The animated stories of Nana Komatsu and Nana Osaki come to a conclusion in Nana Set Four from Viz. The series takes a few interesting turns as Blast gets closer to the release of their debut album, a media circus erupts, and the two Nanas have somewhat of a falling out. Unfortunately the show doesn't end on a satisfying note, with the last episode raising more questions than it answers.
Nana Komatsu is a 20-year-old woman from an upper middle class background. She's flighty, narcissistic, and doesn't really know what she wants to do with her life. As the show begins, she's finally saved up the money to move to
Though the two women are the same age and have the same name, they couldn't be more different. Nana Osaki is driven and determined to make it as a singer on her own. Instead of following her boyfriend Ren, she purposefully didn't go to
After the train ride they go their own ways, but not for long. When these two disparate girls both start looking for apartments they bump into each other at a reasonably priced two bedroom loft. They both want it and start to argue until a realtor suggests that they share the place. Living together turns out to be the best thing for both of them. The needy Nana Komatsu quickly picks up the nick-name "Hachi" because she's friendly, obedient, but needs a lot of attention, just like a puppy. The tough and independent Nana Osaki starts to rub off on Hachi though, and opens up a bit in the process too. Pretty soon these two people who really have very little in common are the best of friends.
Nana K has found herself in a difficult position. She's pregnant, and she's not sure who the father is. Takumi, the bassist and leader of the hit rock group Trapnest, offers to marry Nana and take care of her and the baby, and he certainly has the means for it. The other possible father, Nana's current boyfriend and guitarist for the Black Stones Nobou, doesn't have a dime. So Hachi tearfully breaks it off with him and chooses security and comfort with a guy who doesn't really love her.
This causes a lot of strain between the members of the two bands. Just about everybody has an opinion about what Nana should do, but it's really her decision in the end. Soon after Nana moves in with Takumi, Nana O is photographed with Trapnest's bassist and her old love Ren, and the tabloids have a field day with the story. Video of a Blast performance is leaked to the media and suddenly Nana and her band are in the spotlight, but not for the reasons that they wanted. The record company decides to capitalize on the media coverage, though a good portion of it is negative, and finally schedules Blast's first release: the same day that Trapnest is releasing their new single.
The members of Blast find themselves in the middle of a grueling publicity campaign, with interviews and photo shoots day and night. They eat and sleep in the van while being driven to events and have little time for themselves, much less their friends. The two Nanas haven't talked since it was discovered that Hachi was pregnant, and Nana O worries that her naïve and somewhat clueless friend has started to hate her. But that's the price of fame, something that Nana O always wanted.
While I have really, really, enjoyed this series, the abrupt ending to the show left a bad taste in my mouth. The last episode was a terrible let down, jumping ahead several years into the future but not answering any of the questions that have been on viewer's minds. One of the really cool aspects of the show that pulled me in from the beginning was the spoken intros to each show. One of the Nanas, from a perspective of years in the future, would relate what she was thinking or feeling at the time the events in the episode were unfolding, often with ominous foreshadowing. When they started the final show in the future, I was expecting that they'd reveal what happened to everyone, as the intros imply that the characters know their own fates, but this wasn't to be. The bulk of the show was a flashback that takes up where the previous episode left off, and the rest is just small talk among the group of friends. Not only do they skip wrapping up some of the biggest questions of the series (Does Blast make it big? Does Nana marry Takumi?) they bring up several more mysteries (including one especially aggravating one) that ends the show on a sour note. I really hate it when anime series drop the ball in the last episode or two (I'm looking at you Neon Genesis) and it's unfortunate that the creators couldn't just give fans one more solid episode at the end.
This disc comes with the original Japanese audio and an English dub, both in stereo. I mainly viewed the show with the Japanese track but I screened a couple of episodes with the dub track and that was fine. The Englsih voice actors do a good job and don't overact of put on phony accents. Both tracks sounded clean and clear and there were no defects worth mentioning. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't at least an English 5.1 track, but I can live without it.
The anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) image looks very good. The lines were tight and there was a lot of detail. The blacks were solid and the colors were bright and strong too. On the digital side there wasn't much to complain about either, the only flaw being a bit of aliasing. This is a show that is very easy on the eyes.
The series is a little light on the extras. There's a clean opening and closing, a series of VIZ previews, and a Blast music video.
I was a huge fan of this show up until the last episode. For some reason Japanese creators have a lot of trouble with the final installment of a series, and that's definitely the case here. While it's clear that they were hoping for a second season (there's more than enough material in the manga from what I understand) the show's conclusion could have been handled much better. Even so, it's definitely worth checking out this final set. Just be prepared to cry "That's it!?!" at the end. Recommended.