Nadia: In Defense of the Island Episodes

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Nadia: In Defense of the Island Episodes

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Postby BrikHaus » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:51 pm

I recently completed my second viewing of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. The first time (about 4 years ago) I had watched the dreaded "island episodes." I had read how terrible they were, but I decided to watch them anyway. I didn't think they were as bad as everyone had made them out to be. Upon watching them this time, I realized that they are not disposable episodes. In fact, they are essential. There are character and plot points crucial to the overall narrative that can be found in the "island episodes." Here's a short list:

    1) We get our first glimpses, and learn of the functioning, of Red Noah.
    2) We are given the history of Atlantis and its people.
    3) We see Nadia's past, learn more about her as a person, and also learn why she doesn't eat meat.
    4) The relationship between Nadia and Jean deepens.
    5) We discover when Nadia first learned she could understand animals.
    6) We see the ancient factory, including back-up Nautilus ships.
    7) If you skip these episodes, it makes no sense how Nadia, Marie, and Jean wound up suddenly in a crashing balloon with Ayerton, Grandis, Hanson, and Sanson.
    8) We actually learn the SECRET of the Blue Water (you know, like in the title of the series).

So why is it that people don't like these episodes? It's hard to say. I suppose it has to do with two things: 1) the pace of the plot slows down from where things were heading, and 2) the animation quality drops. First, I don't think the pace slows down all that much. Things still move ahead steadily at a nice clip. The show does become a bit more child-like as it had been in the early episodes, which I feel most of the viewers couldn't stomach. But I had no qualms with that. Second, yes, the animation quality does drop. But it's not as horrible as you think it is. It's not as if the rest of the series is produced with Ghibli-like attention to detail. The animation is passable, and is not like we are watching a bunch of animated stick figures or anything like that.

I read somewhere that Anno denounced these episodes, but he also stated that he like episodes 30 and 31, where a number of the revelations took place. If even he could find something salvageable in these episodes, then so too, should a bunch of over-critical otaku.

I think that anyone who recommends Nadia and then tells people to avoid the "island episodes" is doing a disservice to everyone. The episodes provide new depth to the characters, and also provide a richer plot. Sure, there are throw-away episodes like the singing episode, but overall, there are good things to be found here. For people watching Nadia for the first time, or the tenth, make sure you watch those "island episodes."
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Postby Xard » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:55 pm

Most of the stuff you listed belongs to the eps 30-31 which IS relevant to the plot. It's the only true non-filler out there.

Africa arc is irredeemable though and even after island arc was made it apparently didn't belong to plans...given that there's complete continuity between 31 and 35 and the eps in between break in completely.

Island eps are disliked for character derailment and the like. At worst it is in Africa eps but Nadia goes from disgruntled vegetarian into total EVERYTHING BY MEN SUCKS I GO LIVE IN JUNGLE LOL psychopath etc.

which is hardly character development. Even the first kiss which could've been genuine development was nulled by LOL MUSHROOMS

GAINAX planned the show to be 26 episodes which should tell that the relevant material in island arc was reaaaaallly spread out

but whatever man, if you like them it's cool with me
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Postby drinian » Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:47 pm

I agree that, on the whole, the island arc doesn't hurt, and it's the kind of series where spending a little more time with the characters is welcome.

It seems likely that the island arc's reputation is considerably worse because of a few truly abysmal filler episodes -- most notably, the musical one.

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Postby Ironfoot » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:10 am

View Original Postdrinian wrote:a few truly abysmal filler episodes -- most notably, the musical one.


I still haven't watched the entirety of that episode to this day. I just can't do it. I did watch the entirety of Marie's train-track adventures however, and boy was that the sweetest and cutest waste of time in the series.

I think the bigger issue is that the "island arc" is treated with a more childish charm than the rest of the series, and thus of lesser quality. After all, Nadia is supposedly a childish cartoon, one which Gainax bent to their utmost reserve towards a more adult audience with a deeper understanding. But the fill in studio evidently did not understand this concept and it's clear. All of the serious issues (sans Ep 30-31) are brought to a more superficial light (Jean/Nadia, rabid vegans, etc) than what was to be expected of them when it was handled by Gainax. But they're still there, and these concepts did take root and blossom in the later half of the series to a finish and that's what matters here.

The whole "island arc" episode debacle is a bit of an exaggeration, and people have a tendency to exaggerate many things to draw attention, or simply have a poor understanding of that grey area of quality and only resort to "Excellent" or "Supper for Gurren Lagann."

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Postby BornIn1142 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:21 am

I disagree with the premise of the topic; the Island & Africa arcs are generally crappy and do horrible things to Nadia's character. Her falling for some random African kid, especially, was a total kick in the nuts to the relationship at the emotional core of the series. The comic/cartoonish tone was kind of at odds with the preceding drama (did Nadia even properly react to the news that Nemo was her father?), the reintroduction of Ayrton was a complete waste of time, etc.

On the other hand, though, I don't think those episodes are super-horrible and completely devoid of worth either. Hell, episode 31 had at least one great moment - Jean going into Red Noah to look for Nadia. Their reunion could have been totally ruined by her going crazy and slapping him for seeing her naked, as I totally feared would happen. Thankfully, that wasn't the case.

I'm not sure I would advocate skipping those episodes for a first-time viewer, but I don't bother with them when rewatching.
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Postby NemZ » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:28 am

I'd think Anno's director's cut of the series says it all.

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:39 pm

My complaint was never that the island episodes were useless, it was just that they were unpleasant. Most of those episodes can't be skipped (I can't recall which in particular), though Anno found some fat to trim here and there, but it does have some glimpses of character and plot development, besides the fact that everything else in that arc negatively feels nothing like episodes 1-22 felt.

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Postby JTurner » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:11 pm

I am in the boat of agreement that the island/Africa episodes are horrible and frankly, don't make any sense in the context of the main plot. Even with the argument that it provides "character development", they felt more like character derailment, especially where Nadia's character was concerned.

As Xard and Bornin1934 have mentioned, the Africa arc is absolutely stupid, insulting, and utterly inexcuseable. It is seriously out of step with the rest of the story and really should have been cut. Not only do episodes 32-34 ruin the protagonists' personalities, the "plot" setup is riddled with so many holes one could drive a truck through them and the new characters were disappointingly one-dimensional and unengaging. Grandis's ex-fiance -- or rather, Snidely Whiplash -- was especially dull. They're quite offensive, too, especially in the portrayal of the tribal village--didn't ANYBODY involved with these episodes visit a real African village? It looked like a badly stereotyped Tarzan rip off to me! And I can't even shake the stupidities that litter every second of these episodes: the Africa warrior says he's thirteen yet he looks older than that? The village worships a testicled lion statue and has a tin can of food and super-powerful juice(!) as its treasures? King being crucified, or even on the cross for days without food or water? What were the writers thinking when they wrote all this? They must've been on drugs, if you ask me!

That also applies to the Lincoln Island arc, especially that episode where Jean has that ridiculous dream sequence after taking a Wile E. Coyote stunt fall from a cliff. (The kiss under the stars COULD have been a genuine case of development, but instead, like Xard says, it was a very cruel tease, which left an even bitter taste for me on that episode.) The floating island arc was similarly stupid, but at least it was redeemed by episodes 30 and 31. Even then, there were a LOT of places where I could tell that the writers really didn't know where they wanted to go with their characters OR the plot.

Episodes 30 and 31 aside, the only things I ever liked at all about the filler arc were the flashback scenes involving Nadia's past and Gargoyle's "Nemo's Day" speech. At least THEY provided some geniune material. If any of the other episodes of the filler arc had important bits such as this, it at least would have been good for something. As such, it really is an unfortunate stain on an otherwise fabulous series. It's not just us being unpleasable otakus or Anno being overcritical. I can only wonder what the show would've been like if those episodes weren't made at all.

If I was directing this show, I'd omit all the stupid, cartoonish bits from the Lincoln Island arc and cut it down to one episode (IOW, Jean & Nadia's first kiss actually feels genuine, with no mushrooms, jealous cubs, temper tantrums, and pointless dream sequences involved). Then I'd use the subsequent episode to just have the kids get reacquainted with their buddies, and the episode after that be just episode 31. Then I would just go to episode 35.

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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:05 am

This thread reminded me--whenever I watch the series--to watch in its entirety, then watch that The Nautilus Story on a rewatch.

It is a shame that NHK screwed Gainax over regarding Nadia, however. (The details escape me, but Hiroyuki Yamaga did mention this at either his 2009 or 2010 Fanime panel.)
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Postby Killer Bee » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:58 am

I can only echo what Xard and Ironfoot said, so I'll keep my contribution short.

Watching the filler episodes left such a bad taste in my mouth that even the final episodes directed by Anno (which were fantastic) couldn't completely get rid of.

The music episode, which served as the terrifying boss battle at the end of the filler episodes, was hands-down the worst clip-show I had ever seen. It was like having a mixture of boiling oil and 80's synth music being poured into my ears for a solid 24 minutes of pure horror.

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Postby Xard » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:44 am

Image

come to think of it, posting this would've been enough
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

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Postby Falcon_of_the_Sun » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:41 am

I'm re-watching Nadia just now, got to Episode 22 when

SPOILER: Show
Electra does her thing and Jean, Nadia and Marie get sealed and sent off in Nemo's cabin.


Judging from what I read, I am more than happy to skip any apocriphal crap that is clearly a filler with demented character development, also bearing in mind that any previous episode in which conflicts between Nadia and Jean got much airplay were already annoyign to me. What episodes should I watch?

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Postby caragnafog dog » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:44 pm

I don't remember a single thing from the island episodes other than the kiss. It might be because I watched them all in one sitting though.
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Postby Falcon_of_the_Sun » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:10 pm

I found my answer elsewhere on the forum (this topic should actually be moved to Related Works I guess).

The bad episodes are 23 to 29 included (i.e. Island Arc)

30 is bearable as a set-up to 31
31 is important

32 to 34 included are the lowest of the low (i.e. Africa Arc)

35 to 39 is Hideaki back in the driver's seat.

My suggestion would be to watch the recap of the bad episodes. Skip 23 and start with 24, watch the recap of 23 just after the OP, then skip to 25 and repeat. You get a pretty good idea of what's in them without having to sit through the actual thing.

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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:29 pm

Weird, thought the topic was originally in Related Works. Moved back by request.
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Postby Guy Nacks » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:07 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:

come to think of it, posting this would've been enough


Damn....I watched Nadia over 2 years ago and mostly skipped the Afrisland eps. except for a couple out of sheer curiosity.

This just reminds me how much I thought I would have wanted to kill myself if I were in Anno's shoes and had my main character perverted into being such an unlikeable cock and the animation downgraded to a truly craptacular level.
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Postby Xard » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:17 am

View Original PostGuy Nacks wrote:This just reminds me how much I thought I would have wanted to kill myself if I were in Anno's shoes and had my main character perverted into being such an unlikeable cock and the animation downgraded to a truly craptacular level.


Well, it's not like Nadia didn't play huge part in triggering his infamous depression :hahaha:
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Guy Nacks » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:14 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:Well, it's not like Nadia didn't play huge part in triggering his infamous depression :hahaha:


Lol that was kinda my point. I can totally sympathize with that contributing to his fall off the deep end. Not that there wasn't probably other stuff going on as well. I'm willing to bet he got his heart broken by some woman in addition or something like that.
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And so we arrive at demagogy. - Hideaki Anno, 1996

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Postby Dream » Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:29 am

To be fair, some of the stuff in the island arc episodes are so utterly overwrought and ridiculous it ends up being really hilarious. Africa arc is just painful, though.
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Re: Nadia: In Defense of the Island Episodes

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Postby beflygelt » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:36 pm

the trick is you just need to set VLC's play speed to 2x, actually makes it a pretty fun and sometimes even trippy ride :tongue:


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