NANA – An emo nightmare bringing enlightenment through exposition OR The female NHK

I watched Nana at almost complete random, which I have to say is extremely impressive on the show’s part. I normally take weeks just to work up the gall to watch anything more than 26 episodes, and then most shows don’t keep my attention enough to distract me from how long they are. Nana did just that. I watched the first episode at complete random on Monday just because I saw it in someone’s favorites list who tends to watch things I like (vonpost, if you’re reading this, it’s you). I’d already read a couple chapters of the manga years ago, but it still seemed nice. So the next day I continued. And I was done by Thursday night (Friday morning?). The irony here is that just, what, last week? I was thinking how nice it was to have watched Dennou Coil (26 eps) over the course of 5 days because I could remember pretty much everything that happened, which sometimes doesn’t work when I watch 26 ep shows in 2 days. However, I wound up watching Nana in 3 days, and it’s 47 goddamn episodes. Just goes to show how addicting it was.

Nana, for me, was just like watching Welcome to the NHK, with a fourth of the laughing and 4 times the menstrual cycle. Which is fine, because I have proven time and time again that I am secretly a transvestite or something. Anyway. The reason for this is that NHK and Nana both tackled a very real-world perspective which is extremely negative, and both ended the same way – wishy-washy. And mind you, this is WAY more about the NHK novel. Forget the show. I love it, but if I’m thinking NHK, I’m thinking the novel. NHK was definitely more direct in it’s purpose, which is natural when the lead character is as desperate as Satou. In NHK, things always look up one minute, down at the next, and just cruise along haphazardly in the middle. There is never a sense of accomplishment, and there is never a saving grace. At the end of the story, Satou is still unhappy, still not sure what to do, and still mostly a hikkikomori. What he discovers in he end is only what he knew from the beginning, and he only changes how he deals with it.

Nana similarly continues going up and down like any good drama, and like NHK, you never really feel like ‘things are going to be okay now’ and even at the end, things still suck for all of the characters in some way. They are struggling just to find happiness in whatever their everyday lives bring them, and learn how to smile even while unfulfilled. I know, I know, this comparison is probably unfair because there are probably a million stories like this. However, there aren’t a million anime like this, and if there are even more, I haven’t seen them. I am not well read. As you probably well know.

When I watched NHK a second time in January, my final verdict on it was just that I disagreed with it. I probably talked about it here already, so I won’t go deep in again, but basically the first time I saw NHK last year it scared me shitless because it said that in the end, I would just have to be a normal person, and I didn’t know how to take that. However, when I rewatched it I was in ‘I can do anything and be happy no matter what’ mode so I didn’t agree. Watching Nana, I am still the sort of person who thinks I can do anything, and that I can be happy no matter what. However, I am already like Nana (either one will probably do). I came to the realization that who you are and how you feel have nothing to do with each other. You can be happy no matter what your circumstances are. It was only when I saw Hachi living out this theory that I started to hate myselg.

I’ll say this, from the point that Hachi decided to marry Takumi onward, I wanted to strangle her. I felt like she should have found a way to be with the one she loves, and she needed to find a way to make it work. I felt like Nobu, too, was fucking up by not taking action. I kept thinking ‘why can’t they gain the courage to make everything right?’ bu the truth was that Hachi realized she could never truly be fulfilled. She figured out that she needed to live under the best possible circumstances and find a way to be as happy as possible. Suddenly I felt like a sellout for believing I could be happy under circumstances like that. At first (as usual) I thought ‘what’s the point of living if you can’t ever truly be happy?’ however when I thought about it more, I feel like it’s fine this way. I’m sure that when Hachi looks at her child, she is filled with love and hope, and I can smile knowing that I can feel emotions like that one day.

That all out of the way, let’s get to the show itself. My favorite character was definitely Shin. He was smart, cute, and always a joy, and his own little self-discovery was great. I can’t help but wonder if the manga ever gets into his past. Layla was also awesome, being his childish love interest. And, of course, Yasu was always full of win, along with Nana playing into my goth gal tastes. My favorite part of the show was the pacing. It may have taken a major shift in the second half of the show, but still remained great, even if it was wrist-cutingly depressing fro like 20 fucking episodes.

Throughout the first 20 or so episodes, this show was majorly inspiring for me, and I jammed on my bass for hours and hours while watching it. Then, last night, when I finished it, I had this oppressive feeling of ‘what’s the point?!’ however with my new realization, I feel inspired all over again. Very glad I watched this.

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