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Nanà Supergirl: the heroine who kills hearts

Nanà Supergirl: the heroine who kills hearts

New week and new appointment with our 80’s anime column. It’s time to return to the world of superpowered girls with one of the most loved and well-known anime of those years: Nanà Supergirl. It was 1984 when this cartoon produced by Kokusai Eiga-sha and composed of 39 episodes that gave our protagonist an ending that for many was quite disappointing, arrived in Italy on the Mediaset networks. However, it should be emphasized that Nana’s is a very light cartoon, with a not particularly developed plot that makes its strength the sympathy and, often, the insanity of her characters.
Let’s go, therefore, to find out what the story of this little heroine is.

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Nanà Supergirl: the story

A heroine from heaven

At the beginning of Nanà Supergirl it almost seems to be in Dr Slump and Arale. We are in fact in the laboratory of a weird scientist who tries to create a being with superpowers. The scientist in question is just a student, whose look strikes at first glance: long red hair, dark teardrop glasses, not quite the classic prototype of the scientist to which the Japanese world has accustomed us in its souls. Leonetto, this is his Italian name (probably inspired by his very thick hair), uses his schoolmate Bobolo to understand if his car works. The aim is to transform him into a being with superpowers. Needless to say the experiment goes wrong and that the laboratory is destroyed. However, it happens that a beam of pure energy caused by the explosion ends up straight into the sky. Right from here a mysterious girl arrives floating who, already wearing a school uniform, ends up right in Leonetto’s arms.

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The superpowers of Nanà

Just seeing her float, Leonetto is immediately convinced: the girl has superpowers! She wakes up and reveals her name, Nana. This is the only detail she remembers about herself: she doesn’t know where she came from and who she was before she came to Earth. Leonetto, meanwhile, asks her for proof of her powers and we immediately discover that Nana can fly. It is not her only power: the girl manages to teleport herself, she has incredible strength and also manages to grow bigger. All qualities that entice our Leonetto whose primary purpose is do business and get rich. This is why she convinces the young and naive Nana to stay by her side: she offers her accommodation and two friends who are two bird-shaped robots, Seven And Eleven, which will serve him to control it. On the other hand she Nana can only accept, she too because she is in love with Leonetto at the first glance of her.

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The “handyman company”

Having smelled the deal and given a visual demonstration of Nana’s abilities to schoolmates, Leonetto decides to create a “handyman company” with which to get rich, using our protagonist to help anyone who pays. In addition to Nana and Leonetto, Bobolo is also part of it, a boy with the dream of becoming a comic artist who stays by their side because he is in love with Nana. It goes without saying that the company in question does not obtain the results Leonetto had hoped for. However, there is no self-respecting souls without the aims of the bad guy. We know him in the first episode: he is Dr. Ishikawa, a scientist with the features of Frankenstein who aims to take possession of Nana and use her for her purposes in order to dominate the world.

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A bevy of bizarre enemies

Professor Ishikawa is not the only weird enemy Leonetto will find in his way. In addition to the scientist we find in fact Panne, a particular character who travels dressed in Arctic clothing flanked by three clumsy assistants on a nuclear submarine. Then there’s Gotanda, an eccentric millionaire who aims to kidnap Nana to add to her monster collection. And again we have Klondike, a young and very rich captain of industry who aims to have Nana as her wife and, therefore, to snatch her from Leonetto’s influence. The presence of these characters makes the anime even more dynamic: during the various episodes Nanà will teleport to various places in the world, constantly followed by enemies, friends and suitors. This leads the viewer to experience a long series of adventures with the protagonist always different from each other but, above all, very funny.

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The end

And here we are, therefore, at the much-discussed ending that we mentioned at the beginning of the article. Those expecting a happy ending, declarations of love and twists will in fact be somewhat disappointed. There is indeed a twist: Nana really discovers where she comes from. In the last episode Nanà wins a trip to the Swiss Alps, where he obviously goes with Leonetto and Bobolo. The group of ‘enemies’ also look home, some for one reason and some for another, who are in Switzerland and aspire to be in the company of Nana. This is why Leonetto decides to have a race to decide who Nanà should stay with, and not only at Christmas but permanently.

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However, it happens that during the race the group unleashes a huge avalanche. Nanà manages to save everyone but remains frozen. At this point, a girl appears who says she is Nana’s sister and has been looking for her for a long time. Nana, thawed, disappears with her. In a letter delivered to Leonetto by Seven and Eleven, she Nana reveals to him that he has found her memory but that he has lost her super powers and that he is traveling to her home with her older sister. She thanks everyone, including ‘enemies’, and she declares that she hopes to see everyone again sooner or later.

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Nanà Supergirl: curiosities and considerations

Hideo Azuma, unmistakable style

Before becoming a successful anime, Nanà Supergirl is Nanako SOSa manga written and illustrated by Hideo Azuma, among others creator of Once upon a time Pollon. We understood from the plot that the story does not have a common thread, each chapter / episode is instead self-contained and held together only by the characters who are always the same. On the other hand, what is striking about this anime is precisely the light, bizarre style and at times insane. A result desired by Azuma, which we find in fact in all of his works. The typical irony of the author’s characters also served to combat the strong depression that afflicted him. With Nanà to do so, Azuma uses not only surreal situations but cites many films well known to the public, as he does in episode 5 citing the exorcist or, later on, citing Juliet and Romeo instead. At the same time, Azuma, always with an ironic tone, tackles more serious issues, such as those seen in the episode ‘Mission in Africa’.

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Leonetto, a different scientist

Leonetto deserves a special mention. This scientist, who we could perhaps consider the true protagonist of the storyis definitely the character more complex that we find in the anime. The first episode introduces him to us as a young genius trying to carry out his great project of creating a being with superpowers. He can’t, at least not as he thought.

The first peculiarity is that we are not faced with the prototype of scientist with a white coat, perhaps elderly, with a mustache and glasses to which we have been accustomed in other souls. Leonetto is a charming boy, with long hair and dark teardrop glasses, which give his figure that touch of mystery. The fact is that Nana falls in love with him at first glance. From the scene it seems that he returns this love at first sight and yet, until the end of the story, we see him interested only in getting rich by exploiting the girl himself. The reality of his feelings will come out only in the last episode when, after having read Nana’s letter, he is on the sidelines saddened by her ‘loss’. Scene that will make the audience understand that he too feels sincere love for Nana.

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Nana, loved by good and … bad!

The last aspect to emphasize is the crowd of suitors of Nanà to which we mentioned when telling the story. If our heroine falls in love with Leonetto at first glance (and we will discover in the end that he reciprocates her feelings), their friend Bobolo is secretly in love with her. If this love triangle wasn’t enough yet, Leonetto’s enemies also take a crush on Nana, one after the other. The result is a real love contest, where the heroine is offered as a prize but which ends with a total overturning of the parts.

The acronym

The Italian theme song is sung by Cristina D’Avena. The song was written by Alessandra Valeri Manera with the music of Piero Cassano.

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Nanà – The protagonist of the anime. A little girl who comes from another planet and is endowed with unique powers.
Leonetto – A high school student who tries to be a scientist, not always successfully. It is he who finds Nana. He stays by her side hoping to get rich with her but, at the same time, begins to have feelings for her.
Bobolo – Leonetto’s classmate, always at his side. He is in love with Nana and tries to defend her from her aims.
Dr. Ishikawa – Scientist similar to the Frankenstein monster who wants to make his Nana.
Gotanda – Monster collector who wants to add ****** to his “collection”.
Cob – Bizarre character who has a crush on Nana and wants to have it all to himself.
Klondike – Young and very rich captain of industry. Aims to marry Nana.
Seven and Eleven – Robot birds, Nana’s inseparable companions.

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Curious to rediscover other stories of 80s anime? After the story of the long journey of Lucy Maywe ventured between the trips of Captain Harlock and among the thousand messes of Doraemon and Nobita. We went to the discovery of the human body with ‘That’s how we are done’and we are passionate about the sporting challenges of Holly and Benji, Shingo And Mila and Shiro. But also a lot, more!