Hello readers, I have returned with another anime that I finished quite a while ago, and that show is the classic…Nana. Although this is a part of the Shoujo and Slice of Life genres, which I do not watch often, I really enjoyed this series very much. From the music, to the character development, to the plot—I was impressed with the way the show was laid out; it was not the show I expected it to be. Why did I enjoy this series? Well, because it was realistic, and the situations in Nana are relatable to almost everyone that has viewed the show, especially for those who are older teenagers or adults.
This anime series follows twenty-year-old bubbly, country girl named Nana Komatsu who is on a train ride to Tokyo to live with her boyfriend Shouji, who is already living there for school and work. On that train, Nana meets a punk-rock singer who has the same first name, but a different last name: Nana Osaki. The two become friends on the train, but don’t see each other again until they bump into each other at an apartment that was for sale. The two girls fight for the big apartment, until their real estate agents help them make a compromise: they can share the apartment and they split the bill in half. The girls agree on it and have wonderful and sometimes heart-felt adventures throughout the show.
A major problem with Shoujo anime is the lack of character development for each of the individual characters. Instead of a usual twelve to twenty-four episode series, the viewers receive a forty-seven episode show with tons of development for the characters. In the beginning of the series, the audience gets the chance to relive the characters’ backstories and learn about them before getting into the story, which is beneficial for the viewers because they will reflect back on the characters on why they act a certain way and why they have specific habits. Also, the supporting characters get to have their time to shine in the series as they have some development and backstories, which was a major plus in my book of the anime I’ve seen! All of the characters in the story are wonderful and definitely memorable to the viewers for many years to come.
Since this review is on a Shoujo, there has to be some relatable scenes and realistic characters that need to be mentioned, right? Well I could go on for hours about every single realistic scene in this anime, but unfortunately I can’t because I do not want to spoil anything for all of you who have not seen the series. What I can tell you is the way one of our main protagonists Nana Komatsu has relatable traits. Girls (or guys) who have outgoing personalities and are always aiming to be in a relationship with anyone. Komatsu also tends to be clingy at times to her boyfriend and friends, which can annoy the readers at times, but she learns that having a personality like that will not get her anywhere in life. The situations, though, are much more relatable than the characters. One example would be the struggle of finding work so that one can make money and save it for the apartment rent. Take notes, teens and adults; this series may teach you a thing or two on why excessively spending money is a horrible thing to do.
One small, teensy little pro I had with this series was how this anime was so realistic that I thought I was watching a show on Freeform, since the material and story is exactly what I’d see on the channel. To me, it would be pretty exciting if someone from the Freeform company would direct an American version of Nana. If that were to happen, I would watch it in a heartbeat!
In Nana, the character Nana Osaki is a punk rock singer and she has some songs that she sings, some of them being the first opening Rose and third opening Lucy. These music pieces have the sound of classic/punk rock, with some of the songs having both Japanese and English lyrics, and they are so catchy that the tunes will get stuck in the viewers’ heads for a while. The composers Anna Tsuchiya, Ayumi Miyazaki, Tomoji Sogawa, Katsumi Onishi, and many other awesome music producers pick some of the best soundtracks to use for each of the scenes. From the bright and happy to the dark and gloomy, these producers know how to piece each of the tunes and make them enjoyable for the whole audience.
The animation and characters, drawn by the creator Ai Yazawa, are somewhat unique to a Shoujo anime. Since this anime was released in 2006, the art is a bit older and the sequences can be a bit awkward at times. For example, during some of the scenes where Nana Osaki or other characters are performing, the characters are using the same moves on the stage repeatedly and that made me cringe at times. As for the character designs, though—each of the characters have some sort unique design to them, whether there is a difference in clothing styles, hair color, or hair style. Another unique, yet weird aspect of the animation was how tall and skinny each of the characters were, even the girls! All of characters had long, skinny legs and their torsos are very thin, almost like a Barbie doll.
Speaking of Barbie, one of the English voice actresses Kelly Sheridan, who played Barbie in the older movies, voices Nana Komatsu! Her bubbly, girly tone in her voice was a total giveaway and I felt nostalgic when I heard her voice for the first time in the series. The other voices that I really remember from the back of my head are Nana Osaki’s, voiced by Rebecca Shoichet, and Yasu’s (an amazing side character and good friend of Nana Osaki’s), voiced by Brian Drummond. If any of you readers are wondering why I mostly list the English voice actors whenever I write about the acting in an anime series, that is because I mainly watch anime in English Dubbed and not English Subbed. (But that is only if I can’t find an anime in English Dub that I am itching to see)
Overall, Nana is a wonderful and beautiful Shoujo series for anyone looking to watch something a little different. Shoujo fans, if you have not seen this anime, then I am sure that you will enjoy it as much as I did! This series has tons of romance, a lot of feels, great characters, and a memorable story that the viewers will remember for a long time. That is why I gave this series a four and half out of five stars. There was not a full five star rating not only just because the art was awkward, but also because the series leaves off with a suspenseful and tear-jerking ending that seems to leave the series hanging.
Warnings: Suggestive themes, some nudity, and tons of feels!!
Started the series: April 20th, 2016
Finished watching the series: May 8th, 2016