Nana (Japanese: 奈々) is the protagonist of Kemono Friends: Welcome to Japari Park!, and one of the franchise's few named human characters. During the events of the manga, she is a new caretaker working under Mirai, responsible for the care of an Ezo Red Fox and a Serval. She has a little sister and is also the younger cousin of Japari Park's animal laboratory Vice Director, Kako.
Nana appears to be a teenager is and somewhat short in stature. She has reddish brown eyes and bright pink hair, which she prefers to tie back in a ponytail. Her outfit includes a green jacket with the sleeves rolled up, featuring the signature "の" logo of Japari Park on its breast pocket and upper sleeves. Beneath her jacket, Nana wears a simple white t-shirt with a red collar and black short shorts. Her feet are covered by loose-fitting white socks and pink shoes.
“I believe that Friends are meant to be a bridge between people and animals. I'd like for you to realize what that means, Ezo Red Fox.”
—Nana, Chapter 1
Nana is an enthusiastic and passionate Caretaker from the beginning, having held a love for Friends for quite some time. When seeing the two Friends that she was assigned to for the first time, she was quick to display excitement at how cute they were, and she frequently finds herself amazed when a Friend puts one of their animal traits on display. Despite this, she is a dedicated supervisor, risking her own safety when she believes that a Friend under her jurisdiction is in danger. She takes her job very seriously, using as many opportunities as she can to teach Friends new things, such as explaining Halloween to African Bush Elephant and taking Ezo Red Fox on field trips to help her integrate into society.
While she is initially uncertain as to how to properly care for Ezo Red Fox, her confidence in her ability to keep her under control grows as the manga continues, and she slowly becomes more capable as a Caretaker. However, despite her naivete, Nana can be equally bold, and has a tendency to lecture Friends when she feels they have stepped out of line. She is also seen forcing Friends out of their comfort zone for their benefit, even Friends she is not familiar with, demonstrated by her behavior when given temporary supervision over Cheetah. She is also adept at figuring out intuitive solutions to a problem, using Crested Ibis's singing to scare off litterers and quickly realizing the identity of the meat bun thief.
Nana's work ethic is guided by the philosophy that through her position, she can help Friends mature and integrate into society. She readily gives advice to Friends not under her supervision, and offers her support to Friends that want to move forward into a larger role, such as when she gives direction to Raccoon after the Friend confesses her newfound dream of becoming Park Director to her. This nature means that Friends frequently seek her out to ask for counsel with their troubles. Nana sees Friends as more than just animal girls, but as animals that have been given a chance to experience life as a human. She strongly believes that Friends, now that they are in human form, should follow the rules of human society, rather than the rules of nature, which leads to many of her altercations with Ezo Red Fox.
When speaking to peers, Nana speaks somewhat formally, but is much more casual and snarky when in the company of Friends, excepting periods where she has to lecture or teach a Friend some form of lesson. Nana will frequently explain concepts to the best of her ability to any Friend that seems confused, at which point she takes on a teacher-like tone of voice, though she may occasionally be dumbfounded and make a snide remark if a Friend is uncooperative or confusing.
Role in the Plot
At some point during her childhood, Nana became aware of Japari Park and the existence of Friends, and eventually she became so enamored with Friends that it became her ambition to work at Japari Park so that she could take care of them.
Kemono Friends: Welcome to Japari Park!
Carrying her dream past her childhood, Nana eventually fulfilled her goal and obtained a position within Japari Park as a Caretaker. After being introduced to Mirai, a Park Guide, Nana is assigned two Friends to supervise - Serval and Ezo Red Fox. While Nana and Serval get along immediately, Ezo Red Fox is more dismissive, stating that she does not need a Caretaker and that she can do what she pleases, minus when Nana feeds her. This troubles Nana after her day is over, and she airs her frustrations to her sister, unsure as to how she should tackle the issue of Ezo Red Fox's disobedience.
The next morning, Nana discovers while on the job that all of the meat buns in the refrigerator have disappeared. Recalling Ezo Red Fox's comment about food, she decides to seek her out, and finds that her suspicions were correct as she confronts the fox on her theft near a cliffside. Nana asserts that it is her role to guide and teach Ezo Red Fox, and that they are going to go apologize, while the Friend responds in kind with an assertion that she is simply following the rules she lived by as an animal. Nana retorts that Ezo must follow the rules, and admits her belief that she sees Friends as a bridge between human and animal, expressing her desire to see Ezo Red Fox realize this for herself.
During their argument, Ezo Red Fox slips and nearly tumbles down the cliffside, but is caught by Nana before she can make the drop. Ezo Red Fox confusedly asks why Nana won't let go, as she'll fall as well, and Nana exclaims that she refuses to let go, as Ezo's supervisor. The fox assures Nana she'll be okay, but Nana is adamant about keeping the Friend safe. As the two slip and fall, Ezo Red Fox catches Nana in the air and delivers them safely to the ground, brushing off Nana's behavior as showy. In spite of this, she relents to Nana, saying she is going to purchase meat buns and return them to the Park.
Fed up with Ezo Red Fox's misbehavior, Nana decides to teach her a lesson in manners by taking her on a field trip to a city within the Park. Noting that Ezo seems to be bewildered by the unfamiliar surroundings, Nana takes her around the city and makes a stop inside of a convenience store, where Ezo quickly finds meat buns on display and attempts to eat them, packaging and all. Nana scolds the fox, but Ezo finds a display with premium meat buns and attempts to take the entire display, and as Nana wrestles it away from her, Gray Wolf appears. The fight results in Ezo Red Fox accidentally throwing the entire display backwards, but Gray Wolf catches it flawlessly.
Nana stops to admire Gray Wolf, as she sees her as an example of the kind of Friend she came to Japari Park to meet. Noticing Nana's struggle with Ezo Red Fox, the wolf Friend begins to help instruct Ezo Red Fox on how to properly pay for food. To do this, she shows by example, purchasing a meat bun as a gift for Ezo Red Fox. Nana is impressed, and hopes that she can help more Friends become like Gray Wolf. However, the serenity is cut short as Ezo quickly asks the cashier for all of the food in the store, and Nana informs Ezo that she does not have enough money to pay for such an outrageous request. Still, she takes the event in stride, appreciating that Ezo Red Fox has learned just a little bit.
Nana and Mirai are working together for the day, testing the physical wellness of the Friends. However, during roll call, she notices that while Serval and Koala are present, Ezo Red Fox has skipped out, forcing her to apologize to Mirai for her negligence. Mirai, however, simply takes it in stride, and the tests begin, starting with a one-kilometer dash. Nana posits that it should take about two minutes for a Friend to run a kilometer, which Serval surpasses, achieving a breakneck speed of about 35 seconds, which shocks Nana, causing her to initially mistake Serval as a breeze and clocking the stopwatch late. Meanwhile, Koala takes five minutes to finish the dash, much to her dismay.
In the next test, the Friends must cross a rocky obstacle course and return back. Before they begin, however, Serval slips and falls, though she appears uninjured. After the test begins, Serval returns in a mere minute, again shocking Nana, who believes that the test should take an hour for a normal human. However, Koala fails to finish the test at all. After that, a test involving rock-throwing occurs, where Serval easily lifts a large boulder and tosses it sixteen meters away, while Koala has to settle simply for lifting a medium-sized rock. Nana attempts to cheer Koala up, assuring her that she should do great on the tree-climbing test, but Koala fails to climb the tree despite this.
After Koala fails the test, Serval yelps out in pain, believing she may have twisted her ankle after her earlier fall. Mirai suggests moving Serval to the medical office, but Koala offers to help instead using her pap. Koala rubs the pap on Serval's injured ankle, miraculously alleviating all of Serval's pain, and amazing Nana, who is impressed at Koala's ability to heal injures. However, once Serval asks about where Koala's pap comes from, Mirai shuts down the conversation, and forces the group to move on to the 200-kilometer dash, leaving Koala exhausted.
Nana receives a letter inviting her and Ezo Red Fox to a welcome party hosted by Serval and her best friend, Caracal. Excited, the pair go to the party, and see Mirai and Gray Wolf before getting a warm hug from Serval and beginning the festivities via a song performed by Crested Ibis. However, the song, typical of the Friend, is deafeningly loud and painful, causing Ezo Red Fox to fall onto the floor in pain. The party quickly moves forward, however, with Caracal presenting the surprise that she and Serval prepared to Nana, which turns out to be a snake themed jack-in-the-box. However, this is discovered to be a classic example of Serval's airhead nature, as even Caracal is surprised due to Serval replacing the character themed after herself with the snake.
Ezo Red Fox
Immediately after Nana is assigned to supervise Ezo Red Fox, the two experience a rough start to their working relationship. Ezo Red Fox is initially unimpressed and ignorant of Nana and the role of Caretakers and brushes her off at the first opportunity without introducing herself. Their next meeting, Nana proves her dedication to her role, confronting Ezo about her theft with conviction and risking her own safety to help protect Ezo when the encounter takes a disastrous turn. From this point forward, the dynamic of their relationship slowly grows to be more friendly, with Nana teaching Ezo Red Fox about the rules of society and human interaction, although the two of them never cease to butt heads and conflict with each other.
Despite Ezo Red Fox's standoffish attitude and disobedience towards Nana, she is shown to truly care about Nana's safety. When Nana collapses after Ezo jumps onto her, she becomes confused, only to become terrified once Margay posits that she may have a cold, due to her misconception that being sick is a death sentence. She quickly expresses her regret and terror verbally to an unconscious Nana, and at one point, even climbs into the bed where Nana is sleeping in order to keep her company, despite the perceived risk to herself.
During the Final Chapter, Nana reflects on her year spent with Ezo Red Fox, noting that she's still as childish as ever, but also finding herself distracted by how cute she finds Ezo when she is asleep, hinting that she may give Ezo Red Fox special treatment or turn the other cheek for some of her misgivings.
As Serval's caretaker, Nana is tasked with ensuring that Serval is kept safe and her needs are properly met, yet she is also tasked with ensuring that Serval is given proper direction and understands the way of the world. Serval takes a liking to Nana immediately, hugging her and introducing herself at the earliest opportunity. Serval even throws Nana a welcome party in order to show her appreciation for the Caretaker, solidifying Serval's relationship with Nana.
Nana has a great deal of admiration for Gray Wolf, as she reminds her of the kinds of Friends that made her want to strive to become a Caretaker in the first place. Nana sees Gray Wolf as an older sister figure, and interprets her as an example of the kind of Friend she wants to help other Friends become. While the extent of their friendship is unknown, Gray Wolf is an invitee to the welcome party that Serval hosts for Nana, implying they kept in contact outside of their convenience store encounter.
Mirai is Nana's coworker and superior, and Nana has a degree of respect for her. The two get along fairly well, though Nana feels the need to be more formal when addressing Mirai, calling her Guide-san rather than Mirai in a manner similar to the Friends in the Nexon game.
The two siblings appear to have a warm relationship, with Nana's unnamed younger sister checking in on her after her first day of work as a caretaker.
Nana and Kako are cousins, with Kako being the older of the two. While both are employees of Japari Park, their relationship is never shown, and it is unknown if the two interacted regularly or at all during their time in the park.
- Nana is the sole human in the series whose name is written in kanji.