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NieA under Seven Vol.1: Poor Girl Blues
Bilingual DVD
100 minutes
Takuya Sato
yoshitoshi ABe
NieA Project
New Generation Pictures
A show that won't appeal to everyone.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
NieA under Seven Vol.1: Poor Girl Blues
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold

"I'm bringing the life of poverty into new and uncharted territory." - Mayuko.

When talking to other otaku, NieA under Seven isn't the easiest of series to sell them on. It's an off the wall comedic romp from the creators of Lain... which is absolutely nothing like Lain. Just trying to explain that the show is about a cram school student named Mayuko who has a freeloading alien living in her closet is a monumental task.

NieA is an alien under who lacks an antenna, which virtually all the aliens have. The bigger the antenna, the higher the rank. So, say if you have a heart shaped antenna and you can hear radio broadcast from Poland, then you are really set for life... sort of. You see, the aliens crashed on Earth over twenty years ago and have since integrated into human society. Some live within towns with humans, others segregate themselves in villages filled with aliens, and still others, like NieA, sponge off humans and make crappy UFOs out of junk they find.

NieA_7 is a show that has to be seen to be believed. It doesn't have any cute girls in sailor fuku and it doesn't have any insanely perfect guys. What it DOES have are a ton of over-the-top aliens ranging from a Chinese alien that acts like a Rayearth reject to a big headed camel jockey cosplay pervert and some rather plain Japanese bath house workers struggling to get out of debt. Heck, there is even a conspiracy theorist and UFO chaser named Chiaki who enters the fray every now and then to do nothing but encourage NieA to make things worse for Mayuko. In a number of ways, NieA_7 has a lot in common with the show Alien Nation in regards to alien integration, but that's about as far as the similarities go. For viewers, you can pretty much be guaranteed of one thing from each and every episode of NieA_7 - that somehow, each episode will end in the characters taking a bath. How they get to that point is all part of the continuing story that'll make your sides hurt from laughter.

The opening theme song ‘Koko Made Oide' is not exactly what I call a sweet-sounding tune. The vocals are rough and depressing, while the ending song is quite the opposite in that it is upbeat and hopeful. Yet, the opening animation does bear a number of similarities to that of Lain's, such as the weird angles and the use of a raven.

DVD-wise, the show sports a rather unique extra... footnotes which act as a glossary to some of the Japanese words, foods, and items that are presented in the series. Sure, I have to say I knew most of them, but I'm sure someone will learn something they didn't know. There are also a line art gallery and a non-credit opening as well as a special sheet of character standees included in the package. The one thing I was turned off by with this DVD is the fact that it is Macrovision encoded which means the picture does degrade a bit.

This being a DVD only release, the show sports a remarkably good dub track which marks the debut of J-Ray as the voice of NieA. J-Ray brings a much needed new voice to the voice actor fold, and does a unique job at that. The voice of NieA, though not exactly the same, matches the tone of NieA's actions rather closely and so does Mayuko's voice Tricia Dickson, but there is one voice that really steals the show and that is the voice of Karna, Casey Strand. Just hearing her scream and carry on is nothing short of hilarious. I wonder how hard it was to get a performance that actually turned out better than the that of the original Japanese voice actor, Tomoko Kawasaki.

I've found myself being asked by more than a few people which is better, Hand Maid May or NieA under Seven. The answer is dependent on one's personal tastes. The show's concept is so off the wall that it won't appeal to the average viewer who likes their comedies high in fan service. Where Hand Maid May is dependent on a large female supporting cast to keep the story going in different ways, NieA_7 relies more on the plot lines that stem from the problems NieA causes. It's a hard choice to make, and I would recommend May over NieA only if you wanted a shorter series (a whole volume shorter) with a bit more cuteness going for it. The shows are on equal terms when it comes to the comedic aspects. One thing is certain, Niea_7 is a welcome divergence from the likes of Seriel Experiments Lain.

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