There’s something about a mysterious anti-hero that makes you want to root for them.
Think of Catwoman from DC, Black Widow from Marvel, and Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series. Their actions are questionable, and their motives are hidden, but even their villainous side gets the love along with their hero traits. It’s so wrong to root for them, but it feels so right!
In the world of Netflix’s Girl from Nowhere, that moniker goes to Nanno.
Not much is really known about Nanno or her mysterious ways. You’re not quite sure if you can trust her, but there always seems to be a hidden agenda under the surface.
On Girl from Nowhere Season 1 and Girl from Nowhere Season 2, Nanno is this ageless supernatural character in the form of a schoolgirl. She randomly travels from school to school in Thailand, enacting some form of lesson.
Cheating scandals, dangerous ambitions, evil wishes, and heinous crimes are just some of the dark and twisted scenarios that bring forth her presence.
The students and faculty underestimate Nanno’s innocent smile, but whenever she transfers in, there is always justice bound to happen. When she completes her mission, her targets end up worse than they had ever imagined.
The curious aspect about Nanno is that she’s not the villain in each episode. Even with her reality, her actions are done to the characters to teach them a lesson.
Nanno’s role feels like a combination of a crossroads demon on Supernatural and Emily Thorne on Revenge.
She’ll toy with her victims by offering them something they really want or present an opportunity for them to take. However, if they make the wrong choice, Nanno will (slightly) manipulate the scenario by leading them deeper into their worst nightmare. Usually, this ends in death, blood, or a harsh lesson.
Why does she do it? No clue. There’s no answer given … yet.
Nanno is simply a metaphorical avenging angel dishing out karma and justice to those who meet her criteria.
As an anti-hero, Nanno balances that fine line of bringing good and evil to the story.
A lot of what she does could be seen as tormenting her targets. In the eyes of those wronged, she’s the villain ruining their lives, but the big choices that shape the story are made by the students/faculty, not Nanno.
Nanno isn’t the one committing murder. Nanno isn’t the one manipulating to get ahead. And, Nanno isn’t the one abusing their power to control others and get their way. (Well, yes, but only as a response to her lesson.)
The students/faculty either yearn or have done something bad enough to bring Nanno there. She wouldn’t have traveled to their school if there wasn’t a cause for her to enact justice.
In the end, you’re cheering on Nanno to get her way and see what she’s done to the villains.
A great example was when Nanno attended a high school reunion during Girl from Nowhere Season 1 Episode 12 and Girl from Nowhere Season 1 Episode 13.
The returning students (now adults) remembered Nanno as the weird girl who was a loner and created a fictional boyfriend. In actuality, they tormented Nanno, beat her up, made up rumors/stories about her, and brought on her terrible treatment. Plus, each of the former students now had secrets that involved committing crimes, abuse, cheating, and a list of other terrible things.
Nanno’s lesson exposed their facade for what it was: a lie.
All she did was reveal truths about the former classmates and give each of them enough leeway before turning on one another. Nanno didn’t force any of them to make their choices; she presented an option, and they either took it or harmed each other in the process.
It’s clear that Nanno wants justice to be delivered, and in most cases, for the targets to suffer from their lessons. Whenever a target breaks down, her laughing and smiling are a huge sign that she loves a good portion of it.
Nanno’s darker side comes out in full force at the sheer joy she gives. And delivering a karmic justice satiates her mission, regardless if it’s a big target like a murderer or a small target like a kid wanting to be popular.
She will be there to punish if someone crosses the line with Nanno’s requirements (i.e., hiding secrets, ignoring consequences, abusing power, etc.).
Though, the point of the matter is that once she begins her story, Nanno is the only one laughing at the end. She loves teaching a harsh lesson to the tormentors, but she loves the karmic pain that was dealt with as a result.
Contrasting Nanno is Yuri, another immortal entity that also punishes people with games. However, their differing tactics show that Nanno is more of a neutral anti-hero while Yuri is a full-blown villain.
Yuri loves her power and wielding it against the tormentors. She’ll purposely sabotage Nanno by throwing wrenches into the lessons and leading the targets down a disastrous path.
And, whereas Nanno prefers them to live with her lessons, Yuri loves to kill or cause chaos.
Yuri has little to no remorse about the actions she’s caused. The goal is to hurt the whole than teach the few.
Yuri is a prime example of the “villain” image that the students/faculty painted against Nanno.
Nanno’s lessons, while having varying degrees of good vs. evil, always come from a neutral place. She has a mission to complete, which she loves. Further reiterating from above, it is the actions of the targets that bring her forth.
Yuri, on the other hand, seeks to cause chaos and destruction wherever she goes. The ultimate goal is to harm everyone with her revenge.
You can’t help but love rooting for Nanno because she has a job to do. It’s not petty or comes from an evil place; she has to dish out the good AND the evil to teach her lesson. Yuri’s darkness is too evil to tip the scales in her favor.
Girl from Nowhere’s Nanno is a fun and mysterious anti-hero that gets the job done.
Even without knowing her true goal, there’s enough known about her to understand why she has arrived at the particular school. Through Nanno, we get to cheer her on as she gets revenge against the true villains in the story.
Her tactics might not always be good, but she’s having a lot of fun doing it. And, we’re living vicariously through her cheeky quips and shocking surprises!
Regardless if Nanno is guiding or punishing, she’s dishing out the energy that she’s not one to be messed with. Her targets and Yuri don’t ever compare in the grand scale of their stories.
Are you a fan of Nanno? Do you agree or disagrees with her lessons?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Girl from Nowhere is available to stream now on Netflix.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.