First of all, I want to make clear that I have not (yet) read the Nana manga so I won't bother you with vague hints about what should happen in the future episodes or complaints that this or that is not included in the anime. Second, so far Nana has been one of the top shows that I have watched this season. I became interested in it because I saw it was created by Madhouse who are climbing fast on my list of favourite anime studios, one of the character was a rock singer and she looked so gothic and I heard that the manga was really impressive. And having sexy female main characters could only be a plus.

So what's this series about? Well, basically it's about two young women who accidentally meet in the train travelling to Tokyo and prepare for the challenges that lay ahead of them in this huge city. Boring, huh? So far only the first episode has taken place in Tokyo (and obviously in the train where they meet) while the next three have shown us the characters' background and show us what has driven them to leave their home towns.

First we are shown Nana Komatsu's (also known as Nana Hachi) story. At first she seems to be your typical average anime character with a nice character but misunderstood by the others, naive, full of enthusiasm but not so smart. Actually these impressions are quite correct (you did expect me to deny that, admit it) but she shows a lot of potential to improve. When her would-be-boyfriend Shouji decides he has had enough of her childishness, she quickly gets her act together and manages to smoothly get the relationship back on track. And instead of madly clinging to her despite what reality might have to say about that Hachi sets about getting closer to him in Tokyo in a surprisingly rational way. Hachi also seems to be the comic relief of this series as far as main characters are concerned – her funny facial expression really reminded me of Natsuki from Mai-HiME and she is also the character which is used to manipulate the viewers and turn them (or at least the male part of the audience) into wannabe knights in shining armor, ready to save the damsel in distress.

That said, I wasn't really that excited about this series until I watched episode in which Nana Oosaki's life story started. I can hardly recall other tiem when I have been so fascinated by a character after a little bit more than half an episode (yes, we saw her in episode one, too but we hardly got much insight about her personality in it). At first glance she seems to be the typical rebel without a cause (or as I call it – rebel without a clue) with a troubled past, defiant attitude, weird appearance and so on. But in her short interaction with Ren (which even includes a bit nudity but done in such a tasteful way that I would never call it fanservice) we see the justifications for her actions and attitude. It all falls into place like the pieces of a puzzle and it seems totally natural that this girl behaves in that way. The scene in which she saw Ren for the first time was probably one of the best depictions of love at first sight I have ever seen and it actually moved me quite a bit. Don't ask me why exactly, though . 🙂 Most importantly, nothing feels cheesy or forced, something rarely scene in the love affairs of anime characters. And the fact that Nana Oosaki is a vocalist of rock band and seems to love wearing black clothes surely helped her to become one of my favourite characters from the series that I am following this season.

The music is impressive, though not overly impressive as the Simoun soundtrack. That said, the opening song – "Rose" is really heavy for an anime song, almost bordering on heavy metal and it totally rocks. I must have listened to it at least twenty times in the last few days. The ending is more mellow and melancholic. It seems to me that the opening fits to Oosaki's personality while the ending is more like Hachi. The background music never really takes center stage but creates a suitable atmosphere and it never seems out of place. No complaints about the voiceacting either, I didn't like Oosaki's vocie at first but now I can't picture voiced by anyone else (although it would be absolutely hilarious if there is a parody extra with, let's say, Noto Mamiko voicing this character just to show the contrast :)). The artwork is what I have learned to expect from Madhouse these days, very much non-animeish feel to it, nice level of detail, but I am not too fond of the somewhat too thin characters. Thankfully, they are not downright creepy humanoids with ultra long limbs as is the case with XXXHolic so that's just a minor issue. I really liked how much different the main characters looked a few years ago in the story, unlike some other series when they stay basically the same but with bigger eyes. 🙂

This seems like a totally character driven series and so far the characters seem interesting and well developed. Judging by the popularity of the manga it should stay that way so I guess I will be following this "tale of two Nanas" with great interest.