Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (Fushigi no Umi no Nadia) 1990
Here’s the second of seven or eight posts on Nadia! A quick note – while I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I want to steer away from heavy spoilers, I do worry that I’ve used too many pictures at times which might be spoilers in their own way… dunno, hard to tell. I’ll try my best to be disciplined somehow!
A Growing Darkness Arc – Episodes 5-8
Here the audience is exposed the darkness that lurks beneath the brighter opening episodes – something that is driven home during #5 ‘Marie’s Island’.
Based on this from Hiroyuki Yamaga and Takami Akai:
Originally, NHK would send them the script, saying this is how exactly they want it done. The director, Mr. Anno, what he would do was take the fax, staple it and throw it in the garbage. For some strange reason, every single week they would get the scripts.
it seems clear that Anno was very much ignoring the NHK scripts, even if in the first episodes he may have kept closer to their outline. Now that he’d started to take the series in a direction he was excited by I think the almost instant change in tone is clear. And having seen Gunbuster, audiences of the day would have been aware that a project he was involved with would not shy away from tougher moments.
At this point in Nadia you also get more important details in regard to the larger forces at play, forces which quickly sweep the kids up into their struggle. Here, I’m obviously talking about Captain Nemo and his nemesis, the imposing Gargoyle, who leads the Nazi-like Neo-Atlanteans.
But before we get to meet Gargoyle properly (I’ll show that moment in another post I think), another of poor Jean’s inventions (even one which had been improved by the crew of the Nautilus) lands in a spot of trouble and they crash on the island. Here Jean and Nadia save and recruit a little girl named Marie, who has lost her parents to soldiers – and this flashback scene is the first hint of the coming darkness.
It’s also in this arc that the Grandis Gang undergo some fleshing out and we see that Grandis does have limits, and that maybe she and her two sidekicks are more like rogues than true villains – something later confirmed when they all face true evil. It’s also from here on in the series that they become more heroic while still maintaining the role of comedic relief.
The ante is upped in these episodes too, as Jean and Nadia discover a mighty power plant and the menacing soldiers who have enslaved the people of the island.
Eventually, Naida must give herself up in order to protect Jean and Marie, setting up a thrilling rescue where Jean and the Grandis Gang join forces.
While Nadia is imprisoned the audience gets a peek into Gargoyle’s delusions as he grandstands and intimidates in his lust for the Blue Water – which he needs to reactivate the ultimate killing machine; the Towel of Babel, first of many Christian elements and symbols found in the series.
Tried to be a little shorter with this one – and kinda failed, oh well, I’ll just give up on that idea perhaps! Tomorrow it’s the Nautilus Arc – Episodes 9-19, which is huge. However, I’ve tried to highlight only some moments, while still including the general discussion stuff.