Length: 47 episodes
Rating: 12 for mostly off-screen nookie and emotional stuff
Two very different young women, both called Nana, meet on a train for Tokyo. One is a punk singer who hopes to make her band into professional musicians; the other is moving to Tokyo to be with her boyfriend. Despite having little in common, they get along well. When it becomes clear that living with a boy she hasn’t seen in a year is untenable, the second Nana goes looking for a home, and ends up sharing a flat with the other Nana. The story follows their lives, loves, failures, fall-outs and infidelities.
This is pure Shoujo: a long, winding story about people’s love lives. The characters are very well developed, particularly the two eponymous heroines. The second Nana, increasingly known as Hachiko among Nana’s friends (‘nana’ means 7, ‘hachi’ means 8 as well as being a dog’s name), moves from one ill-fated love affair to another, while the first struggles with the difference between her lover Ren’s fame versus her own. Any semblance of the story being a harmless romp gradually evaporate as the characters’ struggles get deeper.
As befits a story about musicians, a lot of effort went into the music for this show. It spans styles from modern punk through soothing rock, and despite punk not being even slightly my normal style it was very good. It features plenty of big names in Japanese music, including Anna Tsuchiya, Olivia Lufkin (who sang the OP of Hell Girl), Yuna Ito and Aya Hirano (who acted and sang as Suzumiya Haruhi).
There are a few recap episodes, including 11.5 and 21.5, that you can skip.