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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Nanaka 6/17, Vol. 1: The Not-So-Magical Mishap
Nanaka 6/17, Vol. 1: The Not-So-Magical Mishap
ADV Films // PG // May 23, 2006
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Holly Beeman | posted May 8, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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A Note from the Reviewer: This is a review of the screener and as such is not the finished product.

The Show:

From director Hiroaki Sakurai of Cromartie High School and the producers of Azumanga Daioh comes the charming new show Nanaka 6/17. While not necessarily epic in the realm of anime, Nanaka is filled with laughs and even moments that are likely to touch one's heart. The first installment of this 13-episode series shows a lot of promise and gives one much to look forward to in the volumes to come.

Nanaka is a 17-year old high school student who is suffering from what her doctor terms "regression": Her mental state has regressed back to her younger years, particularly to the age of six. How could something like this have happened?


Episode 1 - Nanaka Kirisato, 6 Years Old: Before the accident, Nanaka Kirisato is considered to be somewhat of a self-centered, stuck-up high school student whose only concern is the college exam. Because of this, she and her childhood friend Nenji Nagihara have grown apart exponentially. Their exchanges are few and far between and consist largely of Nanaka nagging at Nenji to grow up, take better care of himself, and stop getting into fights so frequently. On one rainy day in particular, Nanaka and Nenji get into an argument of epic proportions, one that is to end their friendship. This leads to the so-called "accident"; Nanaka falls down a flight of stairs and hits her head, ultimately causing her regression.


After a glimpse into Nanaka's childhood, we learn that her mother passed away when she was only six-years old. Nenji, knowing that her favorite anime is Magical Domiko, convinces her that with magic, she can grow up and not have to be sad anymore. Well, this certainly comes in handy when Nanaka awakens because it serves to explain why she and Nenji look the way they do. The magic actually worked! They are now adults! Even her dad has grown older (maybe a little too much, according to Nanaka). While her father is naturally concerned, he is also given the unforeseen pleasure of being needed once more and seeing his only daughter grow up all over again. He and Nenji had forgotten just how cute and innocent Nanaka could be; she had grown distant from the two of them probably due to her mother's death ocurring when she was at such an early age. Her relationship with Nenji is also renewed as he makes a vow to protect and watch over her in this seemingly foreign world.

Episode 2 - Nanaka the Pianist: Little Nanaka, full of hopes and dreams, decides she wants to be all of the professions that Magical Domoki was in her show, namely a pianist. When her classmate Yuriko Amemiya (who happens to be really great at playing the piano) announces that they need a pianist for the upcoming choral performance, much to everyone's shock and dismay (remember, Nanaka is hardly popular among her fellow classmates), Nanaka raises her hand with enthusiasm. The only problem is, she has no experience with the piano! Yuriko is thoroughly annoyed. She assumed that no one would volunteer, and as a result, she would be the natural candidate to do the job. Nevertheless, she sees an opportunity to exploit Nanaka and offers to give her "special lessons" after class.

Harmless, right? Not quite. At school, Yuriko appears to be giving Nanaka ordinary piano lessons, especially in front of Nenji. However, behind the scenes at her home, she is much harder on Nanaka. Here, Yuriko uses these extracuricular practice sessions to try and wear Nanaka down, but what she does not expect is Nanaka's refusal to give up. In fact, one day after school, she finds Nanaka in the piano room working on the choir piece, harder than ever. So hard that her fingers are bleeding. Yuriko then remembers her childhood and how she loved playing the piano so much that the same thing happened to her. This experience indirectly inspires Yuriko to pursue her long lost dream of being a pianist like her mother.


The choral performance arrives, and while the class nominated Yuriko to play after realizing that Nanaka could not cut it, we see little Nanaka on the stage. Just prior to this, Yuriko advises her to play a little of the Magical Domiko theme to warm up. She does, and everyone is petrified at first, but Nanaka manages to pull through and surprise them with a more than decent and heartwarming performance.

Episode 3 - Nanaka the Big Sister: Before Nanaka's transformation, Nenji was getting into fights on a regular basis, particularly with a boy named Jinpachi Arashiyama. One day, they got into the ultimate showdown in which the loser had to cut his hair in the same style as the winner. Needless to say, Jinpachi lost and had to cut his hair like "Raging Hair Nenji"! Confusion is bound to occur when Nanaka's glasses fall off and a truck runs them over subsequently. Looking around for help, she sees Jinpachi across the street; without clear vision, he appears to be Nenji-chan! Nanaka runs up to him, and soon after, he is suckered into treating Nanaka throughout the day. How can he say no to such a cute little girl?


More trouble arises when Jinpachi's sister Satsuki witnesses him rapidly turning into putty. Nanaka is not worthy of being the wife to the future head of the Arashiyama family. Satsuki must dispose of her! Through Nanaka's clumsiness, she manages to avoid all of Satsuki's determined attacks. In her final attempt, Satsuki almost harms herself inadvertently, but Nanaka trips and pushes her out of the way. Satsuki sees this as an admirable gesture of protecting the enemy. She is so touched that she asks Nanaka to be her big sister, a title which Nanaka happily accepts.

Episode 4: Not included on this screener.

I think the mixture of humor and seriousness works well for this series; these two elements do not really work independently of each other, but moreso in concert. The story is actually not one I have experienced in the form of anime before, and while not the most original work I have seen, its predictability does not take away from the strength of the show. I would actually probably be disappointed if it turned out otherwise. The animation is not extremely elaborate, but for a series like this, I do not really consider this an issue. The best part of the show for me was being able to relate to the characters. Seeing little Nanako interact with her father, Nenji, and others really made me think about the prospect of having children. I know that sounds incredibly cheesy, but it really was just a pleasure to watch. Nanako successfully serves as a testament to childhood and growing up.

The DVD:



 

Audio:

Using the technique of DVDTalk reviewer and Anime Talk editor John Sinnott, I alternated between the Japanese 2.0 and English 5.1 tracks, both of which I enjoyed equally. The English 5.1 track features such recurring voices as Chris Patton and Monica Rial, making it easily enjoyable. The Japanese 2.0 track, while not having the same sound capabilities of a 5.1 track, is still very good especially in an anime like this where surround sound is not an absolutely crucial component.
 

Video:

Nanaka is presented in its original 4:3 or 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. It looks clear and crisp, particularly nice for an unfinished product. The use of soft colors for the backgrounds contrasting with the bright colors of the characters and animation is suitable for this kind of anime. Overall, the transfer looks great, and everything is clean and easy on the eyes.
 

Extras:

Minimal in extras like most anime discs, this volume includes a clean opening animation and clean closing animation (not included on the screener) as well as a Magical Domiko music video, DVD credits, and ADV previews for UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie, Michel, Super GALS!, Happy Lesson, Sister Princess, and Moburaho.
 

Final Thoughts:

Nanaka is a light-hearted and downright fun to watch anime. It has an exceptional blend of both funny and serious moments. At some points, my eyes even got a little watery, but then again, that is not saying a whole lot considering how much of a sap I can be! I can understand why it might not appeal to everyone, but in my opinion, it is definitely worth a watch. I am psyched to see the final product in addition to the series in its entirety. Recommended.
 
 

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