Nanaka 6/17

Nanaka 6/17Type: TV Series + Special
Episode Count: 12 + 1
Genre: Comedy
Vintage: 2003

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 27 Jan 2012

Grade: B

A series which makes the most out of fairly average ingredients and is pretty good as a result.

Plot Summary
After childhood friends Nenji and Nanaka have a fight about the way they are living their lives in high school, Nanaka falls down a flight of stairs and gets knocked unconscious. Upon waking up at the hospital, it seems that something has happened to Nanaka after the fall: she has reverted mentally to her six-year-old self, thinking she now looks like an adult thanks to the powers of Magical Domiko, her six-year-old self’s favorite anime character. What will happen now that seventeen-year-old Nanaka has been replaced by her six-year-old self from the past?

The Review
While certainly not groundbreaking, and despite being on the simplistic side, Nanaka 6/17 is an enjoyable little series. There is nothing particularly remarkable about the characters, the soundtrack isn’t what would necessarily be considered memorable, and the story – while different – doesn’t challenge any conventions. So what makes Nanaka 6/17 a good series despite this? Primarily, the writing.

Nanaka 6/17 is fun to watch because it is a balanced series. It is first and foremost a comedy, and though there are some dramatic undertones, it isn’t really enough to consider the show a drama. There is potential for some serious subject matter to be explored in the series with Nanaka’s condition, but it doesn’t take that route. Certainly it’s not mocked, but in the context of the show, Nanaka’s condition is mostly used as a vehicle for cuteness.

Seventeen-year-old Nanaka is studious, solitary, and always has her nose buried in a book. After her accident, she reverts to her energetic six-year-old self. Part of this transformation includes a mannerism which leaves no doubt that she is a child. Nanaka has an expression which is used to convey surprise, confusion, or any of several other emotions: “hayaya” (or sometimes “hawawa”). She also wears her hair in the child-like style of the single ponytail on the side. Then, of course, there is Nanaka’s obsession with Magical Domiko, her favorite anime. Nanaka is a good lead character, and it is interesting to see how her seventeen- and six-year-old selves differ.

The rest of the cast is fairly basic, but the roles are played well. Nenji is Nanaka’s childhood friend and has a history of getting into trouble at school. Yuriko is the class representative, and seems to have feelings for Nenji, but always finds Nanaka to be in the way. This covers the primary cast, but there are also secondary characters such as Nanaka’s dad, Nenji’s rival Jinpachi, and Kuriko, an actual six-year-old girl who takes a liking to Nenji.

While nothing about Nanaka 6/17 is particularly impressive on its own, it’s the way that each part blends with the others which makes the show truly find its feet. The comedy is never overplayed, the characters never do more than they need to for their parts, and some elements even seem a bit “cartoonish”, but there is just enough drama and the vocal performances are polished enough that the result is a fun little show which is handily capable of putting a smile on your face.

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