“Martian Successor Nadesico” is a Japanese science fiction/romantic comedy anime series broadcast in 1996–1997 by TV Tokyo network. Set in a future space age, it tells the story of the crew of the space battleship “Nadesico” in the war between the geosphere and the Jupiter sphere.
Directed by Tatsuo Satō. The story editor is Shō Aikawa. Produced by TV Tokyo, Yomiko Advertising, and Xebec. 26 episodes.
In the late 22nd century, alien invaders from Jupiter have conquered Mars and the back side of the moon by teleporting unmanned weapons called “Jovian Lizards” through the gates (warp devices) called “Tulips”, and they start attacking the earth.
In the year 2196, private company Nergal Heavy Industries had finished building “Nadesico”, a giant new battleship to save the people stranded on Mars. Nergal recruits civilian experts in various fields as the crew of Nadesico.
A Mars-born, Earth-raised woman, Yurika Misumaru, who had stayed undefeated in strategy simulation while in the Earth Allies University, is selected as the captain of Nadesico.
A Mars-born, Mars-raised young man, Akito Tenkawa, who is a trainee chef, jumps on Nadesico, following Yurika, who is his childhood girlfriend on Mars. He is hired as a cook for Nadesico, but then he comes to fight against Jovian Lizards as one of the pilots of humanoid mobile weapons called “Aestevalis”.
In the first half of the series, the story follows the Nadesico crew fighting against Jovian Lizards under the umbrella of the Earth Allied Forces. In the latter half, the identity of the enemy is revealed, and the Nadesico crew tries to find their own way to bring an end to the war.
This series was one of the popular series that led the so-called “the third anime boom” in the late 1990s triggered by the TV anime series “Neon Genesis Evangelion” (1995–1996). It is an entertaining work crammed with a variety of elements, such as romantic comedy, giant robot, mecha action, hard science fiction, drama, and mystery.
“Martian Successor Nadesico” shares similarity with “Neon GenesisEvangelion” in that it incorporates a self-reflective perspective to anime as a genre itself and anime fans.
In this series, a fictional TV anime series named “Gekiganger III” appears as a play within a play (an anime within an anime). It is an elaborate parody of the 1970s “super robot” anime. It faithfully recreated the style of the “super robot” anime at that time, such as “Getter Robo” (1974–1975), with attention to detail.
In the latter half of the series, “Gekiganger III” plays an important role that relates to the main story.
In the 14th episode, there are metafictional scenes in which the characters of “Gekiganger III” watch “Martian Successor Nadesico” on TV in reverse.
“Gekiganger III” became popular for its retro style and high quality, and it was released as an OVA “Gekiganger III Hot-Blooded Great Battle!” in 1997.
The anime film “Martian Successor Nadesico: The Motion Picture – Prince of Darkness” released in 1998 is a sequel to the TV series “Martian Successor Nadesico”.
There is also the manga version (1996–1999) by Kia Asamiya.