Overview of plot: Apparently ditzy, 20 year old easy-going girl called Nana heads to Tokyo for the glamour life, and on the train meets an apparently stoic, moody, rocker-girl also called Nana that is headed to Tokyo to fulfill HER dreams. They become BFFs. This is two stories, the first about relationships—platonic and romantic, but also about the music industry. At 47 episodes, it’s pretty long for an anime series, but well worth sticking with it.
Here is a list of reasons that I consider this a classic:
- Manages to keep the focus on the two protagonists yet at the same time, each of the supporting cast of characters are well managed. Each of the characters in this show are so unique, and unpredictable, but not not unpredictable in a random way, but in a way that makes them real people rather than caricatures/roles. I swear to god you know people like these.
- Avoids clichés in two ways—resolutions of relationships and second in the dynamic between the bands. While one of the Nana’s has a warm ‘happy-ending’ in her relationship (well, in the anime at least), the other Nana doesn’t end up in a fairytale situation, which is not to say it ends up badly for her, just that they don’t take the obvious route with both relationships. The second way they avoid clichés is in the interaction of the two bands, early in the series, it looks like one of the bands will be the villains, and that the show will center around the bands being matched up against each other. It doesn’t end up like that at all. In fact…..
- …..there are no villains in this show. Perhaps this is something unique to the ‘slice of life’ genre, I haven’t watched many of them (Clannad is the only other one), but there was no character in this that was a villain. There’s one male character in one of the bands that gets a lot of hate online, but a lot of that hate I’ve noticed is from female fans, and I think it’s related to the above point of the fairytale ending, there’s a lot of projecting that I detect in the hate he receives. I disagree with that hate and find him to be completely on point.
- For guys with girlfriends/wives that are skeptical about this whole “cartoons” hobby of yours, this is a great show to show them how real and adult anime can be. Careful though, they WILL be hooked and it’ll be funny how they’ll be the ones wanting you to marathon through it with them.
This is a wonderful anime, and you get so attached to the characters and their dreams. Because of of the open-ended ending, it is probably the first anime for which I will actually read the Manga—I’ve never read a Manga before, which is why I’ll stay with the 10/10. I’d considered giving it a lower score because of the ending but the fact that I’ll actually read the manga—something I thought I’ll never do, is reason to keep it at a 10.
PS. Can’t forget to give a shout to the soundtrack, all music in this anime is made by the actual characters in the anime itself, interesting concept. Also the music is actually part of the story, so pay attention to it! I’m mostly a hip-hop/dance guy, I barely listen to any Rock music at all, but I still enjoyed the punk-rock music in this. Maybe it was because of how the music is actually weaved into the story.