Is Talentless Nana a story about brainwashing children?

Is Talentless Nana a story about brainwashing children?

Talentless Nana is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Looseboy. It was serialized in Square Enix’s Shonen manga magazine Monthly Shonen Gangan from 2016 to 2020, with the chapters collected in thirteen tankobon volumes. An anime television series adaptation by Bridge aired from July to September 2020.

Plot and Premise of Talentless Nana

Is Talentless Nana a story about brainwashing children?
Talentless Nana | Image courtesy of Studio Bridge

The story is set in a world where all children are born with a special ability called a “Talent.” Nanao Nakajima is a seemingly talentless high school student who is transferred to the Special Ability High School, a school for students with Talents. Nanao is quickly befriended by the popular and talented Kyouya Onodera, who invites her to join his group of friends. However, Nanao is not what she seems, and she has a secret that could threaten the safety of everyone in the school.

Is Talentless Nana a story about brainwashing children?
Talentless Nana | Image courtesy of Studio Bridge

Nanao is tested by the school’s teachers and proves to be a talented liar. She also befriends another student, Sakurako Oomori, who is also Talentless. Nanao and Sakurako are attacked by a group of students with Talents. Nanao is able to defeat them, but she is also injured. And so starts her peculiar high school life.

Does the anime highlight the brainwashing of children?

Is Talentless Nana a story about brainwashing children?
Talentless Nana | Image courtesy of Studio Bridge

Talentless Nana is a story about a group of students who are forced to live in a world where they are constantly being monitored and controlled. The students are taught that they are inferior to those with Talents (sort of reminiscent of Mash Burnedead in Easton Magic Academy), and they are brainwashed into believing that they are not capable of living on their own.

The anime explores the themes of power, control, and manipulation. It questions the nature of reality and asks the viewer to consider what it means to be truly free.

What are the consequences of this brainwashing?

This anime explores just how easily people, especially young children can be manipulated leading to-

Is Talentless Nana a story about brainwashing children?
Talentless Nana | Image courtesy of Studio Bridge
  • Loss of self-esteem: Nanao Nakajima, the main character, is a Talentless student who is constantly told that she is inferior to those with Talents. This leads to her having low self-esteem and believing that she is not capable of anything. She is often seen doubting herself and her abilities, and she is afraid to take risks or to make decisions for herself.

  • Dependence on the Talented: Nanao is also taught to rely on the Talented for protection and guidance. This leads to her feeling dependent on them, and she often looks to them for approval and validation. She is afraid to be alone or to make decisions without their help.

  • Fear of the Talented: Nanao is also taught to fear the Talented, and this leads to her having anxiety and paranoia. She is afraid of being attacked or harmed by them, and this makes it difficult for her to function in everyday life. She is constantly looking over her shoulder and is afraid to trust anyone.

Conclusion

Is Talentless Nana a story about brainwashing children?
Talentless Nana | Image courtesy of Studio Bridge

While brainwashing is not the central theme of Talentless Nana, it’s certainly one of the driving forces that shape the student’s lives in the school. The anime explores the different ways in which brainwashing has affected the students, and it shows how difficult it is for them to overcome its effects but there is obviously more to it. Watch the anime here to find out more!

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