Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (Fushigi no Umi no Nadia) is a Japanese animated TV adventure (anime) series based loosely on Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

One of the most popular animated series ever done in Japan, it was created by animation stuido GAINAX. Set in 1889, the story focuses on Nadia, a 14 year circus acrobat and orphan with a mysterious past.

Production Information is as follows:

TV series (39 episodes + movie) by GAINAX 1989-1990
Originally broadcast from 4/13/90 to 4/12/91 by NHK Sogovision
Released in US by Streamline Pictures (dubbed only) and ADV Films.

Cast:
Nadia - Yoshino Takamori
Jean - Noriko Hidaka
Marie - Yuko Mizutani
King - Toshiharu Sakurai
Grandis - Kumiko Takizawa
Sanson - Kenyuu Horiuchi
Hanson - Toshiharu Sakurai
Gargoyle - Motomu Kiyokawa
Captain Nemo - Akio Ohtsuka
Electra - Kikuko Inoue
Eaton - Kouji Tsujitani
Emperor Neo - Kaneto Shiozawa

Staff:
Series Director - Hideaki Anno
Director (eps. 23 - 39) - Higuchi Shinji
Character Designs - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Layouts - Maeda Masahiro
Art Directors - Kikuchi Masanori, Sasaki Hiroshi and Ogura Hiromasa
Music - Sagisu Shiro
Animation Producers - Murahama Shoji and Kawahito Kenjiro

This series has ancient civilisations (Atlantis), world-wide conspiracies, mysterious captains of submarines, acrobats with lion cubs, and noble villains to be redeemed. The title more closely translates as "Nadia of the Mysterious Seas". Though the series did have the English alternate title of "The Secret of Blue Water".

Of the 39 episodes the first 8 episodes were dubbed and released on VHS by Streamline Video (Carl Macek's company responsible (or is that culpable) for creating Robotech from several other series).

Recently ADV Films have released all the episodes on 10 DVDs with 4 episodes per Disk (apart from the last with only 3). As is common with DVDs these have both an Japanese and English soundtrack.

The names of the DVDs are:

  1. The Adventure Begins
  2. The Dark Kingdom
  3. Aboard the Nautilus
  4. Battleground
  5. Nemo's Fortress
  6. The Deep Blue Sea
  7. Nadia's Island
  8. The Secret Cave
  9. Nadia in Love
  10. The Prophecy Fulfilled
There is also a Movie sequel. I have now seen this (though I have to occasionally ask myself why). It is weak and spends a lot of time reiterating bits of the series. My suspicion is that it was made on the cheap.
Thanks to s_alanet for the correction
It is of some interest to know that this film is eerily similar to Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Disney's latest cash cow. Even if we take into consideration the occasional similarities due to the identical subject matter, the coincidences are still overwhelming. One might argue that an identical plot is theoretically plausible, but that train of thought is derailed by the character designs which are, oddly enough, damn near identical.

Of course, the director of Disney's film has been quoted as saying that he hadn't even heard of Nadia until "long after we'd finished production...."

Somehow, this doesn't surprise me in the least.

Here is a further list of similarities:

The hero in Nadia is a sandy haired boy adorned with round, oversized glasses and a red bowtie.
The hero in Atlantis is a sandy haired man adorned with round, oversized glasses and a red bowtie.

They're both intelligent characters, and over time we've been taught that glasses are visual shorthand for intelligence, but though scientists seem to favor bowties (and if it's not red, what's it going to be?), it's a stretch.

Eventually, our aforementioned hero runs into...
Grandis, a beautiful and firey mercenary. (Nadia)
Helga, a beautiful yet cold-blooded mercenary. (Atlantis)

Stretching it a bit, I know, but it's still a similarity.

Onwards we march. In Nadia, our hero (Jean) ends up on a high tech submarine with Grandis.
In Atlantis, circumstance places our hero (Milo) on board...you guessed it, a high tech submarine with none other than Helga.

After a while, the Nadia crew stumbles upon an underwater crevasse, which leads them to a chamber filled with strange bones. Meanwhile, the ISS of the sea piloted by the Atlantis folks stumbles upon...take a guess? No? An underwater crevasee which leads them to a chamber filled with strange carvings.

Once the Nadia crew hits this chamber, they head for an open space, then hold a memorial for those who died along the way. Once the Atlantis crew hits this chamber, they hold a memorial for those lost along the way, then head for open space. I'd chalk this one up to Americanization. Because, really, everyone knows dead people are more important than your life.

After the Nadia crew has their service, they find themselves in Atlantis, a dead civilization.

After the Atlantis crew finishes finding their wide open spaces, they wind up in Atlantis, a living civilization.

Now, I know you're saying "BUT EX! WAIT! One civilization's alive, and one's dead! That isn't the same!" Well settle down, bitch. You always change a few answers when you're copying someone's test. Not that I would know...

In Nadia, in the center of Atlantis is an utterly massive crystalline structure. In Atlantis, I'll bet you can't guess what lies at the center of Atlantis. Really, bet you can't. (It's a giant crystalline structure!)

In Nadia, said massive crystalline structure is linked to a small sapphire jewel worn as a pendant by the heroine (Nadia), who has no idea what in the holy fuck the pendant is any good for.

In Atlantis, said massive crystalline structure is linked to a small sapphire jewel worn as a pendant by the heroine (Kida), who has no idea what in the holy fuck the pendant is any good for.

(Does this count as a cut-and-paste w/u?)

Now, Nadia doesn't know what the crystal is for because, as a small girl, she lost her family. Kida doesn't know what the crystal is for because, as a small girl, she lost her mother. But Nadia discovers that the crystal is the power source for Atlantis. So does Kida.

But of course! This explains why the bad guys in the respective flicks are so interested in the sodding city! In Nadia, they want to capture and use the power source (because the Japanese are resourceful.) In Atlantis, they'd rather capture and sell the power source (Capitalism, baby! Free trade!)

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is nosediving into a war with a secret society. (Nadia.)
Meanwhile, the rest of the world is nosediving into a war with Germany. (Atlantis. Remember, this is Disney. Germans are still Commies.)

But wait! Good will triumph, because Nadia uses her pendant to merge with and control the power source. Any guess as to what Kida winds up doing? Eh? Eh? Wrong! She uses her pendant to merge with and control the power source! Didn't see it coming, did you? Thought not.

And because both are movies and both were released after 1975, they have to contain some crappy love story, so in both movies the hero and heroine fall in love and live happily ever after...lucky bastards.

The End.

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