No matter how many bishoujos you see in this blog, this fact remains. Shoujo is my all-time favorite genre in anime, manga, and everything else. Shoujo characters, despite some not being as beautifully drawn as their counterparts in other genres of Japanese fiction, are the most colorful when it comes to attitudes and characterization. More importantly though, their stories are some of the very best in mirroring the entire array of human life and emotion. With this, I introduce Nana, one of the biggest hit series in Japan today. It is a #1 manga, a #1 movie, and now an anime series as well. The author must be very happy right now.
It tells the story of two friends, Nana, and Nana. Yup, they have the same name, and same age, but with very different personalities. Nana (I’ll call her White Nana) is the more lighthearted and funny girl. Nana (Black Nana) is the moody and dark girl who is a musician. These two live different lives and have different problems, but they share a special bond of friendship, and they support each other along the way. It’s a rather fascinating story of life, love, and music. Not sure about the statistics, but it may well be the highest-selling shoujo manga so far.
I already caught up to the latest chapters available, and I was so engrossed by “Nana fever” again! It is so engaging, that I’m now lamenting because I will only read Nana monthly from now on.
I recently watched the movie, and it was very nice. Starring Aoi Miyazaki as White Nana and Mika Nakashima as Black Nana, Nana the movie (all the Nanas getting redundant already) has a hefty 2-hour running time that never gets boring. The pace of the movie was so nice, music and theme songs outstanding, and the actors act great (although admittedly Mika Nakashima is too ‘cold’ rather than ‘cool’ in her Black Nana role). The music is great too. Mika Nakashima has a number of likable jrock-type songs in this movie, including the flagship single Glamorous Sky… but I don’t understand her Engrish sometimes. Yuna Ito, another jpop artist, also appears in the movie, and she has a song too. Endless Story is actually a Japanese rendition of a Dawn Ann Thomas original, If I’m Not in Love with You. The movie created quite a stir in Japan, being one of the top high grossers of 2005.
This is a direct sequel to the first movie… but unfortunately, all the cast changes are pulling it down. Along with a couple of actors, Aoi Miyazaki was replaced by Yui Ichikawa for the Hachi (White Nana) part. All the rumors and negative buzz surrounding the production gave the movie a much weaker box office than the original, which is really a huge blockbuster if I ever saw one, a really hard act to follow. Too bad, because despite all the faults the story remained superb as expected because of the manga material, and little nitpicks like having no Reira X Shin connection is just that, little nitpicks. Particularly, Mika Nakashima’s portrayal as Black Nana has matured a lot, she isn’t bland anymore, I like her performance! The ending deviates from the manga a bit, but it seems to be the best open-ended point for yet another sequel. Sadly, I don’t think they’ll be doing any more. About the music though, I didn’t like Mika Nakashima’s song, but I definitely LOVED Yuna Ito’s “Truth”. My vote for song of the year… err… even if it didn’t become as popular as the last one.
The Nana anime starts, and it looks quite nifty. It is reported to be getting high ratings despite it having quite a obscure late-night timeslot. The story seems to be faithful to the manga original, and the animation is exactly what I had expected from it. Definitely a frontrunner for this season. Also, this may be slated for a longer run than what I expected… 50 episodes! An entire year of Nana! Awesome!