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EP. REVIEW: Talentless Nana


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BodaciousSpacePirate
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:35 am Reply with quote
Looking at people's comments in this thread (and elsewhere) about why they find Nana unsympathetic compared to Lelouch or Light, it strikes me that the biggest difference isn't so much their humanity, but rather what, precisely, they're fighting for and against. Both Lelouch and Light were very much set up as revolutionaries or rebels against the "powers that be" and "the way things are". You could argue that Lelouch was fighting more for personal revenge than for the rights of the oppressed, or that Light simply wanted to replace one arbitrary system of justice with another, but at the end of the day, they were both fighting against very powerful and firmly-entrenched socio-cultural forces.

Nana, though? Well, she's certainly fighting against people who are much more powerful than she is, and it would probably be a mistake to not consider her an underdog in her struggle to kill off all of her classmates without getting caught, but she's definitely fighting for the status quo. Additionally, since the story's From the New World-esque backstory is kept hidden from the majority of the populace, Nana is not only an agent of the powers that be, but also high enough up in the government conspiracy that she is privy to the truths behind the lies that the powerful spoon-feed to the masses. She's a secret agent, and apparently the "secret" is that some children have to die even if they haven't done anything wrong yet.

So, Nana isn't an agent of change. She's presented as - at best - a noble guardian who sacrifices her own humanity in order to protect humanity, and - at worst - an indoctrinated child soldier who has learned to take pleasure in outwitting the enemies of the state. Playing into all of this is the fact that sending a lone girl in to kill all of these superpowered kids has a staggering lack of pragmatism to it, and more than a little sense of cruelty. How can we be expected to root for someone who trusts the government, especially when that government has decided to solve a world-cripping problem by training a child to kill a bunch of other children?

Genre-saviness immediately leads us to believe that this whole situation isn't on the up-and-up, and it fundamentally undercuts the premise that Nana is some kind of two-steps-ahead-of-her-opponents underdog when we're constantly waiting to find out whether she's being fooled into being a murderer, or whether her actions will in fact be vindicated after all is said and done. We also aren't immediately given anything that would lead us to believe her willingness to go along with this plan is motivated by something other than blind trust in the government's assurances that these kids all have to die. The story we're told about the tyranny of the talented isn't presented as having any immediate bearing on her life, and if Nana has personally witnessed or been impacted by the threats these talented kids pose, this certainly hasn't yet been communicated to the viewers.

This all adds up to a character that presently lacks a lot of the sympathetic elements that Light and Lelouch share, in spite of those two characters arguably also being self-aggrandizing murderous sociopaths. There just isn't a lot to love about Nana yet (and, judging by some of the more venomous comments I've seen on scanlation sites, the author might never give Nana enough redeeming qualities to satisfy a vocal segment of the "killing game story" fanbase). Regardless, I do find her story - and where it's been going in the manga - interesting, and I hope that people will be willing to suspend their judgment about her for a bit.

* I had to look up the male equivalent of "distaff counterpart" for this post.
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Agent355



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:08 am Reply with quote
Very well put, BodaciousSpacePirate! Personally, I hate Light and Lelouche with a passion, and we can all talk about Eren when the last season of Attack on Titan is complete (without spoiling anything, I’m not a fan).
I probably hate Light the most, because he’s never characterized as anything but a privileged kid who desires power, as opposed to a character going up against an unjust government or trying to save anyone. Nana at least believes everything her government has indoctrinated her with, so from her perspective, she’s doing this to protect innocent people, which gives her a slight sympathy point over Light.
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:40 am Reply with quote
As to the why of using Nana.

As directly referred to in the anime, the government has done this before, but at seemingly great loss of life and exposure. They use Nana (and probably others before) to whittle and weed the Supers down without them knowing, and to turn them against each other. I don't know how they do the end game where everything becomes more obvious.

The government does this for much the same reason (as you mentioned) as from the anime "From the New World". From that framing, while I don't agree with it, I am much more sympathetic to the government. Who wants to go back to a world of death, destruction, and chaos. They already did the MHA thing, and that failed. But at the end of the day, it is still the abhorrent Final Solution thing, that they know the populace would rail against, so the need to quietly remove the Supers.

Nana has a brain, is smart and cunning. She has no excuses, she knows what she is doing, and I really don't see brainwashing as an excuse either. She knows the people she and the government has decided are the enemy. As referred to in the anime, Nana has to evaluate the enemy herself. She knows she is killing good people, bad people, and those in between.

We have been given the unique perspective of seeing Nana's internal thoughts, and nothing I have seen shows a human being that even has a trace of humanity. Nana uses the good nature of good people against them without hint of anquish or sympathy.

A good question would be, how long has Nana being doing this. How many people has she killed. Another one would be, is this just going to be a murder game show? Personally, I hope not.
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Yuvelir



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:00 am Reply with quote
Not so much brainwashing as indoctrination.
She judges people on a one by one case, but before her conviction can even start to falter, she checks the arbitrary death counts in her "bible" and recites the dogmas she has been taught.
Nana has the mental and emotional ability to go against all this, but she doesn't because she has been taught to hate hate hate and never sympathize.

TarsTarkas wrote:
A good question would be, how long has Nana being doing this. How many people has she killed. Another one would be, is this just going to be a murder game show? Personally, I hope not.

By her reactions, Nana has probably never been in this specific setting ever before. She isn't used to interacting with the talented, or to their unique situation. She was probably trained and sent there right after.
One important tidbit that many people seem to be missing (or willingly ignoring) is the not very subtle implication that Nana has suffered great loss at the hands of the talented (or at least she has been made to believe so). Her hate is very personal and is being taken advantage of.
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TarsTarkas



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:48 pm Reply with quote
Yuvelir wrote:
One important tidbit that many people seem to be missing (or willingly ignoring) is the not very subtle implication that Nana has suffered great loss at the hands of the talented (or at least she has been made to believe so). Her hate is very personal and is being taken advantage of.


I think you are right, there will probably be some sort of tragic back story having the Talented as the evil villains. But the problem is that the Talented in this story, are not a group. They are just a bunch of individuals from all walks of life and society.

Nana is not waging a war against a nation, she is not waging war against a terrorist organizations, and she is not waging a war against evil cultists. What she is doing is waging genocide. She is killing a bunch of innocent individuals, who for the most part are being killed for the sole reason of being borne with special abilities.

I am not really ignoring the fact that she has a tragic backstory, but view that possibility as irrelevant to her crimes against humanity.
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Yuvelir



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:04 pm Reply with quote
Oh, I'm not saying that Nana is justified, bur rather that she's neither preternaturally coldblooded nor entirely brainwashed. But rather that she has fallen head-first into a pretty... fascist discourse: an enemy to "the us" is identified, that group is blamed for everything past and future, the enemy is dehumanized, destroying the enemy is the only "ethical" action.

Nana in particular seems to have anecdotal evidence of part of the discourse being true (or being led to believe so), priming her to become a hero for her peers. It IS fanatical genocide.
That island is pretty much a concentration camp.
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Nordhmmer



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:17 pm Reply with quote
As someone already posted,the source material zigs back into familiar territory.
So folks should be mindful using the small sample size the anime will provide.
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Eivion



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:09 pm Reply with quote
I lost much of my interest two episodes in, but the spoilers people posted here have me thinking of continuing on.
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FilthyCasual



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:59 am Reply with quote
I wonder why Michiru just had her hands on Photoman's corpse instead of licking it. Too skeevy for the author? Unmentioned power evolution?

And it's good to see what Photoman's role is in the story now: screwing over Nana from beyond the grave. He may have been a skin-curdling creep, but he also led to that great Nana face at this episode's cliffhanger.
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TexZero



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:40 am Reply with quote
FilthyCasual wrote:
I wonder why Michiru just had her hands on Photoman's corpse instead of licking it. Too skeevy for the author? Unmentioned power evolution?

And it's good to see what Photoman's role is in the story now: screwing over Nana from beyond the grave. He may have been a skin-curdling creep, but he also led to that great Nana face at this episode's cliffhanger.


Yes because for the guy who was a fatalist and believed nothing would change he would go out of his way to attempt to change fate.

...I'm sorry the writing is sloppy as hell. He could have just let people know and share his ability and proof prior to death if his last grasp action was to still attempt to change fate. Instead all it served to do was be a sloppy setup for Nana to have an extremely convienent next target.
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FilthyCasual



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:41 pm Reply with quote
TexZero wrote:
Yes because for the guy who was a fatalist and believed nothing would change he would go out of his way to attempt to change fate.

...I'm sorry the writing is sloppy as hell. He could have just let people know and share his ability and proof prior to death if his last grasp action was to still attempt to change fate. Instead all it served to do was be a sloppy setup for Nana to have an extremely convienent next target.
I doubt he kept the photo on him for the explicit purpose of someone finding it on his corpse. If anything, he probably kept it on him in case Nana tried rebelling against him earlier in the day so he could show it to someone immediately.
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ThatGuyWhoLikesThings



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 8:16 pm Reply with quote
FilthyCasual wrote:
TexZero wrote:
Yes because for the guy who was a fatalist and believed nothing would change he would go out of his way to attempt to change fate.

...I'm sorry the writing is sloppy as hell. He could have just let people know and share his ability and proof prior to death if his last grasp action was to still attempt to change fate. Instead all it served to do was be a sloppy setup for Nana to have an extremely convienent next target.
I doubt he kept the photo on him for the explicit purpose of someone finding it on his corpse. If anything, he probably kept it on him in case Nana tried rebelling against him earlier in the day so he could show it to someone immediately.


That was probably it, because as far as he knew, he'd come out of that confrontation alive and well, which is what Nana's (fake) photo more or less showed. He had no reason to try and screw her after he died because he was completely confident in his survival.
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TexZero



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 8:59 pm Reply with quote
ThatGuyWhoLikesThings wrote:
FilthyCasual wrote:
TexZero wrote:
Yes because for the guy who was a fatalist and believed nothing would change he would go out of his way to attempt to change fate.

...I'm sorry the writing is sloppy as hell. He could have just let people know and share his ability and proof prior to death if his last grasp action was to still attempt to change fate. Instead all it served to do was be a sloppy setup for Nana to have an extremely convienent next target.
I doubt he kept the photo on him for the explicit purpose of someone finding it on his corpse. If anything, he probably kept it on him in case Nana tried rebelling against him earlier in the day so he could show it to someone immediately.


That was probably it, because as far as he knew, he'd come out of that confrontation alive and well, which is what Nana's (fake) photo more or less showed. He had no reason to try and screw her after he died because he was completely confident in his survival.


This doesn't fit with his character of being a fatalist that explicity said fate can't be changed and him seeing his death and knowing it. If his death was certain as he proclaimed it was he wouldn't have thought he'd live and he wouldn't need to take the photo as a countermeasure. It logically does not fit and is extremely poor writing for him to have a last second change of heart and an attempted plant of a mcguffin.
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ThatGuyWhoLikesThings



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 11:56 pm Reply with quote
TexZero wrote:
ThatGuyWhoLikesThings wrote:
FilthyCasual wrote:
TexZero wrote:
Yes because for the guy who was a fatalist and believed nothing would change he would go out of his way to attempt to change fate.

...I'm sorry the writing is sloppy as hell. He could have just let people know and share his ability and proof prior to death if his last grasp action was to still attempt to change fate. Instead all it served to do was be a sloppy setup for Nana to have an extremely convienent next target.
I doubt he kept the photo on him for the explicit purpose of someone finding it on his corpse. If anything, he probably kept it on him in case Nana tried rebelling against him earlier in the day so he could show it to someone immediately.


That was probably it, because as far as he knew, he'd come out of that confrontation alive and well, which is what Nana's (fake) photo more or less showed. He had no reason to try and screw her after he died because he was completely confident in his survival.


This doesn't fit with his character of being a fatalist that explicity said fate can't be changed and him seeing his death and knowing it. If his death was certain as he proclaimed it was he wouldn't have thought he'd live and he wouldn't need to take the photo as a countermeasure. It logically does not fit and is extremely poor writing for him to have a last second change of heart and an attempted plant of a mcguffin.


No, it works just fine, because we're talking about if she attempted to go against him earlier in the day, before the events in the shed. He literally even says at one point that if she doesn't go to meet him there, he'll go ahead and show the photos to everyone. That's the entire foundation of his blackmail - do what he says or he blabs about her being a murderer. It helps to have the most damning picture on him if it comes to that.
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TexZero



Joined: 25 Oct 2017
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 3:13 am Reply with quote
ThatGuyWhoLikesThings wrote:

No, it works just fine, because we're talking about if she attempted to go against him earlier in the day, before the events in the shed. He literally even says at one point that if she doesn't go to meet him there, he'll go ahead and show the photos to everyone. That's the entire foundation of his blackmail - do what he says or he blabs about her being a murderer. It helps to have the most damning picture on him if it comes to that.


Again, no.

He already showcased fate cannot be changed. That means no matter what she tried prior to 10pm in the Shed he wouldn't have died. That's how and where he was doomed. There was 0 point to this asinine level of duplicitiness by a guy who didn't think anything would change. He had absolutely jack all to fear from Nana and had no reason to keep a photo on him. It's sloppy writing.
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