This series, a creation of Studio Gainax, is a perfect example of why I love anime. It has everything: Adventure, romance, action, comedy, and drama. Oh, does it have drama. And all of these elements are brought together in such a way that "perfection" doesn't do it justice. Running for 39 episodes, this series starts out in Paris in the late 1800's. Jean (pronounced the French way), a young boy with an incredible knowledge for designing aircraft, meets a girl named Nadia. Nadia is a mysterious girl, and quite unusual. Her companion is a grey lion cub named King, and they are being chased by a band of jewel thieves (Graten, Samson, and Hanson, three of the coolest anime characters ever)because Nadia has a pendant around her neck, a diamond-shaped, blue crystal. But, that's just a small part of the story, for you see, that crystal holds a secret capable of destroying the world. Nadia and Jean meet other characters, including the enigmatic Captain Nemo, captain of a high-tech, almost futuristic submarine named the Nautilus (the series borrows some elements from the Jules Vernes novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, then adds it's own spin to them). They also encounter the series' true villain, the leader of a society called Neo Atlantis. This villain, named Gargoyle, is perhaps the single most evil villain I've ever seen, as well as one of the coolest. He's very proper, with a calm, smooth voice, not loud and over-the-top like most typical villains, and hides his face behind a mask (take Darth Vader's coolness and multiply it by about 10, and you've got Gargoyle). Eventually, the series explores the secrets of Nadia's past, her relationship with Nemo and Jean, and the awesome power her pendant, the Blue Water, unlocks. The series' finale, the final four episodes, are some of the best viewing you can get (why, oh why can't American animation be this good?), with heart-wrenching drama and glorious animation. The music, by the same composer as the Evangelion music, is heavenly, and the character designs by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto are as good as his Eva character designs (the man is an artistic genius). The opening and ending themes are fantastic, also. All in all, this series is the only anime I can think of that equals Neon Genesis Evangelion in every respect, and in some may actually surpass Eva. After all, Eva was great, but lacked a cool villain (and Gargoyle is one of the coolest). If A.D. Vision ever gets around to releasing this officially over here, buy it (and please buy the subtitled versions, the voices are just TOO GOOD to watch a dubbed version). An 11 out of 10.
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