NieA_7 (ニアアンダーセブン Nia Andā Sebun?), also known as NieA under 7, is a 13 episode anime series about Mayuko, a poor, introverted student who lives above a Japanese bathhouse, and NieA, a freeloading, freewheeling alien who lives in her closet and eats her food. The series begins on a light comedic tone (most of the early episodes are about schemes to rejuvenate the bathhouse), and deepens somewhat as it explores the evolving relationship between Mayuko and NieA, but the overall ending is upbeat.
The series touches lightly upon issues of discrimination, stereotypes, alienation, city life vs small town life, and assimilation. Mayuko, who attends a cram school, is a young girl living away from her family and expresses a lot of melancholy. NieA, who is apparently placed in an inferior class by her fellow aliens due to being a physical minority among them, immediately accuses anyone who calls her a 'stupid no-antenna' or the like, of discrimination. Other aliens adopt various stereotypical cultural styles, one chooses Indian dress and opens a convenience store, another chooses to associate herself with the Chinese revolution. This theme of the outsider alien is carried through in the brief comic live-action sequence which ends each episode, "Dalgit's Tidbit of Indian Information."
NieA_7 is based on a doujinshi by graphic designer Yoshitoshi ABe and published by Kadokawa Shoten. Much of NieA_7's staff was made up of people who had worked on Serial Experiments Lain (director Takuya Sato was the storyboard artist for Lain, Yoshitoshi ABe was the character designer for Lain, etc.); it is commonly supposed that they chose to do this light-hearted series to cool off after the dark and psychologically intense Serial Experiments Lain. This idea is further supported by the character Chiaki, a UFO fanatic who shares a name with Chiaki J. Konaka, the script writer for Lain.
The episodes are:
- Alien & Launching UFO Bath
- Alien & Violence Cosmic Bath
- Alien & Radio Noise Bath
- Alien & Beginner Waitress Bath
- Alien & Dried Up Amusements Bath
- Alien & Rival Hot Spring Bath
- Mothership, Go-Con & Cloudy Skies Bath
- Melancholy & Cast-Off Summer Bath
- Close Encounter & After The Rain Bath
- Glow Of The Firefly & Nocturne Bath
- NieA_7 Bath (Former Part)
- NieA_7 Bath (LatterPart)
- Time Flows By In Enohana Bath
- 2001-08-14 (USA Vol. 1 Poor Girl Blues)
- 2001-09-04 (USA Vol. 2 Funky Water Blues)
- 2001-12-11 (USA Vol. 3 Sayonora Blues)
- 2002-02-12 (USA Vol. 4 Under Seven Blues)
- Opening Theme:
- "Koko Made Oide (Come On Over Here)" by SION (except first episode, which had no opening)
- Ending Theme:
- Mayuko Chigasaki
- Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi (Japanese), Tricia Dickson (English)
- Mayuko "Mayu" Chigasaki lives in a room at the Enohana Bathhouse. She is hardworking, polite, honest, and very self-conscious. Mayuko spends all of her time and energy just making ends meet. She shares an apartment with NieA who she often refers to as a "free loader".
- Voiced by: Yuko Miyamura (Japanese), J-Ray Hochfield (English)
- NieA is a lower-class or "under-seven" alien; she has no antennae. She lives with Mayuko and builds spaceships out of junk. She shares an apartment with Mayu who she often gets into arguments with about money and food.
- Genzo Someya
- Momo Enoshima
- Chiaki Komatsu
- Shuhei Karita
- Chie Karita
- Kotomi Hiyama
- Geronimo Hongo
- Nenji Yoshioka
Info on episodes, theme songs, releases, and voice actors from the ANN article.