Animation Production – Madhouse Studios
Director – Morio Asaka
Perfect mix of music, romance and drama.
The Japanese television animated series Nana is adapted from the popular manga by Ai Yazawa and is produced by Madhouse Studios. Morio Asaka known for his strong portrayal of female characters excels with the source material and does the best directorial work of his career so far. Nana is an intertwining story of two girls named Nana in the world of music in Japan.
Out of all the shojo/josei Anime that I have watched (i.e. Nodame Cantabile, Honey and Clover, Paradise Kiss) this is my favourite. The music, character design, art direction, and writing are all excellently put together. The standout is the music starring Anna Tsuchiya and Olivia which are a step above in quality of anything else in Anime. The deep punk voice of Anna Tsuchiya fits Nana well and the opening theme “rose” is my favourite in Anime of all time. The iconic punk culture of Japan is well represented in the character design and clothing.
A strong aspect of this Anime are the relationships explored between all of the character. The essence of friendships and romance has been allowed to develop and progress throughout the 47 episodes. The most emotional developments involve Nana the lead singer of the Black Stones as she deals with problems of vulnerability, loneliness and dependence on others. The problems that arise in a group of people in a band who are always together are highlighted. The other Nana, also called Hachi, has her own problems surrounding her relationship (as an outsider) with the band members as well as in her love relationships. The changing relationship between the Nana’s is ultimately what drives the show.
There is no excuse for not watching this. If you have to watch one shojo Anime this is the one; if you already are a shojo fan then my strong recommendation should come as no surprise.
Rating – A+
Genre – Music, Romance, Drama Length – 47 Episode series Year – 2006-07
Adaptation of the first 12 volumes. Second season is expected to happen once the manga has been completed (currently on volume 21). Available on DVD and iTunes. Two live action movies have be released and cover roughly the same volumes (surprisingly well done and worth watching).