Reviews: Martian Successor Nadesico

Nadesico: Prince of Darkness; Or The Tragedy of Metrics

This is the giant robot movie a bunch of robots would've made. That's not a compliment.

I'll say this for the humanity-free robots responsible for this film: they tried. Ruri Hoshino was the most popular background character in the series, now she's the main character. The skillfully-tragicomic tone was a bit hard to stomach for the fans of the more-downbeat robot shows, so it's jettisoned in favor of the doom, gloom, and misery trendy in the market at the time. Previous-lead Akito gets a full 90's makeover into a brooding, angsty cyborg denied his greatest joys in life.

Unfortunately, being robots, they couldn't understand why these ideas, that must've seemed so good on paper, were terrible. Nadesico's fans loved it for being Nadesico, and they neither wanted nor needed a grim, gritty quasi-reboot. The fans of darker, more-mainstream fare already had their Endless Waltz and their Evangelion; they weren't going to suddenly be interested in something that made its name for being different just because it daubed itself up in their paint.

And the film itself is a mess. It's badly-plotted, relies heavily on side materials never released in English to do the explaining for it to series fans and doesn't explain anything to non-series fans, and changes everyone's characterization for the worse. Akito gets the crappiest end of the dipstick, but even main heroine Ruri is stripped of the age-inappropriate sarcasm that made her a popular and appealing character int he first place.

And the ending sucks. It resolves little, and suffers from the paradoxically-modern sin of sequel-baiting so hard that it barely counts as a complete story on its own.

An artistically-bankrupt, financially-disastrous film that not only completely failed to understand what made the source material appealing, but is almost insulting in its supremely superficial attempts to draw on it, Prince of Darkness killed the franchise I loved and left only broken hearts behind.

It *should* have ended after episode twenty-six.
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