Nana 7 of 7 Vol. #3 (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, November 28, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, November 30, 2004
What They Say
Nana's fast track class has a chance to go to America for an intensive English language course. Yuichi jumps at the chance and finds himself on a plane for San Francisco. But when the plane gets ito trouble, the Nana Rangers come to save the day. Now all Seven Nana's are going to America along with Yuichi. This is their big chance to master English so they can pass their entrance exams and end up in the same school as Yuichi.
After a bit of local fun, Nana and company head off to America where things get a bit trickier and a bit more amusing.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series features a straightforward stereo mix that comes across as pretty full when you have seven actors voicing the same lines at the same time. They use up a wide portion of the center channel, giving a lot of scenes a very full feeling as the show plays out. With more distinct dialogue it's easier to note placement which is still fairly center channel heavy. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback. The English language version feels a bit more hollow and more like you can hear the echo from inside the booth.
Originally airing in 2002, Seven of Seven has a good looking full frame transfer here. The show features a lot of colors and a fair amount of active animation on the screen with all seven girls. While it's not the most vibrant palette out there it's a good looking show with a mix of some nice bright colors against a more real world setting. Some areas feature a lot of detail and is thankfully free of cross coloration and aliasing is very minimal throughout as well. There's a bit of color banding in some scenes with large areas of a single color but overall this plays out well.
The continued piling of all seven versions of Nana onto each cover isn't a surprise to be sure but this one goes for the near-fanservice approach as it has them all in various swimsuits that show off their personalities a bit. Since Nana doesn't exactly come off as an attractive character it's not that bad and manages to retain some of its innocence. The back cover provides a number of animation shots all in the form of hearts against a vague background image. The series has a three paragraph summary that does a good job of laying out the premise and some of the comedy to expect and the episode numbers are finally accurate again with this volume. The production and technical information is all clean and clear and easy to figure out. The insert uses a shot of one of the Nana's from the cover against a bland red and blue background and provides chapter listings for all five episodes.
Done up as a very soft looking photograph that has Yuichi in the center surrounded by all of the Nana's, it's a cute picture but the inclusion of the soft white numbers one through seven over it I think takes away from it a bit and gives it a softer look than it should have. It's set to a nice calming instrumental piece that you could almost use to take a nap with. Access times are nice and fast and the layout easy to navigate. Unfortunately, the discs did not obey our players preset language preferences and played in English with no sign/song subtitles.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the previous couple of volumes have done a good job of setting up the series and providing some sort of impetus for dealing with the impending problem of all of them going back into a single being, we're in the middle run of the show now which means there's more of a focus on the romantic side of things as well as some general character building stories. These tend to fall into either solid material where the characters really grow or they're just harmless fun that sort of move things along but not terribly so. While this isn't exactly a harem series, it has that sort of feel with the seven Nana's trying to get Yuichi but never really moving that relationship forward. And considering how meek Nana is, particularly in the English version, it's no wonder.
There are some fun things that do happen here though. Before the trip to America kicks in, there's a pair of stand alone episodes that help bring Nana and Yuichi into contact a bit more. One of the episodes has a traditional festival going on that brings the two into contact when Yuichi actually asks to meet here though, which can be construed as a date but not really. Her own weird way of dealing with things has her turning him down but when the others find out about it they try to rectify things on their own. This is just fun since all seven of them are running around in their summer kimono's and running into the same people over and over, causing them to wonder just how wasted they are.
Another episode has the class that she's in heading to a temple some distance away for a special study session over the course of a few days. Nana's keen on it beyond the chance to get more studying done that she so desperately needs since it means she gets to wake up and go to sleep in the same general area as Yuichi. The place is really nice and the students are all in their color coded track uniforms so that they can just focus and concentrate on their studies. The assistant principal even tries to teach them some of the art of Zen and concentration which is just amusing. The one thing that both works and doesn't work for this episode is that they bring in the terrible trio of girls who only have to study in the morning and then get to spend the rest of the day lounging around at the beach. The assistant principal has brought them in for his own motivational purposes but it just feels so forced to bring them here when the show is really just going after a very standard ghost story plot.
The show takes a strange curve after this as it starts moving some of the cast off to San Francisco in America. This really just comes out of nowhere and before we know it Yuichi's already flying over there with others. Nana and the others become Rangers once more when there's plane trouble to be found and there are close calls in regards to Nana showing up in America at times, particularly since she's in the same area as her mother, but there's just something that doesn't flow right with these episodes. With a trip like this being a big thing, it didn't get any foreshadowing that I could recall until the actual episode itself and that just broke the flow of things for me. The change in locales should be interesting though especially since we get to have Nana's mother showing up here and the chances of all of them being caught adds a bit of danger to it.
Seven of Seven continues to be a cute show and this volume goes towards simply filling the time with the usual near-romantic interludes that could happen between the oblivious boy and the meek girl with no confidence. Some of it's amusing, much of it's been done elsewhere both better and worse. While this show doesn't exactly suffer from being mediocre, its charms become diluted a bit due to it. And I have to say that the scenes when all seven of them talk at once are really starting to grate a little bit on my ears. There are things I like about this show, but it's one that's hard to recommend since it's just so... average.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B-
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Nana 7 of 7