It seems like there’s always some sort of anime involving people with superpowered teenage characters. We have shows like the ongoing My Hero Academia and Boruto, and 2020 ended by giving us another such show: Talentless Nana. But while many of these are straightforward affairs where we watch as young people with extraordinary abilities come into their own and do good, this show is filled with second guessing and mysteries.
Editor’s Note: While there will be no Talentless Nana spoilers below, it will allude to the things that differentiate it from other superhero anime shows.
First coming into Talentless Nana, people might be tempted to compare it to My Hero Academia. All of the students with powers are known as Talented and attend a special school. Their goal is to train and be ready to defend everyone from the supposed enemies of humanity. Which is sort of like the kids training to become professional heroes at U.A. High School. We first meet Nanao Nakajima, a young man in the class who everyone refers to as Talentless—someone with no special abilities. Which is a bit like the position Izuku Midoriya was in, due to him not having a Quirk.
But things swiftly change after that initial episode, after we learn more about Nanao and his abilities. And when it does, the focus shifts to a different Nana, Nana Hiiragi. It’s then that we start to see that something is happening on this island as school. As this Nana gets close to her classmates and learns about their abilities, we also learn about how Talented are viewed by society and start to wonder about the potential enemies they might face. As this happens, the tone shifts.
And that’s when things get even more interesting, because it becomes as much a character study as it does about trying to figure out how everything will play out. We get episodes focusing on who different characters are as Nana gets close to them. We learn about what their special powers can do. While it can be fascinating, I found I started wondering who I should get attached to.
There’s only one downside to this season of Talentless Nana. That’s that it ends at the worst possible spot. Yes, you would expect a series with twists to end on a cliffhanger. But the one here is especially cruel for two reasons. One is because the cut-off point for the thirteenth episode happens with no resolution and people who haven’t read the manga will have no idea of the additional details surrounding the event. The other is that it’s unknown if there will be any additional seasons.
Still, Talentless Nana is a fascinating take on a story with superpowered individuals. We get to see what it’s like to have teenagers with powers and how others might react to them. But, that also means seeing the hazards that could come from having those abilities. Which, in turn, leads to wondering if you should really start trusting or getting attached. The result is something similar to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, where going in blind is best, though someone would eventually have to look into the manga to satiate any curiosity about what happens next.