Picture if you will: An island facility, really more of a nation, built by a group of adventurous young men and women off the fortune of a less violent Lara Croft – the titular Nanana. This island, named Nanaejima, is used as a giant educational facility; complete with a variety of schools and colleges of different levels, research facilities, dormitories, and essentially everything else a student could ever want – even a convenience store to buy pudding at (this is relevant, I promise). After its creation, the woman who funded it is mysteriously murdered by an unknown assailant.
After she dies, labyrinthine puzzles begin appearing across this island containing the magical treasures she’d found during her adventures – collectively known as Nanana’s Collection. Fast forward 10 years… and Yama Jugo, our protagonist, moves to this island, seemingly almost overly relieved to be moving out from home. He spends what money he has to get a room with the seemingly odd condition that he has to pay his rent far in advance with a no-refund policy, which sets him to wondering.
He walks into the room and finds a girl sitting there gaming, so he goes and inquires with the landlady about why his room is occupied only to find out that it is in fact haunted by the ghost of Nanana herself who is bound to that specific room. He is then forced to learn to live with this strange ghost girl who cannot leave his room, while also beginning to discover the truth surrounding not only her, but her strange Collection.
Nanana’s treasures mysteriously appear within these labyrinths that are scattered around the island. The strange part of this, and what makes it so fascinating, is that they aren’t necessarily only in areas that are older. These dungeons can be found nearly anywhere on the island, and they’re nearly always well-concealed in ways that actually make sense.
For example, one of them appears in a store and is in an empty space that is completely hidden by mirrors from all sides. The characters have to first solve the puzzle to find it, and then figure out what its secret is so they can retrieve the treasure. The labyrinths are incredibly intricate, and it’s just a pity the season was so short – ’cause I’d love to see more of them.
It was really cool trying to solve the labyrinth alongside the characters – trying to see what the distinct trick to each one was and trying to figure out how they were going to solve it before they told you. The show has very good pacing, and the ‘labyrinth of the day’ is a nice twist on the well-worn ‘monster of the day’ format. It provides the opportunity to help develop the unique histories and personalities of the characters as well as the fascinating factions present on this island, all of whom show interest in the mystical items that are a part of Nanana’s Collection.
Distinct and Diverse
There are a variety of distinct factions that you get just the slightest window of insight into over this show: a group of thieves whose ultimate goal is to help others, a club focused on seeking out adventure, even a group who runs the shady regions of the island. These factions each have their own reasons for seeking out Nanana’s Collection on the island, and you can never be quite sure who someone’s affiliations lie with or what their ulterior motives might be. Even the main character has some hidden affiliations to be revealed throughout the series.
Nanana herself really is the star of this show, though. Despite being a ghost that is unable to leave Yama Jugo’s apartment, everything truly revolves around her. There are obvious ways… ya know, she is the titular character after all… but what is so interesting is watching over the show as you discover more and more subtle ways that everything always comes back to her.
Despite this, they still manage to create characters who have interesting motivations, hooks, and drives… they’re not completely unique, but they’re interesting. Which is, in my eyes, what matters. They actually, in a few places, make fun of some of the common tropes. For example, one character is a crossdressing boy who is jokingly called ‘a trap’ at one point. It’s little jabs like this that, combined with a variety of well written characters that make show as enjoyable as it is.
As much as I loved the unique take on the ‘monster of the day’ setup, Nanana’s Buried Treasure would’ve been mediocre if not for some truly fascinating takes on some very standard character types. But thanks to these characters, and their interactions with a certain friendly ghost, this show elevates beyond simply mediocre.
It is unfortunate that the show ended where it did, as it doesn’t really serve to close off a story arc well and you’re left feeling as though the series was cut short, but all in all the show has very few noteworthy problems.