The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

NieA_7

Title: NieA_7 aka NieA Under 7
Genre: Comedy
Company: Triangle Staff
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 26 Apr 2000 – 19 Jul 2000

Synopsis: It’s been many years since the aliens first arrived on Earth and started living with the regular people. Now their pointy ears and antennae seem commonplace. NieA, a rank ‘under seven’ alien, has taken to living in Mayuko’s closet. While Mayuko balances three jobs and school, NieA keep busy seeking out free food and building not-quite-functional UFOs out of junk in the middle of her room.

The Highlights
NieA’s obsession with food: Unending.
Aliens: Completely unnecessary.
Comedy: Annoying, repetitive and misplaced.
Sound effects: Too many, too often, too corny.
Ending: That’s it?

This series was painful to watch. From the very first episode, NieA_7 establishes itself as an awkward, predictable and irritating supposed comedy that made me cringe more times than laugh. The characters spend most of their time whining or yelling at each other with their arguments never changing. I soon came to dread any conversation between Mayuko and NieA regarding work or food. If it wasn’t funny in the first episode, it certainly wasn’t funny in the thirteenth. To augment these interactions, the series employs a wide variety of strange faces and annoying camera angles to capture the worst of its characters. Even more irritating is the overuse of sound effects. These effects should enhance the story, yet it seems as if the creators had just opened a brand new box of sound effects and wanted to try them all out. I think I heard every snap, crackle and pop in existence.

Also frustrating is the fact that the aliens are completely unnecessary. The difference between aliens and humans is never crucial to the story and only serves to introduce characters almost as annoying as NieA herself. These delightful additions include: an East Indian alien with a giant head who organizes meetings just to get people to eat his curry, a girl who thinks she is better than everyone else at said meetings and overreacts to everything, and a man who says nothing but “water” for the entire series. None of these characters have meaningful arcs or contribute anything solid to the plot, of which there is very little. Several times mention is made to the rank system the aliens have and the fact that NieA is an ‘under seven’, but it makes absolutely no difference. The series did not take advantage of this set-up to bring up issues of discrimination or self-esteem except for “comedic” purposes. The whole lot of aliens are just there for laughs and form the worst part of a poor series.

Aside from the aliens, the story focuses on Mayuko, who is sweet and hard-working if a little indecisive. She works hard to support herself with the help of her several employers and friends. When the series takes a more dramatic turn in the second half, it is Mayuko’s lack of ambition that forms the focus. She loses the motivation to keep pushing herself towards an unknown goal. She seeks advice from the bathhouse manager Kotomi, with whom she share some interesting conversations about life. Also helping is Genzo, a childhood friend who drops by to give Mayuko rice as an excuse to visit her. The worst that can be said about these segments is that they are a bit bland and boring. I can’t help but think that if the creators had cut out the aliens completely, this might have made for an alright slice-of-life series about growing up and discovering one’s passions. Instead the plot flounders and nothing really happens. Several story elements are introduced and then never properly conclude, including what Mayuko decides to do with her future. This means that essentially all of the pain and suffering through NieA and the aliens is for nothing.

I am left wondering what the creators were trying to achieve here. They do not tell a cohesive story; they generate no laughter; and as if to add salt to the wound, they hand NieA_7 what is possibly the worst opening theme music in all of anime. In fact, the ending theme music is really the highlight of the whole series.

The Rating: 3
3/10

Reviewed by: Kaikyaku

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