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sterfish's NieA_7 Tv Review

NieA_7 tv Review

Story & Characters

An alien spaceship crashes in Japan and 20 years later...the aliens have assimilated into the culture. This is the backdrop for Niea_7 (a.k.a. Niea Under Seven), a show that doesn’t have a real plot. It’s a “slice-of-life� show, one that focuses on the lives of its various characters. The main character is a young woman named Mayuko. She is a poor cram school student who works multiple jobs and lives in a room over the bathhouse her family used to own. She shares the room with Niea, a freewheeling, freeloading alien with a large appetite and a penchant for collecting junk and making “spaceships.� Also, unlike most aliens, Niea has no antenna.

There is also a large cast of colorful characters that populates this show. Chiaki goes to cram school with Mayuko and is obsessed with aliens. Kotomi is the enterprising owner of the bathhouse who tries various wacky ideas to increase business. Mr. Yoshioka takes care of the bathhouse’s boiler and is obsessed with fire and burning. Genzo is Mayuko’s childhood friend who quiet and kind of shy. Karna is an alien clearly influenced by the Chinese radio transmissions her antenna receives. She can’t stand Niea. Chada is an alien who looks and talks like a stereotypical person from India. He even runs a convenience store. Chie is a precocious little girl who helps her father run the restaurant that Mayuko does deliveries for.

These great characters (and their various struggles) give the show a lot of depth considering the lack of a real plot. You actually care about the characters in this show, something that cannot be said about many shows. There are also several themes at work throughout the show that tie in with the characters perfectly. Everything just comes together well.

Rating: 8

Art

Given that the great Yoshitoshi ABe worked on this project, it makes sense that the art is very good. Character designs are very distinctive, appealing, and closer to reality. There are no unnatural hair colors and no unrealistic body types. The alien characters look different but similar enough to humans to justify their ability to fade into society. The scenery of Enohana, the town where Niea_7 takes place, is rendered beautifully. It feels like a real place. Despite the frequent shifts in mood (the show can go from quiet to wacky at the drop of a hat), the animation looks good throughout. This is a show whose budget was put to good use.

Rating: 8

Sound

The sound in this show is very well done. The opening song is very different from a traditional anime OP, with a Bob Dylan-esque feel to it. The background music is slow, relaxed, and mostly acoustic. It fits the show’s quiet feel perfectly. The ending song continues the relaxed acoustic feel.

The vocal performances in both languages are great. The English dub ranks among the better ones I’ve heard. The actors are well cast and they navigate the show’s mood shifts pretty well. The English voice of Niea is sometimes a little grating, but it fits Niea’s personality.

Sound becomes important in the later episodes of the show, and the sound effects used add a lot to the show’s atmosphere. Subtle effects like changes in radio static add another level of enjoyment to the show.

Rating: 8

Presentation

Overall, the show’s presentation is very good. It can be very funny at times. The frequent clashes between Mayuko and Niea provide most of the laughs, but the other characters provide big laughs as well. Chada's naivete leads to some of the show's funniest scenes and situations. Yet, it can also be sad and almost depressing. Mayuko doesn’t really have a social life to speak of and it’s clear that she’s not very confident in herself. The episode where Mayuko is invited to a group date shows how pathetic she can be. Niea is loud and brash, yet that may be her way of dealing with her low-class status. Even as the shifts between the two are sometimes sudden, they somehow work within the show.

This show is not for everyone. It’s funny and compelling, sad but hopeful, wacky and low-key, simple in plot but complex in terms of its characters. It’s a show full of contrasts. Yet, they all come together in a concise 13-episode series. When it ended, I wanted to see more of these characters and how they live their daily lives.

Rating: 8

Final Verdict

8.00 (good)

Reviewed by sterfish, Nov 21, 2004

Comments

  1. k9999 Nov 24, 2004

    :) :D :angry: XD XO :o :nya: :hmpf: :\ -_- :sweat: ^_^'

  2. nainoi Oct 06, 2009

    It's interesting.

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