Nana 7 of 7 Vol. #6 (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, June 06, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, May 31, 2005
What They Say
The school year is just about up, and it won’t be long before all the Nanas will boil down to one! But first, Evil Nana, has some unfinished business with the object of Yoichi’s affections! That means it’s Nana against Nana as she decides to stop the evil eighth of her personality once and for all!
Seven of Seven comes to an end as the school situation and the unification of the Nana's becomes the two big priorities.
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 cover looks like it's something of a partial cover as it has Nana in her high school uniform smiling and blushing while she's holding some boys hand but his body isn't visible. Surrounding Nana we get six hearts of different shapes that allows six more versions of Nana to show through. It's not a bad cover to end things with though it obviously gives away a few hints. 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. No insert was included in this release unlike previous volumes which did have one.
Using the artwork from the cover with a bit of a light colored blue background, it's a cute piece that looks a bit more bright and alive than the cover itself does. 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)
Seven of Seven has been a series that's had its ups and downs across its run but managed for the most part to find a decent balance. Some of the early stories in it were weak but were necessary in order to expand on the various Nana's that now existed and the way they were all the same but different, especially in their attraction to Yoichi. As it went along, this actually got to be annoying in a few ways since we had goofball stories that detracted from what made it work, such as the Nana Rangers and the entire segment that had them going to America. But it also managed to pull off some good character material with the primary Nana and with those she dealt with on a real basis.
After all that everyone went through in the last volume with their early acceptance possibilities and in dealing with the Dark Nana, this volume looked set to really run with all of that and had a number of ways to go. What I didn't expect was what happened though, in that the Dark Nana, wanting to punish Nana for her performance in answering key questions during the interview, heads of to Tsukie's place and roughs her up enough so that she can't take the entrance exam herself. Since she didn't try to hide her identity, Tsukie was easily able to identify her for it and Nana suddenly finds herself being kicked out of the early acceptance she had gotten and now back to the general pool of students. Even worse, she's told she can't even try for the school she wanted due to her actions which she didn't even do. Everything is confused at this point and nobody is really sure of what's going on.
The Dark Nana has her time with Nana and the others aren't quite sure what to make of everything. With the time getting closer that they all need to be together because of the unification coming soon, the Dark Nana really throws a monkey wrench into things. With the school situation slowly ironed out, the entire Nana team decides to focus on taking care of the Dark Nana and work together to fix things so that they can move on with everything else. It just gets weird though when Yoichi finds himself caught up in it as the Dark Nana works to mess with the object of his affections. Of course, a lot of the entire concept of this series is to show how someone has so many different sides to them and that they have to deal with all of them.
This becomes really well done when the "mushroom head" teacher finds himself being the strongest advocate for Nana when she goes through the early acceptance ordeal. Since she had been the weakest of the students in the fast track class, he's able to talk about how well she's applied herself to it and all the effort she's gone through in order to go to that school and how her character has changed because of it. Naturally, he's seen the various aspects of Nana in their full force, but whose to say he didn't really see those when she was just a single being before the accident as well? Nana has truly changed as this show has gone on and from her interview going forward, it's become very apparent.
If there's anything I didn't like about how this volume went it's with the actual ending and then the follow-up episode. The third episode brings the series itself to a close and deals with the combination of the various Nana's in a most cheap and awful way by going with the gag of there not being a need to unite and "that was just grandpa talking, and we know how wrong he always is." A truly bad way of ending things in and of itself, but then they go and provide an entire follow-up episode that's basically a New Years special where they multiply the number of Nana's that there are. It's an all-comedy episode that just flat out didn't feel funny, especially after the way the series had ended the episode before on a sour note. There are definitely areas that I enjoyed in the first half of this volume but the ending completely collapsed in a number of ways.
Seven of Seven has been an interesting series at times and some of the single stories have had some neat things to them, but it was wildly unbalanced at times with things that I didn't like or were just used way too often. In retrospect, my mild distaste for the Nana Ranger concept is only heightened and I cringe at the sight of them. I do like the way that a lot of the characters did actually grow and change over the course of the series and that even the supposed great guy that Yoichi is does things that are just wrong at times, especially in the last volume. I think they copped out with the ending though and then gave us a follow-up special that only made the ending seem even weaker. I do think that I'd recommend the series overall though since it does do some neat creative things over the course of it, but it's not something that I'd say to run out and get but rather to go for the priced down collection that's inevitable.
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, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B-
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