Gretchen is an anime junkie who spends far too much time reading manga and searching for that elusive new favorite series. She lives with her cat, and raises tomato trees.View all articles by Gretchen Lee
Hachi has always wanted to be a housewife, have nice things, and most importantly, to be loved. When unexpected circumstances bring her the promise of those very things, her decision will affect everyone close to her. She may not be a member of Blast, but Hachi's life is still intertwined with the band, and to Nana in particular. As Hachi's roommate, as her best friend, Nana will have to adjust to the changes life brings or risk being left behind even as she works toward having Blast take off.
What I said before about Nana being melodramatic and covering a small country in pink-gooey girliness? Ha! Lies! This third box set brings on a whole new dimension of drama as the characters' lives intertwine and diverge like hopelessly tangled vines taking over a once-pristine garden. It's pretty at this point to talk about pink gooeyness. There's an understanding of human nature, how hard it is to find love, the harshness of growing up, that takes Nana from being simply a soap opera to something akin to an over-the-top character study. Let’s hope most people don’t have this much drama in their lives. It's still a soap opera, but with an understanding of people that makes it fascinating to watch.
Are they or aren't they? Will they or won't they? And these aren't questions regarding the male entourage that follows the Nanas. No. Nana and Hachi's relationship is ambiguous at best, and sometimes it's hard to tell who, exactly, is the jilted lover. This is what makes Nana so fascinating. The two main characters aren't lovers, but their relationship is so close, so intertwined, that it's sometimes hard to tell that they're not.
Even at the worst of times, even when one or both of them are being selfish, they both wish for the other's happiness. But, as the narration repeats over and over, there is the sense of wishing that they had known more about the other back then. That they had communicated better. A lot of their problems could be solved with communication, but that wouldn't make for a very juicy story, now would it? Besides, who's good at communicating all the time? Nana captures how we, as human beings, don't always follow our mothers' advice. Or the advice of our friends. Or even what we know, way deep down, to be best for everyone.
With all the angst and drama, it’s easy to forget that Nana is animated. Which is a shame. It’s a lovely series with great artwork. Like a soap opera, one of the best things about Nana is the clothes. Folks who know me will attest to my lack of fashion sense, but even I get all fashion-y checking out the characters’ clothes. Especially Hachi’s revolving closet of many outfits no normal, starving twenty-year-old should be able to afford. Regardless, all the characters are pretty and what they wear speaks volumes about their respective personalities.
It goes without saying that Nana Box 3 is worth watching. Even without an emotional investment, with the way the second box set ends, it’s so obvious the train wreck is coming. Casual observers would likely be hard pressed to look away. For folks who have watched the first half of the series, taking the plunge might be closer to a necessity. If you’ve already invested this much time into the characters, that sense of “must know now!” is probably pretty strong. Get some fuzzy slippers, comfy pjs, ice cream, and a cozy blanket and go indulge.
A note: Once again, Nana isn’t for kids. Even moreso at this point in the story. Those grown-up situations get even more adult, and it’s just not suitable.
Details: Runtime 308 minutes, contains episodes 23-34 on three dvds. Extras include a clean opening and a clean ending with three different versions, and a line art gallery.
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