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Nana: Uncut Box Set, Vol. 2

VIZ // Unrated // November 24, 2009
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted December 15, 2009 | E-mail the Author
The Series:
Viz has released the second set of Nana episodes, and this collection is just as good as the first.  I'm usually not a fan of dramedy series, especially when there's a good dose of romance included, but this show manages to avoid all of the pitfalls that other shows fall into.  The show is never sappy or maudlin, and the situations the characters find themselves in are rooted in reality and easy to relate to.  Most of all, the show is populated with enjoyable characters that really drag you into their lives.
Series Background:
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 Tokyo to be with her boyfriend who's attending art school there.  On a crowded train bound for the big city, Nana finds the last free seat and sits next to an intimidating punk rocker, another 20-year-old who happens to be named Nana Osaki.
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 Tokyo when he got the offer to play with an up and coming band.  Now Ren is lead guitar in Trapnest, one of the hottest groups in Japan, but Osaki is going to make it without calling in any favors from her ex.
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"1 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.
This collection:
Hachi is having a difficult time.  Not only did she lose her job, but she's unsure about the relationship with her boyfriend Shoji.  He seems more distant since she moved to Toyko to be with him, and her constant desire to spend all of her free time with him is a bit suffocating to say the least.  When an attractive girl at work starts showing an interest in Shoji, he has a difficult choice to make.  Hachi's clinging doesn't help at all, but eventually the young girl finds out that there is another woman and that devastates her.
Meanwhile things are looking good for the other Nana.  Her new group, Blast, gets their first gig filling in for a band that had to cancel.  Getting up on stage and playing in front of people gets them, and Hachi, excited and their determination to make it becomes more firm.
While this is happening, Hachi discovers that Nana had a relationship with Ren from Trapnest.  Just having broken up herself, her heart goes out to her roommate and she starts to forge a plan to bring the two lovers together once again, though that might not be the best thing for either of them.
This collection is just as enjoyable and entertaining as the first.  The thing I enjoy about it the most is the way they slowly fill out the characters personalities and backgrounds.  In this set we find out more about Nana O. and her earlier relation with Ren.  It's a touching story and the choices she made, though difficult, illustrate what a strong person she is. 
This set also has a few amusing bits, especially the clip show that appears near the end of the collection.  Usually I skip over these recap episodes since it's usually only been hours since I've seen the episodes they are reminiscing about.  Nana was able to come up with a framing device, while it didn't advance the plot, was very entertaining.  Don't skip that episode, it's worth watching.  
The DVD:

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 'music scene selection' the plays a song from the show, and a series of VIZ previews.
Final Thoughts:
Though I rarely sing the praises of romantic dramedies, this one really makes the grade.  With engaging characters that are well developed and situations that are easy to relate to, it's hard not to get drawn into this show.  If you enjoyed the first collection, you should run out and buy this one ASAP.  Highly Recommended.
Buy from






Highly Recommended

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