Saturday, July 10, 2021

REVIEW: Talentless Nana, Season 1 (anime TV series)

Talentless Nana is a sci-fi psychological thriller series. I watched it on Funimation's streaming site.


In the near future, monsters known as the "Enemies of Humanity" began to appear. People with superpowers also began to appear, and these "Talented" were best able to fight the Enemies of Humanity. In the series' present, Talented children are sent to a deserted island for special schooling and training so that they can one day fight against the Enemies of Humanity.

The current class includes people like Iijima Moguo, a loud bully whose ability is pyrokinesis, and Kori Seiya, a flirty guy whose ability is cryokinesis. However, there are also several students who do their best to hide their abilities, because there are rumors that the Enemies of Humanity made themselves look human and have infiltrated the island.

The class's newest students are Hiiragi Nana, a cheerful girl who can read minds, and Onodera Kyoya, a mysterious loner who refuses to reveal his ability. Nana attempts to befriend Nakajima Nanao, a timid and supposedly Talentless boy. Soon, however, tensions rise as the rumors about invading Enemies of Humanity appear to have some basis in the truth.

I've kept my description as spoiler-free as possible. When I first heard about this series, the general consensus seemed to be that it was good but that it was probably best to go in with as little information as possible. I actually went in completely blind and didn't even realize that it would involve characters with superhero abilities.

While I'm going to avoid including major spoilers in the rest of my review, the rest of this review will include what some folks may consider minor spoilers (related to the premise, but still). You've been warned.

In my effort to go into this series as blind as possible, I didn't even check what genre it fell under. However, even I could tell that something was off during the first episode. Most of the characters seemed a little too cheerful and cliche considering they were supposedly training to be soldiers in a war against literal monsters. Then there was the title of the show itself, Talentless Nana. Nana said she could read minds and seemed able to do so. Meanwhile, Nanao was the supposedly Talentless one.

Then the murders started, and the series became absolutely gripping. Viewers knew who committed most of the murders and how they were done. The thrill was in seeing whether or not the murderer could remain undetected. There were additional mysteries as well: the island's history, and the truth behind the basis for the murderer's motive. There was even an element of black comedy, since the murderer didn't know what everyone's abilities were from the start and occasionally had to do some panicked recalculations after, say, finding out that one of the students could raise the dead.

The world-building had holes in it that you could drive a truck through, but there were indications that aspect might have been intentional. Whether it was or not, I mostly didn't care - the action and various characters' mental gymnastics were fun to watch. Nana's voice actor was amazing, and Onodera's drove me nuts with deja vu until I figured out that he also voiced Abe in Big Windup! (the fact that both characters shared the same serious and stoic expressions and eyes increased the feeling of deja vu).

My biggest complaint is that the series ended with nothing resolved - one particular character made huge emotional strides, and I loved the friendship storyline, but otherwise there were loose threads everywhere. If a second season gets made, this won't be a big deal and might actually be a plus. There would be a clear emotional dividing line between the first and second seasons.

At any rate, I enjoyed this immensely, but in order for it to truly be great, it needs a proper ending. Here's hoping it gets one and doesn't end up in limbo, with anime fans having to turn to the manga to find out how the story ends.

No comments:

Post a Comment