Genre: Romance, Drama, Slice of Life, Music
Producer: Masao Maruyama
Director: Morio Asaka
Studio: Madhouse, VAP
Original Airtime: April 5, 2006 – March 27, 2007
Nana Komatsu moves to Tokyo city going after her boyfriend Shouji to gain a life she has always dreamed of. She meets Nana Osaki, the vocalist for the punk rock band “Blast,” also moving to Tokyo to achieve her dreams of becoming a professional, on the train. Two people sharing the same name somehow ended up being roommates. Together they support each other through each other through different challenges of their lives. This is the story of their time together as close friends and the twists and turns their lives have
Nana has an extremely captivating plot. Those who enjoyed Bakuman will definitely enjoy Nana. Although Nana has a more serious ambiance unlike Bakuman. You’ll get to see two people struggle to reach their goals and how this journey effects their relationship. In terms of pacing I would say Nana dragged it a bit towards the end. I think it should have ended in 35-37 episodes. I think the slowness in the middle portion resulted in those extra 6-7 episodes. But it’s not a big issue. The story is captivating enough to keep you glued to the screen right through to the end.
The show does not contain a vast set of characters but the small number of characters that it possessed, was good enough to get viewers hooked. The characters were excellent enough to start with. But they got better and better as the show progressed. They really showed some stark personality change after each significant incident. The show mainly revolved around the two Nanas but each of the other characters had a massive roles to play in influencing the character development of the two main protagonists. You’ll see a fragile, gullible, dependent and clumsy girl evolve into a self dependent and responsible person. On the other hand you’ll see a hardcore, hesitant tomboy open up more and change. Every small event will have impact on the the development of the characters and it will be clearly visible. That is the main selling point of the show. By the end you’ll be able to compare how they started out and how they ended up and that is something most anime don’t have these days.
Here are some notable characters from the anime:
The animation and visuals are not really the strong point of the show. But considering it was animated in the 2005s I have been a bit lenient. The drawings were complicated. Too much details on the designs which resulted into inconsistency. Madhouse probably wanted to do something ahead of the times but could not perfectly execute it. Probably due to the limitations of the era. But nonetheless it was treat for the eyes. It has achieved to stand out from the animations of the time. The difference is clearly noticeable. The characters looked beautiful. Especially the two main protagonists. Nana Osaki is my favorite. I loved the dark colors that were used in the anime which is a specialty of Madhouse. Overall I’ll give it an 8.5 out of 10.
Here are some screenshots from the anime:
Music is another key selling point of Nana. Out of the anime that dealt with music, Nana possessed probably the finest set of soundtracks in my opinion. The opening themes and ending tracks were amazing. Unlike Your Lie In April or Nodame Cantabile, Nana dealt with rock music rather than classical. If you are into rock music like I am, you will love this show. The rock performances get your blood boiling and adrenalin pumping. The songs used in the performances were perfectly chosen and executed. Some of my favorite tracks of this show are, “A Little Pain” by Olivia Lufkin, “Frozen Rose” by Anna Tsuchiya and “Zero” by Anna Tsuchiya. Just like Death Note this is another anime that made me fall in love with Japanese Pop/Rock music. It was a pleasure for the ears and eyes to see the characters rocking out to some amazing music. Apart from that the background music were great too. Masafumi Mima wad the music director for the anime and he did an excellent job.
Nana can occasionally be boring or slow and if you want fast paced anime it might disappoint you because of the sluggish middle section. But I was not bothered by it as I was drawn in by the characters and the music. On top of that I am a fan of the slice of life genre, so I am a bit used to it. It might be a bit difficult to swallow for shounen or action fans. I really enjoyed the show from beginning to the end.
Nana is probably one of the most underrated and under-appreciated anime out there. I am more into rock and pop music so Nana has fascinated me more than Your Lie in April or Nodame Cantabile. On top of that, it is a better slice of life anime than the aforementioned. It had fun moments, it had emotional tear jerking moments and it showed the different sides of love. It is a great anime and you’ll love it if you like shoujo or slice of life anime.