I recently got around to watching Nana, a 47-episode anime series that aired in 2006 and 2007 (it had been on my distant to-do list for many years). The series adapted a manga that ran from 2001-2009 (it has technically been on hiatus since 2009). But this article is not about Nana the series. It is also, surprisingly, not about hair color in Nana (albeit Nana is a series with real hair colors and hair color attention to detail). Today, we will examine a computer in Nana – specifically what appears to be a Power Macintosh G3 – blue tower edition.

Scene from episode 11 of the Nana anime adaptation. We see a hand on the left side of the screen, which is Shouji's, pointing at a Power Macintosh G3 blue and white edition next to a computer monitor on his desk.
The hand and computer belong to Shouji, a character I will discuss in brief below.

The above screenshot appears in episode 11 of Nana. I will offer a bit of context before we get to the computer.

The series Nana has its name because the two main characters are 20-year-old women who are both named Nana and, through a string of happenings, become roommates. Note that they meet in the year 2001 and the episode 11 scene in question takes place in 2001. This scene involves Nana Komatsu and takes place at the apartment of her boyfriend, Shouji Endou. Nana Komatsu is a a spend-thrift and had just suffered the double shocks of having not noticed that she had spent all of her money and had also lost her job. She turned to Shouji only to be aghast at the fact that Shouji did not have enough cash on hand to cover her half of the rent on the apartment she shared with the other Nana, Nana Osaki. Nana was dumbfounded that Shouji had so little money despite working and asked if he had spent it all on a second girlfriend she imagined him having due to her own insecurity (half-jokingly, but only half). Shouji dismissed that speculation out of hand and pointed to where his money had gone – his new computer. Nana was excited when she saw the computer, identifying it as a Mac before wondering how much Shouji could sell it for. Shouji quickly shot down that idea, explaining that he purchased it for graphic design (Shouji is an art student).

(Note for those of you familiar with Nana: I watched all 47 episodes. You can rest assured that I know what happens in the following episodes notwithstanding my best effort at a spoiler-free description of the Mac scene.)

The first thing that jumped out to me about this scene was that Nana identified the computer as a Mac. Anime typically avoids using real brand names – Something noticed enough that McDonald’s recently played off it by running a “WcDonald’s” promotion. Moreover, while I noted that the heroine of the more-recent My Love Story With Yamada-kun at Lv999 was clearly running Windows from one glance at her anime computer (I made the case she should run Linux), the series never explicitly used the term Windows. But we see no such brand name avoidance in Nana. I took a closer look at the scene (after having struggled to find which episode it occurred in) and confirmed that Nana’s using the term “Mac” was not an English localization invention – the computer very clearly has the iconic Apple logo.

I am sure some computer historians would have been able to recognize Shouji’s new Mac from one look. However, I am not a computer historian (I have more game console knowledge than computer knowledge) and I am not and have never been a Mac person. But I had an idea. If the series was using the Apple logo and actually describing the computer as a Mac, it was far more likely than not that what was depicted was a rendering of an actual Mac desktop that existed at the time. (Recall again that the scene happens in 2001.) I decided to take a stab at dropping my screen grab into Google’s reverse image search (Google Lens).

Screen capture of a Google Lens reverse image search. On the left there is a screen capture of a Power Macintosh G3 blue and white edition as seen in episode 11 of the Nana anime. On the right are image results showing the real Power Macintosh G3.
Click to expand.

The first result was a screen-grab of the exact same scene I took. But all of the other results were photographs of real computers that looked exactly like the one in Nana down to the last detail. While I thought I would be able to identify the computer, it turned out to be even easier than I thought.

I discovered from the Google Lens results that Nana depicted a Power Macintosh G3 computer – specifically the Blue and White tower edition. According to the Wikipedia page for the G3, the Blue and White edition was released on January 5, 1999. The January 5 model was discontinued and replaced with a new model (same appearance) on June 1, 1999, only to be discontinued on August 31, 1999, in favor of the Power Macintosh G4. The G4, which was released on August 31, 1999, looked somewhat similar to the G3, but I am all but certain the computer depicted in Nana is a G3. According to the Home Computer Museum, Shouji’s Mac would have packed something along the lines of 6 GB of storage and 64 MB of memory (a bit quaint by modern standards).

(Also see a 1999 article on the blue and white Power Macintosh G3).

Because Nana is very specific about when it takes place, one may note that Shouji’s “new” computer had already been discontinued. Assuming arguendo that the G4 was available in Japan in 2001 (I assume it was), Shouji’s opting for the G3 makes sense. He was a college student who was working to pay for his apartment and computer. The G3, which the Wikipedia entry reports was released with a price range from $1599 to $2999, would have most likely still been expensive enough in Japan at the time of Shouji’s purchase in 2001 (note Shouji did not have the Mac when we see Nana first stay with him a few weeks earlier than episode 11, so we can be certain he purchased it in 2001). Shouji likely made a budget-conscious decision (as much as the terms “budget-conscious” and “Apple” can ever go together, that is) to go with the discontinued G3 in lieu of the shiny new G4.

I have not read the Nana manga so I am unsure whether the manga devoted the same amount of detail to Shouji’s Mac as did the anime. But in any event, in light of the fact that the anime was released in 2006-2007, I appreciate the attention to detail the team put into Shouji’s computer to not only make it so detailed that a simple reverse image search returns almost nothing but photographs of the computer it is based on but also for the computer to match the time frame when Nana actually takes place.

(Note: While it is my ordinary practice to advocate for 2D anime characters to use Linux and open source alternatives to proprietary software, I will concede that the state of Linux for graphic design and other art purposes in 2001 may have left some things to be desired. But with that being said, it was good enough for Game Freak to use to make Pokémon so on second thought Shouji should switch to Linux.)