By most measures of accounting Martian Successor Nadesico was a rather successful series as it managed to not just produce a character whose popularity almost transcended the show itself and helped draw a lot of eyes to the series (and not just eyes as a pretty decent amount of merchandise was made with her including a few items in the last year or so, well over a decade since the airdate) and it claimed numerous fan awards in Japanese magazines as the readers clambered for the series and to apply accolades to it. Noticeably though in a number of these magazine’s polls however was that while Nadesico dominated many of the categories one category in particular seemed to escape it as the “best ending” was something that the fans just didn’t see in the climax and given the somewhat rushed nature that the ending seemed to be plagued with it is rather understandable. Perhaps in response to this impression, or because the show’s producers saw that there was still easy money sitting on the table or perhaps a mix of both as they worked on the motion picture the production staff created an OVA that serves as much as an improvement to the finale for the TV series as it does a bridge to cover an important event that comes between the TV end and the movie and which is part of the heart of the Prince of Darkness motion picture.
The Gekigangar 3 OVA is set a short period of time after the war with the Jovian Lizards has ended and the two former warring parties have come to at least a tentative peace. In the aftermath it appears that the anime series Gekigangar that both those on the other side as well as the Nadesico crew fell in love with has seen a not unusual under the circumstances level of renewed interest and now the fresh life is allowing for the franchise to get a revival as its theatrical film is being shown and selling out, the first part of which recaps the legendary series while the second part is purported to be a new transfer from the original reel. With such a big event going on no Gekigangar fan could miss this event and the audience finds that this extends to some familiar faces as Akito, Yurika, Ruri and Minato all attend the screening together while Akito and Yurika also have a surprise announcement to share with their two friends.
The production is a bit of a tossup as the majority of the material present in the OVA is largely made up of material which appeared in the Nadesico series as the crew became obsessed with the Gekigangar series and when presented here in this form even the addition of a few scene extensions doesn’t exactly provide much in the way of a narrative of its own to that story leaving a finished product that appears to be an even more of an edited down version of what is purported to be already edited to make a compilation film tale in its wake. While the “movie” portion does include a bit more new material it also contains a few bits that seem to contradict what the audience was shown in the parts seen in Nadesico (which itself wouldn’t be unusual actually for an anime movie either) and even a line from Yurika in the “real Nadesico continuity” seems to forget the passion with which she embraced the Gekigangar series near the end of the TV series.
Given the reused footage of a series already not seen in its entirety in the Nadesico series one can easily be forgiven for finding less here then they might have hoped for in terms of either a cap for the Nadesico series itself or a new adventure for the fictional anime-within-an-anime that was Gekigangar 3. In addition to this the animation used for the Nadesico cast is fairly simple as it involves little movement and likely was rather on the cheap side to produce and which doesn’t lend itself to being eye candy like some of the action bits found in the main series. Basically this OVA’s value is dependent on the viewer and their desire to see a little more of both some old friends in the form of the returning Nadesico cast as well as seeing a little more of a look at the anime many of them loved which also pays tribute to the giant robot anime series that many fans of the series may have grown up on much like the series producers. That the release is included on a disc with a number of other extras for the series is probably pretty fitting as its inclusion feels far closer to being an extra than anything standalone even by anime movie/OVA spinoff standards, to the point of it might have justifiably have carried a subtitle of being “For Fan’s Only” in that regard. Watching the OVA it becomes pretty clear why the company that originally licensed the TV series and movie and dubbed them didn’t release this part as well as it isn’t vital and the expense of dubbing it would probably have added too much to the budget for such little perceived added value to the franchise in the US. As a result the release is only present with the original Japanese which, in addition to not looking like it got the same re-mastering that the TV series did may combine with its own shortcomings to some to leave a product that doesn’t really stand well on its own and which may provide little entertainment to a fair portion of the fanbase though its presence on the set along with some extra voice actor interviews, video re-master of the TV and movie as well as a new 5.1 Japanese language track may prove to be a piece of bait that the devoted Nadesico fan can’t miss.