「夢とか野望とか否定とか憧れとか」 (Yume toka Yabou toka Hitei toka Akogare toka)
“Dreams and Ambitions and Denial and Attraction”
My initial impression after finishing this episode was “Wow… I was not expecting that”. And secondly, I like this show even more now!
Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin has exceeded so many expectations of mine since I started watching. Honestly speaking, I was anticipating this series to be more about half-arsed mysteries involving a moe dead girl and students running around school. Maybe a harem thrown in and of course, the token trap is a given. In hindsight, maybe a pseudo Hyouka would’ve been the best way to define it. To my surprise, Nanana has been none of that and it’s even taken it a step further and started actually digging into characters and underlying stories. Not only are the characters fun to watch, but they are not your average cardboard cut-outs and best of all, the plot is actually going somewhere. By that, I mean that there’s a purpose to the story and it’s not your average rom/com that drags on and on; nor is it another adventure story that has no foreseeable ending. Nanana may appear average and typical on the surface, but after this episode, I think it has set a whole new bar for itself. The following episodes better be able to keep up because I’m sure everyone has a laundry list of questions that need answers – and then some.
For everyone that’s made it past the 3-episode trial period, episode 4 will surely blow your mind. There’s a ton of new information and it’s coming at you fast. Almost every line at the end is critical and it all leads back to either earlier episodes or facts that you should be aware of for the future. Even I had to watch it several times to fully digest what was happening. There’s relationships, off screen characters and secrets… so many secrets that finally surface that just begs more questions. I’m not going to spoil it now if you haven’t seen it but – don’t continue reading if you intend to. For me, this episode works and it really brings the story back to its core and reminds the audience that this is a mystery series above all things. I can imagine that in a novel form (which is the original source material), the reader would follow an unreliable narrator in first person, to the point that they start to question – who do you trust? Is this real? This is clearly shown in this episode where bits and pieces of Juugo’s past reveal itself and as a viewer, I’m starting to question if he’s a protagonist that I can cheer for anymore.
I can imagine that there are probably people here with many gripes about the episode too. It’s extremely fast-paced and like I mentioned, there’s a lot of information flying at you in almost every line of dialogue. Who are all these people and how are they connected? It feels almost too forced when they revealed Juugo’s past and a poor attempt to add some plot twists to the story. Most of all, I understand that it can get confusing and there’s a lot of implications to the rest of the story because of the shift in motives. However, these are the aspects in stories that keep an audience wanting more and I think Nanana delivers a lot of answers and great questions that are still believable. Personally, I love how they introduced Juugo’s father because not only does it add another dimension to the show, but it shows that not everyone is who you think they are. The story is not about another average Joe who just “happened to stumble onto the greatest adventure of his life”. No, he was strategically placed there and he knew exactly who he was calling. I think it’s advantageous to introduce Juugo’s family now rather than later on, because you know it’s going to be fully incorporated into what’s going on. If the creators slotted this in near the end, I would feel cheated because who would’ve thought that our main character (who I’ve trusted until now) is actually not so innocent and naïve?
The other characters in this episode also played their roles very well – to the point that you really don’t know what they have up their sleeves. Matsuri seems to be a group of thieves (headed by Juugo’s father?) who don’t steal without purpose, and Shunjuu Ikkaku is the mysterious leader of the Great 7 (who is also affiliated with Tensai?). Then there’s the Adventure Club who have their own agenda (to rule the world!) and Juugo himself, who doesn’t seem to want to be involved in any of it. I mentioned in my last few posts that I thought it would’ve been more fun to solve the labyrinths and mazes along with Tensai, but now we’re solving the bigger picture, which is the mystery of Nanae Island. Even with all these characters, the questions are still remains – “who killed Nanana?” And I think this is what ties the story together for me. Not everything is random, everyone has a purpose and most of all, I’m hoping that all these pieces will assemble in the short time frame that this series has.
My favorite scene this week had to be the mention of Tensai and Juugo as a potential couple (by none other than Juugo’s dad, who would’ve thought?). There’s no way I could’ve ended this post without giving a shout out to this couple that I wholehearted ship now. They are opposites in many ways, but something about the idea that opposites attract really hits home for me. Although they’re not exactly on bff terms, I can’t help but hope that this is a sign that something could happen. After all, Tensai has her eyes on Juugo and I believe that wherever he goes, she will surer be there first. The fact that there is even any time at all dedicated to romance is a plus and it adds emotional attachment to the characters. It would be ideal to see their relationship have an impact on the outcome of events because then any development wouldn’t really be for naught. It’s refreshing to watch a rom/com that isn’t all about the harems and high school drama – I just hope it stays that way.
Bottom Line: @RCCherrie – Mind blown! I am more impressed every week with #nanana_tv. Who would’ve thought that our protag isn’t another boring run-of-the-mill guy?