The debate on the ethics of humanity stems from biblical times and the concept is often explored in media. Netflix’s Girl From Nowhere is an anthology series that revolves around Nanno, a mysterious girl who transfers to different schools. Her purpose is solely to expose the illicit or immoral actions and behaviors of the students and faculty. Nanno “tests” the students and staff of each episode and they often suffer an unfavorable outcome due to their bad decisions. As a viewer, one could argue if the show’s portrayal of humanity is accurate.
Who (Or What) Is Nanno?
The series does not reveal any background information about Nanno but one thing is for certain: she is not human. In fact, it is safe to assume that she is an otherworldly being with unimaginable power. For instance, classmates “kill” Nanno and she shows up to class the next day unscathed just to haunt them. Moreover, Nanno is always aware of what humans are thinking and doing even when she pretends to be oblivious. However, Nanno’s greatest tool is temptation.
Nanno does not actively control the will of humans but instead, she convinces them to remove their inhibitions. She plays the role of the devil on their shoulder when they face a moral decision. Granted, selfish desires ruin humans but Nanno’s influence also plays a major role. Nanno thinks lowly of humans and delights at the moment when they succumb to what she believes is their innate, bad nature.
Watch Girl From Nowhere star Kitty Chicha express her thoughts on who Nanno is.
Bad People Or Just Bad Decisions?
Girl from Nowhere showcases the demise of the people who most would agree to be actual bad people. For example, in the first episode, Nanno exposes a teacher who records himself having sex with underage students. As a result, this unveils an even bigger sex scandal involving the entire school staff. Other times, a person who just makes a bad decision is automatically depicted as a bad person. In the tenth episode, a teacher strives to improve education but struggles to deal with the trauma in her life. Her husband (a former teacher of the same school) leaves her to pursue a relationship with a former student.
Soon after, her proposal for the reformation of the educational system was denied and thus, the story unfolds. The series reveals that women are suffering from a schizophrenia-like disorder. However, against the advice of the principal, she refuses to take a leave of absence. Afterward, the principal fires the teacher after she has a psychotic episode that resulted in the harm of a student. Nanno gives the teacher some words of encouragement by advising her to “save the educational system”. Nanno knew her advice would lead to disaster. Long story short, it ended in a massacre-suicide.
Nature Vs. Nurture
This episode diminishes the moral effect of the series because the teacher is not initially a “bad” person. It could be argued that her apparent illness is what led to her demise. Perhaps the importance of taking time off from work when necessary is the idea. However, this is not the message that Nanno helps to convey. Instead, it seems that the moral is for one to not allow their illness to make them make bad decisions.
If that is the case, then it is not much of a plausible message that the audience can follow: the teacher takes medication, the tragic outcome still happens, proving how unrealistic that message is. The episode’s motive is unclear. Although the teacher’s illness is not a justification for her actions, it makes viewers understand her and sympathize with her.
Nanno Does Not Discriminate
In the ninth episode, Nanno “tests” the nature of a child. Nanno asks her to retrieve evidence that would prove that her father murdered a student. However, the child pretends that the evidence is not within reach to prevent the arrest of her father.
Nanno knows that the child is lying and states that she is just like her father. Nanno prophesies that the child will fit right into the corrupt school that her father teaches at. In actuality, a child does not have a great sense of morality like an adult. In fact, it is expected that a child will do anything to not be separated from their parent. This further connotes the series’s idea that humans are innately bad and any efforts to change are futile.
Humans Are Too Complex
Overall, Girl From Nowhere is one-sided. Every human that falls prey to Nanno’s tactics is showcased as bad people who have no chance of changing. This is not an actual portrayal of real life. It would be more accurate to also explore humans that are on the brink of destruction change for the better. It may not be fun for Nanno but it would highlight that her own opinion of humans could be changing. More importantly, it would show viewers that a bad decision does not necessarily make a bad person.
The reality is that there are far too many nuances and intricacies in the nature of humanity. However, the series chooses to focus on just one end of the spectrum. In addition, one aspect of being a human is learning from mistakes to become a “good” person. The overall theme of the series is not effective because it is not showcased. Nonetheless, the series does well to provide cautionary tales that are both chilling and entertaining. One can imagine how viewers’ of the series may even question their own humanity. If impressionable enough, the audience will keep their moral compass intact out of fear of encountering Nanno.