"Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog" explores the 2014 light-novel-to-TV-anime adaptation with animation by A-1 Pictures
Hunting for Hidden Gems.
They say that one person's trash is another person's treasure, but when it comes to anime sometimes it's helpful to know if digging for a ruby in a mountain of rocks is worth the effort. “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog” is here to help. Each week we provide additional info and cultural context to help anime fans determine whether or not they'll strike gold with an unknown series.
What's Nanana's Buried Treasure?
Nanana's Buried Treasure is a 2014 TV anime with direction by Kanta Kamei and animation by A-1 Pictures. It's based on Ryūgajō Nanana no Maizōkin, a series of light novels that are written by Kazuma Ōtorino, illustrated by Akaringo and Non, and published by Enterbrain (a division of Kadokawa) under their Famitsu Bunko imprint. Crunchyroll describes the story of Nanana's Buried Treasure as follows:
Jyugo Yama is a boy who was disowned by his father and forced to transfer to a high school on an artificial island. He begins to live by himself, only to discover his room is haunted by the ghost named Nanana Ryugajou. She was murdered ten years ago and cannot rest in peace until her killer is found. Before her death, Nanana collected things from all over the world and hid them on the island. Jyugo and Nanana set out to find these treasures and use their mysterious powers to find the culprit of the murder.
This description omits a few important details regarding Nanana and her treasures: she is personally responsible for the construction of the artificial island where the story is set and her goal both in collecting wondrous treasures and creating the island was to foster an environment in which young people can freely pursue their dreams, no matter how wild or outlandish those dreams may be.
The set-up is somewhat similar to INVADERS of the ROKUJYOMA!?, in that both feature a male high school student renting a dirt-cheap apartment only to find it haunted by a pretty female ghost. Unlike Sanae in INVADERS, though, Nanana is bound to Jyugo's apartment and cannot leave. She also seems content to spend her after-life eating pudding and playing video games, and she's not terribly helpful to her living roommate.
Holding Out for a Hero.
Another area where Nanana's Buried Treasure differs from the typical light novel is in the character of Jyugo Yama, the protagonist of the series. Many light novels feature bland, milquetoast heroes with nondescript appearances, the better to serve as self-insertion fantasies for a presumed young male audience. Often these characters aren't traditionally heroic, but they embody positive qualities while confronting their problems with honesty, perseverance, and hard work.
Jyugo Yama, on the other hand, is a scoundrel and a thief. There may be a heart of gold underneath his gruff exterior, but mainly Jyugo is cynical, sarcastic, and opportunistic. He also has no patience for endeavors that he considers foolish, such as “conquering the world” or “robbing the rich to serve the poor”. It's a refreshing take on a protagonist in a medium dominated by goody-two-shoes types.
Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting.
Although primarily a fantastical adventure story with school comedy and heist elements, Nanana's Buried Treasure has some excellent action sequences. The fight scenes are thrilling because they employ a combination of well animated-action choreography and extraordinary superhuman abilities that are applied in a creative fashion. In Nanana's Buried Treasure, outwitting an opponent is as important as overpowering them.
The Name Game.
With a deeper understanding of the Japanese language, it's possible to appreciate Nanana's Buried Treasure on another level, because many of the characters' names involve word-play and puns. Tensai's name, for example, is a homophone for the Japanese word meaning “genius”, but her name is spelled with the Kanji characters for “natural disaster”. Similarly, the villainous Hiiyo Ikusaba's name is written with the characters for “crimson night” and “battlefield”, reflecting his bloody-minded nature.
The Adventures Continue.
Via a license from Aniplex of America, Crunchyroll currently streams Nanana's Buried Treasure in 152 territories worldwide, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The series is available in the original Japanese language with subtitles in English, Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, and Italian.
At the time of this writing, there are currently 12 Ryūgajō Nanana no Maizōkin light novels available in Japan, with the most recent volume published in December of 2016. Unfortunately, at present, there are no official English language versions of the novels in North America, and there is also no North American home video release for the TV anime, so streaming is the only way to experience Nanana's Buried Treasure.
Aside from some distasteful terminology surrounding a character who cross-dresses, there's a lot to enjoy in Nanana's Buried Treasure. It's an energetic and colorful series with strong production values throughout, so if you're in the mood for high adventure and high school hijinks, please consider giving Nanana's Buried Treasure a try.
Special thanks go to resident treasure hunter Nuclear42 for suggesting the subject for this week's episode of "Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog". Is there a series in Crunchyroll's catalog that you think needs some more love and attention? Please send in your suggestions via e-mail to [email protected] or post a Tweet to @gooberzilla. Your pick could inspire the next installment of “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog”!
Paul Chapman is the host of The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast and GME! Anime Fun Time.