Amazing Nurse Nanako Anime Review
Nanako Kaitai Shinsho
Nanako Disection Examination Log
US Release By
Breast-fetish Sci-fi Comedy
6 30-minute episodes
1999-07-05 - 2000-04-07
What's In It
- Busty Maids
- Blob fighting
- Bear Chases
- Bare Chases
- Stupid Cyborgs
- Scary Genetic Mutant Monsters
- Wild Conspiracies
- Violence: 3 (significant)
- Nudity: 3 (significant)
- Sex: 2 (moderate)
- Language: 1 (mild)
On a military base somewhere in Japan, in a mansion that serves as a hospital, lives a mad scientist, Dr. Ogami, and his assistant and maid, Nanako. The other tenants are a not-quite-as-mad but even-more-perverted elderly Chinese doctor, a martial arts master, an old witch (literally), a busty weapons developer, and a young guy who does something unimportant. Nanako, who works tirelessly (but not very effectively) to keep the house clean and its inhabitants fed, is also constantly threatened with being turned into the subject of one of the Doctor's experiments, and forced to train in feats of strength and endurance. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Ogami is watched over by powerful rouge elements within the US military and the Church, each with their own mysterious goals. Where does Nanako fit into this, and why is she the subject of so much attention?
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Roughly equal parts overblown evil conspiracy plot and silly action-comedy, Amazing Nurse Nanako is a series that can't quite seem to make up its mind about what it's pretending to be. It can, however, make up its mind about one thing: What it's actually about is staring at various parts of Nanako's anatomy in various states of undress, with her preposterously large and extremely "lively" bust taking center stage. Surprisingly enough, though, despite the sleaze and brutal misogyny, it does have good points: it looks rather nice, has a couple of reasonably funny moments (if your taste is simple), and the plot, once it comes together, is an uncommonly wild four-way conspiracy collision, even by the standards of anime conspiracy theories. Apart from the title character's cleavage, though, it's somewhat surprisingly her voice that is most memorable----Maria Yamamoto's husky, energetic whining is wildly different from the norm, and practically makes the whole thing worth watching.
Don't come looking for highbrow entertainment, intelligence, originality, or even much in the way of a coherent plot, but I will admit that the lively characters and out-there conspiracy train-wreck might be enough to make it passably interesting even if you're the type who bases your viewing decisions on more than just the bust size of the main character.
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What do you get when you combine a classic anime conspiracy plot with a classic dumb comedy? In the case of Amazing Nurse Nanako, exactly what the picture on the front of the box implies: A T&A flick.
The story of Amazing Nurse Nanako is composed of roughly equal parts wild conspiracy drama and very silly comedy. On one hand, we've got mysterious fellows from powerful organizations meeting in dramatically underlit rooms to discuss schemes that the world at large isn't intended to know about. On the other, we've got the crew of misfits at the Ogami Hospital, who would do any wacky anime comedy proud. The only overlap is Dr. Ogami himself, who's a crazy enough mad scientist to fit in with the wacky crowd, but creepy enough to be periodically employed by the conspiracy for his unique skills.
And stuck in the middle is Nanako, a beleaguered and rather empty-headed girl with a needy personality who's not good for much more than laughs, and has less of a clue about what's going on than the hapless viewer. She's also ridiculously well-endowed, and whenever she's onscreen just about the only thing you'll end up paying attention to is extreme bounciness, awkward camera angles, and a gratuitous string of fetish-y costumes (or lack thereof), all of which go well beyond incidental fanservice.
That, unfortunately, seems to be the point of the whole show--for all the backstory and involved exposition, most of the effort seems to be spent coming up with demeaning, misogynistic ways to show off Nanako's attention-demanding chest.
It's kind of a shame, because after dropping obtuse hints for four episodes, when Nanako and Ogami's backstory finally gets explained it's actually reasonably interesting. It's even a bit emotionally effective at the very end, at least in concept. (I say "in concept" because you'll need to factor out how completely nuts Ogami is, and pretty much the entire plot up to that point.)
The conspiracy is impressively out-there--it manages to include the US military, the Vatican, NASA, two mad scientists, and a self-serving double-agent, all coming together in the pursuit of four completely different semi-to-very-nefarious (and semi-to-very insane) goals. The DaVinci Code has got nothing on this pileup.
But then there's the actual plots of individual episodes: Each of the four episodes prior to the final two-parter consists of the goofy side-characters doing something silly, then the conspiracy having Dr. Ogami do something that results in at least one action scene, which invariably involves Nanako ending up in weird costumes, naked, or both. They have nothing at all to do with each other, barely make sense even within the tenuous logic of the setting, and have little more than a theoretical connection to the main story. They essentially feel like particularly random side-story episodes in a long TV series, except that's all there is.
As a result, even if you pretend the whole thing isn't just a bounce-fetish video with too much plot, there's no flow and it feels somewhere between random and incoherent.
It's not a total loss, though. The main appeal (assuming Nanako's gravity-defying breasts don't do it for you) is the humor, which is basic but does serve up a few good gags. The best of it is the general incongruence of it all--some dark, violent (it's unexpectedly gory), nefarious thing is going on, then bumbling Nanako and usually some of the other wacky cast members will stumble into the middle of it. There's also a thoroughly amusing chunk of backstory surrounding the cybernetic design tendencies of the more-than-a-little-mad scientists.
The biggest selling point for me, however, is Nanako. No, not her cleavage; Maria Yamamoto's performance does something entirely unexpected with a character written as a complete dunce. Yamamoto's surprisingly deep voice, energetic stupidity, and loose, natural, humorously over-the-top acting gives the character a fun, likable personality that I enjoyed a lot. Nanako easily steals the show, but the rest of the Japanese cast is fine--a couple of fun old fogies, and the doctor, whose slightly-cracked evil scientist personality ends up a little funnier because of Takehito Koyasu's ultra-studly (and rather menacing) voice.
In Pioneer's English dub, Nanako's voice is less memorable, and the rest of the dub cast is a little weak. I did like the English version of the mysterious religious leader--he's believably acted, and has a smooth tone and British accent that work very well. At least the English casting is good, and I probably preferred Ogami's higher-pitched voice to the better-acted but slightly-too-cool Japanese version.
The music isn't special one way or another--humorously overdramatic but otherwise forgettable background music, a somewhat incongruently ominous instrumental opening, and an unremarkable, peppy end theme sung by Yamamoto. It's worth noting that the volume on the background music in the dub is much lower than in the sub, enough so that the whole production seems a little quiet, and the music loses any of its humorous effect.
Visually, on the other hand, the series is unexpectedly good. The dark, dramatic parts are, for the most part, indeed dark and dramatic, and would feel quite comfortable in a more serious series. The action looks decent, though there isn't a lot of it and it alternates randomly between quite gory and silly. (An aside, I do rather like the spiffy laser-axe thing in the first episode.) The humorous parts are more consistent--properly exaggerated, with smooth character animation and relatively attractive art. The character designs are standard, but still attractive. Nanako is the only standout... and that's because she does, indeed, stand out. Seriously, her breasts are among the most exaggeratedly large that I've seen in non-H anime. On the topic, they're also animated--I can't exactly say well, but certainly a lot.
In all, Amazing Nurse Nanako is a T & A flick dressed up in a rather weird mix of overly-dramatic conspiracy drama and very silly comedy. Don't come looking for highbrow entertainment, intelligence, originality, or even much in the way of a coherent plot, but I will admit that the lively characters and out-there conspiracy train-wreck might be enough to make it passably interesting even if you're the type who bases your viewing decisions on more than just the bust size of the main character, and Maria Yamamoto's unexpectedly entertaining take on said character practically makes the whole thing worth watching.
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On the breast fetish count, Jungle De Ikou is a safe bet, or Kanokon if you're more into maternal fetish than ditzy-maid-fetish, or Eiken if you want even less story and breasts so preposterous they make Nanako look reasonable. For some reason it vaguely reminds me of Gestalt, and also has a tiny bit in common with the Battle Athletes Victory TV series (not the more serious OAVs).
Notes and Trivia
Amazing Nurse Nanako is an original concept by Pioneer; the idea is credited to "Save Our Nurse Project" (in English, even in the original credits). There is also a short manga adaptation by Yuu Mizuki, not available in English as of this writing.
Speaking of random English, the Japanese release featured the somewhat nonsensical English subtitle "Nanako Kaitai Shinsyo Medical Comedy Love Action." The episode titles are also all in English, even in the original.
There was a 15-minute promotional video subtitled "News Flash: Sexual Biography" released shortly before the first volume of the anime.
This is something of a spoiler, but the series does imply a reason Nanako is so dumb--being a third-generation clone, there may have been some genetic degradation along the line, which was mentioned as a problem with another of the clones Ogami runs across.
US DVD Review
Pioneer's DVDs, some of their earlier productions, are nice, but frankly a bit embarrassing--I'm sure the people into Nanako's physique will be quite pleased. For one thing, the menus on all three discs are nicely stylized, featuring slightly-animated pictures of Nanako with a slick geometric graphic design style. The first disc's menu also bounces. Seriously--that's the only motion. Then there are the special features: Each of the three discs has a selection of character design sketches (some, but not all, featuring Nanako in various stages of undress). The first also has a short "Nanako Tronic" music video--the video half being the best of the best of Nanako's active bust. There are also a couple of short Japanese TV ads for the series thrown in. Later discs have a "special" trailer, creditless ending, and a handy timeline to help make sense of the somewhat confusing backstory of the doctor, his assistant, and their families.
Other than those features, they're standard, solid Pioneer productions: The video transfer is sharp (though it has a bit of color bleed if you're being picky), both audio tracks are clear, and they include everything there is to see video-wise: next-episode previews, and, on the first disc, the full, unadulterated Japanese end credits followed by the English-translated credits, which have both the Japanese and English voice casts. Later discs replace the dual-credits with straight English ones, but the animation is left intact and both full voice casts are still included.
A lot of light mature content, and brief but very graphic violence add up to a 16-up rating. If you're touchy about stories involving nefarious rouge elements in the Vatican, you're also likely to get very offended by some of the conspiracy plot.
Violence: 3 - Most of the violence is silly, but there are a few brief but unexpectedly graphic (and entirely serious) scenes of murderous monsters run amok.
Nudity: 3 - Only brief nudity, but a whole lot of skimpy clothes, underwear, and leering camera angles.
Sex/Mature Themes: 2 - Some mildly mature themes, mostly come-ons from the other female doctor.
Language: 1 - Nothing much in the sub.
Formerly available in North America from the late Geneon (formerly Pioneer) on three bilingual DVDs containing two episodes each; the discs were also sold together in an artbox as a limited edition complete boxed set.
The boxed set is available used or new through Amazon: Amazing Nurse Nanako Complete Boxed Set - Limited Edition