Taishi MurataYusuke KobayashiEri SuzukiRui Tanabe
Nanana's Buried Treasure
Also known as: Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2014: N
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2014
Director: Kanta Kamei
Original creator: Kazuma Otorino
Actor: Akira Ishida, Ayako Kawasumi, Eri Suzuki, Harumi Sakurai, Kana Asumi, Kana Hanazawa, Kanae Ito, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Kousuke Toriumi, Junichi Yanagita, Mamiko Noto, Masashi Nogawa, Misaki Kuno, Rikiya Koyama, Rui Tanabe, Saori Onishi, Shinobu Matsumoto, Taishi Murata, Tomo Muranaka, Tomohiro Sato, Tomokazu Sugita, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Yumi Uchiyama, Yusuke Kobayashi, Yuuki Hayashi, Yuuki Ono
Keywords: anime, fantasy, ghost, noitaminA
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 11 episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=15759
Website category: Anime 2014
Review date: 5 June 2015
Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin
It's a bit of a mess, I'm afraid. Lots of ideas, character points and story elements, not all of which fit together well. Plot threads lead nowhere. It's entertaining, but as it stands it's basically an eleven-episode "Part One" that's not even pretending to resolve any of its own questions. Everything depends on whether or not they make a second season, basically. It's adapted from a Japanese light novel series that's still ongoing, for what it's worth. I think that's the problem, personally. They just adapted eleven episodes' worth from the books, then stopped. They didn't even try to nail on a made-up ending of their own.
It aired in Fuji TV's noitamina block, mind you, which often means something a bit more mature and interesting than the norm. In outline, I'd agree that the potential was there. The material's quite dark, even if most of the impact of that is lost because of the tone. Technically we're wading through a murky swamp of allegiances, betrayals and criminal organisations, all ready to backstab each other. This even includes the show's hero, Juugo. He's the estranged heir to a criminal empire who disapproves of their organisation's Robin Hood principles. He thinks they're too nice. He thinks they should be robbing, embezzling, leg-breaking, etc. with no thought for anyone but themselves. What a charmer, eh?
In practice, though, this doesn't seem to fit his outlook or apparent personality. He seems likeable. He fights bad guys. It's unclear how his criminal philosophy gibes with his "never break a promise" principles or his fondness for Nanana, for instance, but there's much that's unclear about Juugo. He betrays his friends on a semi-regular basis and does part-time work for gangsters. Moral ambiguity appears to be a keynote of the series.
1. The nicest character, Nanana, is morally neutral and will follow her self-imposed rules rigidly, regardless of whether the person she's helping is good or evil.
2. The only actively altruistic character (Tensai) says things like "I love these dirty deeds of yours" and often starts talking like a villain. She's a brilliant detective and an invaluable ally, but she's only doing it for the intellectual challenge and so it's possible that underneath she doesn't give a damn about other people. (She's fun, though. Imagine a swaggering, cocky schoolgirl who loves being the focus of attention and showing everyone else what they're getting wrong. She's also a bad loser.)
3. The President of the Adventure Club is so intent on his treasure hunt that he'll lock his fellow club members inside a deathtrap in order to flee with their latest find. He's genuinely dangerous. He openly admits that he can't be trusted, yet Juugo and Tensai keep tagging along with him.
...and those are the good guys.
Nonetheless, the show feels almost weightless because the tone's so light and bubbly. It's not unlike watching a harem comedy or something. Scary things aren't scary. It's jarring to realise that our heroes are exploring deathtraps that pose a real threat to their lives, but then after a while you realise that no one ever gets killed. Admittedly ten years ago Nanana was murdered, but she seems happy enough about that and can be placated by buying her puddings. (She's a ghost who can't leave the room where she died, so for ten years she's been playing computer games.)
I wanted more from the supporting cast. They've been given enough potential to be worth developing, but then frustratingly that development doesn't happen. There's a gender-flipped character, for instance, who gets very occasional hints of unexpected heterosexuality that make you wonder what's going on in their head. Why do they go around in drag? I still don't know. Even the hot springs episode does nothing with this character, despite the obvious questions raised.
Similarly, Yuu Ibara had the potential to be more than the one-joke character she's mostly reduced to. She loves Isshin, but she's ready to administer bloody beatings. Do you want to know more? If so, keep your fingers crossed for a season two.
The show's built around a treasure hunt, as its title suggests. When Nanana was alive, she collected magic items. Now she's dead, they're waiting to be found and claimed. Alas, the people looking for these things aren't all shining examples of humanity.
Judged purely as spectacle, it's quite good. The CGI-assisted deathtraps and obstacle courses are awesome. It's also reasonably light on fanservice, with even the hot springs episode being mild and sort of equal-opportunities.
Did I like this show? Sort of. It's fun and there are lots of potentially interesting things here. Juugo's landlady can punch craters in pavements. Who killed Nanana? What's going on with everyone's motivations? I think everything would depend on how the story progressed in season two... but at the moment, of course, it doesn't exist and all we have is this open-ended anti-story that's all set-up with no pay-off. Even the last-episode fight with the bad guy is inconclusive, with the only resolution being some Nanana-Yuugo character business that's quite nice but doesn't really change anything.
I like Nanana, who's fun and actually gets moments of depth underneath her bimbo-like bubbliness, e.g. she cares deeply about her treasures and she's capable of reminding you that it must hurt to be trapped in a room for ten years. I'm amused by Tensai. I'm happy to keep watching Yuugo. I'm also interested in seeing if Tensai ever gets together with Yuugo, since they seem like a good couple. (Their antagonism is good-natured.) The show surprised me in its emphasis, taking what looked like being a fairly repetitive quest structure and twisting it hard with that moral ambiguity. Right now, though, the tone and to date the lack of a second season are problems.