Posted by psgels on 14 July 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



“Nadja Applefield grows up in an orphanage, but on her thirteenth birthday she finds out that her mother is still alive, and possibly even a noble. Thus she joins a band of travelling performers and travels all across Europe to find her.” That doesn’t exactly sound like a top-tier shoujo series, now does it? Ashita no Nadja indeed takes the format of a classic shoujo adventure, and makes it downright awesome. I am really surprised with how actually GOOD this series turned out to be.

I originally decided to check out this series on recommendations of Wyrdwad, but I put it on hold around episode 23, discouraged by how the final 13 episodes haven’t been subbed yet. My impression of this series at that point was a fun adventure series across Europe. It’s a fun watch, in which Nadja meets all sorts of interesting people who get the chance to tell their story. Most episodes are light in nature and a lot of fun to watch. It wasn’t anything special at that point, it was episodic, but the individual stories all have their individual charms.

Anyway, eventually I got too impatient and just finished the rest of the series raw (so yeah, don’t bother asking for subs of the final 13 episodes: they’re unfortunately not there yet, but they SO deserve to be!), and with that I was blown away completely by the strength, GUTS and charms of the main storyline of this series. I was so expecting your average cheesy shoujo storyline with stereotypically incompetent villains and a lot of time spent on the lead characters being incredibly indecisive. None of that returns here: instead we get a story where always something interesting is going on and where characters manage to show their utter best in terms of character-development.

And the villains! This series really has some of the best villains out there, who are nothing like your average bunch of incompetent idiots who can never get anything right. The main villains for this series all are a bunch of excellent actors: they’ve created a scenario in their head and stick to it, and time and time again they manage to foil the lead characters’ plans and happiness (which usually is the other way around!). Eventually, this series evolves into a battle of wits and emotions between Nadja and the main villains, which involves an intricate plan that looks simple (and isn’t of the ridiculously complicated variant like you see in shows as Death Note), yet incredibly hard to find any holes in it.

This series seriously has a bunch of incredible script-writers, who have the talent to make a solid and engaging story of just about everything. As an episodic series, I often found myself doubting whether an episode was going to turn out all-right based on its premise, especially around the middle parts of the series. However, nearly every single episode delivered with solid build-up, excellent characterization and a conclusion that felt intelligent, believable and yet pushed the characters further in terms of character-development. Even the small side-characters who only appear in one episode have multiple sides to them and feel fresh.

With all these praises I’m singing for this series, I unfortunately also have to admit that it has a flaw, and a really big one at that. Wherever Nadja travels in Europe, wherever she goes, she always meets up with the right people. Even though European cities are incredibly big, she always meets up with recurring characters if they happen to be in the neighbourhood, she also conveniently runs into a bunch of nobles that she immediately befriends, (including one of them that becomes her love interest).

This really happens a lot, throughout the entire series. Still, I guess that the creators had good intentions when they used them: they don’t use these plot-holes just for cheap laughs, but instead to allow characters to tell their story, to allow for more and better character-development so that we as an audience get to know more about the cast. There only was one plot twist in the series that really felt cheap and rushed. Apart from that they can all be forgiven. Still, they can become a major reason for some people to get turned off by the rest of the storyline. It all depends on your suspense of disbelief. For me, I indeed acknowledge that these sorts of coincidences are a bit lazy and convenient, but the rest of the series is just so damn good that I really stopped caring about them at one point.

Overall, this series was in a way just like Glass Mask 2005 and Kaleido Star for me: all three are 50 episoded Shoujo Series of Awesomeness. They all stand out in their amazing characterization and rivalry that goes waaaay beyond what you normally expect from anime. All of them are very well paced and truly excellent in the thing they do, with a storyline that just keeps evolving and time and time again they come with unexpected situations. They all involve performing (Maya acts, Sora does acrobatics, Nadja dances) and all three of them try to reach the hearts of their audience by performing, all in their own way. All three series are highly underrated (with two of them not even fully subbed, for God’s sake), but perhaps the most important thing: all three of them have the power to reach an audience beyond the usual shoujo fans, and are a true example of the great things that the genre is capable of. Of the three, Ashita no Nadja is the most light-hearted one, but make no mistake that the story cannot get really dark at times, and the light and dark parts combine wonderfully.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 9/10

13 Responses

  1. Solaris says:

    This is another of those shows that were licensed in Italy.

    I don’t know if it’s really a blessing as anime are adapted for a much younger audience here in Italy, so they’re cut and censored whenever there are traces of blood (aka violence) or kisses (aka sexuality).
    It’s well known that japanimation is dangerous for youngsters when it comes to those taboo topics :P (note: read the irony)

    Anyway, i’m going OT, so, back in topic: Who’s living in Italy may give this anime a try.

  2. Wyrdwad says:

    Yay, glad you liked it! I was pretty sure you would. (: I actually have yet to finish it, as I was never able to locate all the raws for the unsubbed episodes, even on Winny (which I can no longer access, too, as my ISP seems not to like it). If you still have the raws, though, and would be willing to work out a means of sending them to me, I’d be more than willing to send you something in return. Drop me an email if you’re interested – wyrdwad at metalbat dot com.

    -Tom

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Wyrdwad: I got my raws from this torrent here: http://tokyotosho.info/details.php?id=175223

    It took a while to get them in, but after about a week it should finish downloading. Let me know if this isn’t enough, then I’ll think of some way to send you the individual episodes.

  4. Wyrdwad says:

    Ooh, excellent! Thanks for the link!

    -Tom

  5. elianthos says:

    ah, lovely anime this was. As Solaris mentioned in her/his comment, it was licensed in Italy. Living there, I was able to follow the whole series, minus the early episodes and I enjoyed it a lot, in spite of having outgrown the intended target audience by a good number of years XD. But the plot was interesting, and the different places around the world well rendered (I loved the Alhambra episodes the most , I think. Also, it was very romantic *__* ) and I was admittedly intrigued by the seemingly dual nature of the blond guy *winks wink* .
    I can’t tell if it was censored as I haven’t cross-checked it with the english fansubbed version (I was waiting for it to be completed. wishful thinking it seems ^^;;;).
    One of the few really good series having being broadcast in recent years, especially among the ones advertised to children/early teens here in Italy too.
    Shame it’s so underrated and neglected abroad , even among fansubbers :( .

  6. windy says:

    I watched ” Ashita no Nadja” more than a year ago and just like you I was surprisingly amazed by the quality of this show, yes, I also expected a typical shoujo series for children, all the more. But it turned out to be sooo good and well- built that I immediately stuck to it. I really started to love it from the 28th episode, where the plot really starts to evolve and the situation getting worse and worse for Nadja. I totally agree with your rating!!! It is in many ways marvellous!!! And the character of Rosemary is unforgettable too, with all the hardships Nadja had to through by her fault , and her acting was merely infallible, she would never have made a wrong step or stepped down from her pedestral, never would have been discovered if there hadn’t been Herman who messed up just everything!!!

  7. Camario says:

    It’s also been licensed in other countries too, but I unfortunately completely overlooked this while it was still on TV. The time slot didn’t help, of course, but I probably could have tried to tape it.

    Still, I’ve been hearing good things about it for some time now and Nadja sounds like something I would be able to enjoy as well. I may get back to you on this, probably much later, but it’s on the list at least.

  8. Sapphire says:

    This has been on my plan-to-watch list for ages, I’m still waiting for it to be fully subbed. Isn’t there anyone interested in forming a fansub group only for these shoujo/slice-of-life gems? Ashita no Nadja, Glass Mask (2005), Lady Georgie, Lady Lady, Perrine Monogatari, Romeo no Aoi Sora, Snow Queen, La Seine no Hoshi…

  9. Blue says:

    Ah, nice to know you enjoyed it too. Ashita no Nadja was a pleasant surprise to me, as I didn’t expect much of it when I first watched it a long time ago on the TV. I was soon hooked.

    The characters are lovely and the romance isn’t too over the top nor drags too much like it usually does in other shoujo shows. Although the story was mostly light-hearted, it knew when to get serious.

    Highly overlooked series in my opinion. Hope some group decides to sub the remaining episodes.

  10. Luiza says:

    Yes, one of my favorite anime ever. It’s cute and meaningfull at the same time.

    I do hope they decide to sub the rest of it. I watched the brazilian kid’s channel version and I am pretty sure they cut a lot. Now I want to follow the uncut series. XD

  11. Firechick says:

    Good news and bad news (I think?).

    Good: Ashita no Nadja is going to be dubbed in English and released for America.

    Bad: apparently there are rumors going around that the company dubbing it is going to edit the series into 2 movies and such. Is that even possible? You can’t cram 50 episodes into two 2-hour long movies, right?

  12. anonymus says:

    good news: finally subtitled the last episodes of anime into English xD
    liked his rewiew: 90/100 really agree with you
    is a pity that many do not agree

  13. kolom ayah says:

    wew.. Thanks for the link!

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 04:58 PM)
    @Bam, Extra Credits made a video praising Dark souls 2’s difficultly system. Never have I disagreed with them more.
    @Ninja, I read the beginning chapters of Love Tyrant but it was just too slapstick for my taste.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 12:52 PM)
    @Realist: I also noticed in that story arc with the talking cats, it mentioned cats of ulthar, which was also mentioned in a HP Lovecraft story.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 12:20 PM)
    We have reached the moment of truth and what we waited for in space brothers manga. The next chapters cannot come fast enough.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 12:16 PM)
    @Realist: Like that skull head guy a bit.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 12:15 PM)
    Apparently in bloodbourne they are upping the violence…I think.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 12:13 PM)
    @Bam: Scott Snyder at least…is one of them.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 12:11 PM)
    @Realist: I read that mahou tsukai no yome manga you mentioned, the two available volumes. After a few chapters I started getting more into it, but I’ll need more time/updates, looks like its doing a decent enough job setting up a fairly readable plot.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 12:10 PM)
    @Emma: also isn’t American Vampire written by two guys?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 12:10 PM)
    @Emma: not only Amira but also Kaiser and Favaro’s dialogue and characterization was pretty weak. Their feud and reconciliation was forced as he’ll, and I just hate it when powerful demons uncharacteristically waste too much time talking to humans they could, and should, easily defeat.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Nov 27. 2014 12:07 PM)
    @k-off: the series has some sombre and unconventional stories, it’s just that the story is told indirectly thru lore and subtlety. Demon’s Souls had a decent amount of narrative to the whole affair, albeit short and told mostly thru items and NPC encounters. But unfortunately the series moved forward on from cryptic to straight minimal storytelling. DS2 feels lazy although it has a few cool narratives, like Luciatel, but you have to play your cards right to even get to see that.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 07

As expected, this week we have another action filled episode. Queue the pretty explosions and fast paced fighting. It felt too short despite the episode length being just the same as the others. I often find that with a good episode of anime it makes you lose the concept of time as you watch. Making […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 07

  I will admit it, I laughed at the beginning. The episode started with a pretty funny joke related to Meliodas and Elizabeth sleeping in the same bed. Maybe because this one didn’t have a second agenda of providing fanservice at the same time. Actually I enjoyed this episode a lot more than the previous. […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 06

I was mistaken in the previous review. The action scene I thought we would be getting today has been postponed till next week. This week we have a calm before the storm episode as things seem to be setting up for the fight scene to come. I am a little disappointed with this weeks fare […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 06

There was quite number of still frames this episode so I hope that the animation budget isn’t starting to hurt. So our heroes triumph over the villains with a little help from Elizabeth. She showed some actual enginuity for once. As I was about to sigh as the villain was preparing to blab on about […]

Shingeki no Bahamut:Genesis- 05

Ah, the story progression that I was looking for. I finally find myself having a reason to get attached to Leone and Kaisar, because this episode devotes an entire episode to their rivalry and is just all around an improvement from last episode. I’ve talked about how the slow pacing hurts this show, and this […]

Parasyte-the Maxim- 03-05

Let me put up a disclaimer: When I first started to review this series, I didn’t foresee the obvious outcome that this show would end up so mediocre. I debated whether or not I should write reviews in groups of 2-3 episodes versus reviews that would drone on about the same issues every single episode, […]

Your Lie in April – 04 & 05

Episodes 4 and 5 of Your Lie in April were crucial ones in terms of how the series would develop. Episode 4 was a very important episode in the series as we see Kousei reintroduce himself to the music world after his mother’s death left him unable to play the piano. How the writers would […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 05

Always elegant. That is the motto of the Tohsaka household and the mask of Tohsaka Rin. The meaning clearly that no matter what you do, do it with style and grace. It is the creed which Rin upholds by playing the honor student. Though as you can see, at times cracks can appear in the […]

Nanatsu no Taizai – 05

One of the problems facing this series is the presentation of threats. In many other shounen you can just bring out some powerful villain and have him force the protagonist to get stronger. In seven deadly sins however our main characters are already veteran legendary warriors with tremendous power. So just adding in a strong […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]