Talentless Nana – 1st Episode Review
Synopsis: Earth is under attack by ferocious, extraterrestrial monsters known as the Enemies of Humanity. But fear not! A unique preparatory school situated in a secret island location is currently training a collective of superpowered teenagers called the Talented to fight back against the aliens. Among them is blissful Nana Hiiragi, a seemingly powerless, pink-haired girl equipped with ample intelligence. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Talentless Nana is a wild ride. What those unfamiliar with the manga will find waiting for them in Episode 1 is seemingly the makings of any old super powered shonen. In fact, when the manga was first being localized there was a fairly prevalent insinuation claiming that the series was a right rip off of My Hero Academia. To be fair, this first episode keeps its game-changing surprise hidden right up till the end. If not for Funimation’s synopsis, and the show’s title itself, giving a bit of the game up, it’s understandable if audiences get most of the way through this first episode thinking the story is about one Nanao Nakajima and his place in a school full of super powered teenagers, who are being prepared to fight against the monstrous enemies of humanity. But right as the credits are about ready to roll, Talentless Nana pulls the rug out from under you. I strongly recommend interested viewers just stop here and go experience the first episode for themselves, as the sheer shocking nature of the reveal as to what is really going on is an absolute must experience. But if you’re not sold, read on.
[Warning: Major Twist Spoilers to Follow]
Like Funimation’s synopsis says, the story is actually about Nana Hiiragi, a new transfer to this island of Super Powered teens and a quick friend to Nanao. Nanao himself is closeted from the rest of the class, but Nana helps to pull him out of his funk and push him to become the leader of these Super Powered teens. But just as life seems to have righted itself for Nanao, setting him ready for battle against the Enemies of Humanity, Nana throws him off a cliff. Nanao and company aren’t defenders of humanity, but are the enemies themselves. Could we ever really trust children with incredible powers to protect humanity, when they’d be so much more likely to tear it apart after a bad day at school? Nana’s been sent to kill these kids, one after another, and poor Nanao is but her first victim.
As someone who has read a significant portion of the manga, understand that Talentless Nana isn’t traditionally good. Much like the ludicrous nature of the first episode’s last second reveal, and the over the top snap switch between this being a bog standard shonen and instead a psychological horror/thriller series, the rest of the show is increasingly absurd. It’s undoubtedly schlocky entertainment, uninterested in crafting earnest, relatable character development and gripping sympathetic drama, but rather a wild ride that just gets more and more insane with each passing chapter. There’s a propensity for the series going completely ham, with characters revealed to be utterly insane, doing total 180s in personality once their cover is blown.
That said, there’s an internal logic to it all, one that makes it hard not to appreciate. Especially as Talentless Nana works to ensure there is a surprise twist at the end of near every chapter, meaning the story is likely to be turned on its head twice each episode. These twists aren’t perfect, and after so many it’s no surprise if they begin to subtlety contradict earlier elements, crafting little plot holes best not dwelled upon. Still, like I said, it’s a hell of a ride and never stops delivering in over the top surprise twist insanity. If that sounds like your kind of thing I do implore you to give Talentless Nana a try, it’s likely to be Fall’s wildest title.
Talentless Nana is available for streaming via Funimation.com