Nanana's Buried Treasure
Ten years ago, on the Special Student Zone -- a manmade island -- a girl named Nanana Ryūgajō was killed in her own apartment, and as a result, she remains there as a ghost, accompanying whoever moves into said apartment room.
The latest resident of said room is a young man with a troubled past; Juugo Yama. Seemingly somewhat of an oblivious and perverted idiot, we quickly learn that he's on the run from something, parts of which are introduced in this season. Moving into the room, he also gets involved with Nanana and promises to get to the bottom of the mystery that is her death.
When a show touts adventure and mystery, it's usually not very difficult to get me to look into it. The promo art of Nanana herself wasn't exactly hard on the eyes either.
However, female types found in a lot of shows tend to be of the generally insufferable type, but thankfully, Nanana turned out to have a delightful personality, if not necessarily always an admirable one.
The concept also kind of reminded me of a really endearing manga I read many years ago, called My Lovely Ghost, Kana, except it's not as much that. For one, the art style is definitely more in line with stuff made for guys in general. The show doesn't necessarily flaunt its sex appeal, but girls like Nanana and Shiki Maboro, Juugo's landlady, who wear clothing that does little to hide their generous curves. Curiously enough, they're more of an exception rather than the rule, since most of the other female characters wear fairly normal clothing. Well, except Ikkyuu Tensai, self-proclaimed master detective and her almost cosplay-ish getup.
The reason for why I initially mentally lined this show up with My Lovely Ghost, Kana is the fact that I thought (and hoped) that Nanana and her situation had some similarities, which is true to a certain extent, though not as much as I had hoped. There is the mystery that, unlike Kana's suicide, Nanana had actually been murdered by someone, and that's one mystery off the bat that this season sadly does little to uncover. That's one of many mysteries of this island, the biggest of which is how Nanana, along with six other students of similar age, founded the Nanae island project. Exceptional children, indeed, even if we kind of have to take the show's word for it.
The biggest problem I had with the show is that it really wants to be taken seriously as an intelligent show, starring intelligent and exceptional characters, yet the show doesn't really sell it as well as it should have. I am relieved that, for what it's worth, I genuinely like the characters in this show a lot. In a sense, they are all acting like teenagers, with the ambition and drive they tend to have. Where the show fails to deliver is in its world; the treasure hunts are occasionally exhilerating and fun to watch, but they feel more like levels of a videogame rather than something set up by people of great intelligence. In short, I don't really buy the fact that this island have all these secrets, and that they've all been mostly undiscovered, despite the fact that one of them are basically hidden inside a huge shopping mall.
It's aggravating, because this means that the secrets of Nanana's world, including its treasures, plays second fiddle to the characters and their own personal lives and secrets, and the show is being really stingy about those, at least for now. But that's why, in the end, Nanana's Buried Treasure gets a passing grade from me. Not because Nanana's treasures are more tools of convenience, but because none of the characters are idiots despite the show's attempts at passing them off as such. Juugo might be a pervert and an "idiot", but he's not stupid. Far from it. Nanana, who spends most of her time in her room, doesn't want to indulge her little team of treasure hunters by making their quests too easy, and I can understand that. As for Nanana herself; she never really leaves the room she shares with whatever tenants who chooses to stick around, so we don't really get to see her as often as I'd like, but instead of portraying her as a tsundere or any other annoying anime archetypes, she's actually well presented as a poltergeist-like presence whose past is still shrouded in mystery. For all I remained unimpressed by its treasure hunts, most of the personal interactions between the character were extremely satisfying, mostly because none of them were played as fools. I may not buy that Nanana and her troupe of fellow club members are as amazing as the show would have me believe, but I certainly buy the cleverness we're presented with.
The show is also helped by its generally appealing character designs and animation work. Action sequences flow smoothly, despite the show's habit of reusing "rotating gears clicking into place" footage each time our cast enters a trap room. Sure, most of said trap rooms look and work like goofy video game stages, but at least they look nice in action. One oddity of the show can be found in the games Nanana play while present, which are all actual footage from real-life games. Among the ones I recognized are Virtua Fighter... 5, probably, and, curiously enough, Terraria. (Goes with the treasure hunting theme, I guess.) But there are also a few games I did not recognize, one of which looked like some kind of MMORPG. Granted, I saw Terraria only once, while Virtua Fighter seemed to get a lot of screentime, so make of that what you will.
As aggravating as Nanana's Buried Treasure could get from time to time -- mostly based around the underwhelming treasure hunts and its bad habit of unloading mystery on top of mystery, thereby losing any hopes of ever having anything explained by the time this season ends, with the hopes of anything ever being resolved depending on whether this show gets popular enough to warrant future seasons -- there is still some fun to be had in it, mostly because the show basically won me back with its characters, and because it avoided having one be the foil of the other in any of its many wildcards and red herrings. The characters, in short, are all equals, individual abilities notwithstanding. And while the show never really becomes clear on the topic of Juugo's liaisons, including the ambigiousness of his relationship with Nanana, it still took the time to put one worry to rest before signing off -- and with a really sweet scene at that -- and for that I'm quite thankful.
Kind of incomplete and somewhat underwhelming for all its ambitions, Nanana's Buried Treasure is still a fun show to watch. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: The show does get occasionally dark in that the villain presented is shown as quite willing to sacrifice people to get what he wants. And there's also the mystery centered around the fact that Nanana was murdered. That said, most of the violence is relatively mild and bloodless. The fanservice is also fairly mild, all things considered.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (11/11)
Nanana's Buried Treasure © 2014 A-1 Pictures, Aniplex, Nanana's Buried Treasure Partners
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