August 21, 2007
I just saw NANA 2 last night, the sequel to the popular movie based on a Yazawa Ai manga. As I mentioned when I talked about HanaKimi, watching live action versions of shoujo stories tends to help them get within the boundaries of what I can tolerate watching. I tried to watch the NANA anime, but just couldn’t sit through it.
I found the first movie to be decent. I actually fell asleep on it the first time I tried to watch it, though I accredit this to trying to watch it while on the mind numbing 10 hour flight to Tokyo. Second time, I made it through and actually rather enjoyed it.
Both NANA and NANA 2 seems to bog down in the middle though, making me think the run time could have been pared down. NANA 2 suffers especially from having way too much of Hachiko moping around. It would have been better if there had been more subplots really being developed, but there wasn’t. Hachiko was prettymuch it. No development with Nana and Ren, and aside from Nobu who gets involved in Hachiko’s plotline I still couldn’t even tell you the names of the other two members of Black Stones. Not to mention the members of Trapnest aside from Ren and Takumi, I can’t even remember Ito Yuna‘s character’s name. Given the 2:10 runtime of the film, and the fact that this is now number two, I can’t excuse dragging on for so long while not developing any of the secondary characters. Hell, Nana barely gets any real development as the whole film focuses on Hachiko.
While I was more bored with NANA 2 than with the first film, it does have some cool concert sequences as any film focusing on rock bands should. It was also nice that Ito Yuna actually had lines in this movie aside from singing. As with the animated version, the music is a big selling point of the NANA movies. Nakashima Mika plays Nana, and Ito Yuna plays Reira. Both deliver punk rock songs, but for Nakashima this is well outside her normal type of music. Ito Yuna just rolled her Trapnest songs into her first album, but the Black Stones songs were fleshed out to a full album, “THE END” under the “NANA starring MIKA NAKASHIMA” name. I am in fact listening to “THE END” as I write, and it is a cool album. Nothing like the low key ballads Nakashima Mika usually produces (not that I dislike her usual work, it is in fact also quite good).
So, overall, if you are a fan of NANA and/or Yazawa Ai, you should probably check out NANA 2 to complete your experience with the first film. For other movie watchers, as with the Matrix, just stick with the original. It wraps up decently, and NANA 2 doesn’t really develop anything from the first film anyway.