Nanami Jinnai is the younger sister of Katsuhiko Jinnai and a longtime friend of
Makoto Mizuhara. She is a cute, usually demure, teenaged girl with orangish-red
hair and a petite frame. However, her small size and quiet appearance often hides
a cauldron of energy that is waiting for the right opportunities to be unleashed.
Those opportunities that she is waiting for are usually businesslike in nature as she possesses a strong entrepreneurial spirit that has kept herself, well, 'kept' during her many misadventures in the story of El-Hazard. Her uncanny ability to earn money for herself that may have been a hobby for her on Earth has actually been the skill that has kept her alive on the new worlds she keeps finding herself transported to. However, that very nature can also be linked to her ending up on El-Hazard in the first place. If she had not seen the business opportunity in selling meals to Mr. Fujisawa, she would have never even been at the school when she, along the others, were sent to El-Hazard by Ifurita.
Nanami has found a place for herself in this new world. At first she is forced to survive on her own and thus uses her resourcefulness to acquire employment for herself, knowing that money will bring about more opportunities than just toiling in a dessert marketplace. Eventually, when she is reunited with her fellow travelers from Earth, she has already made progress in being more independent, as seen by the fact that she is running her own small business of selling meals to maidens at the Arliman hot springs.
Even later, Nanami plays a vital role by being the only person who can see through the Phantom Tribe's illusions. This skill is what has saved the Alliance from nearly being wiped out and even though it is not used later in the story, we know that it has served her well. No doubt, by using her talents to save the Alliance, she has probably acquired numerous contacts and allies in the royal family and the kingdom. After the events of the first OVA she has used those contacts to form a very successful business that keeps her busy and fulfilled.
Personality-wise, Nanami is something of an enigma. It is really hard to pinpoint who is the real Nanami and what is sometimes a facade that she puts on for others. On one hand, she can be sweet, mature, demure, bubbly, and even naïve, while at other times she can also be rude, childish, overbearing, and extremely stubborn. Perhaps maybe she is all these things at one time. Nanami is still a young woman trying to learn about herself, her rapidly changing hormones, and her blossoming body. Not only does she have to go through this confusing period in her life while also trying to deal with all the strangeness that traveling to a new world brings, but she has to do it without any real adult female role-model to help her and guide her.
Perhaps it is most fortunate for her that she is very independently minded to begin with and that has allowed her to maintain her composure through the most difficult periods of her life. However, she still, on occasion, does revert back to a childish demeanor that shows that she still has some growing up to do.
Nanami's personality often shifts in accordance to whom she is dealing with. When she is by herself or with a group of people similar to herself, she becomes a strong presence, displaying ingenuity, courage, and an ability to stand up for herself. However, when she is mixed in the company of other strong presences she tends to become quiet and reserved, becoming a follower rather than a leader.
If we are to speak of the relationships that Nanami maintains, then the most important one would be that of the one she has with Makoto Mizuhara. Even though she is a year younger than him, she has become one of his closest friends since he came to Shinonome as a young child. Perhaps that reason alone is why she has trouble expressing her feelings for him. They have been friends for so long that she may be unsure if she is willing to risk that friendship by advancing their relationship to something more romantic.
However, she can't deny to herself that she does have feelings for him, though she is quick to deny them to everyone else. She is conflicted in that she is afraid to be true with her feelings about her friend, but even more afraid to let him fall in love with someone else. Thus she is often in conflict with the other females in Makoto's life, doing her best to make them feel like they are not worthy of his love, or even painting a negative picture of Makoto to these ladies so as to scare them off. This is when Nanami's immaturity really shows through because she can often act like a child who doesn't want to share her favorite toy.
Her conflicts with Shayla are bordering on legendary. Their rivalry often results in bouts of taunts, name calling, and have come close to physical violence on occasion. Both see themselves as rivals, but in reality, both of these strong-willed and stubborn women are extremely similar to each other, though you'll never hear either one admit it.
Finally, Nanami is often at odds with her estranged brother Katsuhiko. At first glance, Nanami and Jinnai seem to be polar opposites, but I don't find that to be true. That may be why they are constantly at odds with each whenever they are together. This may be because of their upbringing. As I discussed in the profile of Jinnai, I feel that most likely that the Jinnai's parents have ended up putting their children in competition with each other because of their desire to have their children be the best.
That may be why Nanami is so involved in so many school activities. Perhaps she wants to be away from the household as much as possible so she spends as much time at school as she can by helping out various clubs and other activities. It also explains the almost sadistic glee that Nanami gets when she is undermining her brother. Perhaps she enjoys making Jinnai fail because then she is seen as the superior child in the eyes of their parents.
In the end, Nanami may be coming to grips with the fact that she can't possess Makoto and that his heart belongs to Ifurita. If Nanami can learn that she doesn't necessarily have to be superior to everyone else and that she can't have everything, then she should mature into a very confident and happy woman. However, if she refuses to let go of her fantasies then she may never shake off that immature nature that makes people still regard her as a child in their eyes.
When it comes to the Wanderer's timeline, Nanami hasn't changed so much in her personality
or even her situation. She is still stranded by herself for a period of time in
a mysterious world and she learns to survive on her own, becoming quite successful
at it until she almost destroys the Shrine of Water.
Nanami also exhibits a lot of the same personality traits when it comes to her relationships with others, especially Makoto. Though, since there is a lot more time to develop other relationships, Nanami seems to have built up more friendships in the form of Afura Mann and Alielle.
The major difference that comes to mind when one talks about Nanami in this series is that her special power has changed. Since there is no Phantom Tribe in this story, there is no need for her to see through illusions. Therefore, in a rather creative twist, Nanami gains the same ability as her brother and she also can understand and communicate with the Bugrom. This ends up being a tremendous asset in her trying to escape the Bugrom Homeland with Rune Venus. This also put her at odds with her brother once again in that she and him end up trying to both win a popularity contest with the giant bugs. Unfortunately, she slips up and ends up losing them back to Katsuhiko. One has to wonder if Nanami had kept their friendship, if it would have led to an unparalleled peace between the Roshtarians and the Bugrom. More importantly, could she have used the opportunity to line her pockets? ^_^
In the end, Nanami seems to have given up on Makoto in this timeline, seeing up close the relationship that Makoto and the young Princess Rune Venus share. However, she still muses about sharing her true feelings with Makoto, though we never know if she ever does.
Once again Nanami returns to being the girl who can see through the Illusions of
the Phantom Tribe. Unfortunately, due to the much faster pacing of the Manga, Nanami
doesn't gain a lot of "on-screen" time, only showing up to make her few contributions
to save El-Hazard and to occasionally express her feelings for Makoto.
The major difference in this timeline is that she appears to be the first to arrive in El-Hazard, some two months before Makoto. Thus, with no allies, she is forced to survive on her own for quite a long time. She does quite a good job of it too, even managing to own her own restaurant. Unfortunately it is destroyed when Ifurita is first resurrected, leaving her dreams as devastated as her first restaurant.
This timeline is sort of a combination of the Manga and Wanderers. It essences, we get the girl that Nanami was in Wanderer's, but she gains the skills to see through the Phantom Tribe's illusions. Other than that, there really is nothing overly different about her in this universe.