Review: Nana the Movie

From: Viz Pictures
Directed by Kentaro Otani
Running Time: 114 min
Rating: Not Rated/PG suggested
Japanese Language/English Subtitles

Rating: ★★★★½

Based on the popular manga by Ai Yazawa, NANA follows the adventures of two girls both named Nana. While they share the same name, they couldn’t be more different. Nana “Hachi” Komatsu follows her boyfriend to Tokyo in the hopes of making a new start, while Nana Osaki, who arrives in the city at the same time, is a punk rock beauty who has the ambition of making it big in the world of rock and roll. Although these two young women come from different backgrounds, they quickly become best friends while chasing their happiness and dreams.

I wasn’t feeling well last Friday, and took a rare day off from work. Fortunately for me, I had received the Nana the Movie DVD just a few days before, so I had something to help while away the time between medicines. Review after the cut.

The movie is a faithful telling of the manga, starting with both Nanas meeting on the train to Tokyo, and ends with NanaK. meeting Takumi in the apartment with the Black Stones and Ren. I was impressed with how close the movie stayed to the manga. Even though it had to leave out a lot, it hit all the important scenes. The finding of the apartment, Nana K. working at the furniture shop, the purchase of the strawberry glasses and Nana K. getting the nickname Hachi, NanaO. building the table; these are all small but memorable scenes. Then there are the big scenes. Shoji’s cheating and the confrontation at the restaurant. The Trapnest concert, and NanaO. confronting Ren. The director really balanced the movie well between NanaK. and NanaO.’s stories. The first half is more about NanaK, and the second half transitions to more of NanaO. And the scenes look just like the manga. The blocking and acting, you can just see the manga page in your head as your watching it.

Another think I really enjoyed was all the little touches that were probably put in for the fans, but don’t stand out. You’ll only really catch it if you read the manga. Shin’s lighter/necklace for example. It is very distinct, as a large round globe with a cross on top. In the movie, during Black Stones live concert, you can see that necklace very easily as it bouncing off of his chest.

There wasn’t much that I didn’t like about the movie, but there were two things that did bug me enough to drop it’s score slightly. First, I did not like the actor they had portray Nobu. His hair was completely wrong, and he acting…it just didn’t feel like the Nobu had I seen in the manga. The hair especially bugged me. I couldn’t believe he was Nobu when he appeared.

The second thing was small, but happened enough that I noticed it. In the subtitles, when NanaO.’s name was said, it was written in the same font as the title, while NanaK. was just written normally. While I can understand the reasoning behind wanting to differentiate between the two Nana’s, that WASN’T the best way to go. It stands out, and subs shouldn’t do that. You don’t want the words to distract from watching the scene. They are just there to be read quickly so your eyes can return to the scene. And it was really unnecessary, since most of the time, NanaK. was referred to as “Hachi” or “Hachiko” by the characters. It was annoying and distracting.

Since Nana is about two bands, there was quite a bit of music, which I enjoyed a lot of the most part. Blast’s Glamorous Sky, which is also the main theme of the movie was well written and well performed. It fit Blast’s style. Viz should try and get the soundtrack for this movie out as well. Mika Nakashima has a good voice.

The DVD is rounded off with profiles about the director and cast, and the original trailers for not just Nana, but also for Viz Pictures other live action movies; Hula Girls, Love Com, and Honey and Clover. I might check out Honey and Clover, but until the manga is further along. I don’t want it to be ruined. The trailer for the movie already spoiled some things.

If you liked the Nana manga, I would highly recommend getting this movie. It does a great job of bringing the characters to life. If you’re wondering what all the hype about Nana is about, then rent this and see why so many girls *and guys* enjoy the series. And it’s not a bad way to spend 2 hours.

Review based on DVD provided by Publisher

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