Live-Action: Nana Movie

December 9th, 2005

Nana is a live-action movie based on the manga of the same name by Yazawa Ai. It’s been a huge hit in Japan and I can understand why.

But let me be very honest and admit right off that I do not personally like the manga at all. It’s nothing specific – just not my cup of tea. That having been said, however, if I *were* a fan of the manga, I think I probably would have been really pleased with the movie. As it was, it wasn’t a bad movie, really.

For the three of you who are not familiar with Nana – the story is about two completely different girls named Nana: one a punky musician and the other a sweet girl, who meet on their way to Tokyo and end up sharing an apartment. Sweet Nana gets a pretty good case of admiration for punk Nana, who seems to have no troubles of her own. Of *course* that isn’t the case.

Nakashima Mika and Miyazaki Aoi, who play both Nanas, do a bang-up job. Aoi’s sweet Nana is huggably cute, and Mika’s edgy Nana reminded me strongly of a friend of mine, so I was instantly fond of her. As my friend does not read Okazu, I feel free to say this: there are some people who can smoke sexily. It happens alot in anime – think of Sainte-Juste from Oniisama e. But in real life, there are fewer people who make smoking look good. Betty Davis in Now, Voyager, carried it off pretty well and my friend Meryl looks kind of funny when she’s not holding a cigarette. When I hear her in my mind, her sentences are interrupted by inhalations of tobacco. And she makes it look pretty good. Nakashima Mika has got that same quality. It would seem odd for her to *not* be smoking.

I only read the first volume of the manga in Japanese, and random chapters much later when I picked up the odd issue of Lala – and I skimmed the first chapter in English when 500 copies of Shoujo Beat showed up at my house for Onna!, so I honestly don’t know how accurate the movie is compared with the manga, but from what I remembered it seemed pretty close. Since Nana the movie has been breaking all sorts of records in Japan, I can only assume that the fans thinks so too.

As movies go, especially as Japanese live-action movies go, it’s not bad. The acting is pretty tight, the story is easy to follow and the music isn’t bad at all. Towards the end it gets very slow, a quality that all Japanese live-action movies seem to have a problem with.

The big question for us has to be “so what about the kiss?”. The kiss Nana gives Nana was such a big deal, there was an interview with the actresses about it. It didn’t make them uncomfortable, they said. Well…not surprising because it can hardly be called “a kiss”. A peck, or perhaps, a “chuu”, but not a kiss.

Which brings me to something I’d been wanting to mention for a while – in manga, because the art is static, all time is slowed down, and emotional scenes – especially kisses – are also slowed down and seem more melodramatic than they might otherwise be. In this case the “kiss” is so fast that you blink and you miss it. In the manga, (I am assured by people who know better than me) the kiss is a real kiss. In the movie it’s practically non-existent. One more reason to like manga better. ^_^ (And incidentally, time is even slower for me when I read Japanese stories, like the Marimite novels. because it might take me a while to finish a complex sentence. The characters hang in limbo while I finish. If they are embracing while I’m working at it…the hug might go on for a looooong time. lol)

However, the affection the Nanas feel for one one another, and the akogare/admiration Hachi (punk Nana’s nickname for sweet Nana, which is a play on their names. “Nana” means “seven” and “Hachi” means “eight”) holds for Nana is very warm and fuzzy – and very natural. If you’re a fan of the manga, or you like chick movies in general, I’d recommend this to you.

Cinematography – 8
Characters – 8
Story – 7
Soundtrack – 7
Yuri – 1
Service – 1

Overall – a strong 7

Not a waste of time, unless you’re a hardcore zombie action movie fan.

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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    The time slow-down thing due to working out the Japanese happens for me as well. :)

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