Oh hell no. Oh. Hell. No. What, Munou na Nana leaving off on a cliffhanger with no season two announcement? Oh we knew that was coming. The invisible blade being a run of the mill psychopath? Not actually that surprising given past events. No, my anguish comes from the most wholesome of wholesome cutie pies pulling a sacrifice that truly gets the tears flowing – and using that as the cliffhanger. Poor Michiru, the whole scene really hit the feels, and it only gets worse when you realize what comes next will be left for manga readers to discover. Damn the annoyance. At least Munou na Nana knows how to go out with a bang though, because there likely is no better way to convince people to give the source material a try. In that regard, I think this show accomplished with flying colours exactly what it set out to do. Anyways, onto impressions!
While certainly not fall’s best showing, Munou na Nana definitely surprised as the weeks wore on and its story started showing just what it was made of. This show was the definition of dark horse mystery thriller, providing plentiful shocks, surprises, and twists which kept things firmly interesting—and viewers invested—from the word go. It’s not a series for everyone, but for those with a love of chaos and murderous pink haired moeblobs, Munou na Nana easily fits the bill.
Arguably the main strength of Munou na Nana is the breadth of its premise. The primary problem with many mysteries or cat and mouse games is that the concept grows stale after a while; at some point the protagonist must capture or eliminate the antagonist, but to do so ends the story. As a result you get a figurative merry-go-round with the protagonist often being kept artificially stupid to keep the villain just out of their hands and the next paper volume having a reason to exist. Munou na Nana flirts with this problem heavily at the start, with Kyouya (the protagonist) always coming close to catching Nana (the antagonist), but never managing it at the last moment. Jin and the appearance of the Invisible Blade killer, however, prevent this flirtation turning into reality, giving Munou na Nana a major revitalization in its second half through an upending of initial premise and ensuring that the quagmire of boredom never has opportunity to set in. I wouldn’t go as far to say the show would’ve avoided the issue entirely if it continued (and it likely wouldn’t), but for a single cour run, it’s hard finding issue with the pacing and featuring of its story material.
The other aspect I also enjoyed were the characters themselves. While Munou na Nana’s Talented are veritable cookie cutter versions of those you’d find in Boku no Hero or Assassination Classroom (especially in terms of abilities), they were at least diverse and in receipt of good attention towards plans and motivations. After all, not only did we have the likes of possessive necromancers and reptile eating gyarus, but we also had the murders (or attempted murders) of these kids be noticeably different from one another, helping in part to maintain the interest as discussed above. Couple it with Nana undergoing complex changes in terms of confidence and motivation, and I dare say Munou na Nana is setting up for a fairly critical twist and further entertaining carnage in the near future. Make no mistake, you won’t find the apex of deep and rounded character writing here, but for a bit of pulpy, meticulous murder action, it’s difficult asking for more.
Although we are unlikely to see more Munou na Nana in anime form anytime soon, this is easily one series I’m down for getting more of should it deign to do so. It hit all the right notes, kept me glued to the screen, and arguably did more than it had to in terms of overall entertainment. It may not be the absolute best anime in 2020 has to offer, but if you haven’t yet, I heartily recommend giving Munou na Nana a try if you’re in need of some popcorn thrills to help wind out this chaos of a year.