Alt title: Jikuu Tenshou Nazca

TV (12 eps)
2.226 out of 5 from 259 votes
Rank #10,283

Kyoji Miura was a normal seventeen-year-old boy; he went to class like any other teenager, and was a member of the school's kendo club. However, when his kendo mentor revealed himself to be the reincarnated spirit of the ancient Incan warrior Yawaru, Kyoji's life changed forever. For it seems that Kyoji is none other than the reincarnated spirit of Bilka, Yawaru's sworn enemy, and it's up to him and his allies to save the world. Yawaru wishes to harness the mysterious and dangerous power of Iriyatesse, and only our heroes can stop him.

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“Yes. No. Maybe. I Don’t Know. Could you repeat the question?” – “Boss of Me” by They Might Be Giants Jikuu Tenshou Nazca is a bit of an infamous anime, but not for anything the anime itself did. No, it’s infamous for being featured in the opening credits of Malcolm in the Middle along with several other lesser known media (such as One Million Years BC, Clash of the Titans, Creature from the Haunted Sea, Thrill Seekers, and clips from a WCW Mayhem PPV just to mention a few). So I had absolutely no idea what to expect when going into this series. To use an exact quote from Malcolm from the middle, specifically Dewey, “I expect nothing, and I’m still let down”. The series follows Miura Kyoji, a dedicated kendo student, who, after rushing to see his Kendo Team Captain and mentor, Tate Masanari, participate in a national tournament. His random enounter with Tate’s fiancee, Yuk a Kiritake, is soon overshadowed when both of them discovers that Tate Masanari is a reincarnated Incan warrior named Yawaru who wishes to destroy the world to purify it after both seeing him briefely transform into Yawaru during the Kendo match. It is soon after that Kyoji discovers that he is the warrior Bilka, who foiled Yawaru’s plans in their previous lives. Yawaru gathers other awakened spirits to release the powers of nature. Now Kyoji must wrestle with his own fate and decide if he is merely a vessel for the reincarnated soul or if he is truly Miura Kyoji and which will be better able to save the world and the future as he knows it. After all my years about wondering where that one clip of that guy grinning in the Malcolm in the Middle opening, my curiosity has been satiated. But not in the good way. Nazca is a bit of a mixed bag even at the best of times to put it nicely, and just flat out just not good the rest of the time. I guess the biggest compliment I could give to the series is that the plot had mild potential. Yeah, the reincarnation stuff is old had in story telling at this point, but it’s something. But of course, the series quickly squanders any potential it had with everything else. Everyone in the English dub sounds bored out of their minds. They all sound like they’re just reading the dialogue off the script without even bothering to have read it before or practice their lines before the recording, with little to no inflection, which I imagine is not too far off the truth. One of the teenagers sounds like he’s been smoking cigarettes for 20 years, and said character has quite a bit of forced cursing as part of his dialogue Another character even says “Aww shit!” about something that’s about to happen to them in an unironic manner. And no, going over to the Japanese dub is minimally better than the English dub at best. I imagine that this was one of those English dubs that had little money put into it since it was a package deal with some other bigger and more popular anime just so they could shove whatever they could onto shelves in the West to jump on that Anime craze going on in the late nineties, and what we got was a stilted script. The animation is also all over the place. Every now and again, in between the mediocre animation, we’re treated to some of the most 90s CGI that I’ve ever seen from a series. It’s hilarious watching two characters slide across the floor of a 3D room that they don’t fit in stylistically with whatsoever. Say what you want about CGI in modern anime, at least the software has significantly improved to the point where it blends a lot better than what the 90’s had to offer (even if half the time it feels lazily put in, but that’s another thing). I guess the design of some of their characters before their reincarnation is OK, but that’s such a backhanded compliment that I don’t consider it a plus. The most interesting thing were the designs of the characters before their reincarnation, and that’s me desperately looking for something to compliment. The series doesn’t feel like it has any natural progression. Usually a scene can come out of nowhere with no transition, and if you’re lucky, it’s followed by another scene of characters sitting down and haphazardly trying to explain what just happened. There’s no smooth in pacing in between scenes whatsoever, and there were times I was confused as to what was going on. It was until a couple of episodes later that I finally realized that the characters had even flown to another country to investigate what’s going on, because the characters were in a completely different location altogether, and while they were there, they got a vision that just made things more confusing. Once the story manage to lay everything out, it wasn’t a very interesting story. Is Jikuu Tenshou Nazca worth watching? Not unless you’ve had the burning question “What was that anime clip from the intro of Malcolm in the Middle from?” for the last 20 years like I did, which is an incredibly niche and obscure question that I doubt that a lot of people would have that question.


The short: better than you expected, but still probably not worth the time. Nazca. What a strange show.Positives: Ok, so Nazca isn't completely without value. It's close, but there's a chance you might be the sort of person who sees something worth watching in it. The story is strange, and sort of a weird mishmash of Native American mythology twisted under a weird bushido acid trip, but it's not wholly unwatchable. There were even moments where I thought, hey, this is maybe not a total waste.There are a few compelling moments and a few interesting character moments that poke into view here and there. With a SERIOUS rewrite there could have been something worth recommending this for.Negatives: The art isn't that great, and the story is...well, it's not good. There's also not enough character development to really get excited about anything. The battle scenes are also rather "meh".Overall, the only people I can really see this appealing to is completionists (i.e. those who would watch it simply to say they have done so...) and maybe there'd be some draw for those who are into Japanese swordcraft or oddly confused Native American mythology mixed as seen through the eyes of a Japanese drug addict.So, now that I've brutalized Nazca, I'll close with a reminder that I did, indeed, finish this show. Which is a lot more than I can say for some others (FLCL comes to mind). And I can distincly remember thinking while watching that the reviews and opinions of it were too harsh. It's bad, but there are a LOT worse shows you could waste your time on. That said...why would you choose either when there are so many other GOOD choices out there?

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