunchly against the use of violence.
  • The Chessmaster: Gargoyle. He was originally the Prime Minister for the Atlantean Royal Family at Tartessos and he entrusted himself into their family circle; he organized a coup d'etat to dethrone Nemo and place Neo at the helm, brainwashing the child into activating the Tower of Babel in order to use it as a WMD; Nemo sabotages the test, blowing up the Tower and destroying Tartessos. Gargoyle takes the remnant of his revolutionary army and creates Neo Atlantis with Neo as a puppet emperor of his new world order; Nemo uses Atlantean technology to combat Gargoyle henceforth. Though he initially doesn't need Nadia, Gargoyle mainly uses her to get back at Nemo for constantly foiling him and later uses her and Neo together against their father, successfully wounding him mortally. Things only spiral out of control for Gargoyle when Neo is relieved of the villain's shackles.
  • Circling Birdies
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Grandis and Electra cannot stand each other, but they are allies nonetheless.
  • Cliffhanger: Nearly every episode ends on one. Including the filler arc.
  • Clingy Mc Guffin: The Blue Water won't allow itself to be far from Nadia, nor it will allow any harm done to her; this is implied to be the work of her mother's soul, who resides inside it.
  • 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.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Ayerton becomes tremendously unhinged when he falls off a ship from the American Navy. He washes up at an unusual island, has several encounters with the Grandis gang there, and his altered state makes him think that they are demons who are harassing him; also, the artificial island where they are constantly defies the laws of physics, making him tremendously paranoid. The gang eventually reveals that they buried him in the beach in the first place because he drank all of their booze, is a pathological liar, and was a huge Jerkass to begin with. When they free him, he tries to become the voice of reason in the team, though he completely fails to become an asset where even the 4-year-old girl has something to contribute. When they finally get off the island, the team constantly struggles to keep him from becoming a liability and causing trouble. In the end, they trust him enough to leave him in charge of Marie and King.
  • Collapsing Lair: The destruction of Neo Atlantis' Tower of Babel at the Cape Verde islands begins collapsing after the Orihalcon that powers it cracks after the first shot and later blows up after they try to shoot it a second time.
  • 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.
  • Completely Missing the Point: Electra, numerous times:
    • She thinks that Nemo has turned to jelly just because Nadia is alive and present; it's actually because of her;
      • If anything, Nadia brings out the shame in Nemo for what he's done and currently doing to Electra.
    • Nemo tells her that he did everything to save her life and the first thing she does is point the gun at herself in disgrace. Small wonder Nemo slaps her to get it together.
  • Consolation Prize: Jean does end up winning an award for his glider at the beginning of the story, but he was kicked out of the official competition roster because he cut in line to rescue Nadia.
  • Contrived Coincidence: On the same day, Nadia realizes that she has the potential to destroy the world, then tries to kill herself... then finds out that it's her birthday.
  • Convenient Enemy Base: Twice!
  • Cool Big Sis: Electra and Grandis appear to take turns filling this spot for Jean and Nadia.
  • Cool Ship: Several.
  • Costume Inertia: All the Neo-Atlanteans wear the same damn masks regardless of what they're doing or what their position is. There are even scientists in lab coats wearing their masks over their coats, which would be terrible for aseptic technique.
  • The Coup: Gargoyle starts a rebel movement at Tartessos and they take control of the country by assassinating the Queen, ousting the King, renaming the country as Neo Atlantis and naming the king's son as the Emperor.
  • Creepy Monotone: Neo talks in this manner, bordering Robo Speak; considering he is a sentient automaton, it would be understandable. However, he actually talks like that because of Gargoyle's brainwashing.
  • 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.
  • Cute Machines: The Gratan might be the cutest, badass tank in fiction.

    Tropes D to K 
  • Daddy's Girl: Invoked. Electra angrily speculates that Nemo is reluctant to destroy Neo Atlantis just because of his daughter Nadia's presence, deeming him a hypocrite and a coward; while this is partially true, Nadia's presence actually flared Nemo's protectiveness towards Electra herself.
  • Damsel in Distress: Nadia is particularly susceptible to this, even when she is very fit as a trained acrobat. However, when it's revealed that she has the power to destroy the world, she begins doing this willingly just to save her friends.
  • 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). Nemo is riddled with bullets by the son and daughter he thought he had killed at Tartessos. 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.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Jean's aunt makes very snide and racist remarks about Nadia, to which Jean has to chase down Nadia and offer her shelter at his own house at Le Havre. Considering this is the late 1800's, there was still very poignant colonialism practices in Europe, so her reaction towards Nadia is not as surprising.
  • 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.
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Invoked. Electra argues that she was willing to forego Nemo for the monstrous act of destroying their country and exterminating their civilization even if it meant the salvation of the human race; why? Because she loves him. Setting her aside? That's where she draws the line!
    • In that context they're both Cthulhu; the two of them are pretty messed up people. Granted, the sacrifice of thousands or even millions of people can make you crazy lonely.
  • 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.
  • Due to the Dead: Nemo takes every man that has fallen under his command to be buried at the ruins of Old Atlantis.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Subverted. The people who call Nadia "princess" rarely seem to have her best interests in mind. Lampshaded when Marie gushes that it's every little girl's dream to be a princess while Nadia looks quite depressed.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: When Nemo takes Jean and Nadia on a tour of his base in Antarctica, they encounter a rookery of penguins who obediently step aside when Nemo commands them to.
    • Later, after Nadia's fateful encounter with Irion the whale, a penguin appears to guide the children to Nemo. Naturally, Nadia responds to the penguin's chirpy greeting. Amusingly, it seems to understand Jean, too!
  • 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 Knockoff: The Orihalcon that runs the Tower of Babel at the Cape Verde islands is an over-sized version of the Blue Water. True to its knock-off nature, it begins cracking after the first shot.
  • 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.
      • Electra looks decidedly like a full on Eva pilot, sporting a much shorter, more modern Haircut and wearing a white futuristic looking catsuit that could be right out of Evangelion, when Nemo and the crew show up again to save Jean and company in Tartessos with the new Nautilus. She is also reminiscent of Dr. Ritsuko Akagi when she cuts her hair.
    • Various from the original 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea:
      • Ayerton is a loose parody of Professor Arronax; Ayerton boasts to be a marine biologist, though he is viewed by most characters as an unhinged charlatan.
      • Jean is also an expy of Arronax as far as scientific pursuit goes; they both enter the Nautilus with wide-eyed enthusiasm and climb out hardened by the realities of their adventures.
      • Also from 20,000 Leagues, Sanson is also a loose parody of the harpoonist Ned Land; they both are boisterous men prone to show off their physical prowess and they are both noted for their accuracy and aim when handling weapons; they are also big eaters and at one point they show their hunting skills. Sanson and Land are also markedly claustrophobic, get sick of eating fish every day and they are very anxious at leaving the Nautilus where everyone else sees a garden of flowers.
      • Hanson and Sanson are parodies of Conseil, the manservant of Professor Annorax. They were hypercompetent servants of Grandis when she was still an aristocrat and are still subservient to her wishes.
    • Yui Ikari from Evangelion is an expy of Nadia's mother; a motherly character considered long dead, grievously mourned by their surviving husband who is very distant to their child (and who is engaged in a bloody armed conflict), said mother who actually resides close to her child and protects them from harm.
    • Sanson is a loose parody himself of the biblical Samson; a preternaturally strong man who is obsessed with his own hair.
  • Face Fault: Mostly in the Filler.
  • The Faceless: Except for his death scene, the villain is always masked.
    • He is shown as a younger man in Captain Nemo's hologram, standing at his side.
  • Faceless Goons: The base soldiers of Neo Atlantis. Unlike other goons, they are considerably dangerous and unwaivingly loyal; dangerous especially to an unarmed, non-violent couple of tweens and a 4-year-old.
  • Failsafe Failure: The Tower of Babel at Cape Verde would have eventually blown up even without sabotage, as the Orihalcon that powered it began cracking after the first shot; admittedly, without the sabotage that overheated the plant, they could have squeezed more shots out of it.
  • 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.
    • The beach scenes are replete with some very un-Victorian bathing suits.
  • Fantastic Racism: Gargoyle, an Atlantean, is very derogatory towards the human race. It comes to bite him in the ass when it's revealed that he's human after all; the revelation costs him his life.
  • 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.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The Atlantean souls trapped in Nemo's Blue Water are not very happy with him. They chastise him and wail at him for killing them. Nemo's glimpses at the stone are a reminder of what he did to his people to save humanity.
  • 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 Episode Spoiler Title: The initial mystery of what the sea monsters are is given away in the episode title "Nautilus, the Fantastic Submarine".
  • 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.) The PS2 spin-off game also handles this scene as a natural progression.
  • Flash Back: Most main characters get some exposition in this way. Over twenty minutes straight of The Movie is made up of flashbacks.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Nadia tells Marie that she doesn't have to say goodbye to her dead parents when they leave the Cape Verde islands, as they are actually watching over her from heaven. Marie answers that Nadia's parents must be watching over her too. Turns out, Nadia's dad is right there captaining the Nautilus, while her mom resides in the Blue Water that she wears.
    • How is it that Electra knows who Nadia is? A brownish kid called Nadia shows up at the Nautilus while wearing a Blue Water; Who else could she be but the Princess of Tartessos, her Royal Princess and the daughter of Nemo, the former King of Tartessos and captain of the Nautilus?
    • Marie argues that she somewhat mistrusts Electra and that she finds her to be rather creepy, but that she likes Captain Nemo, stone face and all. Guess what Electra does immediately after Nemo says his goodbyes... yup! She shoots him and threatens to kill him.
    • Electra begins to get increasingly sassy with Captain Nemo, slowly hinting that she's not very happy with him. Much to her surprise, he picks this up almost immediately. When the levees break, Electra almost kills the guy, alphabetizing every little thing that he's done wrong.
    • Nadia is able to translate the unknown language of the plaque of the Nautilus without difficulty and seemingly out of nowhere. She is reading Atlantean and for all intents and purposes this is a knowledge that is inherent in her even when she was stormed out of Tartessos when she was barely a toddler, meaning that she is not an ordinary human being.
    • When Nemo first sees Nadia aboard the Nautilus, he looks at her as if he were seeing a ghost; it's not as much him being surprised and glad that his daughter is alive, but he rather seems flabbergasted and afraid as if wondering how she survived the destruction of Tartessos in the first place (which is fair, considering it killed everyone else).
    • Gargoyle shows himself extremely resentful of Nemo from the beginning and he tends to underestimate him at every encounter they have; this is because Gargoyle had already defeated him categorically when he forced him to abdicate his throne, as Nemo had lost complete control of Tartessos before he decided to destroy the country rather than letting Gargoyle grow rampant.
  • Free-Range Children: Played with in the case of Nadia, Jean and Marie. Jean is shown to be given great freedom by his uncle even before he meets Nadia. When Nadia and Jean first show up at the Nautilus, they are scampered away by Electra as soon as possible until they unwittingly run into more trouble and get into the Nautilus again. Nemo then starts to enact orders to keep his daughter Nadia as close to him as possible once he finds out that she's alive, much to the displeasure of Electra. Electra later complains to Nemo on the presence of the children on board and calls him out on being a hypocrite and a traitor to their cause once he starts giving more and more importance to Nadia's life than to destroying Neo Atlantis.
  • 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 main character, and Hanson, a member of the Grandis gang.
  • Get It Over With: At one point Electra tells Nemo that as long as the children are aboard the Nautilus, they will not succeed in defeating Neo Atlantis. Later, she attempts to shoot Nemo out of frustration after the Nautilus is all but destroyed by Gargoyle's dangerously powerful super-weapon, blaming his actions on his supposed love for his daughter. Then she decides to shoot herself after Nemo informs her that he refused to destroy the Nautilus as she suggested on account of saving her.
  • The Ghost: Nadia's mother is mentioned numerous times in the story: Nemo surrendered the control of Tartessos to Gargoyle after she is assassinated and she is apparently the leader of the souls that reside in Nadia's Blue Water; she feeds glimpses of information to Nadia about her past and makes her aware that she has a brother. It's implied that it's her actions through the Blue Water that save Nadia from the destruction of Tartessos and her suicide attempt; she ultimately gives the OK to sacrifice herself and the souls to revive Jean.
  • 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.
  • Green Aesop: One of the underlying themes of Nadia consists in the discussion encompassing the sanctity of life, mankind's relationship with nature and the role that both war and technology play in this respect.
  • 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.
  • Half-Human Hybrid. Nemo is a full Atlantean from an unbroken line of descent alongside his deceased wife and queen, while Nadia is their daughter; as such, Nadia's son with Jean and Nemo's son with Electra are half-Atlantean, half-human.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Heir Club for Men: Played with. Nadia is part of the 117th generation of the Tartessian Monarchy alongside her brother Neo. Neo is given the helm of Tartessos by Gargoyle, while Nemo does the same for Nadia (as he is unaware that Neo is alive); as such, it's not clear who between Neo or Nadia is the heir apparent to Tartessos and Atlantis or whether there were rules for primogeniture.
  • Hell on Earth: The week in which Tartessos was destroyed was described as this by Electra.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: 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 befriended 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 he build another aircraft so that they can go on another flight. He also has one off-camera when he is under the impression that Nadia succeeded in committing suicide; according to Sanson, Jean was horrified.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation:
    • Nadia has very low self-esteem and has a tendency of berating herself over it (which is not that far off, considering she used to be a slave). At one point, she even tries to kill herself.
    • Nemo is stoic, somber, somewhat antisocial and full of remorse for his past mistakes. Though he is determined in his goals, this has left him lacking in his social skills.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Grandis might be foulmouthed and cynical, but she's a very good cook and is not afraid to be hands-on;
    • Ayerton can give sage advice, considering he's a drunk and a liar;
    • Sanson is a very snooty dandy, but he is a staunchly loyal friend that oozes enthusiasm.
    • Electra is surprisingly professional for a person that is head over heels for her Captain, especially when she collides with Grandis and shows that she is Not So Above It All.
  • 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.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight:
    • Remember the Captain's hologram? That guy at the left of Nemo, holding his shoulder, is none other than Gargoyle.
    • When Nemo blew up Tartessos, it's said that the people that "died" are actually contained in the Blue Waters that he and Nadia carry, and that these people's souls are Atlanteans; by mere arithmetic, all the people that didn't end up in the Blue Waters were certainly Tartessians, but not Atlanteans; that is, plain humans. These survivors were the men that composed the ranks of Neo Atlantis, who merely think that they are Atlanteans by inertia. In hindsight, not even Nemo was aware of who was Atlantean or who wasn't; as a result, it's not clear how far Gargoyle would have been able to carry his plans indeed if unimpeded, seeing that he ended up being human and powerless when it came to handling the Blue Water. Nemo certainly proceeds with his actions throughout the series under the assumption that Gargoyle and Neo Atlantis are of Atlantean race and capable of manipulating the Blue Water.
  • The High Queen: The Queen of Tartessos was apparently a tremendously significant person with a unique position of power in the Kingdom. It's her assassination that destabilizes the La Arwall rule; the importance is further implied by the fact that Nadia is given greater focus regarding the future of Tartessos and Atlantis and what she's meant to do about it rather than what either Nemo or Neo would do. This means, the key and the decider is Nadia, well above her father and brother.
  • 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 Atlanteans' "right" to rule humanity.
  • I Know You Know I Know: The first thing Nemo tells Electra when she shoots him is that he is aware that she knows that he destroyed Tartessos and that she was making little effort to hide it by the time the shooting happens.
  • Implied Trope:
    • While it's not shown how Nadia survived the destruction of Tartessos (much to Nemo's and Gargoyle's surprise), it's implied by the powers shown by the Blue Water (preventing her from taking her own life) that Nadia was saved by the Blue Water back then as well.
    • There are three Atlantean ships that landed on the earth more than 2 million years before, but only two are mentioned: the Red Noah (formerly housed at Atlantis), and the Blue Noah (housed at Tartessos); judging by the complexity of the Antarctic base and the creatures stored there in the ice museum, it might be the third ship itself or it used to be housed there.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Most anything Nadia wears. She could probably rock out a diving suit if such were the case.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Grandis is a former aristocrat from Italy, while Ayerton is supposedly a British Count, though he is notoriously off his rocker. Turns out Ayerton is actually a wealthy aristocrat all along.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Happens on several occasions in the show:
    • Played heartbreakingly straight in episode 5, where Marie breaks down over her parents' deaths.
    • Played for laughs in episode 7 when the Grandis gang bawl in front of Gargoyle's soldiers as they're in prison.
    • In Episode 15, Nadia breaks into tears after Grandis slaps her. Later, Jean does the same after Fait tragically dies.
    • In episode 20, Marie amusingly pretends to do this to get Nadia to admit that she wants to visit Jean. (She does so again in episode 21 in response to the attack. And it's not played for laughs.)
    • At the end of episode 22 where Electra finally breaks down in tears.
    • Episode 39 when Nadia breaks down over Jean's dead figure (until Nemo gives her his Blue Water so that she can resurrect the boy.)
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Played with. Nadia shows a lot of skin for a woman in the late 1800's Europe, though she is very conscientious of showing a little too much. The landmarks signaling her acceptance of her feelings towards Jean are marked by her gradual willingness to be seen naked by him (that is, if you don't count the filler in the Island and in Africa).
  • Insane Forgiveness: How much does Jean love Nadia? Enough to forgive her even after she tries to kill herself right in front of him. That's how much! (He does the same for any time she takes her rage out on him. Unconditionally.)
  • Insistent Terminology: Gargoyle keeps referring to himself as Atlantean; turns out, he is all human.
  • Insult Backfire: If you tell Gargoyle that he's not human, he'll take it as a compliment. That's the whole point of what he's been doing for most of his life.
  • 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
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Nadia rises up from being a slave girl to be the potential destroyer of the world; small wonder she tries to kill herself.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Nemo keeps Nadia ignorant of their past together because she holds the key to bring out the apocalypse that Gargoyle wants and to keep her from learning about the monstrosity he had to commit to prevent this from happening. The problem is that Gargoyle finds out on his own that Nadia is alive. The fact that Nadia shows nothing but scorn at Nemo and reject his last effort to show her affection on their (then) last goodbye tears him apart inside.
  • It's Personal:
    • Gargoyle's grudge and attitude towards Nemo shows that he was deeply hurt by Nemo's betrayal. At the finale he even gives Nemo a last chance to turn to his side.
    • Captain Melville is not too happy at losing hundreds, if not thousands of men when his first ship is sunk by a Garfish. This is the main reason he attacks and "sinks" the Nautilus later in the story.
      • In the same vein, Ayerton supports the attack because he is intent on avenging Nadia and Jean, who he thinks were killed in the first sinking.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Realization: Nadia feels terrible about her impulsive rages to Jean in the canonical episodes. Not so in the filler episodes. (Also doubles as My God, What Have I Done?)
  • Just Between You and Me: Gargoyle is addicted to this sort of exposition.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Gargoyle spends the whole series crapping on humankind, only to find out that he has been human all along when drawing his last breath and crumbling to dust.
    • Gargoyle makes sure that Nemo dies a death like this by brainwashing Nemo's son and daughter into shooting him dead, that is, the son and daughter that Nemo had attempted to kill when he blew up Tartessos. Nemo lives to see his son die a second time after the brainwashing goes away and he attempts to save Nadia, while Nemo is able to sacrifice himself to save Nadia once and for all.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • The Neo-Atlanteans have very little qualms with shooting at children.
    • Nadia allows herself to be captured by Gargoyle in exchange of him sparing her friends. Once he has Nadia, he is only willing to give them a minute head-start before he starts raining bombs and laser beams on them.
    • Marie begins getting a little too rough with King when they are stranded on the island after a while. She even admits it remorsefully.
    • Gargoyle binds Neo and Nadia into his willpower in order to make them shoot their father Nemo; he later dares Jean to shoot Nadia and mocks him when he proves to be incapable.
  • Kill Sat: Neo-Atlantis' "Tower of Babel", a ground-based Wave Motion Gun bounced off a satellite to rain death from above.

     Tropes L to P 
  • Lampshade Hanging: For King's non-animal behaviors.
  • Last of His Kind: Emperor Neo, Nemo and Nadia turn out to be the last pure Atlanteans.
    • At the end of the series, only Nadia remains.
    • Subverted with the Tartessians. It's unknown how many survive the destruction of Tartessos in the first place, how many survive in the ranks of Neo Atlantis or how many survive the fall of the Red Noah.
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Nadia grew up without a maternal figure or a female role model (or any, for what matters), so she is utterly lost at the kitchen. (In the filler, it's also implied that she doesn't know how to cook properly.)
    • Subverted with Grandis.
  • Lightning Glare: Grandis' stock in trade, Nadia gets a few too.
  • Limited Wardrobe: See Fanservice above...
  • Lonely Together: Jean depends on his aunt and uncle to get by, but he mostly hangs alone in his father's house out of convenience and because his father paid his aunt to maintain him in his absence; he does not seem to have any close friends. Nadia doesn't have any friends other than the animals at the circus and mostly stays because she relishes on entertaining people as an acrobat; she is very aloof and confrontational to people that approach her. In a subtle way, this "loneliness" draws both together.
  • 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. He caught a single glimpse of Nadia and wanted nothing more than to be with her, not even his prized flying competition (which was the entire reason he went to Paris to begin with).
    • Hanson becomes infatuated with Electra, though she only has eyes for Captain Nemo.
  • 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.
  • Made a Slave: Nadia is sold twice in her life: the first time, she was sold to the circus by an unknown party to become a performer and was forced to work in order to eat; the second time, she was sold to Grandis by using counterfeit money.
  • Magic from Technology: Atlantean tech is all in Clarke's third law territory.
  • 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.
    • Ayerton repeatedly states that he is a Count and he is a British aristocrat. Everyone takes this with a grain of salt because the guy is just too exasperating; turns out he wasn't lying.
    • In a gender reversal example, Grandis is a former Italian aristocrat. She justifies most of her rudeness and laziness on this fact; in spite of this, she is an excellent cook. (In the dub, she's simply an upper-class aristocrat because it was difficult for voice actress Sarah Richardson to develop an Italian accent without sounding like she was working in a pizza parlor.)
  • 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".
    • Neo Atlantis is given its name for two reasons: as a way of saying "New Atlantis" and because they are under the "rule" of Emperor Neo.
    • Eleusis is a close homonym to Ulysses, a king estranged from his land, an errant sailor and an intelligent and affluent man who faces fantastic adversaries and adventures at sea.
    • Captain Melville of the US Navy is a reference to the great American writer Herman Melville of Moby-Dick fame. His attitude towards the "sea monsters" is a nod to Captain Ahab from said novel.
  • 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.
  • Mess on a Plate: Grandis' cuisine just looks terrible, but she is actually praised for the flavor she gives it; granted, it's not easy to make an anglerfish look pretty.
  • Mile-Long Ship:
    • Blue and Red Noah are gigantic and they have hundreds of smaller vessels in stock that are the same type as the Nautilus.
    • In a lesser degree, the Neo Atlantis Space Battleships are the largest vessels shown in Nadia up to that point and they dwarf the Nautilus in comparison.
    • The Excelion-type Battleship New Nautilus is the largest war vessel shown in the series. It's so large that it battles the Red Noah one-to-one, even when it's smaller.
  • Missed Him by That Much:
    • To get into the fortress where Nadia is being imprisoned, both Jean (who's become separated from her) and the Grandis Gang (who are after the Blue Water) conceal themselves in the same caravan of mining cars that will take them there. As soon as the cars they're in start moving, they pass by Nadia coming from the other direction.
    • The New Nautilus arrives at Tartessos mere minutes too late to prevent Nadia's capture.
  • Montages: during the musical episode.
  • Morton's Fork: Several:
    • The Blue Water has caused the deaths of thousands if not millions of people through war only; if used incorrectly, it could cause the deaths of billions.
    • Nemo levels his own kingdom and kills everyone in it in order to save humanity; the problem is that he did not succeed and the danger is still looming.
    • In the finale, Jean has to choose between shooting a brainwashed Nadia to stop the Red Noah or allow her to keep shooting at Nemo.
    • Nadia has to choose between allowing the Atlanteans to come back and enslave humanity or surrender to Gargoyle and Neo Atlantis to exterminate humanity; she opts to take a third option and tries to kill herself unsuccessfully, so she surrenders to Neo Atlantis.
      • She later has to choose between saving Jean's life or respawn the Atlanteans from the Blue Water; she chooses the former, sacrificing thousands of souls including her mother's.
  • Motive Decay: Jean begins shifting his scientific pursuits from satisfying his personal whims to the entire purpose of making Nadia happy (especially when she informs that she wishes to go to Africa.) Though he repeatedly promises to take her to her birthplace, it's not him who accomplishes this, falling somewhat short of his promise; however, it's his perseverance and his love for Nadia that saves the day, not his inventions as he intended.
  • Mouth Flaps: In an interview, Gargoyle's English voice actor, David Jones, 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), takes frequent baths, 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. (So did the German voice cast.)
  • 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.
    • Also doubles as Jerkass Realization.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • Nemo already leveled his kingdom to prevent Neo Atlantis from destroying everything else, so he is highly reluctant of doing it again, much to Electra's chagrin.
    • Nadia is filled with remorse at not being kinder to Captain Nemo once she learns that he's her dad.
  • 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.
  • Nice Guy: Jean. He's also the most sociable and caring of the group.
  • Nom de Guerre: Various.
    • "Nemo" is the pseudonym of King Eleusis La Arwall of Tartessos, which he began using once he destroyed his country;
    • "Gargoyle" is the pseudonym of Prime Minister Nemesis La Algol of Tartessos, which he began using when he rebelled against the monarchy.
    • "Neo" or "Neo Icon Epiphanes" is the pseudonym of Prince Venusis (or Benusis) La Arwall of Tartessos, which he began using once the King capitulated and he became Emperor Neo of Neo Atlantis.
    • "Electra" is the pseudonym of Medina La Lugensius Electra, a human citizen of Tartessos and a survivor of its destruction. She began using her pseudonym when she boarded the Nautilus.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: King
  • Non-Indicative Name: Neo Atlantis implies that its members are of Atlantis origins; they are Tartesian, but that doesn't mean that they are Atlanteans per se. This comes into collation when the Blue Water is being destroyed to revive Jean.
  • 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 Quite the Right Thing: Nadia's way of angrily reacting impulsively is due in part to the way she was brought up by the circus ringmaster, who was verbally abusive at her; for most of her life, he was the only male influence she had available. Slowly, Nadia is able to shed his influence away. The other influence that the situation brought on her is the need to draw an audience for the show; she is particularly preachy and confrontational, and she makes a point to do it against a group of people. she even brings an "audience" when she tries to kill herself, much to her friends' scorn.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Gargoyle is as much interested in subjugating humanity as he is in spiting and humiliating Nemo.
    • Nemo shows that he has not forgotten that he is a dad underneath all the callouses... though a fed-up Electra almost kills him because of this.
      • As a matter of fact, Electra scampers Nadia and Jean out of the Nautilus the first time with the sole purpose of avoiding this; turns out they end up boarding again and Electra even callously calls Nemo to kick them out of the damn ship and do what he's supposed to do. To be fair, Electra never takes it out on neither Jean or Nadia, as it's not their fault.
    • Electra is courteous and kind to everyone she meets until Nemo starts thinking that he's a "dad" and not her Captain as she always wanted him to be.
    • Out of all the people that witnessed Nadia's suicide attempt, it's Grandis and Sanson who take it the hardest; not only are they sad, they are livid at her.
    • Nadia gets a big one during episode 35. She tries to kill herself in front of her friends. The Blue Water stops her from doing so. Then she discovers that it's her birthday and her friends sing to her for the first time in her life.
    • Nemo is elated at being shown affection by Marie just after being scorned by Nadia. This is a man that is shown to betray very little emotion to say the least.
  • 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.
    • It's implied that Nemo is about as reluctant about wielding the Blue Water and harnessing its powers for the good as Nadia is, as his actions show that he deems using the Blue Water as just a harbinger agent of destruction and death. Both Nadia and Nemo argue that nothing good can come from using the Blue Water.
  • Number Two: Electra.
  • Ocular Gushers
  • Off Model: The highly infamous Island arc that came out of nowhere towards the end of the series was full of thisnote . That everyone has since declared it non-canon.
  • 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.
  • Oh Crap!: An awful lot of examples:
    • When Gargoyle realizes that he's human and not Atlantean.
    • When Electra as a child sees from a distance the explosion that killed the Queen of Tartessos.
      • When a surviving Electra finds her "unconscious" brother by the lake shore and tries to pick him up... only to see his arm fall off the socket.
    • When Nemo realizes that Nadia is alive; even worse, when Electra fails to keep this information from him. In context, Nemo has thought for the last decade and a half that he killed his own children when he blew up the Tower of Babel at Tartessos.
    • When Nemo has just saved Nadia from the sinking of the Nautilus only to get shot by Electra.
      • In the same moment when Electra is told by Nemo that he did not want her to be hurt by his actions. It's so bad that she tries to kill herself in shame.
    • When the American captain gets his top-of-the-line battleship sunken down by the "sea monster".
    • When Marie wanders off in a resting island only to find herself facing the barrel of a gun from a New Atlantis soldier.
    • When Marie lashes at Nadia lividly for being ungrateful at the fact that they just saved her.
    • When Nadia and Jean are at the Cape Verde New Atlantis base and they realize that they are in a conveyor that leads to a furnace.
    • When the crew of the Nautilus realizes that they are trapped in a cave due to New Atlantis' floating mines.
      • When the Gratan begins taking water and losing its hydraulics while clearing the mines.
    • When Gargoyle deploys what amounts to a nuclear bomb on top of the ruins of Tartessos.
    • When Grandis realizes that Electra is pregnant with Nemo's baby.
    • When Jean is told by Villan that his father indeed went down with his ship.
    • In a rather tragic example from the group, when Nadia tries to kill herself.
  • Oracular Urchin: Nadia, but only in places where Atlantean technology empowers the Blue Water to serve as an Unusual User Interface.
  • Orichalcum: (Or "Orihalcon" as it's called in Nadia) Is the material that the Blue Water is composed of and is also used to create an artificial Blue Water monolith that Gargoyle uses for the Cape Verde Tower of Babel. The latter lasts one shot before it begins cracking and the power failure caused by Grandis' sabotage causes it to blow up once they try to shoot it again.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: The Blue Water, which was given to Nadia by her father, Nemo.
  • Other Stock Phrases
  • Overprotective Dad: The first thing that Nemo does once he realizes that his daughter Nadia is alive is to segregate her from Jean. Nadia thinks that it's Jean's fault, so she lashes at him (but later apologizes). It takes Jean saving the Nautilus with Hanson and Sanson to make Nemo realize what the boy is willing to do for Nadia and how much they care for each other, so he leaves them be.
  • 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.
  • Perpetual Frowner:
    • Nadia, every time she talks with Captain Nemo.
    • Nemo himself isn't a barrel of laughs either. Like father, like daughter.
  • Philosopher's Stone: The multiple Blue Waters are said to be keys that contain the souls of the Atlanteans, who are waiting to be revived in order to rise again as a kingdom; Nemo argues that the Blue Waters are the real-life basis for the legend of the Philosopher's Stone.
  • 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?
      • While it's shown that the Nautilus is vastly superior than Gargoyle's entire fleet, it doesn't have a reliable way of finding said shipyards; the only way they've found a Neo Atlantis base of operations was due to the fact that they shot a gigantic laser cannon out of the island of Mahar. The point becomes even less significant when Gargoyle's fleet goes airborne. That being said, most of the Nautilus' intention is to give combat as much as possible with whatever little they have available.
    • Gargoyle shoots the Tower of Babel by aiming at targets with two giant satellites that reflect the beam; for some reason, these satellites have never been observed by humanity or any astronomer that knows how to point a telescope upwards.
    • Everyone lives happily ever after? What about that huge UFO that just attacked Paris?
    • Played with in the case of the Nautilus being dropped from a kilometer-high with everyone surviving. It would be an egregious use of Artistic License – Physics right there if it weren't for the fact that the Nautilus is a spaceship that is being circumstantially used as a submarine.
    • Were there any actual surviving Atlanteans in the ranks of Neo Atlantis before Nemo exterminated everyone? At the very least we know that there are no humans inside the Blue Waters, but what about the other way around?
    • How did Nadia survive Tartessos? Who stormed her out of the country unbeknownst to Nemo and Gargoyle? And who sold Nadia, a princess and none other than the heiress to the throne of humanity to the circus?
    • While on the moving island, Nadia is given flashbacks of at the very least three Atlantean ships landing on Earth more than two million years before. We are only shown Blue Noah and Red Noah, so what happened to the third vessel?
      • Judging by the stuff seen in the Antarctic base, it might as well be the third ship itself or it used to be housed there.
    • Do the Atlanteans inside the Blue Water repeatedly save Nadia for her life's sake or just because they want to return to the realm of the living again?
    • When stranded on the island, Jean, Nadia and Marie can barely collect drinking water to begin with, as the island doesn't seem to have a source of fresh water. Just a couple of episodes later they have a functional running shower.
      • More a point to save animation costs and airtime, Nadia and Jean are able to circle the island by slowly walking what amounts to less than thirty seconds in an island that is shown to have no less than two miles of shoreline note . They must have teleported.
    • Why did Nadia run into the Red Noah before Nemo when the latter has been at sea for a longer time and also has a Blue Water?
    • Jean builds a functional, air-worthy and reliable gyrocopter that he never once considers using again and it effectively disappears from the plot.
  • 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.)
  • Pragmatic Villain: Gargoyle will not hesitate in killing his minions, but he is not above giving them several opportunities of giving what's expected of them before doing so. The guy has a limit to his patience, but when it runs out, he is brutal.
  • Precursors: The Atlanteans. Nadia claims the Noah myth is an allegory for the collapse of Atlantean civilization.
  • Premature Eulogy: Gargoyle really should have made sure that he killed Nemo before he went all funeral on his "death".
  • Previously On: most episodes, with a montage
  • Principles Zealot: Electra thinks that Nemo will spare no expense or lives (including her and the crew) in order to bring down Neo Atlantis and she's not entirely wrong in assuming so considering that he already did it once by destroying Tartessos to foil Gargoyle. She threatens to kill him when he fails to deliver, but he reveals that Electra is the whole reason he won't do it and that he's saving Nadia to spare her from their world.
  • 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).
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • Grandis is ecstatic at meeting her beloved Nemo again after the inconceivable toils she has gone through until she realizes that he and Electra have already consummated their relationship and that Electra is expecting Nemo's child, meaning she lost the battle for his heart by being absent. She resigns to this twist of fate, but she is left in a puddle of her own tears. Even 12 years later Grandis is unable to find another man to love, though she does have numerous options.
    • Nemo is able to stop Gargoyle from using the Tower of Babel at Tartessos as a weapon of mass destruction by leveling the country, wiping down an entire civilization to save humanity; this is one of the reasons Gargoyle is so mad at Nemo.
    • Nadia is able to bring Jean back to life by sacrificing the souls of thousands if not millions of the dead Atlanteans stored in the Blue Water; this includes her own mother, who gives the OK.
    • Nadia is able to live through the sacrifice of her father, her mother and her brother in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives from the bad guys' side; this, considering that she is a staunch pacifist and a nature lover. That had to sting an awful lot.

    Tropes Q to Z 
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The main characters. An antisocial circus acrobat girl of unknown origins, a hopelessly optimistic and cheerful young French inventor, a orphaned little French girl living in the Cape Verde Islands, a white lion cub, a former aristocrat turned jewel thief, and the latter's driver and mechanic... all coming together to save humanity! Yup.
  • "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.
  • Red Shirt Army: Gargoyles Neo Atlantis' army is composed of masked no-ones that die by the thousands just to show the prowess of the Nautilus compared to the Garfish fleet. That's not counting the ones that died at Mahar island and their decimation when Nemo blows up the Red Noah.
  • Relationship Upgrade: All the couples in the series who successfully end up together.
  • The Reliable One: Sanson, wherever there's need of a crack shot or ass kicking.
  • Replacement Goldfish: One of the reasons Nemo took Electra under his wing is to compensate for him losing his daughter Nadia; turns out being a "daughter" isn't what Electra was looking for in their relationship. She tolerated this aspect because it kept her close to Captain Nemo, but that didn't mean that she was particularly flattered by it; it gets even worse when Nadia shows up alive and kicking and Nemo gets all fatherly, since Electra (accurately) thinks that Nemo doesn't acknowledge her in the way she wants to and now the little brat comes to kick Electra off the only angle in which she was able to get close to him; this makes her angry enough to gun him down.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: This is what Electra signs up for when she begins following Captain Nemo. She's even willing to forego him blowing up their country because it saved the rest of the world, but he seemingly wimps out because of the fact that his daughter Nadia is alive and present. Nemo argues that he saved Nadia because she has nothing to do with their private war, but that he became reluctant in the first place because of his love of Electra and how much more could she be hurt by his reckless actions.
  • 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. (Everyone else is quite disappointed with Nadia's actions here, too — and rightly so.) 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.
      • Even the spinoff video games and merchandise books don't reference this Africa adventure.
  • Royal Blood: One of the main plot points. Nemo used to be the King of Tartessos and he is one of the last Atlanteans alive; he and his offspring are capable of bringing the Atlanteans back to life and reign over humanity by subjugating it. Gargoyle tries to take advantage of this to rule behind the curtains, only that Nemo isn't having any of it.
  • Running Gag: Various.
    • When Jean asks Hanson and Sanson for romantic advice, the three of them are all usually washing their teeth or doing calisthenics.
    • Do we need to stitch up the hot-air balloon? The 4-year-old should do it!;
    • Grandis giving a grand meal to Captain Nemo and everyone else potatoes (err, pureed white fish meat) or soup;
    • Marie complaining at everyone's table manners;
    • Sanson wakes up to take action or shoot his gun;
    • Grandis and Electra's petty fat/old jabs at each other;
    • Everyone having one-sided conversations with Hanson;
    • Marie:
    "This is boring!"
    • ''"Luckyyyy!!!!"' (the dub rewords these remarks somewhat subtly to "my luck has changed" or "we win again", etc.);
    • This line of conversation happens way too many times:
    Nadia: "What's wrong?"
    Jean: (smiling nervously) "...it broke!"
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Nemo's: Is it acceptable to kill thousands of people (including your family), or even millions, to save billions?
    • Nadia's: Is it acceptable to sacrifice the souls on wait of your ancestral race to save the love of your life?
  • Sand Bridge At Low Tide: The only way to access their escape pod during the unfortunate island arc. (Get the picture yet? Again, SKIP THE ISLAND AND AFRICA ARCS!)
  • Sand Necktie: Ayerton gets this treatment from the Grandis Gang. Not to let him die, though, but just to teach him a lesson, as his madness was making him quite annoying.
  • Sapient Ship: The errant Red Noah has an automated robot pilot that slowly seeks the Heirs to Tartessos to restart the Atlantean civilization. It used to be housed at Atlantis until the latter was decimated by war; it camouflaged itself as an island and ebbed for thousands of years until it stumbled upon Nadia, who was a castaway in another island nearby.
  • 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.
  • Secret War: The war between Nemo and Neo Atlantis is largely kept away from the public eye and both parties make an effort to keep it secret. Nemo does not want humanity digging into some very dangerous technology, while Gargoyle doesn't want to tip off his enemies, humanity itself. Neo Atlantis sinks various ships in the effort to keep their scheming secret including Jean's father's ship, which bring some light into the public eye, though it's apparent that they think that the submarines are just sea monsters. Then again, all goes to hell when Neo Atlantis attacks Paris using the Red Noah.
  • Seeker Archetype
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Jean installs one in the cockpit of the plane he builds.
  • Shadow Archetype
  • Sheltered Aristocrat:
    • Ayerton is a purported British count with wealth and status. He is one of the only characters in the story that is completely out of his element and it shows; turns out, he is an aristocrat indeed.
    • Grandis is a former Italian aristocrat who was cast out of her family for unwittingly marrying a swindler. She argues that she was sheltered, but that her being brought to dirt forced her to become more pragmatic and wise.
    • Subverted with Nadia, who is the heiress to Tartessos and one of the last Atlanteans. She was raised in slavery, has great problems with socializing and has very low self-esteem. Turns out, she's one of the most important people in the world.
  • She's Got Legs: Nadia's design, her choice of clothes and numerous scenes are especially devoted to showing her long legs.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Grandis, Sanson, and Hanson are separated from the Nautilus just in time for the incredibly dramatic and revealing episode 22.
  • Shout-Out: To Indiana Jones, Gamera, Tarzan, Uchuu Senkan Yamato, 2001: A Space Odyssey and others.
  • Sigil Spam: See Body Motifs. So many eyes.
  • Single-Target Sexuality:
    • Jean has eyes for no one else but Nadia. His relationship with Electra is more brother-sister based (Nadia gets wrongfully jealous about it.)
    • Similarly, Electra has this for Captain Nemo; he initially raised her as his daughter, though she was able to make him see what she wanted from him.
  • Sneezing: Whenever someone mentions a particular character, this character inevitably sneezes.
  • Snot Bubble: Especially when it comes to King.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Electra is about to shoot Captain Nemo for his reluctance when it comes to destroying Gargoyle in a suicide charge using the Nautilus just because of Nadia's presence. Nemo is prompt to tell Electra that he doesn't want her to be hurt, which is why he didn't kill himself and take her and the crew with him. For that reason, Electra then tries to shoot herself in front of Nemo.
  • Spanner in the Works: Gargoyle and Nemo would have fared way better had Nadia stayed dead just like she was considered to be. Nemo became more nurturing once Nadia showed up while Gargoyle became more greedy; this shifted priorities and spelled doom for two adversaries who up to that point were engaged in total war against each other.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Invoked and later confirmed. Nadia claims that she can talk to animals and offers King as proof of this. This is taken with a grain of salt until Nadia speaks with the whale Irion; she then is even able to understand penguins.
  • 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.
  • Status Quo Is God: Invoked in a literal sense. Gargoyle intends to lay waste of the world and replace everything with genetically engineered life that doesn't wither or perish, impervious to the passage of time.
  • 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
  • Supervillain Lair: Neo Atlantis' Tower of Babel complex at the Cape Verde islands was meant to be this. They mostly kept it secret by killing and enslaving most of the inhabitants.
  • The Sweat Drop
  • Tank Goodness: The "Grandis Tank" '''GraTan''' (AKA "Catherine") is a multi-purpose vehicle created by Hanson and bona-fide marvel of engineering even when compared to the Nautilus and the industry displayed by Neo Atlantis. Compared to Jean's inventions, it's incredibly reliable even with its limitations. It might just well be a character on its own and it's a guaranteed Tear Jerker when it's destroyed in order to bring down the Red Noah.
  • Techno Babble: Whenever someone explains how all this tech works. Jean even brings this up when he argues that the more he reads about it in Electra's books, the less he understands.
  • 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.
  • Third-Person Person: Marie will almost unequivocally talk about herself in the third person; justified in that she is 4 years old.
  • Time-Compression Montage
  • Transforming Mecha: "Catherine", a.k.a. the Gratan.
  • Translation Convention:
    • There are no contemporary language barriers in the world of Nadia, as people from France, Italy, and English speakers from the United States and the UK can understand each other without difficulty. Of course, in each dubbed track, everyone speaks the respective language, but in context the main characters should be speaking French (as Jean and Marie are French based; Nadia's more debatable).
    • The only language barrier is through inscriptions written in Atlantean found in Tartessos and in the plaque of the Nautilus. The language itself is never spoken and it's for all purposes practically a dead language, but Nadia is able to translate it.
  • Trap Door: Basically one of Gargoyle's trademarks.
  • True Companions: There are three overlapping main groups that end up working for the same goals:
    • The crew of the Nautilus;
    • The Grandis Gang;
    • Nadia, Jean and Marie.
  • Undignified Death: Gargoyle drops Jean from at least 40 feet like swatting an ant off the table.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Jean is unwaivingly loyal to Nadia.
    • Hanson and Sanson put up with a lot of abuse from Grandis, though they are mutually well aware that without them she has no one else; unofficially, more than servants they are her caretakers and truest friends. Likewise, she is more protective of them than she lets on, and she is deeply hurt when they leave her behind.
    • The crew of the Nautilus towards Captain Nemo and his mission, though Electra is noteworthy among them, though she calls him out in ire due to him straying from said mission just because of Nadia; he actually shows Undying Loyalty to her by refusing to scuttle the Nautilus because Electra is on board and he could not bear hurting her.
  • Tsundere (Type A-1): Nadia (she gradually gets better, however, if you don't count her actions in the filler arc.)
  • Unreliable Narrator: The entire story consists of Marie recounting events from when she was four years old, even events where she wasn't present or must have heard secondhand.
  • 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.
      • He does appear as a younger man in Nemo's hologram.
    • It's never made clear how Nadia survived the destruction of Tartessos other than by the grace of the Blue Water or who sold her to the circus in the first place.
    • It's not revealed how Gargoyle managed to keep Neo alive after their country literally blew up. It's passed off as "science" without giving any major detail.
    • It's never made clear why Nemo was so tardy in meeting the arms race against Gargoyle when he apparently had the Red Noah and the Blue Noah at his disposition, though it's implied that it has to do with his fall from grace; he is either reluctant in using the Blue Water or simply lacks the authority to weld it that Nadia apparently has. It's shown that the souls in his Blue Water reside in agony and anger towards him, while in Nadia's they're accepting and caring of her.
  • Underboobs Nadia inadvertently reveals hers while adjusting her top. Naturally, poor Jean can't help but look. It doesn't help that it's a tiny, tiny tube top to begin with.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Emperor Neo is implied to have been brainwashed by Gargoyle into ousting Nemo out of the throne and he is later somehow stormed out of the destruction of Tartessos, but he is nowhere near unscathed. Gargoyle reconstructs most if not all of his body with an artificial frame and continues using him for his agenda, later confirming that he has been brainwashed from the beginning; curiously, Neo doesn't quite mind that much about being roboticised, but is rather preoccupied with saving Nadia's life.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Nemo and Gargoyle keep repeating it as if the other would forget. Gargoyle even throws the most spiteful funeral service for Nemo once he destroys the Nautilus; he even gives Nemo a last chance to surrender in the finale, even considering that he's holding all the cards. They used to be so close that Gargoyle shows up at Nemo's family portrait.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Tower of Babel, located in several places in the show: Gargoyle's base, Tartessos, and, ultimately, Red Noah.
  • Well-Intentioned Replacement: Grandis makes a point about the fickleness of receiving undesirable gifts by mentioning a family ring given to her by her mother. She then reveals that it's fake and her mother knew it, but she kept it because Grandis' dad gave it to her.
  • 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.
  • What The Hell, Nemo?!:
    • He blew up his own country and killed his own children by doing so note . Seriously... and he's the hero.
    • He starts casting aside Electra when he finds that Nadia is alive; Electra, being the girl he raised as a daughter and the person that loves him the most.
  • "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.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Nadia does not want the power because she's convinced she cannot handle the responsibility and tries to kill herself.
  • 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).
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: Played with. While it shown that Nemo keeps his Blue Water mostly as a memento, he holds some power over it, though he's nowhere as good at it as Nadia is shown to be; this is because he is either reluctant to use it, he might have given his authority away to Neo when he was forced to abdicate, or he's hindered by the Atlanteans inside it, who are livid at him for the destruction of Tartessos.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Nemo effectively killed his own son when he blew up the Tower of Babel at Atlantis (his body was eventually reconstructed by Gargoyle); he also slaps Nadia for lashing out at him.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Nadia and Neo are brainwashed by Gargoyle into becoming WMDs to reduce everything to rubble and seize power for himself. Neo has to be essentially blown up to lift off the brainwashing and sacrifices his own life to lift Nadia's on his father's wishes. This is very poignant, given that it was his father Nemo the one that destroyed Neo's body in the first place; to put into perspective, Nemo committed a genocide that took Neo and he still heeds to Nemo's wishes to save Nadia. That guy really loved his dad.
  • You Are Not Alone: Nadia has a tendency of forgetting she has friends and people that love her:
    • Nadia has been wearing the Blue Water for most of her life, unbeknownst that it contains her mother's soul and her entire civilization and race in it, and they're probably the reason why she made it out alive from the apocalypse at Tartessos in the first place and why she survived her suicide attempt.
    • Played with when Nadia tries to kill herself and she's admonished at the fact that she didn't consider her surrounding friends when she did it.
  • You Are What You Hate:
    • the Big Bad Atlantean-supremacist Gargoyle didn't know he was a human that was adopted by Atlanteans.
    • Nadia is a staunch pacifist and hates the prospect of watching anyone being killed; turns out that she's the ultimate warbringer and a living, walking weapon of mass destruction... little wonder she tries to kill herself once she finds out.
  • 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

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Anime/NadiaTheSecretOfBlueWater