Back when this series first aired, I remember dropping it after only one episode because “the premise didn’t look interesting”. Now, I really am not sure what I was thinking back then, having just failed to give one of the best romances of its entire decade a fair chance. Now that I finally watched it, I fully get the praise this series has been getting. This isn’t just a good romance, it blows away just about every other romance I’ve seen away.
This series has 47 episodes, right? Well, it puts just about all its time into its character-development. The main characters here are truly dynamic: they just keep changing and evolving and despite the huge focus on drama within the series, it remains realistic and believable. The side-characters in the meantime also receive their fair share of development throughout the series, with all of them being varied, interesting and portrayed far away from stereotypes.
With all the silly shounen romances out there, this really is one of those series that is a breath of fresh air with its mature outlook on romance. The characters here have quite a number of flaws, but it always manages to stay away from a cheesy shoujo drama because it really treats all of its characters like adults, and gives them enough time to really show why they’re worried, why they behave like they do, and why they make the decisions they make throughout the series. And seriously, this just goes on for forty-seven episodes and instead of keeping a slow pacing, it always manages to keep its plot flowing, and keep the balls into the air. Even the best romances have their moments in which they’re rather boring or tedious. Nana doesn’t.
If I had to mention a flaw, then I’d mention that the portrayal of rock and punk bands is a bit simplistic here, compared to the realism of the rest of the series: this series never really claims to give a good insight about the music industry, and instead it just uses what it needs for the sake of the characters. Also, the ending. It’s not like the series ends without a conclusion: it actually wrapped the story up pretty neatly, but it also ends with a “there’s going to be a second season so let’s make you as hungry for that as possible”-note. That’s nice and all if that second season actually came, but now I’m just hungry for something that was probably just a publicity stunt.
But seriously though, Nana really showed the power of josei-series. It really is one of the most well rounded romances I’ve ever seen. Whether it’s THE best, I’m not really sure yet (Maison Ikkoku also was extremely good and twice as long), but I do want to say that I have never seen a romance show that went on for more than 13 episodes, and had such a tight plot, and yet it never feels like it’s forced.
|Storytelling:||9/10 – It can really get depressing, but the dialogue, pacing and atmosphere are all really excellent.|
|Characters:||10/10 – Just brilliant. The cast is dynamic and constantly evolving.|
|Production-Values:||9/10 – The style of this series is off the charts. A grand soundtrack, and Madhouse makes just about every scene look cool.|
|Setting:||9/10 – Its portrayal of the music industry is rather simplistic, but apart from that it is a very realistic series with characters who really feel part of this setting.|