Nana 7 of 7 Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • 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
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Nana 7 of 7

Nana 7 of 7 Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     July 26, 2004
Release Date: July 27, 2004


Nana 7 of 7 Vol. #1
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Nana's grandfather always wanted to capture the rainbow. After years of tinkering, he finally found a crystal that separates light from a rainbow into its seven basic colors. The experiment only needed to bake for a few more seconds. That's when Nana accidentally opened the microwave... Now there are seven Nanas!

There's a grumpy Nana, a giggly Nana, a crybaby, a slowpoke, a cool Nana, and one who's just strange in addition to the original Nana! She's got seven times the problems, seven times the hopes and seven times the love for the cute boy Yuichi. How can Nana compete with herself and what will her parents say now that they've got seven daughters? Who said seven is a lucky number?

The Review!
Split personalities become a reality in this show when Nana splits into six distinct aspects of herself.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
Using a very bright and active cover, we get a shot of all seven of the girls in their Nana Ranger outfits (with the original Nana partially undressed no less) set against an equally multi-colored backdrop of stars. While it's very busy I do like the look of it; besides, with this many primary characters it's hard not to have a busy looking cover. I also like that in addition to the English language name that they included the original as a subtitle. 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. 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 against the same kind of background as the cover and provides chapter listings for all five episodes.

Menu:
Using the image of a purple heart with other colors swirling around it, the main menu is a simple piece that uses parts of the show nicely as it mixes the image with a pinkish backdrop and numerous hearts floating about. 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.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When I first saw the premise of this show, I figured it would be some strange mix of Shinesman and the traditional harem anime show. What I ended up with instead is something much closer to Magic Users Club in terms of how the show feels. To my surprise, the show was much more fun than I expected it to be, especially coming from director Yasuhiro Imagawa who gained fame for Giant Robo, G-Gundam and the upcoming Tetsujin 28.

The series premise is fairly simple. We're introduced to junior high school student Nana, a pretty average nice girl with nothing that really sets her apart. She's typically quiet and not terribly outgoing but she does have a friend or two and isn't an outcast at school. She's pining for her first love, a fellow classmate and one of the brightest kids in the school, Yuichi. She wants to express her feelings for him but just can't quite do it. Since it's just about Valentines Day, she decides to go for the option of baking him a chocolate cake and giving it to him.

Her plans go rather awry though as some of the other girls from her school make a mess of things and destroy her cake. Distraught and fearing that she won't have much time to do anything like this again since important tests are coming up for their high school selection period, she and her friend Hitomi head back to her house to bake another one up quick. Nana lives with her grandfather, a former scientist, as both her parents are working in America. One of the problems she has with her grandfather is his method of taking household items and turning them into something else, such as a vacuum cleaner that's a mousetrap or a washer that's a fan and so forth. So when her microwave is missing, he's the first suspect.

To her surprise, the microwave isn't damaged by his craziness yet but it does seem to have something glowing inside. Before she knows it, the multicolored object inside has zoomed out and whisked through her, creating six copies of herself. Each of them knows all that she knows up until that point and each of them are distinct aspects of her, from the hot headed version to the crybaby version. The various facets of her personality are brought out in strength but they all work in unison, or at least with the split personalities. The original Nana sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, such as when all six work on the cake and don't trip over each other and force the original Nana to write the letter for them. The original just seems out of place with the rest in these kinds of scenes.

Nana has a difficult time dealing with her other selves since they are at time such extremes of her personality, or pieces of it that she hasn't expressed in a number of years. Her goal of wanting to tell Yuichi how she feels is something they all feel strongly about though, enough so that each of them decides they'll compete against each other to get to know him. The original Nana at least ensures that they don't go out together after the do the first time and cause nothing but chaos. When the girls hold the crystal colored hearts that were created in the microwave, they're given heightened powers such as strength and flight. This is kept under control pretty well but the six can overwhelm poor Nana at times and use their combined numbers to get the crystals. Each day, a different version of her goes to the school so they can be close to Yuichi and they invariably cause some kind of trouble.

One of the more amusing aspects of the show is that after some time they come into possession of a set of super hero costumes from an old sentai show. It covers up enough of their faces that they can all wear them out in public, initially for a marketplace festival, and doubles as something that lets them use their powers to save the day when necessary. It's an aspect of the show that I didn't think would work but actually was more fun than I thought it would be. Each of the girls play so well off of each other in this form in a believable way that it's fun to watch them perform or deal with situations such as the moped biker gang.

What surprised me early on with the show is how there's more of a magical feel to things than anything else. It's not playing up the harem aspect much or in the way it usually does since only one of them at a time can be visible when it counts and the girls do work with each other quite often. The comedy aspect is there but it's not really the same as Shinesman since it's not really trying to parody anything. Imagawa's intention is to have the characters show that they can break out of their standards and show some differences, to emphasize different parts of a personality instead of submerging them. To do this, we have to get to know Nana and she expresses herself well. There's a great moment early on where when she's flying above the town after the group has let loose with a good amount of their powers and turned the winter into spring, she sees the orange sunset hitting the clouds and the town and realizes that this is what Yuichi is trying to capture in his photographs of the town. The light music and the soft nature of Nana brings a really magical feel to how she grows and sees things throughout the show.

In Summary:
Seven of Seven starts out pretty strong and has a number of very amusing moments. Some of it is a bit hard to get through when all seven are talking at once, which happens too often since it gets grating in both languages, but other than that the show is a good bit of fun. But I'm not sure it's something that can carry on for twenty-five episodes total. The gag is good at first as is the opening set of characters we get to know and there's the overreaching plot of having to deal with their split, but it could quickly devolve to the same kind of gags. The show was a failure in Japan but it certainly wouldn't be the first time that a show found a wider and more accepting audience over here. This opening volume sets the stage just right for the show, now it's just a matter of seeing if the writers can pull it off.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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