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Girl from Nowhere is a 13 episode 2018 TV series from Thailand, currently airing on Netflix. It's one of many recent Southeast Asian life lesson dramas centered on the lives of various high school kids. All of these types of dramas are somewhat similarly themed, and they range from cute and lighthearted accounts, to practical and more realistic versions, on up to darker and more devious takes, on the important issues kids face these days. This show definitely resides on the dark side.
Here's your basic premise: Each episode is its own self-contained story set against the backdrop of a different high school, where the mysterious new transfer student (known only as Nanno) soon arrives. Nanno quickly interjects herself into the lives of certain students at each new school, and begins helping them with their teen issues; issues that range from grades, bullying, social standing, fitting in, sexual assault, depression, teen pregnancy, creepy teachers, suicide, and worse.
As each story unfolds, Nanno punishes the outright wicked by whatever means necessary, while she tempts other kids in order to test their morals. Nanno preys on their insecurities, and being the young impetuous high school kids that they are, they are easy to persuade and frequently make impulsive decisions that they'll soon come to regret. All the while, Nanno endeavors to bring out the worst in them, then revels in the chaos that ensues. Once Nanno accomplishes her goals at a given school, it's on the next, then repeat this process until the series is over.
It's never made clear who, or rather what, Nanno actually is. Is she a ghost with a vengeance, a shared figment of everyone's imagination, the devil? There is a backstory episode at the end of the series about what happened to her when she was a high school student, but that doesn't explain her current existence or why she's intent on causing so much trouble to random students across the nation.
Chicha Amatayakul gets the lead role as Nanno (i.e. the titular "Girl From Nowhere"). I've never seen this actress before, but she's pretty effective throughout this series; her maniacal laughing can be a bit much at times, but she is rather impressive otherwise. Aside from the lead, there's a ton of other young actors and actresses involved across the various episodes, and the vast majority of them perform quite well in their assigned roles.
Each episode is roughly 35-45 minutes, and I believe they were all produced and written by the same team. There is a different director for most every episode however, and every episode contains an entirely new cast with the exception of the central character. The varying direction makes for a nice change of pace; every episode is some form of a psychological thriller, several are bloody and brutal, others are darkly humorous at times, and there's one involving a young thief that is somewhat sweet and endearing. Overall, both the writing and direction is good; some stories are better written and/or directed than others, but all are fairly interesting. Don't expect any huge production values or special effects though; Asian TV productions typically have limited budgets, but as is usually the case, they frequently make up for it with better storytelling.
I can't really think of any show being produced in the west that Girl From Nowhere compares to. It is indeed a show about the life of teens and their modern problems, but it's too down and dirty for mainstream Hollywood to make. There's no nudity and the show isn't overly sexualized, but there is a good deal of violence and adult themes; murder, gang rape, suicide, and so forth, are all fair game here, so viewers should be advised.
Summary: This series is really well done overall, and it's very entertaining. It's a quick and efficient morality tale in which everyone involved learns something about themselves and life; sometimes though, you learn these lessons the hard way.
Bottom Line: 8 out of 10 stars. Very Well Recommended.
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