Nanaka 6/17 Vol. #1 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Nanaka 6/17

Nanaka 6/17 Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     May 22, 2006
Release Date: May 23, 2006

Nanaka 6/17 Vol. #1
© ADV Films

What They Say
Growing up can be painful. Especially when you fall down a flight of stairs, suffer severe head trauma, and wake up with the mental capacity of a kindergartener. Ouch! Now, 17-year-old Nanaka Kirisato has to grow up all over again. You see, Nanaka thinks she's been through a magical transformation, and she just can't wrap her head around the head trauma. But if she thought fitting in as an unpopular bookworm was hard, subtracting eleven years certainly won't help. Throw in a mullet-headed boy bully, a karate-chopping girl bully, a bullheaded best friend, and a barrage of schoolyard battles, and Nanaka's problems multiply exponentially! It all adds up to mayhem and mass hysteria in the first hysterical volume of Nanaka 6/17.

The Review!
When a bit of a mental stress hits Nanaka and it turns into a physical reaction, the seventeen year old student regresses into a six year old mindset.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series sports a pretty good stereo mix which is nicely accented in the English 5.1 mix by being a bit more distinct and slightly more directional in its forward soundstage placement. The Japanese track is rather good for the stereo mix that it is though as it has plenty of well placed dialogue and sound effects and a strong set of musical areas in the opening and closing sequences. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either language track.

Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. With production by the folks at JC Staff, the source materials for this series just look fantastic. The show deals with a number of soft colors such as the lilac of Nanaka's hair as well as the general school background setting but the skies in their clear and rainy fashions have a really good look to them. There are a lot of vibrant colors to be found in this show as well as they look great here with a very solid feel that's maintained even when there's some high motion action sequences. This is a great looking transfer that's free of problems, especially cross coloration and aliasing.

While the design layout for this series looks to be a touch simple it does have a very relaxing feel to it with the purple, red and white borders that surround the artwork which in itself is very basic. The cover for the first volume gives us a rather endearing shot of Nanaka in her younger mode while holding a magical girl wand while other characters are off to the side of her in an almost illustrated form while the background is made up of blue skies and white clouds. There isn't really an action shot here and the focus is mostly on Nanaka which is just plain cute. The back cover has a similar bordered layout but is rather dense and busy compared to the front cover as it has a series of strips going across for each episode where it has five small shots from it and a couple of sentences about it. With the winged hearts as a soft background, the thin font for the text makes it hard to read and just adds to how busy it all looks. The discs features and production information is a bit better off while the technical grid is amusingly reworked to fit in the space that it has. No insert is included with this release.

The menu layout is nicely done with the rising sun motif but modified a bit as it rises from the corner but doesn't fill the entire screen as purple hued animation clips play in the background along with the floating winged hearts while some of the music plays along. It's heavy on the pinks and purples but it's nicely laid out and fairly intuitive to use the navigation once you take it through for a spin. Access times are nice and fast and the disc correctly read our players' language presets and played without issue.

The extras are pretty standard for a little known series with the opening and closing sequences presented in their clean form. There's also the inclusion of a music video but it's better to think of this as the opening sequence to the Magical Domiko series that we see in pieces during the series.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of a number of lesser known titles that ADV Films picked up in the last few years has finally arrived and it's like a number of them have turned out to be for me, a very pleasant surprise. Twelve episodes long with the first four of them on this volume, we're introduced to what seems like at first is going to be another basic storybook school age romance and then get visions of another version of Fancy Lala based on skimming the summaries. What we get instead of something made up of parts of that but reworked into something surprisingly charming.

The series introduces us to the childhood friends of Nanaka and Nenji, both at the age of seventeen and getting close to that time when college prep exams are going to dominate their lives. Nanaka is a very serious and studious person to the point where she'll fake illnesses in order to get out of PE class and spend time in the nurses office reading. Nenji on the other hand is something of a standout in that he's a rough and tumble type and has the nickname of "Raging" because of his hairstyle which certainly isn't the norm in this world. The two of them aren't in a relationship and while there's a level of caring between them it's hard to say that there is a real potential for romance. It just doesn't feel like it's there. But Nanaka is very much concerned about Nenji's opinion.

When his rough and tumble ways get him into another fight on the way home, Nanaka confronts him on it and he just blasts into her about it. The event causes her to really be taken aback both mentally and physically as she ends up falling down a set of concrete stairs. To everyone's surprise, Nanaka has regressed in her mind to that of a six year old with little recollection of anything from the last eleven years of her life. With her mother passed away and her father something of a milksop, Nenji sort of takes it on himself to continue watching over her as he has for the last few years but now with having to keep her secret. They don't want to reveal it to anyone at school since they want her to try and have a normal life until she can regain her memories and snap out of it.

Nanaka at this mental age of six is rather spot on based on my experiences of living with a six year old. She's hugely into an anime show called Magical Domiko in which the magical girl uses her wand to become people in various professions in order to save the day. Nanaka plays this up while at school and it leads her into various complications, such as we see during the first volume when she says through the magic of Domiko that she'll become a piano player. This brings in some interesting characters to the show, such as Amemiya, a cool but not cold young piano prodigy who is like a lot of other prodigy's. She's got a gift but she's not exceptional, which has led her to thinking about quitting and uses Nanaka's entry into the world of piano as a way to justify her own feelings while humiliating Nanaka. Amemiya's also rather obviously interested in Nenji and despises how the relationship between Nanaka and he is like so she uses this to show both of them up in a way.

Nenji's life is complicated enough in dealing with trying to keep Nanaka out of trouble and her secret safe but he has his own issues as well. This shows up several times in the early episodes in the form of Jinpachi Arashiyama, a fellow rough and tumble type with his own gang that's intent on teaching Nenji a lesson. He is unfortunately not the best person to go against Nenji as he is consistently whipped by him when they do get to the point of rumbling. Jinpachi is rather amusing in his own right though outside of these fights; during one episode where Nanaka loses her glasses, she mistakes him for Nenji and his sense of honor has him allowing it to happen so he can get her to the optical shop. Along the way he finds himself really becoming smitten with her as she in her six year old form just does him in without him realizing it. But Jinpachi has a lot of things working against him, including his younger sister Satsuki who keeps an eye on how much of a wuss he's becoming.

Nanaka as a series has some real charm to it though you'd imagine that Nanaka herself would become a really annoying character after a short bit because of her new mental age. While she does have a lot of cute moments in her new mental state, she doesn't overdo it all that much. Some of the Magical Domiko stuff may seem like it's getting to that area but it's kept to the right level so it doesn't make you want to roll your eyes, at least too much. She has more of a natural curiosity about the world around her but she's also prone to quick emotional outbursts with heavy tears if she's given too much of a talking to. For the most part though, she comes across as an earnest, bright and cheerful girl like this and it just makes the other girls mad at her since the guys seem to like it, which is amusing enough just by itself.

In Summary:
Nanaka 6/17 had me fearing what was to come when I started to get filled in on what the premise was about but it turned out to be quite the opposite. It's an endearing and rather playful series that has a good serious edge to it at its core. The characters aren't instantly likable but they grow on you as it progresses and you see more of what's behind them and their personalities. It's also a series that at twelve episodes will be the kind that won't overdo the premise since if it went on for too long it would certainly lose its appeal. There's plenty of quirks to be found in here as well but overall it's a surprisingly solid and enjoyable show so far.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,"Magical Domiko" music video,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, 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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