Girl From Nowhere, the Thai supernatural sensation, has finally debuted its second season after being picked up by Netflix. We’ll kick things off with: It’s absolutely incredible. Nanno is back, and god I did miss her unique brand of chaos and judgement.
What’s it About?
Girl From Nowhere is a Thai series centered around a mysterious girl named Nanno, who transfers from school to school revealing both dirty secrets and hypocrisies along the way. She seems to always be there for something going on, and whatever Nanno truly is seems something more than human. The series takes shape as both a continuous narrative and as a series of concepts and interesting stories for the character to manipulate. Written by Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, the series features different directors for each episode.
Nanno is Brilliant
Nanno is a brilliant character, played to perfection by Chicha Amatayakul. All her little idiosyncrasies and the way she can swap modes from innocent act to her devious and often rather sadistic side. For fans of Asian horror, the entity that is Nanno shares a few qualities with Junji Ito’s Tomie. Her supernatural powers, her inability to die, the ability to use multiple versions of herself, and her existence as a form of concentrated chaos. Nanno has a few more intricate details that go into what makes her Nanno, and the sense of judgement being passed is quite possibly the most major. Her smug smile never fails to bring real hype into a scene, even when it brings terror along with it.
For just a taster on how incredible and addicting the character of Nanno, and the portrayal by Chicha Amatayakul, is, there’s a genius interview segment where both the character and the actress are interviewed side by side. Girl From Nowhere finds unique and creative ways to both tell their stories and to get across the uncertain nature of Nanno.
Influences and Creativity
Speaking on creativity, the production crew for Girl From Nowhere go all out pulling influences from Junji Ito to black and white films and injecting those into their own distinctive style. Each episode deals with fairly high-impact subjects, and the writing is handled expertly. Taking uncomfortable or controversial topics from sexuality to male pregnancy, to brutal hazing, to the status quo and class divide. They don’t shy away from showing us the ugly side of humanity, and things get quite disturbing and dark in the moment.
The Best Episodes
The episode that stands out the most, at least to me, was the third last in “Liberation.” The decision to have this episode largely in black and white, with only certain vibrant colours popping through for emphasis, absolutely oozes style. The school featured for the episode is under strict fascist rule by the teaching staff, with almost military-style outfits and cruel punishments used for ‘repentance’. Nanno joining the school and quite openly breaking the rules begins to turn the tide. Soon the students start to realize that things shouldn’t be as they are.
Scenes from this episode show off just how much fun Amatayakul has in her role. The subtle humor Girl From Nowhere peppers here and there manages to come to the fore with how blatantly Nanno rejects authority, and how little she cares about the punishments. There are laughs here and there throughout the whole series caused by how this omnipotent being interacts and manipulates those around her. This second season finds more use of it as we’re now aware of just how in control she always is, but still, the unnerving side of things is ever-present.
The final three episodes take things to another level. Starting off with the breathtaking “Liberation,” and moving on to wrap up the story at the core of season 2. The first season set up that Nanno isn’t completely unfeeling, and she even showed some sense of care towards a boy named TK who helps reunite with his father. Strangely, despite there being signs that seemed to hint at that boy making a return for this season, he is entirely absent. Instead, we have a new chilling character wanting to take Nanno’s place as karmic judge, jury, and executioner.
The new girl who becomes somewhat of a rival to Nanno, a sadistic girl named Yuri, has her own nuances that set her apart. But with pulling in pieces of Nanno’s iconic style as she gets more and more used to her new seat of power and manipulation there’s a subtle show of influence over her. She’s a fantastic addition to the cast, and Chanya McClory plays the role with all the unhinged energy it needs.
Something that the series has been hinting at gently through the first season is what exactly Nanno is, and how far her power truly reaches. We get to see a bit more of that in the second season; though the mystery is still in full effect we do get a sense of a few of her powers and just how much of reality she can warp on the way to her chaotic goal. Plus Yuri following after her and gaining some of her powers shows that she can spread her influence in that way as well.
The second season of Girl From Nowhere builds even further from the stellar foundation of the first. Finding a new dynamic between Nanno and Yuri adds a good bit to the series, and Chicha Amatayakul’s performance is instant-classic worthy. Girl From Nowhere mixes a deep and unnerving horror alongside some unique and varied narratives, finding space for humour and heartfelt moments along the way. Leaving off the end of the season we’re left with a question; is Nanno losing control of things, or is everything still a part of her plans? If you’ve not discovered this gem yet, a weekend binge is called for.