Friday, May 09, 2008


Nana is a film about two young women named Nana, who meet by chance on a Tokyo-bound train. Aside from their names, they are very different: one is an ambitious punk rocker who is moving to Tokyo to advance her career, while the other is bubbly and not too bright, and is moving to Tokyo to be with her boyfriend. But they become roommates and friends, and help each other through emotional crises. Which is to say that it's a live-action adaptation of the manga Nana, which is a huge hit in Japan.

The film Nana only covers the first fourteen chapters of the manga (there's a sequel), so we don't see the more serious events that happen later in the manga. But there's still way too much material to fit into a 110-minute movie without drastic condensation. Many of the events in the manga are eliminated: for instance, we see nothing of the Nana who moves to be with her boyfriend's pre-Tokyo life, and Misato is eliminated completely. More seriously, the movie leaves out most of the interactions between characters that flesh out the characters, and made the early volumes of the manga enjoyable. As a result, the movie feels like a forced march through the plot of the manga, and you never really connect to the characters. Aside from the thrill of seeing one's favorite manga characters in live action, the movie has little to offer, although Aoi Miyazaki, who plays the Nana who moves to be with her boyfriend, gives a good performance which is wasted here. Frankly, I only watched it to the end out of curiosity, and I'm a fan of the manga.

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