Nanana’s Buried Treasure is a lot of things, but it isn’t predictable. This short 11 episode anime takes you into an utopian paradise of an island where people can live up to their potential and follow their dreams. On this island, a young person can get a new lease on life… but at the same time this lease must always be paid. Nanana’s Buried Treasure is an odd couple drama, an Indiana Jones style adventure, and even a murder mystery, all wrapped up into an interesting and unpredictable journey where the moment you feel like you’re about to get some answers, the questions suddenly change.
In Nanana’s Buried Treasure the titular character is already dead… but her spirit lives on (not to mention, trapped) inside the room of a student accommodation where she plays video games all day and night, and is also somehow able to consume pudding. Now that’s an afterlife we can all hope for right?
The SEGA fan in me just has to mention the fact that Nanana is shown playing real video games instead of made up parodies, with the anime even showing actual game footage. Among her favourite games is none other than SEGA’s Virtua Fighter 5. It’s always cool to see Virtua Fighter get some product placement love in Japanese pop culture.
In the first episode her room gets leased to Jugo Yama, a seemingly ordinary high school student, which begins an amusing odd couple relationship. Not to mention, this anime takes a slice of real life as the financially unstable Jugo has to deal with the brutal rental conditions of his room and cover expensive utility costs thanks to Nanana’s unending video game marathon. Remember, lease must always be paid (no seriously, rent payment is a reoccurring theme here).
But that’s just ONE aspect of this 11 episode anime, for you see Nanana is a ghost due to her unexplained demise 10 years ago, and her spirit cannot move on and rest until she finds out who her murderer was. But Nanana wasn’t just a random target, for she played an important part in the creation of the artificial island the anime is set in, and was quite wealthy to say the least. Her biggest venture? A prized collection of valuable artifacts and treasures, hence the name of the anime.
Since her passing, an adventure club of sorts has formed in the local high school that is on a mission to search for these hidden treasures, and of course there’s a few bad guys outside the club who have an interest in these invaluable goods. For protagonist Jugo, he sees the treasure hunt as a means to finding out who murdered Nanana. These treasures are no ordinary jewels or diamonds, but legitimate ancient artifacts that can grant users great power. Apart from the two main characters we also have the Great Detective Tensei, a short person with a huge personality, who brings a lot of humour to the anime. The rest of the cast is interesting too, and they each add to the story and get ample time to leave an impression.
What’s interesting about Nanana’s Buried Treasure is that no one is what they seem, and there is a feeling of not knowing the full extent of who a character is. After all, when you meet someone in real life, you rarely ever know the full extent of their past or being. The cast of this anime will always surprise, not in a major plot twist shocker way, but rather in a more organic sense. There’s very little use of flashbacks to fill in the gaps, in fact there was probably just one short flashback scene. But otherwise the characters, their past, and their relationships, are all conveyed in a way that makes the anime world feel alive.
As a DVD release Nanana’s Buried Treasure doesn’t come with much as it’s a subtitled edition that comes with typical opening and ending sequences as its extras. Still, that opening theme is catchy as hell.
Nanana’s Buried Treasure at the end of the day is a lot of things, but it’s an unpredictable mystery at its core and a commendable one at that. Even in just 11 episodes, it does a good job of holding your attention and will take you to detours and lead you to discoveries, but when it’s all said and done, you may not get the conclusion you were expecting and hoping for. Even when questions lead to more questions, Nanana’s Buried Treasure teaches us the old adage that life is usually about the journey and rarely ever about the destination.