Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Anime Music Video Compilations: “Nadia of the Mysterious Seas Music Video”
Format: VHS and Laserdisc, NTSC, Japanese Dialogue
Length: 29 minutes
Original Release Date: 30 August 1991
Animation Exclusive to this Release: Sort of…
Other Sources (Japanese unless noted): Nadia of the Mysterious Seas Music Video (Laserdisc, 1997), Nadia of the Mysterious Seas DVD Box (2001), Nadia of the Mysterious Seas Music Video (DVD, 2001), Nadia of the Mysterious Seas Music Video (DVD Re-issue, 2004)
Currently Availability (as of writing): Out of Print
Note: Originally published on the Anime Archivist blog December 2012.
In the early 1990’s, anime fandom in Japan and the west went absolutely nuts for “Nadia, The Secret of Blue Water” (or “Nadia of the Mysterious Seas”). Even the lead character, Nadia, a moody orphaned African princess and a vegetarian to boot, managed to knock Nausicaä from Animage magazine’s monthly character poll. That’s quite a feat as Nausicaä had been on top of the poll since 1984, and due to her personality and dare I say it, skin colour, Nadia seemed to be a highly unlikely candidate to make it to the top of the Animage character poll. In 1991 “Nadia of the Mysterious Seas” also won Animage’s annual Grand Prix. The irony of Nadia ending Nausicaä’s reign at the top of Animage’s poll was that “Nadia” itself was based upon a rejected Hayao Miyazaki story concept. He pitched the idea in the 1970’s to Toho Studios which was originally titled “Around the World in 80 Days by Sea”, which in turn was loosely based upon Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. While Toho shelved the idea, Miyazaki did use elements of it for his own TV series “Future Boy Conan” and his 1986 film “Laputa, Castle in the Sky”. However when public broadcaster NHK saw Gainax’s “The Wings of Honneamise” they was so impressed that in 1988, in cooperation with Toho, revived Miyazaki’s unused story and asked the studio to produce a series based upon it. It was first broadcast on Japanese TV in April 1990 and became Gainax’s first hit anime.
Unfortunately racism rears its ugly head, and Jean’s aunt refuses to take Nadia in. With the Grandis Gang still in hot pursuit of Nadia’s pendant, the pair then set off in Jean’s own aircraft in search of Nadia’s homeland, supposedly somewhere in Africa. However the engine breaks down, and they find themselves stranded in the middle of the ocean. Luckily they are picked up by a passing US battleship. The battleship is currently in the midst of hunting down a mysterious sea monster that has been sinking merchant ships. One of the sunken vessels was the ship of Jean’s father, who is still missing. Later the battleship is attacked and sunk by the sea monster and Nadia and Jean are forced to abandon ship. Luckily Jean’s damaged aircraft manages to survive the carnage, so they climb on board in the hope of being rescued. As luck would have it, they suddenly find themselves inside the belly of a highly advanced submarine named Nautilus piloted by the mysterious Captain Nemo. The crew are in the midst of fighting Neo-Atlantean Empire, led by the evil Gargoyle, who wishes to enslave humanity and are the ones behind sea monster menace. The synopsis I’ve written only covers the first few episodes. I could write a whole lot more about this series, but the focus for this post is to look at its first music video compilation;
“My Precious Trick Star ~Yasashisa o Kureta Anata e~” performed by Silk
“Jinsei-Koro no March” performed by Yuuko Mizutani
“Deai Ha Kousyo Kyoufusyo” performed by Yoshino Takamori
In this music video, the focus is on Nadia and Jean’s relationship. Most of the footage is taken from the first episode, “The Girl at the Eiffel Tower”, with the rest being taken from various other episodes. Like the bulk of the music here, this song is another character song taken from the “Music in Blue Water” soundtrack which was released in July 1991. Nadia’s voice actress, Yoshino Takamori, provides the vocals to this song.
“Warera no Bannou Sensuikan Nautilus” performed by Yasunori Matsumoto, Kikuko Inoue and Akio Ohtsuka
“Let’s Go Jean ’91” performed by Noriko Hidaka
Yet another character song culled from “Music in Blue Water”. This one is performed by Noriko Hidaka who provides the voice for Jean. The video’s main focus is on the many, many fights between Nadia and Jean. However there are also quite a few scenes which show them getting on together. A number of episodes provide the source of the footage, but the bulk of it comes from the infamous “Island Episodes”. This song is not to be confused with “Let’s Go Jean”, a completely different song which was previously released on an earlier soundtrack.
“Song for Beginning” performed by Kenyu Horiuchi, Kumiko Takizawa and Toshiharu Sakurai
“Blue Water” performed by Miho Morikawa
The final video on this compilation is “Blue Water”, the opening theme of the series. There isn’t much to say here, it’s edited rather uninspiringly (like many of the videos here) from various episodes. The song is performed by Miho Morikawa and was first released as a CD single in April 1990.
If you want the series legitimately, there are a number of options available. The easiest ones are of course the 2001 and 2004 DVD releases of both music video collections (I’ll be covering the second compilation in a few months or so). The 2001 version comes in CD jewel case (like normal CDs) which was a standard packaging for many Japanese DVDs in the format’s infancy. The second release in 2004 is in a standard DVD case. The sad part is that the minimum you’re going to pay for the 2001 release is about ¥3,000 and you may well pay over ¥6,000 and far, far beyond that (try five figures). The figures for the 2004 release start at ¥6,000 and beyond. Note that most of these are going to be second hand copies. A 2001 DVD Box Set of the series also contains the music videos, but is rather pricy, even on the second hand market. The only other option is the original VHS and Laserdisc release (with cover art – reused box art from a General Products garage kit of Nadia – as uninspiring as its contents) or a 1997 Laserdisc which compiles both music video compilations. All are rather hard to find, in particular the latter which is as rare as hen’s teeth. It’s rather telling that reissues of the series on DVD since 2001 and the recent Blu-ray box set omit both music video compilations. Both remain out of print on all video formats.