Amazing Nurse Nanako Vol. #1 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2000
Release Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2000
What They Say
I am Dr. Kyoji Ogami, the world’s leading surgeon, scientist and bio-engineer. The young lady that you see here is Nanako Schichigusa. She works for me as a nurse, housekeeper and addle-minded transplant Nanako’s brain into the body of my ultimate cybernetic combat robot, the Venus 2000! But first, I must deal with Nanako’s resistance to superpowers. Do they want to get me because they fear my brilliant intellect, or could it be Nanako that they are after? What could they possibly want with a brainless girl like her? Or rather, a soon-to-be-brainless girl. Once my revolutionary operation is complete.
We've seen the covers. We've seen some of the images from the Japanese release. We've seen the outfits. And yes, we've seen the breasts. But beyond that, we've heard little else about what this show is actually all about. It was announced as licensed pretty soon after it started coming out, so alternative routes of finding about this show dried up quickly. Let's get into the technical discussion first.
Nanako is provided in stereo Japanese and English language tracks. The audio is nice and clear and has some very distinct moments. There's practically no surround effects at all, which isn't surprising, but there's some decent directionality across the front soundstage. The second episode contains some good bits of audio, such as the fight with the bear or Nanako's prompt stomping on a passing snake. We listened to the English dub while writing the review, and the English voice actors do a pretty good job of capturing the spirit of the Japanese actors, with Nanako's voice actor almost doing a dead on in some areas.
As with any newer release, such as 1999 for this series, the animation quality is very high. And with it being an OVA, the quality shows throughout each episode, not just for a few frames here and there. You can see that a portion of the budget went to some CG stuff, though they're not too terribly intrusive. What will annoy a certain segment of viewers is the digital panning which was prominently seen in the first half of the first Sol Bianca: The Legacy OVA series. I personally don't find it distracting, but I can understand how this panning combined with the layered look of the animation can annoy a good number of fans.
Overall though, the bright vivid colors and fluid animation look wonderfully presented here. Flesh tones are one of the better looking pieces, though there are some action sequences that have great clarity and vividness I can't imagine being produced as well with half the resolution of VHS.
In terms of packaging, lets be frank. Ok, ok, let's bee her outfit instead. With a show named Amazing Nurse, you simply can't go wrong with a busty smiley faced cutie on the cover. This cover delivers it in spades, though they do darken up the surrounding area in forest green, giving hint to darker things to come. The back cover provides a quick dose of more fan service in addition to serving up the plot and the technical specs of the disc. The insert provides a different shot of Nanako in her nurse outfit alongside the chapter listings for the episodes. The disc itself is laser etched with the same image, not silk screened.
The menus, designed by the folks at Nightjar who also did Trigun and Sol Bianca, are a bit understated this time around but provide more subtle humor to it. My wife simply rolled her eyes at it while I laugh. During the main menu and the extras submenu, the background picture with Nanako... moves. Well, ok, every now and then her breasts bounce. This is like an open challenge to Gainax. Let the bouncy wars begin again! The menus themselves are pretty straightforward and laid out well. There's not a lot of layering to them, so everything is quickly accessed and easy to find.
Extras included on this disc are pretty good. There's the original Japanese TV spot that shows all six OVA's being advertised, a Nanakotronic music video, spoofing the Animetronic line and 25 images in the character design gallery. Included to the first press runs in the package is a Nanako plastic standee. It's about six inches high and is most definitely staying on my desk where I can oogle it constantly. This is a very cool extra, and one I'm really glad Pioneer decided to try.
Ok, so we've got a great looking disc, some cute menus and some nice extras. How's the show?
The show is in itself pretty cute. Since it's an OVA and pretty short, the pacing is much different from TV series and movies. The opening episodes introduce the characters and hint at the storyline which will be developed throughout the rest of the episodes. Nanako is the maid/nurse in the Ogami Hospital, where Dr. Kyoji Ogami is the head of.
Nanako herself is interesting, in your typical somewhat ditzy and somewhat intelligent way. There's the bouncing bosom and the legs that won't quit combined with a toothpick waist, but there's much more to it as hinted in the second episode. While she's the shows title character and she's highlighted prominently in the first two episodes, they don't really focus on her but on her world and the forces at work. Her place looks to be dealt with in more detail in the future.
What does occur in the first episodes is pretty interesting. Taking place between the Pentagon, the Vatican and the military base where the Ogami Hospital is, Dr. Ogami has certain facilities that help a General and a member of the Vatican investigate a life form they've found, known only as Green. As with any investigation of an unknown life form, something goes horrendously wrong, yet provides insight into the creature.
The second episode is more of a character study of both Ogami and Nanako as well as lightly fleshing out the other inhabitants of the hospital who were lifelong friends of Ogami's grandfather. There's also more training for Nanako, for whatever mysterious plan Ogami's got for her. There's definitely more to the relationship between the two than meets the eye.
The display of greater forces behind things, in a mysterious tone seen in your good X-Files episode, is brought into play regarding the Green life form. This in the end may be what keeps me interested in this story, though Nanako's bounciness will definitely help.
And yes, this is a Pioneer show. What does that mean? There's a bath scene. It's mandatory, in case you didn't know.
And yes, that's an in-joke to a dub line from a old Tenchi episode preview if I recall correctly.
If there's one thing that I dislike about this release it's the lack of subtitles for the ending song, since there's no opening song. This is one of those areas that seems to really vary from release to release, and probably from producer to producer. I wish Pioneer had a clear cut sub the songs policy though.
The overall tone and style of this show reminds me a bit of Pioneer's first anime releases at the beginning of the 90's, such as Moldiver and Kishin Corps, with it's mix of humor and darker storyline in the background. With only six episodes total, the remaining two volumes will likely delve into the full story pretty quickly.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Nanakotronic Music Video,Original Japanese TV Spots,Character Design Gallery,Nanako Plastic Standee (limited to first press run)
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Amazing Nurse Nanako