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Characters that made my year – Nanami Yasuri (12 Days of Christmas: Day 7)

December 20, 2010

So now we’re on to a character that had originally thought would play no further role after her initial introduction in episode one.  Rather she went on to be one of the most memorable characters in the whole series in spite of limited screen time!  On this seventh Day of Christmas, let us be scared witless by Nanami Yasuri from Katanagatari.

Katanagatari was full of twists, but none really topped the twist Shichika’s older sister Nanami was given.  We first meet her on the island where the Yasuri family have been living in exile, and Nanami seems like your typical onee-san; quiet, sickly and protective of her younger brother.  Once Shichika leaves the island with Togame I never expected to see Nanami again, and we don’t……until episode four when Katanagatari decides to troll the viewers – hard.  We discover that Nanami is frighteningly strong and talented – such is her latent abilities that her father refused to train her out of fear of what she could become.  Completely devoid of traditional martial arts training, Nanami is still able to learn a technique after seeing it once – upon seeing it twice she can master it.  From living on the island all she was exposed to was snippets of Shichika’s training sessions, but even that makes her a better master of the Kyoutouryou style than him.

Unfortunately for Nanami (but fortunately for the world at large!) her body is riddled with illness, teetering on the brink of death daily – its only her iron will that keeps her breathing.  So while Nanami is horrendously strong, she’s limited to short demonstrations of power, and due to her constant battle with crippling pain she wants nothing more than the embrace of death.  Nanami was an endlessly fascinating character who went to extraordinary lengths to weaken her abilities enough to allow her younger brother to finally give her the respite she desired.  Nanami’s influence on Shichika and the series in general, was felt all the way to the end.

The moment I’ve picked as Nanami’s best moment for me, comes in episode four.  We were expecting Shichika’s showdown with Sabi Hakuhei, but instead got a Nanami centric episode where she fought off three Maniwa Ninja.  The reveal that Shichika’s frail, sickly older sister is actually an incredibly strong and frightening fighter, had my jaw on the floor.  Mai Nakahara’s vocal performance combined Nanami’s stoic expression and slasher smile was completely chilling.  Nanami’s fight with Chou Chou Maniwa, and methodical explanation of why he stands no chance against her, before using his dead comrades and his own ninpou against him was amazing.  Nanami became a firm favourite in that moment.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2010 5:01 pm

    The best part is at the end of the episode when Shichika is all, “MAN, THAT WAS THE HARDEST FIGHT YET” and Togame is like, “LOL YEP” and the viewer is all, “WUT”

    • December 20, 2010 11:16 pm

      Haha! I know! I got really wrapped up in Nanami, but when the scene switched back to Shichika & Togame I was like “ooh yay! Shark slicing fight time!” only to be left going “Wait…..wft?” when the final few minutes of the episode turned out to be Togame & Shichika stuffing their faces and reminising about how tough an opponant Sabi was! 😆

  2. Aiko permalink
    December 21, 2010 6:58 am

    I’ve decided to visit your blog on a whim and your dedication never seizes to amaze me. It’s clearly evident from your entries such as this one.

    As for Nanami, having read the light novel series, I knew her role was going to become a lot more prevalent than her initial portrayal, so the realisation obviously didn’t have the same impact. However, the way it was executed, largely courtesy of Nakahara, was brilliant, and she quickly became my favourite character of the series. I’ve always liked her character design even before watching the anime adaptation, but Nakahara’s voice was absolutely perfect.

    Anyway, I must spend what will inevitably be an hour at best reading your blog. It’s apparent I have much to come up on. 🙂

    • December 23, 2010 10:52 pm

      Haha – I’m enjoying writing these posts, its been fun to look back on the year.

      Nakahara’s performance as Nanami was inspired – major part of why I liked the character so much. Nanami was such an intriguing character, even with limited actual screentime she made a really big impact – impressive writing there.

      I hope you found something interesting among all my ramblings~! We shall have to have a catch-up once you’re not so busy/in an awkward timezone XD

  3. Aiko permalink
    December 29, 2010 9:32 am

    Absolutely, your commitment has paid off. The blog has really grown over the course of the year. 🙂

    I do wonder, had the siblings been left undisturbed, whether she would have longed for death. Sure, her body was weak, but she wouldn’t have had to exert herself at all, and if the first episode is any indicator, she seemed moderately happy to lead the quiet life with her brother. I suspect her loneliness after her brother left, along with the ninja brigade attempting to attack her soon after, provoked her decision to leave the island and embark upon her ensuing crusade of death, ultimately leading to her demise. Of course, there was always the chance that she would have asked her brother to kill her, regardless of whether it was on the island or elsewhere, but I can’t help but feel that despite her adamance that she’s an emotionless sword, that innately her emotions governed her choices.

    And definitely, we need to catch up at some point. My time zone, whether EST or JST, will always differ from GMT, but I suppose the former has less of a difference. 😛

    • December 30, 2010 1:02 pm

      I’m surprised at how much the blog has grown so quickly – it’s been a lot of fun!

      Nanami I think would have sought Shichika’s help in ending her life sooner or later – his leaving the island probably sped up her decision though. After all, Nanami was very concerned with making Shichika stronger even before Togame came into their lives. But we’ll probably never really know that she was thinking.

      There is definitely more chance of our free time overlapping when you’re in EST XD

  4. Anime Lover permalink
    November 14, 2011 8:57 pm

    Oh Yeah, nanami is the bomb… gotta love her

  5. April 12, 2012 3:40 am

    I LOVE Nanami!!!!!!!!!!

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