Nazca begins with high-school student Kyoji Miura, a member of his school's kendo club. During a kendo match between Kyoji's sensei, Masanari Tate, he witnesses a shocking event. For a brief instant, Tate suddenly changes form to appear like a brightly colored warrior. Kyoji soon learns that his sensei is actually a reincarnated warrior, Yawaru, from the ancient Incan empire, and it appears that Kyoji is a reincarnation of another warrior, Bilka. Tidings are foreboding though, for Bilka and Yawaru were ancient enemies and it appears that Tate is planning on continuing the conflict.
Nazca puts a bit of a spin on fantasy anime by incorporating a culture very seldom used in such medium; the ancient empire of the Incans. The costumes sported by the characters after they "awaken" their other selves are bright and vivid with rich colors and flowing decorations. Truly, the conceptual designs are quite well done. The characters themselves are moderately engaging on the whole. I actually preferred the Incan warrior incarnations to the modern-day versions. Kyoji seems like your typical male high-school student protagonist who's entering a conflict he doesn't understand or even care about. Tate is a somewhat apathetic antagonist, but doesn't quite strike me as a true villain. That role is reserved for Shiogami and I can say without hesitation that he embodies every trait a scum-sucking-wish-you-were-dead villain should. And let's not forget Yuka, the fair damsel caught in the middle between two bitter foes (do I smell a romantic triangle?). The characters are a bit cookie-cutter, but their Incan counterparts make things at least somewhat interesting. Hopefully, the depth of each will be explored in more detail as the series progresses.
While the Incan theme in Nazca is certainly unique, the actual storytelling could use some work. The overall plot is just your basic good versus evil conflict, and at the moment, is quite predictable. As I stated, there are also some hints at a romantic triangle developing, but again, that's a predictable plot device that's used far too often. Considering the uniqueness of the Incan theme, I was hoping for Nazca would have slightly more original storytelling. As it stands, I've pretty much guessed how the series will play itself out, but there's always the hope that some original flair will be introduced. The flow of Nazca could also stand some improving. For example, the events beginning the third episode take place an entire two weeks after the end of the second episode. So I'm supposed to believe that absolutely nothing happened during those two weeks? Unlikely. Also, some situations seem rather glossed over, such as Kyoji and Yuka's trip to Peru. They arrive in Peru and boom! suddenly discover a mysterious temple. And when Kyoji discovers Yuka is missing, he seems to have little trouble finding her in the middle of a huge wasteland. Then there's Tate's sudden appearence to confront Kyoji and Yuka in the middle of a desert, or his showing up to aid Daimon while he's being attacked by street punks. How is it he's always in the right place at the right time? There are many instances where events just happen a little too conveniently for realisms sake. Some better pacing is definitely in order.
Production quality is fairly solid with a few lapses. The artwork and animation are typical anime fare with vivid colors and nice backgrounds. Some CG effects are used as well with mixed results. The temple in the second episode looked quite poor especially with the 2D characters pasted on top of it. The music is fairly good on the whole, highlighted by the main theme composed by none other than Johann Sebastian Bach. I really wish more anime would have classical works incorporated in them. The English voice acting started off a little weak, but seems to be improving with each subsequent episode. The only real exceptions are Shiogami's raspy overacted voice and a few instances of unnecessary profanity.
I have mixed feeling about Nazca right now. I really love the concept and use of the Incan theme, but at the same time, I can't help but feel cheated by the lackluster storytelling. Here's hoping Nazca improves as the series continues.
|last modified: 05-26-03||The Anime Critic and associated content © 1999-2003 Pete Harcoff. All rights reserved.|