The 2nd Dimension

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Viewing Journal: Nana 1 & 2 (live action movies)

Movie Overview
DVD Info

Overall= B+
Story = B+
Video = B+
Audio = B+


Two girls, both named Nana and of the same age, coincidentally meet on a train trip to Tokyo. They soon find themselves living with each other under the same roof because of an even bigger coincidence. Even though they share the same name and age, they differ in just about everything else. Even so, through hard experiences in love and life, a strong friendship is born between them, as both Nanas grow through their hardships and struggle to win the odds. (Source: ANN)

I don't have much to say about Nana other than that I like it. I think part of the reason is because it is about a rock band, and stories about bands -- whether real or fictional -- always seem to draw me for some reason. Probably the reason for that is because they usually involves an everyday normal person achieving success by following their passions: basically a feel good, success story with characters you can relate to. It's the same thing here, because Rock-girl Nana is trying to create a successful band. But there's the added twist that she is motivated by the desire to be an even bigger success than her former boyfriend, who is now I superstar rocker. And of course, you have the good-girl-Nana who is Rocker-Nana's biggest groupie, apartment-mate, and friend.

And definitely the Rocker-Nana is the more appealing character out of the two Nanas. Her childhood hardships made her strong and willful, which is always a good way to make a sympathetic character. The innocent-good-girl Nana is less appealing because of her puppy-doggish following of the other Nana, but is also more relatable because of it. She is drawn into the world of the other Nana (confused yet?) and wants to be like her. But because of her naivete she ends up getting taken advantage of and gets into a bit-o-trouble. But even though the two are opposites, they are attracted to each other (as just friends...I think) because each envies the other's life. The dynamic between those two Nana's and their friendship is a big part of what draws you into the story.

The other thing that draws you in is the casual nature of how all these rock stars act. Rocker-Nana's band all meet together in their apartment and BS just like regular friends would. There's conflict here (and a good deal of over-acted melodrama), but mainly in as much as people are struggling to maintain their relationships when their opposing lifestyles are pulling them apart. Sounds kind of cheesy when you put it like that, but even so, it's a big part of what makes these two movies so easy to watch.

That same tone also applies to the plot. There are some stories that seem to just be about the characters doing stuff, without ever having a defined direction, and thus gets tedious to watch after a while. This movie had that same kind of character driven story, but never got tedious to watch. But it does mean that the endings to both movies seem to come suddenly. And even at the end of the second movie it seems like there is more story to tell. But regardless, it's still an over-all satisfactory package, and I guess if you really want to know more, you could always read the manga.

Of course, a big part of any movie about a rock band is the music. It's especially critical because in order to believe that the fictional band deserves the success they achieve, the music has to be especially good. For this movie, I'd say that the music does mostly achieve that, but I guess the success there will all be personal preference.

So overall, I do recommend these movies for those who are looking for a good, easy-to-watch, genuine drama. I also know there's an anime version of this out there too and of course there's the manga too if you do end up liking it and are looking for more.

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