When a serious, anti-social 17 year old girl regresses to the mindset of a hyperactive 6 year old, humorous misunderstandings are bound to occur.
What They Say
Seventeen-year-old Nanaka Kirisato has it all: she's beautiful, she's bright, and she's at the top of her class. But somewhere along the way, Nanaka lost touch with her classmates - including her best friend Nenji - who think she's become an arrogant snob!
One day, in the midst of an argument with Nenji, Nanaka falls down a flight of stairs and gets seriously injured. The diagnosis is acute amnesia, and now Nanaka thinks she is six years old - and a magical princess! To add to the fun, she believes that Neji also made a wish to become an adult. Let the magical misunderstandings commence!
For this viewing, I listened to the 5.1 English dub. A Japanese 2.0 track is also available. The sound has a decent mix, though it really does not use the 5.1 system to its full capabilities. Dialogue stays on the center channel, and directionality with the sound effects is pretty minimal. Still, the different tracks are nice and clear and do not suffer from blending or dropout, and sometimes that is all I ask.
Originally broadcast in 2003, this release gets a very nice transfer and is maintained in its original 4:3 full frame aspect ratio. This series is bright and colorful, with clean lines and shading, and all of it is maintained well in this release. I did not notice any technical problems or master flaws at any point. This is a good looking anime.
The three discs for this release are contained in a standard size amaray case that has a hinged insert in the middle to hold two of the discs. The imagery and design are fairly standard for recent ADV collections, which is to say that it is nice, but generally unimpressive. Like the series, the packaging is colorful, though it seems to be a little less vibrant than the actual series. It also plays up the magical girl subplot that acts as a backdrop to the main story. Overall, it fits well with the main series’ theme.
The menus on this release are simple, but I like them. The menus themselves are static, but the transitions are animated. The main menu is mostly pink, with episode selection in the bottom left, a picture in the top left, and the rest of the selections along the right. Each selection is easy to see and the highlight also stands out. When going to a submenu, the elements of the main menu shift around to form a new pattern that the submenu fits into. Again, it is nothing fancy, but it fits the atmosphere of the show.
There are a few nice extras on these discs. Each disc has clean versions of the opening and closing, while the first two each have music videos for Nanaka’s favorite anime, Magical Domiko. The last disc has the best extra, as it has a bonus episode that did not air during the original broadcast. This was a nice addition, because it ended up being my favorite episode in the entire series.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Nanaka 6/17 is a short, light hearted comedy series that does not try to be too much, and it succeeds fairly well at what it does attempt to do.
Seventeen-year-old Nanaka Kirisato is an anti-social bookworm. She spends every waking moment studying in an effort to get into a good college, completely at the expense of everything else. Her personality is such that she only has one friend, Nenji Nagihara, and even he is frustrated by her overbearing, superior attitude. If he had not been friends with her since they were both young children, he might not have ever accepted her.
After a particularly querulous exchange between them, Nenji explodes and tells her never to speak to him again. This crushes her, and in her grief, she suffers an accident when she falls down a flight of stairs. Nenji finds her soon after and gets her to the hospital, relieved when she quickly comes to.
However, not all is well. While out, Nanaka dreams a memory of a time when she and Nenji were children. They had both made a wish to grow into adults by using a toy replica wand from Magical Domiko, Nanaka’s favorite anime. When Nanaka recovers from her accident, her mind reverts to her six-year-old self. When she sees that both she and Nenji are older, she just believes that their wish had come true.
Now Nenji has a problem. Nanaka still has to go to school, but he has to somehow hide the fact that she now believes she is only six years old. In a classroom full of students who already loath her, Nanaka’s now childish behavior just brings out the worst in all of them. The fact that she acts like Magical Domiko at every chance certainly does not help. The nastiest is Yuriko Amemiya, the most popular girl in class, gifted in piano playing. When Nanaka announces she wants to learn the piano so she can play for a class choral recital, Amemiya agrees to teach her in order to humiliate her in front of the audience.
Soon, however, six year old Nanaka’s infectious exuberance slowly begins to break down Amemiya’s hostile exterior, and when she accidentally finds out the truth behind Nanaka’s change, she reluctantly agrees to help Nenji keep Nanaka out of trouble. The fact that she harbors a secret crush on Nenji helps her acceptance, though she is repeatedly crushed by the attention he continually pays to Nanaka. Still, between them, they manage to keep a lid on Nanaka’s condition, and things begin to look up. Until Nanaka’s seventeen year old personality starts making random appearances that is.
For the most part, Nanaka 6/17 is a lighthearted comedy where much of the humor comes from putting six-year-old Nanaka into high school situations. Some of her reactions and misinterpretations are downright adorable as she takes just about everything in stride and refuses to believe that anything might be wrong.
Another source of humor comes, oddly enough, from the bullying that six-year-old Nanaka has to deal with. Before the accident, Nanaka was exempt from any real bullying as she pretty much ignored everybody else, however once she develops the mind of a child, she soon becomes an easy target for her antagonists as she does not have the developed social skills to properly handle high school machinations. However, each time she is able to escape these situations, sometimes with assistance from Nenji and/or Amemiya, and turn them to her advantage, leaving her tormentors with the egg on their faces. This serves to further irritate them, but each time their plans get grander, so does the eventual backfiring.
But my favorite part has to do with Jinpachi Arashiyama and his sister Satsuki. Junpachi is the heir to the prestigious Arashiyama dojo, but for years he has been losing fights to Nenji, and he will not rest until he gets his revenge. However, when he meets Nanaka for the first time—six-year-old Nanaka, that is—he quickly falls in love. Satsuki, a far more accomplished fighter than her brother, at first is against his desires, but through various misunderstandings, soon accepts Nanaka as well. So she spends the rest of her time attempting to train her brother so that he is worthy of Nanaka’s love and the family’s dojo. At least once an episode, she sneak attacks him, beats him to a pulp, and drags him back to the dojo for more training, usually right as he is about to enact a plan to win the love of Nanaka. I do not know why, but I cracked up every time that happened.
I should mention the unaired episode offered as an extra on the third disc, which takes place somewhere in the middle of the series. As thanks for all of her help with both Nanaka and his homework, Nenji offers to take Amemiya out to a movie. Of course she accepts, even though she realizes it is not a real date. Still, she tries to act like it is. However, Nanaka also happens to be out on the town that day with her father, and they keep showing up at each place that Nenji and Amemiya go. Nenji never sees them as Amemiya keeps abruptly dragging him to new places to escape as she would like just one day to have Nenji all to herself. And when they start running into classmates, hiding keeps getting harder. Overall, I found this episode to be the most entertaining of the series, and I am glad that ADV included it.
Still, even with all its humor, Nanaka 6/17 is not without its serious moments. Whenever the seventeen-year-old version of Nanaka makes an appearance, it marks a shift is the storyline to a more serious element. For starters, there is the brewing conflict between Nanaka and Amemiya over Nenji’s affections, as Amemiya is spending more time with Nenji than the older Nanaka can, but Nenji seems more focused on taking care of the younger Nanaka than anything else.
There is also the problem that the older Nanaka begins to understand what is happening to her, and she struggles with the loss of her real self in the wake that it appears everybody else is happier when the child Nanaka is around. For the first time, she is forced to start reconciling her dreams and ambitions with those of the people around her, and it becomes a struggle for her.
If I had anything potentially negative to say about Nanaka 6/17, it is that quite a bit of the humor is somewhat juvenile due to the face that Nanaka is 6 years old through much of it, and it could be a bit hit or miss at times. I also found the sub-focus on Magical Domiko to get a bit old after a while. On the one hand, it is an important piece of the puzzle because its presence is tied into Nanaka’s changes, but at the same time, I might have liked it to be a little less heavy-handed. Still, these are minor concerns, and they really did not affect my enjoyment very much.
Overall, Nanaka 6/17 is a title that I enjoyed more than I thought I would and one with which I really do not have any serious issues. It is not outstanding, by any stretch, but it does not really attempt to be, either. The story is light, as is the humor, and it does not try to give itself any undue importance like others of this genre might. It is short, sweet, and entertaining, and I cannot ask for much more than that. Recommended.
Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Music Videos, Bonus Episode
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Memorex MVD2042 Progressive Scan w/ DD/DTS (Component Connection), Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System