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!

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  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 06:29 AM)
    Eh, k-off if your around, theres a documentary film out there about The shinbet Israeli intelligence network recruiting the son of a Hamas leader which made for an interesting, engaging enough watch, it was called The green prince.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 05:54 AM)
    @Emma: I actually haven’t watched Never Let Me Go, but if I enjoy Ex Machina then I might give it a go.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 05:51 AM)
    Not entirely true. Peter used to post quite frequently before his hiatus over a year and a half ago, a quick look at the archives proves the extent of this. His initiative to utilize similar minded authors from his blog both proves his approval of them as well as the plan to post very rarely from then on.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 05:47 AM)
    @Bam: Sunshine let me down with its ending but the rest of the film was strong enough to forgive that somewhat.
    I quite liked his never let me go film, then again I am very much draw to these bleak, dystopian things.
  • agej
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 05:47 AM)
    And all the while, Psgels is paying maintenance fees for the site… That’s all. Sorry for sounding harsh earlier. I didn’t come across clearly enough since I was pooping.
  • agej
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 05:46 AM)
    The blog’s audience stayed for Psgels’ random recurrences and input from foreign bloggers is disenchanting many of these readers because it decreases the perception that Psgels will come back. Thus, people are checking for updates less.
  • agej
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 05:44 AM)
    Thus, in my opinion it is better for the blog if the multi-authorship ends.
  • agej
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 05:43 AM)
    This blog is actually a brand. This isn’t just a site. People only come for the brand because the brand promises quality. This is where the multi-author thing breaks it down. Inundating the feed with foreign tastes is breaking down the integrity of the site’s foundations.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 05:43 AM)
    @Bam: Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson do well enough in it, the build up pays off and the ending/last act is worth sticking around for. In terms of predictability and pacing it jumps around a bit and while the script is thankfully free of too much exposition some of the dialogue is only okayish. Very good claustrophobic atmosphere however and we need more scifi films like this.
  • agej
    (Wednesday, Jan 28. 2015 05:42 AM)
    The main problem I’m having with this scenario is that Psgels’ posts are great. They’re like gems because you know he really likes something if he’s posting about it. Psgels dropped shows he doesn’t like because he doesn’t just write for the sake of filling space on the feed.

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