There are two things that really frost my ass. One is a snow cone about three
feet high. The other is a brilliant anime series that has a Godawful ending.
The sixth and last Nadesico DVD, Endgame, is the perfect example
of the latter. After two dozen episodes of brilliant comedy, sharp otaku-culture
satire, adorable character antics, and a surprisingly absorbing plot, Nadesico
takes a sudden and breathtaking drop in quality.
The climactic final episodes, which should resolve all the questions about
Akito's strange powers, the source of the alien artifacts on Mars, the secrets
behind the Jovian exiles, and just which one of the zillions of cute female
characters Akito's finally gonna choose to spend the rest of his life with,
become a bizarre morass of confused storytelling and psychedelic resolution-without-resolution.
It's as though the creators of this anime decided that skewering giant-robot
shows like Mazinger Z and Macross just wasn't enough; they had
to steal from Evangelion, too!
Unfortunately, while a trippy heavily-symbolic ending may have worked for the
obviously allegorical Evangelion (and even then it was debatable... see
my review of the final
Eva DVD), it is completely and utterly inappropriate for a more lighthearted
and straightforward anime series like Nadesico. I defy anyone to watch
the last episode on this DVD and tell me just what the heck it all meant! The
worst part, though, is not the nonsensical climax. It's the fact that, in all
the Kubrickian-ripoff rush, the actual plot and character threads that have
kept me glued to my worn sofa for the past twelve hours of animation are totally
ignored! We never, as I note above, find out the answers to the REAL questions
in this anime.
The fact that Nadesico maintains its unique blend of originality, homage,
comedy, and drama right up to the very end makes the suck-ass ending all the
more disappointing. In the other episodes on this DVD, we're treated to a Jovian
schoolgirl whose idea of stealth is to tiptoe around saying "sneak, sneak,
sneak", a combination interplanetary peace conference / anime convention,
a disturbing yet strangely familiar look into the world of anime production
200 years in the future, and more of the odd love quadrangles among the Nadesico
crew that we've come to know and love. If it weren't for the last two episodes,
I'd rate this disc even higher than the previous one.
Sadly, the ending nearly ruins the whole damn series. If you've followed Nadesico
this far, you might as well buy this DVD and finish the series. Besides,
there ARE plenty of good moments that are worth seeing here. But if I were you,
I'd make sure to remove any heavy objects from around your entertainment center
before you pop this disc in your DVD player. Because the ending WILL make you
throw things at the screen, and you don't want to damage your TV.
I learned THAT the hard way.