As you may know I have a love for everything that is random! Once a month I use a website that gives you a random list of anime. I then roll a random number and flip to said item on that list. If I am not totally off-put by the title or the sheer episode number (which it usually tells you) I try to find if it streams somewhere. If it does I watch the first five episodes of it without reading the synopsis! Last month I failed.. I watched The Reflection.. a Stan Lee anime.. but I had nothing to say about it.. this month I got Nanana’s Buried treasure and here I am writing a blog! So guess I have more to tell about this one.
This Review is mostly spoiler free, characters will be discussed and several settings and situations will be mentioned, however I will not discuss specifics or loyalties etc. The synopsis of this show will be mentioned so if you call that a spoiler you want to avoid… you are kinda a weirdo for clicking on this review in the first place
<End of Disclaimer>
So let’s talk about the technical/paperwork stuff first. This anime is a one season anime which aired in spring 2014. It is produced by A1 studios and aired on Fuji Tv. I watched it on Crunchyroll and I actually managed to watch all of it before I wrote this blog! It has 11 episodes and leaves the story rather unfinished and finding the light novel to finish the story can actually be quite a hassle. So straight up, if you can not stand open ended.. uhm… endings…(great writing Pinkie), then this show is not going to be for you. It very much feels like a promotional anime. “That’s how far our story goes, now go and buy the manga or light novel” which will put a lot of viewers off. For those who stick around though the show can offer you a few fun adventures with a passable ending. There is a conclusion even if nothing is resolved. Depending on how you look at it. The show targets a shonen demographic..which most likely is less equipped with the ability to deal with open endings. It feels a bit like Lupin meets Indiana Jones, meets Mission Impossible, meets detective Conan, with a fair bit of fanservice mixed in between. It blends traditional anime with a lot of that cgi quasi 3d animation and a colour and style that reminded me bit of Persona.
The show like said earlier has 11 episodes which feeling wise takes us about one third through midway in the total story of the series. I’d call it an adventure comedy with some slice of life elements. We deal with a main character struggling to deal with rent.. and visiting an onsen.. and what girl to date but we also see him scale buildings and collapsing floors to find treasures. There even are a few actual anime fights. It’s a little bit of everything. It scores as 7.1 on MAL which I think is a surprisingly accurate grade and nearly identical to I would give it on a scale of one to ten. The main character Yama Juugo is voiced by Yuki Ono, whom I know as Isami Aldini from Food Wars and Moral from Hamatora. He also played Seaman A in Hunter X Hunter (the 2011 version) and Fish Dinosaur in Muromi San. Deuteragonist Nanana is voiced by Rui Tanabe.. whom I have never heard in anything before and whom I can’t tell if she had any important roles! I like the voice though but you can tell she falls a bit flat when having to work a bit with her voice (As in when she has to make it quiver or shout) The series is directed by Kanta Kamei for those people that find such things important.
Tomb Raider the Anime
The anime opens up with Nanana and some female friends exploring an ancient ruin. We get some heavy Indiana Jones vibes as we see poison darts flying around, crashing ceilings flash floods and more. Nanana is smiling widely from happiness while doing this while her friends have mixed reactions. Eventually we see them enter an antechamber and everyone catches their breath before we cut to the opening credits. Which brings me to my biggest problem with this anime… this show isn’t about that! I would have LOVED the show to be about that! Indiana Jones with anime girls! Sign me up! Yet instead we discover Nanana is not even the main character.
We meet a boy named Juugo who get exiled by his father and forced to live in the cheapest room he could find. An alcoholic female landlord makes some advances on him but then shows him to his room. To his surprise it is not empty. A girl is there eating pudding and playing video games every hour of every day . When he informs the landlord she tells him.. it’s not a girl.. that’s a ghost. Nanana got murdered 10 years ago and now is trapped here. She is a legendary treasure hunter and through those treasures she once found and had this island built they might find her killer so she can kill him. Since Yuugo starts feeling some affection for the poor girl he decides to help her and join up with a treasure hunting club. The anime is about the adventures of that club and Yuugo’s personal quests. Trough the many factions within this world.
When Nanana died her treasures had been spread all over the island hidden in so called “ruins” which are basically just puzzle rooms that each hold a magic item. Of course everyone Yuugo meets has their own agenda. Like the president of the Treasure hunting club, the all perceiving great detective Tensai and her male androgynous crossdressing assistant Daruku. Which in series is given a nasty name for that particular type of character.. which is another strike against the series.. but it is actually a very enjoyable character. He is adorable and comfortable with being a male, he just really wants to be a maid as well. Then there is the mysterious thieving organisation Matsuri ..which has deep connections with the very Treasure club and then there is some evil bloke! And a criminal gang and the little writer girl who is kinda into Yuugo. There honestly is a lot happening in this show and it’s surprising how much they are all fleshed out over the course of only 11 episodes. Of course there is still more to tell but by the end I had a pretty good idea of who everyone was and why they did the thing they did ! The show makes that very clear.. which means that despite it not telling the whole tale.. all pieces are pretty much on the table. Good thing!
To help Nanana discover who killed her, Juugo explores these ruins all while manoeuvring across all the treacherous elements. These artefacts can possibly hold great powers . Some are rather harmless, yet others could in the wrong hands be used to rul the world. So Yuugo can not just ask for Nanana’s sake! These ruins are life or death situations that each time are very different but usually contain some very Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones like challenges. Filled with trials of agility, wits and of course strength. These ruins are often riddled with traps or hidden mechanics keeping each episode fun and varied. The way the Treasure club moves through these can be reminiscent of Mission impossible .. with each team member fulfilling a certain roll and allocated to a certain strength. While the weight usually lies with Juugo and Tensai (the detective girl) others get involved as well which results in a fairly competent series with lots of plot twists and fairly fleshed out characters! More good things. The fact that people risk their lives for a CHANCE to get what they want and they might end up with a dud makes it feel more alive and makes you feel there is a world, behind just this group as well.
Oh Valley of Plenty, Oh Valley of Plenty!
Since this is a bit of a mystery story I am not going to explain everything that happens here, it’s all about how these relationships work but overall the stuff that happens and how it happens offers a plenty entertaining show. The way it is presented though rubs me a bit in the wrong way. We get some harem tones with the main character having obviously a connection to Nanana, but also to detective Tensai.. then there is a writer girl whom he has chemistry with and a flame from his past. Four girls.. in an 11 episode anime?! That’s a bit much for me personally. Add to this that there is a lot of fan-service comedy, like him wrestling with a girl and him allowing his arm to be dislocated just so he can cup a feel and there are a few scenes I am not particularly interested in. Oh right the drunk landlady also solicates for some action at times so I guess it’s five girls. It just feels unneeded for me.. then again I am not a young boy and people do like that stuff so happy for them it’s there. For me it’s plentiful enough that I can get a bit annoyed at it. I must commend them though .. I could see him ending up with all four of these girls, non of these romance options feels disingenuous. All ships have a charm to them. If I had been a manga would have tracked the series down to find out how this ended.
Then there is the cross-dressing maid… who looks like a girl sounds like a girl.. but is actually a guy. He gets upset when people mistake him for being a girl but he acts very girly. This show names him as “trap” which I find quite nasty and does bump this show down a peg or two. They mention it a few times.. and the worst one if when Yuugo calls him a trap claiming this person has an Excalibur just like his own” The wordt Trap can easily be harmful to trans-people so it should not be just a joke. Luckily they do portray him well! He identifies as male and can get kinda upset if people call him a girl. He is a man that just happens to look like a girl and likes woman’s clothing. He just wants to be himself and is sad if people do not see the real him. Nice However they also give him this quirk that wants to taste Tensai’s saliva but feeding her with his chopsticks and then licking them.
This is a returning gag and actually quite a good example how the humor in this show is taken. Everyone acts so awkward about their feelings here. Then there is a character whose name I honestly have forgotten as his character trait is to be Juugo, but a bit stealthier and just missing out on being on par with him. .. He keeps telling the girlish guy everything he does is so erotic and how he could initiate him. Why is everyone so horny when their lives are in danger or heck when there is food. As longs as you might die.. or can score some food there is no reason to feel the tinglies just above your legs! At least nog as much as these guys do! I don’t get it and feel this disconnect to that kind of joke. There are also a lot of boob jokes if that is your thing.. they aren’t even cringingly bad.. I just feel nothing for them.
The show also has a lot of jokes that actually did make me chuckle. Like the club president’s assistant constantly trying to let her beloved help her as well as Yuugo helps his girl to no avail or even the silly Nanana pudding humor. Nanana the ghost can only eat pudding.. and for the rest she just plays video games as she is bound to the room she died in. This means those puddings are what little she can experience of the world outside.. and she prefers puddings made at locations.. like the special pudding from the mall or from the town that made the onsen. It is cute. It might seem shallow first and it can feel kinda gimmicky but there is something humble enough about it. Like when Juugo asks her about a hint on one of the ruins..she tells him she has one condition.. as he says “yes of course I will get you pudding from said location ” she thinks and says “I have two conditions” showing she forgot about that but now can not let it go. Nanana has three things in her afterlife.. pudding, games and her rules and that’s so little she can’t give any up.. so I liked those kinds of jokes.
In the end this show is much like a pudding. It’s sweet, easily digestible and something you watch after coming out of a very serious series or after watching something long. It’s a bit of a palette cleanser. Unfortunately for Nanana this isn’t one of those custom made puddings she made.. this is a bit of a store brand ones.. she still loves them just they do not make her list of favourites. The vanilla flavour is fine and the treasure hunting is like that chocolate/cherry sauce that shift it towards a more unique experience. Tet if we look a bit better at the composition we can see it is made out of some lower grade materials. Which are fine.. but also not that special. It’s a tasty mix of all elements being good enough but there is also not that much to make it stand out.
The way all these puddings are structured does leave you wanting for more though. After I finished each episode , I wanted to watch the next due to a cliffhanger .. that almost always got resolved off screen weirdly enough, to find out what actually happened I had to watch through almost nearly an entire other episode for it being mentioned. Which is a great way to make you hooked on a show that otherwise might not be strong enough! So it is at least clever! I wanted to watch 5 episodes for this review and see if I wanted to continue it..but episode 5,6 and 7 ended on a cliffhanger and then i was like.. I only need 4 more episodes and before I knew it I was out of pudding! I consumed it almost all as one as a sort of Giga Pudding. …I think I heard a song about it once… it was really long. I liked this anime it was a nice way to spend three hours or so. However I am pretty sure it will not take that long for this anime to be buried deep within my mind!
I really wish this concept would have been used for a slightly better show, it’s not that this show is bad.. I just think the concept is amazing but the show never aimed for that standard. Instead of ending up with a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow we end up with a pudding cup at one of the shelves in your fridge..it will still make you happy for a little while but that happiness will not linger. Hmmm now I feel like getting a pineapple pudding! Why Pineapple?!
Because this anime is
Now that is done it’s time for me to go on a treasure hunt myself! By that I mean raid my fridge for some lunch, have you seen this anime?! Do you know of any more Indiana Jones like, treasure hunting anime? I don’t mean One Piece.. I mean .. traps, puzzles and stuff!
Let me know and have a nice weekend! All the love! Stay Happy!
P.S. I remember that song now!
If you want to make the song stop but are powerless to click away I suggest you get redirected by supporting my Kofi! Now this is the best Kofi add I ever did!