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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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05/11/2008 Archived Entry: "Movie review: Nana"

Directed by Kentaro Otani
Based on a manga by Ai Yazawa
Distributed by Viz Media

Review by Jilly Gee

Nana Komatsu is naive, somewhat selfish, and very bubbly. Nana Osaki is willful, proud, and withdrawn. When the two girls with the same name yet vastly different personalities meet on the train, it is the beginning of what Komatsu believes to be a fated relationship. Indeed, the meeting on the train would have been the end of their relationship, with Osaki walking off without a word and Komatsu being distracted by her old school friends, if the two had not been apartment hunting a couple of days later at the exact same time. Komatsu instantly takes to the idea of sharing the apartment, despite not knowing anything about Osaki herself; Osaki, on the other hand, seems to accept being roommates partly out of spite for her realtor.

Despite how their personalities contrast, this is not the beginning of an odd-couple-like relationship, with one getting on the nerves of the other. They are more like pieces of a puzzle, different, yet fitting together well. There are no life shattering events or outlandish drama that bring the two girls closer together; they naturally bond as do all people in life that spend significant amounts of time with each other.

As a movie about two young women is wont to have, there are subplots involving their romantic struggles. Komatsu's relationship with her boyfriend, despite her optimism, is rather obvious to viewers that it is rapidly coming to an end. Because of this apparentness, viewers in that case are mostly just waiting for the this end, to see what Komatsu will take away from this experience. Osaki's relationship is by far the more intriguing one, as the viewers are not told outright what happened between her and her boyfriend. Instead, we are given glimpses into past moments of her relationship, not in chronological order, but in scenes to match the scenario at hand. With these glimpses, viewers learn more about Osaki, the facets of her personality, and how she came to be where she is.

It is not what the girls accomplish with their lives that satisfies viewers and leaves them with warm fuzzies after having finished the movie; it is the deep relationship that Nana and Nana have formed. In fact, there is nothing particularly noteworthy about their own lives. Komatsu doesn't magically become better at her job just because she has undergone a couple of life-changing experiences and Osaki doesn't instantly hang up her pride just because Komatsu helped her delve into the problems of her past relationship. They still have problems, but they have each other to deal with the problems.

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