Ai Yazawa drew the manga which the anime is based on. Like her previous series, “Nana” features plenty of mature sexual situations and dramatic dialogue about lost love. However, the anime escalates the power of this manga with an edgy punk rock atmosphere.
The story involves two characters, who happened to meet each other on a train to Tokyo. Their first names are Nana. Though they are completely different types of people, they get along instantly. Although they separate, they meet once again by sheer happenstance when they are looking for an apartment to live in.
Sure, it’s just a coincidental meeting, but the price is reasonable if they share the apartment. So by complete luck, the two Nanas become roommates and best friends.
Although this is a fictional anime about two strangers becoming close friends, the story involves more than just two girls. They each have bad luck in finding boyfriends who stay committed. Nana Komatsu is a polite-mannered girl whose boyfriend doesn’t have enough time to see her very often. Nana Osaki is an orphan whose boyfriend left her to make a name for himself as a rock star in Tokyo.
The series is a masterpiece in its message of feminism and independence. Although there’s plenty of emotional and sexual romance in the beginning, it’s clear from the beginning that both Nanas really want more out of their love life. Economic freedom. Independence from the typical family lifestyle.
The series actually draws plenty of comparisons to “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” an anime by Hayao Miyazaki where a girl must face the nitty gritty difficulties of life, such as saving money to buy groceries instead of fancy clothes. The only big difference is that both of the Nanas’ coming of age involves a punk rock band.
However, “Nana” is even more based on slice-of-life experiences in Japan. In this anime, the city of Tokyo is alive with sexy rock stars and cross-dressing fashion styles. At the same time, there’s trendy, cute girl-like decorations for the trendy Nana Komatsu. And there’s also a slew of economic pressures involving Komatsu’s shopping sprees.
Certainly “Nana” will probably be the most eclectic of all the anime series this year. However, it conveys a universal theme involving characters who are missing the love they had as a child, as well as characters who push forward to find that love.
My only grudge with this box set is that it doesn’t hit its big emotional peak yet. Most of the intense angst and frustration was purposefully left until box set two. However, this first box will definitely satisfy fans of the manga, as well as anyone else who loves punk rock, sex comedies and intense drama. In other words, there’s something for everyone. This is a must-have for everyone to watch.
- Interview with Nana director Morio Asaka
- Clean opening and closing sequences.
Minor setbacks to the series:
- The English dub is great, but the voice actor for Nana Osaki doesn’t sound nearly as cool and mature as she should be. Then again, I have my biases. Call me un-American, but our United States female rockers don’t act as mature as Japanese female rockers. If you think I’m wrong, just listen to this clip by Jinn and see for yourself.
- There is a point in the anime where the director decided to rehash some of the events in episode one. Although he touches it up with new revelatory scenes, it could have been touched up somewhat.
- The last episode in this box is one of the dreaded recap episodes, where the characters review everything that happened in the previous episodes. Feel free to skip it if you wish.
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