Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (Fushigi no Umi no Nadia) – The Africa Arc, Episodes 32-34

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (Fushigi no Umi no Nadia) 1990

Post number six now and the show is still very much in a bad way. In truth, I could have kept this together with the Island episodes but this arc is bad in similar and new ways. (It’s also a short post.)

The Africa Arc – Episodes 32-34

If I thought the Island Arc was bad first time around… well, wow.

The Africa Arc is easily worse.

Jam-packed full of poor stereotypes, straight-up racism and even more nonsensical storytelling and characterisation, I don’t think anyone anywhere at any time should bother with these episodes.

Keeping in line with the existing story so far – Nadia instantly falls in love with this Tarzan clone.
The village has a sacred object, folks… it’s a tin can.

A final cruel blow is landed with #34: ‘My Darling Nadia’, which is merely a clip show/advertisement for a soundtrack, where the characters sing awkwardly and there’s just these long pans across Nadia’s body during one of the songs? (Marie’s song is hard work in a different way).

An example of one of their idols.

Character models are still really on point, here too, as you can see below.

Now, like the last post I’ve spent a lot of time pointing out the flaws and there is nothing good here – but I will say that I don’t feel like aspects of blame should lay squarely on the Korean team (doubtless underpaid) nor precisely Gainax.

Instead, I think it’s NHK’s apparent greed. Asking Gainax to suddenly add a heap of extra episodes and (I’m fairly sure) offering no extra budget for this is typically cruel of a large corporation.

Having said that, someone actually wrote these episodes.

Skip these too.


Finally things will be back on track tomorrow with the Tartessos Arc – Episodes 35-39

Published by ashleycapes

Ashley is an Australian poet, novelist and teacher. He's currently running a casual review blog called "The Review Heap" focusing film, anime, games, books and music - and (very) occasionally other stuff too. He is the author of half a dozen poetry collections and a few novels, some published traditionally and some self-published. He also occasionally publishes other folks too.

8 thoughts on “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (Fushigi no Umi no Nadia) – The Africa Arc, Episodes 32-34

  1. I guess I might have been thankful for not watching the whole series because wow…that is SO not cool about depicting Africa this way. No, just because Nadia is black doesn’t give a free pass for racist crap and shame on Gainax. Given the time period, it’s worse in hindsight when you realize it’s at the height of rampant colonization no thanks to the Berlin Conference. I’m glad it gets better after this because I would not be calm in watching this story arc. Thank you for calling this stuff out. You have no idea how much I appreciate that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No problems! I’ve seen a lot of reviews of ‘Nadia’ and it seems like only half of them mention some of this.

      Feels especially bad after the show spent a (brief) bit of time earlier focusing on harmony between races, then these episodes come along.

      It definitely gets better once Anno is back, yeah.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You bring up a great point. I rarely have heard anyone taking about the racist aspects of the Africa Arc in different reviews. Sure, they’ll mention how the Island Arc and those episodes are bad, but not in major detail or by omitting those details.

        I forgot to mention that point, but yeah, that is a HUGE contradiction to a good message made earlier in the Nadia series. It’s awesome with you pointing out these things and I wished more reviewers would do that in general. You just gained more respect from me.

        I’m glad we can have healthy dialogue about that subject. This sort of reminds me of my Representation Matters blog post series on my main blog.

        That’s what I heard once Anno gets the director’s chair again.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks, heaps!

          I’m a big fan of trying to analyse Representation in popular media – I think the hardest thing is convincing folks that it’s so important – because a single representation never exists in a vacuum. They’re almost always accumulative in any public space, I reckon.

          I’ll check that post of yours soon too.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. No problem.

            That’s great and it’s something that needs to be discussed and enacted upon. I definitely agree how tough it is. For someone like me talking about it, it’s even harder for people to listen or believe me when I talk about these concepts. That is true about not existing in a vacuum because no one is exactly alike even if they share some similarities.

            No problem. I think you may have seen the anime one, but I have three other parts involving different subjects like my personal opinions on the matter, being an author, and one article involves an unintentionally inspiring thing when I saw an indie pro wrestling show of all things. I do my best to connect everything together.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Indie pro wrestling, that’s a cool segue!

            How good would it be if the discourse around Representation was more about the positives and the inspiring stuff, huh?

            On the other hand, silence about the many rubbish representations is no good either.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. I know, right? That’s an interest I never thought I would get into or be knowledgeable about (especially the UK indie scene) until after I reviewed the Eddie Dennis documentary December of 2018. I’ve even been exposed to Australian talent over the past year watching some of that stuff like Charli Evans (Central Coast), Toni Storm (Gold Coast, but born in New Zealand) and the tag team Aussie Open to name a few. Hahaha! Isn’t it eclectic that I like avant-garde art, poetry, world cinema, anime, African history, and indie pro wrestling of all things?

            Exactly! I’m totally down for that and I applaud it when I see representation done right in various forms of media. We can also have discussions on how we can make certain things work when it comes to matters such as ethnicity, disabilities, mental states, medical issues, creeds, orientations, etc. For my books, I use a ton of multiethnic casts for example. I’ve been blessed to have grown up in a diverse area where I have friends and acquaintances from several walks of life. There have been times where I wrote characters outside of my ethnic background and I would refer them to a friend who was of that same origin to make sure what I’m doing is okay.

            Very true and I’m thankful you feel that way.

            Like

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