Nana Review

nana_the_anime_wallpaper_by_magikshroom

Episodes :47
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music,Romance, Shoujo, Slice of life

“Don’t just give up, Hachiko.
Life is about getting knocked down over and over, but still getting up each time.
If you keep getting up, you win.”

I don’t think I’ve ever quite seen an anime which is quite as realistic and striking at the same time as Nana. Normally, when you come across a romance mixed with slice of life show, you might already have some kind of idea in your mind of what to expect. Boy meets girl, there are some problems, then things are resolved, things may be hard, things may be tough, there might be a third and fourth person involved but in the end there is usually a positive outcome which you more or less saw coming. So when you see a 47 episode long romance show like Nana, you might be thinking, is it just more of the same over a longer period of time? It might even put you off watching the show, although that’s most certainly the last thing that you should look to do.

Nana is a show that doesn’t really do wishy washy, it’s a serious, mature and down to earth romance which I feel offers something different from other shows in the same bracket. Plus, it’s not even just romance that this show does really well, it deals with the whole slice of life side just as well. Even if you aren’t looking for a romance this show will appeal to you through other channels since the story that is told from the first episode will most certainly grab your attention.

The title of the show actually comes from the two main protagonists in the show, both of whom are coincidentally called Nana. The show starts off with a series of coincidences as well, which is required to set up the show (in case any of you are questioning just how realistic the show is). Our first Nana, whom we will call by her pet name Hachiko to avoid confusion with the other Nana, is a naïve 20 year old who wants to move to Tokyo so that she can live near her boyfriend. She has no other real reason for moving there, the rest of her friends have gone there to pursue career interests, leaving her alone in her hometown. After a year, having decided to leave her liberal parents and two sisters behind, Nana decides to move to Tokyo, still without a certain plan in mind. The show starts off with her on the train with nowhere to sit, all the seats are taken except for one…

Hachiko :D

Hachiko 😀

This other seats happens to be next to our other 20 year old Nana, Nana Osaki. This Nana is a straight up punk rock singer, with her dark lipstick, piercings and guitar in a bag- she pretty much does the stereotype pretty well. However, Nana is very welcoming to Hachiko and invites her to sit with her. Nana has a dream of moving to Tokyo to pursue her dream of being a lead singer in a leading punk rock band. Together they talk about life and eventually find out their similarities, both are 20, both Nana, both moving away from home to Tokyo for the first time…and so, their friendship gets off to a great start. At the Tokyo station Hachiko is picked up by her boyfriend, whom she rushes to as soon as she gets off the train, however the other Nana slips away, going in the other direction.

Nana does what Nana wants

Nana does what Nana wants

MTMxMzMyMTY1NzY0OTU4MjE4

Nice to see you again O.o

Hachiko is saddened that she won’t see her newly made friend however when she is looking for a new place to stay in Tokyo, she bumps into a certain person in the exact same house that she has arranged a viewing for. This is no other than Nana of course. From here on they stay together sharing the apartment, meets each other’s friends, make new friends and go on one hell of a roller coaster ride where life just throws everything at them- the good, bad and ugly.

So far in my little synopsis, all I have really described is a bunch of coincidences, which is a far cry from the realistic nature of the show that I had claimed from the start. However, after these two meet that the real show gets going.

The first thing about this show that will strike you is just how much character development you will see and it’s not only concerning our two Nanas. There are a lot of supporting characters, whom eventually you’ll come to see as pseudo-main characters anyways, who also get so much development. The show takes time to focus on the past experiences of each Nana one at a time and then focuses on showing us how they grow as people over the course of the show. By the end of it, you will feel such an attachment to some characters as well as perhaps you will loathe a few others. The best part however is when you actually don’t know how to feel about a character, sometimes they might do something which makes you think, that’s just not right. However later, as the story moves on you ask yourself, could he have done anything else, isn’t that really just how life is?  The show explorers many different kinds of people, some are the expected personalities but then the show will also pick up on a few other traits and types of people when they make their little cameos. All the little parts together do really help to build up a strong palette of characters. The characters are the ones who really champion the show further and the whole idea of is conveyed pretty well through them. None of them are perfect and each and every one of them will have their own secrets and will make their own mistakes. All of them.

The Black Stones :D

The Black Stones 😀

Now, no show is complete without a good plot. You might have the art-style, you might have the characters but if there is no plot, then things aren’t really going to work out. Given the rather impressive roster of developed characters in the show, there is actually a very intricate plotline to back it all up. The show will often seem to be taking you in one direction, then ending with something rather different instead. The subplots involve relationships, friendships, family, staying away from each other and most importantly the harsh realities of life. What I feel is a strong point for Nana is how the plots aren’t all that clichéd and even for the rare occasions where you might get that feeling, the plots are all treated with a massive dose of reality. This is what sets it apart, you won’t be expecting all the niceties and happy endings- you can never predict what is going to happen.

The show is also a slice of life and as ever some people might find that the story progresses a little bit slowly for their taste and to be honest, the pacing of the show is more or less as it is from the outset. The show will carry on at its own pace and often mix in sudden twists or very gradual but obvious ideas, however it never really feels as if things are going very fast. Now, for a personal slice of life enthusiast, for me the way the story pans out is more or less right where I want it to be. Granted there may be a few slow moments, none of it really detracted from the show. The only negative in the story telling that took me a little getting used to, and this is a personal thing, was when the story would cut back to a previous point in time and tell the story from a different characters point of view. At the beginning it happens a fair amount and when I say it retells parts, I don’t mean small flashbacks, but a literal scene by scene repetition. When it is so unexpected it can catch you off guard and you might almost feel it is “filler” territory but as the show will move on they become much, much less frequent and actually by the end you will come to appreciate what the flashbacks added. So by the end of the show, it wasn’t really a problem for me.

There is a spotlight on the idea of friendships and lasting relationships. Sometimes there isn’t a bad person, sometimes things just happen or life just decides to put you in a difficult situation. Things will not always go the way you plan and this show really does stick to that idea. There are many complex friendship webs but none of it is as simple as it seems. There are the usual spats, the caring and all but over the whole show you will be shown the whole spectrum of things that friendship groups are made to go through.

Friendships can be hard to keep...

Friendships can be hard to keep…

The focus on how chasing your career can often mean you have to make sacrifices is something that comes up a lot over the course of the show too. After all, you cannot have everything handed to you on a plate, something you are forced to choose one option over another and it’s never going to be easy. Whether the characters are choosing friendships over careers or trying to juggle it all at the same time, how each one deals with it is very interesting to watch. Sometimes you will put yourselves in their shoes and will think what you could have done, the show really does get you thinking. You might not like the choices some characters make but you will be able to understand why they made the choice. It’s a never a clear cut choice.

You should understand that the show is a very mature and realistic romance, so it involves a lot of talk about sex, prostitution, mature relationships and the lot. So the show isn’t something I would recommend for a younger audience without a perspective on these sorts of things in life. Sex is a recurring theme and while there is nothing ever shown for those of you who worry (you only ever see their faces or backs while in bed or talking to each other, nothing obscene is ever shown at all I must stress), the theme is present almost from start to end- but it’s not portrayed at all in a glorifying way, it is used to convey the message which the show is trying to pass on.

From an art-style point of view, given how old the anime is, the art and designs certainly won’t be jumping out at you and some of the character faces may not be to everyone’s tastes. However, it is still very watchable and to be honest there was nothing wrong with it, I personally liked Nanas design with her punk theme and here massive round eyes. In a way, it all works quite nicely with the theme of the show. The music in the show, especially the OPs and EDs were all quite nice. I never really skipped the OPs and would class them on the higher end of average, like an 8 out of 10.

Overall, the show is a mature one which while being one of the more realistic shows that you will come across is also one of the most interesting shows you will come across- with strong characters and plotline to boot. If you fancy going through something more serious, while also being a little different to what you expect, then I thoroughly recommend this master piece of a show- it really does portray the journey of young adulthood quite well, from a certain perspective- not the only perspective of course. This is Nanas perspective.

Final Rating: 10
Tukky12
=)

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63 thoughts on “Nana Review

  1. NANA is one of my favourite shows of all time and I think you have managed to put across how special NANA is as a show – I find it hard to find another anime series that puts across the same harsh realism as clearly as NANA did!

    And you are absolutely right, this entire series is one giant rhetorical question of: could he/she have done otherwise? People hate on some of the characters, but to me, it is precisely because of the mistakes that the characters make that brings across the point that that’s how life is – unfair at times. And that makes a successful slice-of-life in my opinion.

    Great review, Tukky! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! It means a lot to me that you could connect!

      I just finished watching this last week and personally its been the perfect show to watch given I’m about to move into uni soon, it just helps to put things perspective you know 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nana is the best. Anime and manga, this anime really do tell a story that would probably happen in real life. As for me, I love how the characters were depicted on this one. Takumi is my favorite so far. Despite all of the things he has done, may it be a sexual relationship with many artist like him or any other girls or his unsure hook up with hachiko, he still proves himself worthy of what he has right now. 🙂 anyways, nice review. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always have a problem with stories that have male protagonists in the entertainment business. On my mind is the thought that somehow , sometime, even if it’s a happy ending, the relationship will not last, and therefore, the story of their struggles are totally pointless . Reality sux , we live it everyday, and reading a story that has a forever happy ending makes me a happy camper. It’s good to escape from the harsh realities of life once in a while. ^^’ Just my opinion. .

    Liked by 1 person

      • I like Kimi ni Todoke, but I had to drop it when side characters were given more prominent roles in the story, and the two mains had to side step for them. But I’ll read it when it’s over because I love the two mains.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ao Haru Ride ! ! That was the bane of my manga life ! ! I dropped AHR not because of the story, but my comments on one manga site had drawn the ire of 2 or 3 nasty commenters …. There is one commenter who had made our discussion too personal…. funny thing is, I saw her signature again on another site, and her comments there were nasty too, so it just confirmed my opinion of this reader. She’s just a bad person.

        Anyways, I had read AHR from Day One, literally. I believe Kou does not deserve Futaba’s love. He’s a first class idiot, and I have never believed all that psychological trauma thing….. and I feel Touma was was undeservedly stomped on.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Boom! Some people are just like that, they going around spreading hate, I either give them a piece of my mind or ignore them xD

        I actually just started reading the manga having finished the manga the other day! I hope I’ll stick with it for a while xD

        And how about White Album 2?

        Like

      • It doesn’t have a Japanese title I think, ホワイトアルバム2 is the Japanese for it though xD The 2nd one is worth watching. the first one is apparently terrible so I just watched this 2nd one! It was a great show though- solid romance.

        As for AHR, at the time I thought it was okay but some aspects of the romance just irked me xD

        Like

      • Re AHR, I was the first one to predict there was another girl. No one wanted to believe me. And I was like relentlessly insisting , Yes, there is, just you guys watch ! ” And I was still commenting seconds before we left for the airport to go on a one month European tour. (I couldn’t bring my ‘ puter )

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m going to hope I finish the series soon, so we can discuss it xD

        I was meaning to ask, would you possibly be interested in writing a manga review?

        I really like your writing and was just curious xD

        Like

  4. If I told you why I was annoyed with Inuyasha, I’d be spoiling the story. And it’s just my personal opinion, anyway. In fact, it’s my personal preference in the romance department, and not exactly Inuyasha’s character

    I guess I’ll be waiting a long time for your review. 85 hours, fyi.

    Liked by 1 person

      • He he The one by the TV set are my animes, boxed sets, like Code Geauss is complete, Cowboy Bebop, complete set, etc. I ‘ve stopped buying animes… so expensive. The last one that I bought was Hana Yori Dango, Boys Over Flowers. Oh, wait, that’s live action, based on manga, though. Have you read the manga ?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I even sold quite a few. Like, HunterxHunter… it was dropped by the author.
        I’m watching animes again. Have you watched Moributo ? Attack on Titans ? I’ve been binge watching animes. I didn’t know Netflix had animes. I thought they were only shown on Anime network ( and it wasn’t available where I live , so I had to buy the dvds. )

        Liked by 1 person

      • Attack on Titan! I loved that show soooo much! I really cannot wait for a season 2 to come out- it better be quick. I haven’t seen Moributo- so I guess that’s another one to add to the list 😉

        We don’t have anime network here sadly, that would just be amazing but at least there is the magic of the internet!

        Are you on social media?

        Like

      • We don’t have anime network either…. but Netflix has quite a few animes on their list. Sword Art Online is quite good too. And Netflix has an original anime, exclusively shown on netflx only, and it’s a good one…. Knights of Sidonia.

        I’m waiting for the second season too of Attack…. I don’t know what’s taking them so long… 1st season was shown in 2013 ? Moributo is good, but the ending looks unfinished. Well, it is, but I wanted something resolved, but didn’t happen. But I read it was really over. That was it . But , it’s really good. You have to watch it. Fate ?Stay Night is also good. We have the dvd of the first story, when it began. The new Fate/Stay Night is happening in the 21st century. I’m eagerly waiting for the 3rd season.

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      • One thing, you should read the manga, too. The anime is different from the manga. Well, not really, but there are some parts that have been altered, and the ending of the anime is O_O. The ending of the manga is nothing like that.

        Have you watched It Started with a Kiss ? ( Itazura na Kiss )

        Like

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