published in Empire No.68, Sydney
Understandably, otaku-culture and the world of fandom can be off-putting to those not involved with anime's self-absorbed intricacies. Western otaku particularly play a 'revenge of the nerds' type of exclusivity that can be wearing even for those who hold a serious appreciation of anime. But once in a while an anime comes along that is simultaneously rooted in the otaku ethos while completely parodying its obsessions.
Enter Martian Successor Nadesico. A feature film generated after the original series has concluded, this film version is not unlike a doujinshi (fan manga) version of the original. It openly mocks all its characters as well as those who love them. Yet it does so with a deft balance of affection and acid.
There is a story: cute cosplay doll Ruri now captains the Nadesico B space ship while key side-kicks Akito and Yuika have passed away. Ruri is sent to investigate strange occurrences tied to the 'warp shifting' known as 'boson jumping'. But really, this film is more about how one plays with the conventions and clichés of popular anime. When viewed at this level, Nadesico is an exhausting hysterical ride through otaku-ville. Maniacal with its satirical pot-shots, rapid in its sure-firing, this is gag-anime on another plane.