Okay so this time around, I had a deal with a friend. While I made her sit through 16 long episodes of Shut Up! Flower Boy Band, I started my second anime in two years, called Nana. She claimed that since both are about music I might find it fascinating, which I truly did and as she had guessed, both stories are oddly similar yet completely different.
While Shut Up! deals with a group of five high school boys on their journey to find themselves through their music to keep alive the memory of a deceased friend, Nana is truly about the struggle of an orphan in finding her place within the world through music and her friendship with a girl who has everything. The two stories share the aimlessness and indecisiveness about life within both bands. While the boys are motivated by the friend they have lost, Nana is driven by the desire to become strong and self-sufficient to fill the void that losing her mother created in her. I think what I truly enjoyed about her character is her desperation for fame and a need to outpace her on and off boyfriend, and yet she views all the lauding she receives so cynically.
I think Shut Up! was quite an experimental drama for the Korean drama industry since they usually tend to stick to the book as far as their approach to such dramas is concerned. They tend to play safe and ignore the cultural and social problems that should ideally be a part of dramas, thus not presenting as honest a picture as possible. For instance, there was You’re Beautiful, with that perfect setting showing an idol group and the romances developing among them. Yet, they only presented how the business appears on the surface so that no questions are raised about the conditions that they live in. Now Shut Up! did this beautifully by painting the band as a couple of delinquents in a rock band who don’t fit into society and therefore, don’t also fit into the music business which takes me back to Nana and her cynicism about stepping into the music business. The desperation to get their music across to the masses and the reluctance of all the independence they would have to give up on is precisely where the room for growth exists among the characters of both shows.
For me, both Nana and Shut Up! Are the most raw, brutal and realistic shows I’ve ever seen. While Shut Up! is risqué with regards to the social problems it deals with, Nana goes ahead and challenges all institutions that exist around us, and that too from the female perspective. The great acceptance of sexuality and all the goes with it is truly a step towards revealing and accepting true human nature, and I adore how it’s dealt with and how a simple act of love is interpreted entirely differently by both genders. With regards to this subject, Shut Up! is still very kosher k-drama material since despite all the delinquency you get limited amounts of ‘skinship’ on-screen. Yet, that happens to be the beauty of the show since it isn’t your everyday romantic comedy but rather a more realistic narrative where the friendships among boys is explored more than their girlfriends or the women they flirt with.
Overall, I highly recommend both the anime and the Korean drama because they happen to be rather well-thought out with extremely strong characters and some very pertinent themes about our place in life and the need to achieve dreams that seem unachievable. So therefore, do definitely watch Shut Up! Flower Boy Band and Nana.