Akito Tenkawa is a teenage guy who just wants to live a normal life. Of course, it'd also be nice if he could find out what really happened that fateful day in Mars when his parents died in a mysterious "accident". Yurika Misumaru, on the other hand, is a teenage girl who had just been appointed as the captain of the Nadesico -- a newly developed warship set to travel to Mars and try to save whatever is left there. A sudden twist of fate puts Akito in Yurika's path and somehow Akito ends up as a cook / back-up pilot at the Nadesico. Akito discovers that Yurika is actually a childhood friend of his back in Mars and Yurika promptly falls head-over-heels for the indifferent Akito. Akito in the meantime doesn't care about anything except finding out what really happened to his parents in Mars. But leaving for Mars isn't going to be as easy, as some organizations believe that the Nadesico should stay and help protect the Earth. With a very determined captain and crew though, the Nadesico breaks all the rules and takes off for Mars... where no one knows what lies waiting.
Hailed as one of Japan's most popular anime series, Martian Successor Nadesico is simply outstanding. From the plot to all the details, Nadesico leaves no stone unturned, and I have nothing but positive things to say about it.
Nadesico is not deep, heavy, nor philosophically profound like Evangelion, but rather it's more of straightforward fun and entertainment. No, it's not shallow or mindless but you need not ponder endlessly to get the show's message(s). Things develop at a very good pace, and watching the first few eps will surely get you hooked.
Nadesico has all the elements one could possibly want in an anime series -- action (both mecha and non-mecha), adventure, sci-fi, comedy, romance, drama, and a cast of great characters. I'm amazed at how amidst serious situations where some characters actually die, Nadesico still manages to pull off its light overall mood and elicit a chuckle or two. There is a wide variety of characters -- from the impulsive Akito, the dense but capable Yurika, to the seemingly emotionless Ruri... surely someone for everyone. As is usually the case with a lot of anime series, most of the girls onboard are eventually attracted to the main guy, Akito.
The art and animation are superbly done and are pretty consistent -- from the people to the spaceships, and down to the mechs. The English dubbing is okay too (although I remain partial to the original Japanese voices). Nadesico lives up to all the hype surrounding it, and is a truly enjoyable series.
Nadesico features an amusing "classic" mecha anime show entitled "Gekigangar" (sort of like a spoof / parody of Voltes V), which Akito is a die-hard fan of. As the series progresses, more and more of the Nadesico's crew become fans of "Gekigangar" as well.