Monday, April 9, 2007


Are you looking for a shojo anime full of music, love, and drama? Then look no further than NANA. Based off of the highly popular manga by mangaka Ai Yazawa, NANA is the story of two young women named Nana (meaning seven) and their lives. Osaki Nana is the lead singer of a punk band looking to make it big in Tokyo. Komatsu Nana (often called Hachi, which means eight, or Hachiko) is a somewhat spoiled suburban girl who goes to Tokyo following her friends and boyfriend. Nana and Hachi meet each other by chance on the train to Tokyo and later become best friends and roommates following a series of fortunate events. They share gained and lost love, Nana’s blossoming musical career, and their life together in Tokyo.

One of the greatest elements of the NANA anime is the music. Two bands take center stage in Nana: BLACK STONES is Osaki Nana’s band; TRAPNEST is a very popular band that happens to have Nana’s ex-boyfriend, Honjo Ren, as a guitarist. Hachi is a very big fan of TRAPNEST, but is also loyal to BLACK STONES.

The anime features music from BLACK STONES and TRAPNEST in the opening and ending credits and also during the show. Anna Tsuchiya sings for the BLACK STONES as Nana and OLIVIA sings for TRAPNEST as Reira. The music is phenomenal and fits perfectly with the attitudes of the singers and their lives.

Another element to love about NANA is the realistic quality of the situations that affect the characters. NANA isn’t about how two girls live these magically easy and simple lives but rather about the hardships they have been through and will go through to be happy and make their dreams come true. Even side characters have highly complicated lives and face adversity that is relevant to the lives we live today. The characters in NANA develop as the show progresses as well, gaining maturity after each incident.

NANA can also be hilariously funny. The show creates a balance between humor, realistic elements, and intense dramatic plot. It’s quite addicting after a while, but thankfully the show has not ended yet. Only 36 episodes are currently available. The manga is currently being released in the U.S. through Shojo Beat Manga.

Two live action NANA movies have been made, featuring the talented Mika Nakashima as Osaki Nana. The first movie was released in September of 2005 and NANA 2 was released in December 2006. The movies leave out some plot arcs involving side characters and events present in the anime and manga, but still maintain the important elements of the story.

This leads me to the only part of NANA that I do not like. The waiting. The problem with becoming completely enraptured with an anime that is not complete is waiting impatiently for the next episodes to become available. But it is so worth it.

I give NANA the anime an A.

1 comment:

Heero2020 said...

Interesting thing about NANA is that punk Nana spells her name with Katakana; whereas Hachi actually has kanji for her Nana. Quite an interesting concept when you think about it, and does actually cause a slight discrepancy as to whether or not the NANA heretofor discussed actually means Seven. But, leave it to the japanese to have wordplay within their manga (Hachi, you know, which also means bee on top of 8).