The Thai Netflix show Girl From Nowhere has taken the region by storm. It is the number one show across Southeast Asia and has made an impact as far away as Brazil. (Read more here)
The show centers itself around the character Nanno, played by breakout star Chicha “Kitty” Amatayakul, who may or may not be the devil incarnate. The show revolves around Nanno showing up at various schools where injustices have occurred and Nanno dishing out some extreme karmic retribution.
Currently, Girl From Nowhere is the number one most watched Netflix TV Show in Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam and ranks among the Top 5 in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The show is also ranked 9th most-watched show on Netflix Brazil, the second-largest Netflix market in the world.
The fact that a show based on karmic retribution is ranking so highly in markets like the Philippines, Thailand, and Brazil should come as no surprise.
The reason people have embraced Nanno so wholeheartedly is because our various societies have become a place where we no longer expect the ‘little guys’ to win. That is stuff that only happens in the movies.
In real life, it is the rich, the powerful, and the connected that comes out on top.
Take for example Thailand, whose real-life events have inspired parts of the show.
We are a country where the courts have allowed a convicted drug smuggler to remain a minister never mind that he served time in prison overseas, never mind the other criminal allegations that have dogged him over the past decade.
We are a country that embraces power for its own sake and believe that fame and fortune bring with it impunity.
In the latest season of Girl From Nowhere, there is an episode centered around a young socialite who has killed several people in a driving accident.
She is only sentenced to community service.
The exact same scenario happened in real life when Orachorn “Praewa” Thephasadin Na Ayudhya, an underaged socialite, killed nine people in a car crash in 2010.
The difference is in the series Nanno and her otherwordly friends exacted revenge on the girl and killed her.
In real life, Praewa only had to do community service.
It is not much different in other countries where Girl From Nowhere has resonated.
In the Philippines, corrupt police officers and local government officials have taken advantage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs to exact petty revenge, target poor and underprivileged people while the rich and powerful continue to dope, spend, and live carefree lives.
In Brazil, things are not much different.
The duality that exists between the haves and have-nots underscore and punctuate the skyline of the country’s major cities. And while this is true all over the world, Brazil’s rich-poor divide is stark with low-income Favelas standing in the shadows of luxury condominiums – segregating hopes and dreams based on income lines with mobility rare and injustices common.
Other places where Nanno has been embraced tell similar stories about miscarriages of justice. It is a reflection of the times in which we live and a representation of the hopes of the people around the world.
Because even as Nanno is celebrated on screens while she carries out her karmic retribution, the reality that we face away from our fantasies is much different.
Totalitarian, corrupt, and led by despotic men hellbent on maintaining and keeping power, the dystopian societies – made worse by a global pandemic – has demoralized us all.
We all wish for a Nanno because we all yearn for the same retribution. The leaders of today have sapped our appetite for building societies. What we want is destruction of the wicked. Ecrasez l’infame.
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