Michi and her family have just moved into the Happiness House, a huge tree with all sorts of little buildings and houses built on and inside of it. Upon exploring what is to be her new bedroom, Michi finds an odd nut-like object. Before long, a strange creature, Nanami-chan, hatches out of it. The two become fast friends. Together, Michi and Nanami-chan learn all kind of new things, and everyday they meet more eccentric residents of the Happiness House.
Sometimes, one has to put themselves in the shoes of the intended audience of a work to fully appreciate it. Nanami-chan’s a good example of this – it’s very obviously made for small children with short attention spans. With only 12 five-minute episodes in this first season, you would think it would be a series that anyone who can appreciate a good kid’s show will enjoy. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true.
Our story begins when a little girl named Michi and her parents move into an apartment complex of sorts in the form of treehouses. When Michi investigates her new room, she finds an odd fruit
from which a cute little blobby animal named Nanami-chan hatches. Together, they learn more about the world and people around them – like any good kodomo anime characters. Each episode contains its own story, usually involving Michi and Nanami meeting one of their neighbors and helping them solve a problem. It’s pretty straightforward stuff, really, and because of that it’s not always very engaging. You want Michi and Nanami to be happy, but it’s hard to actively care how that happens. Still, it’s not bad by any means; just not particularly impressive.
The series’ biggest downfall is the character designs. Quite frankly, they look downright bizarre, complete with odd proportions and huge, soulless eyes. They can be honestly hard to look at sometimes. The animation may be smooth and in general well-done, but the character designs are so unbearable that this is easy to forget. The same can be said for the music – there’s no opening or ending theme song sans a few notes over extremely short credits, and most of the series’ music is simplistic, forgettable little tunes.
Since each episode is so short, it’s hard to get attached to the many bizarre new characters that are introduced, especially since they are all, predictably, rather flat. Still, Michi herself is a sweet little girl that’s easy to like – and for the intended audience to relate to. Of course, Nanami is the real star of the show and she’s a great example of a cute mascot character that is easy to enjoy even when she’s center stage. Most, if not all, of the cuteness in the series comes from her, and she’s definitely the best part of the show.
When I watched Nanami-chan, I tried to think like a 7-year-old – and still got bored quickly. In the sea of children’s shows about a cute kids and animals exploring, learning, and helping, Nanami-chan simply fails to stick out, mainly because the most memorable elements include weak character designs and overly-short episodes. Most of the children I have known would find this series quite forgettable, while as a teen I can barely enjoy it at all. Nanami may be cute, but nothing else in her series is, and that’s a shame.