a.k.a. Kido Senkan Nadesico
Tenkawa Akito is, or was, a military pilot who lost his edge when he couldn’t save a young girl from an alien invasion on his home world of Mars. He decides to change his career and become a cook instead, but ghosts from his past as a pilot won’t leave him alone. When Earth’s forces are decimated by those same aliens, the newly-commissioned battleship Nadesico is sent into action. Akito finds himself serving onboard officially as a cook but unofficially as an Aestivalis pilot. If that wasn’t hard enough, the captain of the Nadesico is a childhood friend who has a crush on him! Can Akito save the galaxy and ward off his commanding officer’s incessant advances?
summary by Kain
Highs: Pays homage to space operas of yesteryear; entertaining and surprisingly deep
Lows: Loses objective as a parody in the second half; filler was funnier than story-driven episodes
You were there for the great giant mecha space operas of the ’70s and ’80s when they ruled anime fandom. You recall fond memories of Ichijo Hikaru, Voltes V and Gundams. You traversed the stars with the crew of the Yamato. You are an old school anime otaku. Well, I hope you can take a joke because Martian Successor Nadesico is meant for you.
For those of you who grew up on newer titles like Evangelion and Irresponsible Captain Tylor, rest assured that these anime get parodied just as often. In fact, the best way to describe this anime is Excel Saga with an actual, working plot. I laughed often as I spotted references to what I call Macross–isms (generic, standard issue space opera plot cues) throughout the first thirteen episodes.
The second half replaces the filler episodes with a story that, while far less humorous than the first half, is still pretty entertaining. Mock psychological profiling, a la Evangelion, is par for the course up until the rather anti-climactic finale.
The best part of Nadesico for me was that most of the characters were infatuated with a cheesy, ’80s-style mecha anime called Gekigangar 3. Much in the same way that Otaku no Video poked fun at anime otaku, Nadesico manages to fit a parody anime within a parody anime and makes it work so well. New fans of anime beware, but those like myself who still have old, dusty Valkyrie figurines on their shelves will probably find much to grin about.
Martian Successor Nadesico can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.