Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is an anime series in the Nadia: The Secret of the Blue Water franchise
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Paris is the scene of the 1889 International Exposition. Young inventor Jean meets circus acrobat Nadia. He rescues her from a strange gang of comical villains out to steal her necklace, and the pair set off on an amazing adventure that takes them far beneath the seas, and all around the world. They face racism in France and cold-blooded killing on a remote Pacific island, see a flying contest with Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang as one of the entrants, and share a dream sequence in which they ride in something suspiciously like Thunderbird 2 (see Thunderbirds 2086). They face the last remnants of Atlantis and join the fight to save the world from domination by a mad genius. Along the way they learn that their origins are less important than what they make of themselves, and that while love can conquer all, it doesn't guarantee a happy ending. The 1993 movie Nadia of the Mysterious Seas the Movie: Fuzzy's Secret takes up the story some years later, with Jean rescuing a mysterious girl and the impact this has on his stormy relationship with Nadia.

While working at Toho Studios in the 1970s, the young Hayao Miyazaki pitched a scenario to his bosses inspired by Jules Verne, creator of Adrift in the Pacific. Set in the late 19th century, Around the World in 80 Days by Sea would use two Vernean concepts-a trip around the world by two plucky characters on the run from bad guys, and the mighty submarine Nautilus, commanded by Captain Nemo, who has a secret past of his own. Toho didn't make the series but held onto the option. Miyazaki later used various elements of the idea in Future Boy Conan and Castle in the Sky, but it wasn't until the critical triumph of Wings of Honneamise that Toho dusted off the outline and approached Gainax to turn it into a TV series.

SBW was conceived as a blatant pitch to the mass audience. Very rarely has this approach produced a show of such enduring charm and emotional validity. The combination of Vernean adventure, Dickensian richness of characterization (particularly in the comical semivillains Grandis, Sanson, and Hanson), nods and winks to more contemporary classics, and steampunk technology was irresistible, propelling the series to success and Nadia to an enduring place in the list of fans' favorite characters. In Nadia, the Gainax team created a heroine who was beautiful and independent yet alone and unsure of her place in the world, capable of anger and courage yet completely opposed to killing, a heroine of color and an animal rights advocate ahead of her time. Young hero Jean, a brilliant but naïve kid with total faith in technology and innocent of the world's deceits and cruelties, is an orphan as she is. The two are bonded by loss and alienation; despite the sunny color palette of the show and its upbeat pacing and music, the audience quickly realizes that a dark and terrible fate is always waiting just out of shot, threatening to engulf the young couple-the same team's later hit Evangelion brought the lurking darkness into the foreground. The impact of several violent scenes-which are never gratuitous but likely to be shocking to a modern Western audience in a children's series-foiled an attempt in the mid-1990s to get the show onto U.K. television screens. SoBW was rereleased on DVD as Nadia: SoBW in the U.S. in 2001, just in time to invite insidious comparisons between it and the new Disney cartoon Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Though the filmmakers admitted to an interest in the works of Hayao Miyazaki, they denied any knowledge of SoBW-compare to the controversy surrounding Kimba the White Lion. V

Series Credits
Person Name Episode Count
Hideaki Anno
Shinji Higuchi
Tatsuyuki Tanaka

To edit the cast, go to an episode page.

Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
Name: ふしぎの海のナディア
Romaji: Fushigi no Umi no Nadia
Publisher Gainax
Start Year 1990
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Aliases Nadia of the Mysterious Seas Nadia
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