Rich (Webmaster)

Based on: Anime DVD Vols 1-4 (Whole Series)

UK Distributor:  N/A

Ages ago I saw an advert for this on the back of an issue of Super Manga Blast! and really liked the drawing style, however I didn’t really think about it again till our local Forbidden Planet got the art book in.  I was leafing through it and was struck by the clarity and style of the sketches and paintings and vowed to buy the first DVD.

On getting the DVD I was more than impressed by the animation and drawing in the series.  The artwork on NieA_7 is fantastic, with as much care and attention being given to it as a full anime film which is extremely unusual in a series.  Stylistically it is vaguely reminiscent of the Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart except that it is not above using traditional anime series devices such as speed lines, random cut scenes and heavily stylised expressions.

The story is unusual – aliens are here, but they didn’t invade, they emigrated to Earth and now co-exist with us causing, well, basically no changes at all.  Mayako struggles with her numerous jobs and cram school study whilst attempting to keep her meagre food supplies away from an alien scrounger – NieA – who lives in her cupboard.

Mayako is a good character, nice, quiet, conscientious and generally pretty normal.  She copes with her struggle realistically and only seems to lose it when dealing with NieANieA, however, is a deliberately annoying bum who doesn’t do anything useful except provide an excuse for some odd situations and comedy.  This may sound like it doesn’t work – but it does.

The comedy is usually extremely funny (the source of power for NieA’s UFO in the first episode being a good example) and the story is good but it has a strange underlying feeling of melancholy which is unusual for a comedy.  NieA_7 is more thoughtful than most series and you do get the impression that a couple of meaningful subplots are on the horizon – mainly involving Mayako’s father and NieA’s lack of antenna/social status.  However, these potential subplots are never elaborated on and this is where it falls down a little, only hinting at these things early on may cause some people to lose interest.  The annoyance factor of NieA herself is a turn off too.

However, even though these plotlines don't go anywhere a plot does develop near the end of the series involving NieA and the mother ship.  When this plotline kicks in the comedy subsides and, with the absence of NieA for several episodes, the melancholy takes over.  This isn't a bad thing though; with the introduction of this plot the story is saved from getting bogged down in repetitiveness and as the plot develops it plays even more on the whole feeling of nothing really changing.

At the end of the day the great animation, great artwork, brilliant comedy, and a superbly original soundtrack – comprising mainly of some great blues music – overcome the minuses and make NieA_7 an interesting and original work that is well worth a look.

Best Bit:  NieA's UFO in the first episode.

Worst Bit: The live action Indian Cultural lessons at the end of each episode.


Feature:   Extras: N/A

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