NieA Under 7
NieA_7: Domestic Poor Animation
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: KAWASUMI Ayako
Original Concept - ABE Yoshitoshi
R1 License - Pioneer (Defunct)

Mayuko Chigasaki is a young woman struggling to make it in life. Early every morning, she delivers newspapers in her small town of Enohana. She attends a cram school in Tokyo by day, taking the bus and the train to get there. After school, she works at a local small eating establishment where she is the delivery girl. In the evenings, she works at the local (old) bath house in exchange for living in a small room above the facility. So in addition to school, she has three part-time jobs.

If that weren't enough, a lazy alien girl by the name of NieA lives in Mayuko's closet. When she's not demanding or begging the very poor Mayuko for food, she's building UFO's, collecting junk, or otherwise being a "free spirt." With the economy in bad shape, how will Mayuko survive?

[TV series, 2001, 13 episodes, 22 min from the creator of Serial Experiments Lain and Haibane Renmei, based on the manga of the same title. R1 license by Geneon.]

1:29min Series OP (very strange) - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 7 7 6 6 7 Ggultra2764 [series:369#1552]
(Watched 3 episodes, 3 years ago)

This had been the Yohsitoshi Abe title I had yet to see. So thought I'd give it a look and I can't really find myself getting into it. The mix of down-to-earth life with Mayuko and the comedic antics brought about by Niea didn't really clash well as it looks like the show was trying to mix satire in while going subtle looking into different social issues such as struggling businesses and students, as well as discrimination shown with Niea. But I couldn't really find myself getting into the mix. Unless anyone can persuade me, I'm dropping Niea Under Seven without a final review.

(All episodes watched, as of now)

Niea 7 appears to be a mix of slice-of-life comedy and the deep-thinking elements that Yoshitoshi Abe tosses into works like Serial Experiments Lain and Haibane Renmei with its focus on the daily financial struggles of Mayuko and freeloading alien Niea. What is supposed to allow the former element to stick out comes in the form of the aliens that are a part of the city populace with humans behaving with indifference with their addition to their lives. But outside of some bizarre moments such as Mayuko and the hot springs resort workers trekking through a jungle with live man-eating plants and a Hindu-wannabe alien, Niea 7 isn't much different from many slice-of-life titles in that its comedic delivery is quite hit or miss and its mundane mood may not be for everyone. The deep-thinking part of the series is better executed with its focus on Mayuko and Niea reflecting on their place in life in the title's second half as both are outcasts in the societies they are a part of with Mayuko being impoverished and Niea regularly dealing with discrimination. As to be expected of an Abe title, the clear message that Mayuko and Niea get from their reflecting is vague and open to whatever interpretation the viewer takes from the series. Overall, my thoughts of Niea are rather mixed as the slice-of-life comedic element to Niea 7 can be an acquired taste compared to Abe's more memorable works and doesn't have much of a plot and/ or atmosphere to hook you into the series as Lain and Haibane do. Some of the show's bizarre humor and deeper moments do shine through. But for the most part, I feel rather indifferent towards the series. But considering it does have some solid merits, I'll keep the series in Rent territory.

Last updated Friday, July 26 2013. Created Wednesday, June 23 2010.
Buy 9 8 9 8 9 9 Dreamer [series:369#2279]
This is one really enjoyable slice of life anime. Such a simple story that really shines in every aspect of story telling.

Art, Animation & Character Designs
The artwork was pretty good. It was nothing out of the ordinary however. The animation was on par as well. The character designs I thought were a notch above the norm. NieA was strangly cute in her annoying ways. Some of the facial expressions and bodily expressions were just excellent! There was a lot of details put into the character's facial expressions.

The OP was pretty good. Even though the voice was really strange at first, it kinda grew on me. The voice sounded like some old man with stripped throat and ready to fall over dead... hehehe! But after a few episodes, I really started liking this Jazz piece and googled it for information. I had to slap myself in the forehead after searching for hours and only to find it mentioned right below me.... in Jan-Chan's review.... hehehe!

Series and Episode Story
As simple as this story is, it still amazingly shines. What you have here is a simple tale of a poor cram school girl who's living along a freeloading alien living in her closet. There are plenty of laughs to be had as well. Some scenes.... especially with Mayuko's butt catching on fire, was a hilarious sequence that had me chuckling for a good few minutes. One of the things I really enjoyed about this anime was the characters. Although they weren't explored, it wasn't relevant to the story and I don't think it what have worked into the plot anyways. Instead, each character is introduced enough, and with their own set of charms that you automatically fall in love with their character. Genzo for example, a large but shy friend of Mayuko wasn't introduced until later into the series, but because he has such a simple character and evenly balanced in terms of their roles (such as being too annoying, stereotypical, ecchi, etc), that you almost immediately like him. What really made this much more enjoyable was that the episodes were light hearted, silly and told the plot for that episode really well. As for things left "unanswered", in this type of story telling and how well it was done, the "unanswered" questions are not even relevant.

Overall, I found this an excellent series. It's animes like these that make me glad that I got into them. I mean, with such simple, yet so purely enjoyable episodes, it makes one believe that even if it doesn't have a dramatic plot, or plot twists, or blood and violence, it still can be superb.

Last updated Thursday, May 07 2009. Created Thursday, May 07 2009.
Rent 9 9 8 7 7 7 AstroNerdBoy [series:369#436]

The problem I had with NeiA_7 is that it had such a difficult time trying to be a comedy anime and a serious, "thinking" anime as ABe-sensei has done with Serial Experiments Lain and Haibane Renmei. The serious side is handled better than the comedy, mainly I think do the ABe-sensei's comfort with the former.

So why didn't the comedy work for the most part? For starters, the setting was much to bleak to have this kind of wacky, bickering, and sometimes slapstick comedy. In the first episode, we are shown just how poor Mayuko is. She just has enough money to pay for cram school, pay for bus & train fair to Tokyo and back, and almost nothing else. So when a desperate man at a meat stand has lowered the price on some meat super-low, Mayuko splurges to buy a small amount. When she gets home, NeiA wants some too and the verbal fight that breaks out is supposed to be funny. It wasn't.

It went on like this. The bath house and the tiny eating joint that Mayuko works at are both dooing poorly further adding to the misery of the situation. And yet the wacky humor is forced into the situation and while at times it made me smile, it almost never made me laugh. I did get some chuckles from the alien who looked like a big-headed person from India. He also provided the best laugh when he opened up his own bath house for an episode. Aside from that, the humor just didn't work.

Speaking of the Indian-alien, his Indian accent came through on the Japanese version. I believe Allan Schintu was his seiyuu which might explain that. Having the running joke at the end of each episode with real life Indians making various statements in Japanese was odd, but then this is sort of an odd title, so it fit.

The serious side is filled with the normal ABe-san metaphors on life, growing up, and even discrimination from various places including your own people. Due to the forced humor, these don't come off as deep as ABe-sensei's other titles and frankly I just blew them off.

Finally, there were all the unanswered questions. The aliens are as big a mystery to me after episode 13 as they were at episode 1. The giant UFO is completely bizarre since it didn't seem to serve a purpose other than to reflect on how things change and after a while, that change becomes normal. I didn't understand why NeiA apparently chose to be an "Under 7" classification of alien (which is as low as you can get). NeiA not having an antena seemed only to serve as a platform for discrimination and racism, but it didn't work that well as I mentioned earlier.

A word on Pioneer/Geneon's R1 work. The dub cast seems pretty good and the subtitles are pretty accurate. However, as usual, the Japanese honorifics are mostly ignored save for a couple of "-sans" turned into "Mr." or "Ms." depending on who was talkng. I find it humorous that two people addressing the same person with the "san" honorific get different English subtitle treatments -- one with a Mr./Ms. and the other without. Also, NeiA was always addressed as "NeiA-chan" by certain characters, but the subtitles switched between translating this as "little" and ignoring it. Gah! If the Japanese words "bento" and "sayonara" are OK to leave in the subtitles, then leave the bloody honorifics in too and keep the character relationships intact!

Bottom line: I found this to be just an average anime with beautiful art that unsuccessfully tries to blend wacky comedy with serious metaphoric moments. It is between a "Watch" and a "Rent", but since I don't regret renting it, I'll give it a "Rent."

Last updated Wednesday, April 06 2005. Created Tuesday, March 29 2005.

Buy 9 8 7 10 7 7 Jan-Chan [series:369#967]
Hummm growl hufff .. puffff . Mmmm I think I have something to say that has not yet been said.

Read the other reviews if you what to understand what this series is about, but I have to admit that I think that I really like this series for what it has to offer. NieA-under-7 has done something that no other series has been able to do -- be innocently and honestly entertaining and charming. With a 0% violence content and having a 100% charm and personality rating, this anime series tells a very strange and fun story of a poor female student, who lives with an even stranger younger alien girl in a bath house. I loaned this anime series to a friend for her 5 year old to watch, and the 5 year old ABSOLUTLY LOVED IT!! (Mom told me that she watched it 4X and the little one asked mom if Jan-chan had any more anime that she could watch...sigh) But, the little one did ask why is the mans voice in the opening song so strange (it is a jazz song sung in Japanese by someone with a Tom Waits type of voice (here is his Rain Dogs Song) , which is absolutely exquisite for anyone who likes Tom Waits).

The only other series that might even come close to this one might be His and Her Circumstances (Kareshi Kanojo no Jijoo), but this is about a teenage romance, which a five year old might not understand. So, what I can say is there is something very distinctive and amazing in this series, but it is not ordinary or easily definable. While appearing to be very simple, it tells a story that does not talk-down to viewer, nor does it try to pull tricks or fast ones (plot twist ... hope you don't notice.) You might just have to watch it for yourself, to decide if you like this series. But in any case, I am happy to have it in my lending library as a truly amazing and wondrous 13 episodes of (Pioneer) English dubbed anime. (humm, so what do I say, there is a charm in this series, but you might have to be a true-child to find it!!!)

Last updated Thursday, June 18 2009. Created Wednesday, April 14 2004.
Rent 9 7 10 5 5 0 Kaali [series:369#1285]
[I have watched this series only once.]
I was waiting for something remarkable when i heard that this anime was from Yoshitoshi Abe, as many others in here, i loved Haibane Renmei and Serial Experiments Lain. I think that NieA_7 is more like Haibane Renmei than anything like Lain.
It seems that there really ain't any specific storyline except for the life of the characters. So in a way this anime is kind of a "feel-good" "think-about-it" kind of entertainment, where you are not supposed to wait for the next cliffhanger or twist in the story, but you are just hinted to lay back and enjoy the ideas and lifestyle's of the characters shown on the screen. I have seen many movies that are like this, and enjoyed them a lot.
I had many revelations about this series that i can relate to my own life, and my own thoughts about life itself. But it seems that everything in this anime is really really subtle (except for the apparent comedy sections). To me, this series has some excellent remarks about personal freedoms of life and some political/philosophical views of bureacrazy & ranking of people. For example, i was first annoyed by the character of NieA, but in my opinion you can see that she is just doing it for fun and enjoyment of herself and others. She is truly free as is said by one character of the series. But throughout the series she still retains many hints of deep thinking abilities, which actually allows her to act so care-free in the hard life that characters are living in.
The humour of the series didn't get to me, it seems that it is just made to rhythm the series a bit so that it won't get too monotonous.
This series is quite hard to put on paper, maybe my "review" might make you watch it, maybe not. The series is very likely to get very split reviews about it. I'm certain that most of the action-comedy audience won't enjoy this series. But if you like series that tells about a simple tale of life and it's hardships, i'm sure you will enjoy it.
- Art: I have always liked the art of Yoshitoshi Abe.
- Animation: Animation was quite mediocre, there wasn't anything special to it and it wasn't bad either.
- Character Design: The anime is just a play on characters, which actually were quite life-like so i gave a high score for it.
- Music: There wasn't anything that really catched me, i'm not even sure if there was music playing at the background, except for when NieA listened to records or radio. Well, one song caught me: "Hill Road Ballad". It's a nice song that played in Lain too.
- Series Story rating: I rated it low because there really isn't a specific storyline in it. Still give it some points because the characters themselves make up the "storyline".
I'll have to watch it again to complete my review.

Last updated Sunday, March 21 2004. Created Sunday, March 21 2004.
Watch 9 7 7 5 7 5 Devil Doll [series:369#752]
[Score: 66%]
Having another Yoshitoshi ABe series in my all-time top 3, I could not possibly dare to miss this show. So despite Courtney's "bashing" and some other reviews below, I decided to watch this series to the end.
And that turned out to be a good decision, although this is neither Haibane Renmei nor Serial Experiments Lain. The first six episodes were more or less fillers IMHO, but I found the second half of the series really interesting. And the ending... you know the problem with animes and endings, don't you?
In many ways NieA_7 looks like the 'test model' of what then became the wonderful Haibane Renmei just one year later. The art and the slow narration speed in both series is very similar IMHO, and Mayuko & NieA might well have served as prototypes for Reki & Kuu (there's at least one identical scene with NieA resp. Kuu doing morning gymnastics). And by the way, does ABe-san use that flying crow sequence in all of his works?
I liked Mayuko right from the start. Getting closer to NieA was problematic to say the least (episodes 11 & 12 helped a lot), but when I understood that I experienced the same problems with NieA that Mayuko had I decided to do the same as she does. And all the other aliens didn't quite impress me at all - they're simply too one-dimensional. On the other hand, Chie and her father were fun to watch (does anyone know the Japanese movie "Tampopo"?), as were all the inhabitants of the bath house. Even Chiaki was quite okay in the end.
This series doesn't focus on philosophical topics so obviously. Yet, there are certain little issues, individual lines that can make you think - such things as bureaucrats deciding whether you exist or not, and wondering what "freedom" might actually mean. This way the series should be more accessible than, say, Lain.
I like the description of living in some (future?) Japanese society in this show; in this aspect Mimi wo Sumaseba might actually come closer to this one than ABe's other works, only that NieA_7 didn't try to manage without nuisance elements (having this type of mood throughout the series some of the 'funny' scenes didn't seem appropriate to me), while Mimi wo Sumaseba did. In a way, even Love Hina might be worth being compared to this show (Mayuko would be a 'ronin' in their terms), although its focus is definitely different.
I hate blues; yet, this might indeed be the right type of music to create a mood of poverty (but not resignation or frustration!) for this story. I still decided to rate this, in order to have an overall score.
I rate this series as about average (with very little violence, no ecchi content, only some nudity scenes because of the bathhouse setting, but nothing offensive). Still, for me Haibane Renmei beats this show in every category.

Last updated Friday, April 08 2005. Created Sunday, November 16 2003.
Buy 7 8 9 6 9 7 poneru [series:369#638]
I watched this series without any idea what it was, and ended up liking it a lot more than I expected. I especialy liked the mood of the series because the music and art gave it a "Sunday morning"feel, very pleasnat, very comfortable.
I wasn't that tremendously impressed with the animation i must say. It was nice and lush at some points, but you could tell the production values were low.Someone's going to shoot me for this, but I actually like the music...
the best part of the entire series however is Mayuko. Sher is the most realistic, believable character i have ever seen. Her reactions to cituations were exactly the same to ones I would have had. You could really tell her emotions. I don't think Niea was that annoying,I blame the English voice actor. After seeing it in Japanese, Ihad a whole new respect for her, even though she is idiotic and stupid.
Well, all in all this is a good series, but i do believe buying it would be a waste of money. It's a good series to just sit and watch on a warm, sunny day when there's nothing better to do but sit back and relax.....

Last updated Friday, June 06 2003. Created Friday, June 06 2003.
Watch 9 8 9 5 7 Mark Clifton [series:369#126]
NieA_7 is a series you either will: A) Like it, B) Hate it, or C) Don't get it, but is okay. I choose 'C' in this case. The animation is gorgious and the characters have lots of depth in them, but I believe they didn't capitalize it strong enough. It's like "hey, look at this" and that's it. Compared to Serial Experiments Lain and Haibane Renmei, it's the weakest of Yoshitoshi Abe's creations.
I would at least watch it if someone has it, but not worth purchase.

Last updated Thursday, January 16 2003. Created Thursday, January 16 2003.
Rent 9 9 9 9 10 8 Krisha [series:369#68]
The first warning I was given before watching this series was "This is not Lain". Granted it's from the same people who created Serial Experiments Lain but if Lain is what you are looking for I suggest you look elsewhere or you will be sorely disappointed.
NieA_7 takes place in a not too distant future where aliens and humans live amongst each other and it's normal. Mayuko is a cram student just trying to get by, Niea is the annoying alien who lives in her closet.
As is to be expected from Yoshitoshi Abe, the character designs are excellent (and the only thing Lain-like about the show) and the animation is a mixed bag combining computer generated animation, with cell style animation, and pencil drawings.
The characters are some of the most unusual in all of anime from the Indian wannabe Chada, to the supernatural junkie Chiaki, to the whipped-by-his-daughter restaurant owner Shuhei Karuta the cast of characters is always amusing.
Aside from the occasional outburst from some of the more lively characters NieA_7 is a very slow moving anime focusing mostly on the relationships between characters and everyday life. Fighting with roommates, struggling businesses in hard times, and cram student life. In fact, Id say that the everydayness of NieA is what turns people off of it and too some it could be quite boring.
After watching NieA_7 I felt like I understood Japanese people a little more. This is one of those series where you sit back and think about it, let it all sink it and then realize how good it really was. I recommend giving NieA_7 a chance, its not everyones cup of tea but if you have the opportunity to see it, take it.

Last updated Saturday, August 03 2002. Created Saturday, August 03 2002.
Avoid 8 9 7 4 4 Courtney [series:369#80]
I heard that NEIA_7 was from the same people who created LAIN so as I purchased it I expected it to be surreal, maybe dark, possibly socio-philosophical, but I didnt count on it being dull and obnoxious.
The character for whom the series was named after earned my hatred about 3 seconds after she opened her squealing mouth. Insulting, petty, immature, deplorable, selfish, and down-right hateful, Niea is contemptible by any standard and if her demeanor was meant to be received as charming, it fell short near a spoiled child throwing a tantrum whenever she hears the word no. I think Niea is the first anime character I have ever scene that offered nothing for me to appreciate about her.
Mayuko, on the other hand, as a pleasure to know for the four episodes I saw. She was very real and sympathetic to me as she tried so hard and often ended up with very little to show for her effort. Mayuko is the kind of person I wish I knew in real life because I thought she would make a wonderful and remarkable friend. And, if I ever show half the character Mayuko exhibits I would be a truly great human being.
Despite the sci-fi undertones, a lot of NIEA_7 is slice of life. Its capable of genuinely funny moments at times, but more often than not any humor is at best forced and cliché and at worst overdrawn and annoying. I virtually hated Nieas presence in any scene as she managed to effectively ruin the series, in my opinion, and I found myself horribly (and unnecessarily) angered as I watched the show. I found I enjoyed myself the most when I watch scenes solely for Mayuko and thought that the series may have gone a lot farther with me if they dropped the alien nuisance and focused on a plot that people might find honest and endearing as they cheered for the hard-working girl trying to make something of her life.
If youre interested in anime not unlike MAISON IKKOKU I recommend you at the least watch come of the series so you can she the very humanized portrayal of sweet Mayuko, otherwise, AVOID NIEA_7 as best you can and race screaming from the room if turned on.
For other titles that examine a life less-ordinary in everyday situations:

Last updated Monday, December 31 2001. Created Sunday, December 30 2001.

Other Sites
NieA_7 page
Official Pioneer webpage for NieA_7

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