Karma runs rampant in Thai thriller series ‘Girl From Nowhere’



By Megan Camacho, Sports Editor

There’s a new girl in school. 

Clean-cut bangs sit neatly along her brows, and her lips curl into a freakish smile that borders insanity. She’s the mysterious, alluring high school girl who knows she’s hot, but her intentions dive deeper beyond the cliché.

Kitty Chicha Amatayakul stars as Nanno in SOUR Bangkok’s anthology series “Girl From Nowhere,” where Nanno travels to a new high school in each episode and swings down the hammer of karmic justice on unsuspecting students. The series, produced in Thailand and spoken in Thai, was first released in August 2018, but exploded in popularity when the second season arrived on Netflix in May 2021. 

Upon seeing the series’ Netflix poster, it’s easy to see why people love this show. “It’s the victim’s turn to teach you a lesson,” grimly warns the poster — and this message shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

Marked by its unconventional cinematography and profound storytelling, “Girl From Nowhere” is a dark take on high school life and a show that should be on your Halloween binging list. Each episode takes the viewer on a wild ride as Nanno unwraps the evil behind seemingly mundane, candid scenes of academia. It’s like the Netflix hit “Lucifer,” but hits close to home for high school kids — and it’s way scarier. 

I sat, glued to the screen, as I wondered how new girl Nanno would claw at the school’s flawless facade and expose its evil. Nanno painstakingly took the entire first episode to bring the school down to its knees, but what impressed me was the way Nanno was used as a catalyst. She subtly brought out the malintentions in others and exploited them to the point where people walked straight into her trap and exposed the evil in themselves.  

Each episode in the series follows a similar roadmap, but features different sins, such as plagiarizing art, pathological lying, sexual violence and more. Nanno weaves through these difficult issues running deep under high school society, and she doesn’t maintain the same character in order to pull it off.

Instead, Nanno takes on different personalities depending on the situation. In an episode’s beginning sequence, she could be quiet and innocent, or attractive and popular. But in the end, she’ll always succumb to a fit of maniacal laughter reminiscent of Dr. Doofenshmirtz from “Phineas and Ferb.” She’ll allow her victims to befriend her, and then does everything to ensure her friends fall deeper into traps of committing sins. Her friends do horrible things to her out of jealousy and what does she do? She submits to the situation and lets it all unfold. 

With such a nonchalant attitude towards toxic friends and traumatizing situations, I began to question if Nanno was actually human. It took me a good two episodes to truly realize that Nanno was not your typical high school girl, bouncing between a sadist and a masochist for fun. 

Nanno could be the daughter of Satan, meant to punish humanity’s evil — or karma itself — devoid of any personality and soul. High school hallways may not look like “Mean Girls” anymore, but there are issues like cyberbullying that remain prominent today. Without a Nanno to dig up such evils and stomp on them, these issues will always intertwine with the student experience. So to see a unique, critical take on high school society felt very refreshing to me. 

In the context of ‘Squid Game’’ and that show’s massive success, Asian shows have taken Western culture by storm. Even going back to Oscar-award winning drama “Parasite” where focusing on both unfolding scenes and the subtitles became a hot issue with consuming international media, it’s evident that internationally-produced cinema has received mainstream attention. 

Further bolstered by COVID-19 and resulting Asian discrimination, it’s important that shows like “Girl From Nowhere” received attention. And as a Thai series, it represents a different side of Asia that is often not represented in media. Bringing diverse series to Western platforms will normalize consuming media in foreign languages. 

Thus, with the use of streaming services, foreign shows are made accessible to all, easily diversifying our tastes. Seeing a Thai take on high school bullying and violence with a supernatural vigilante is a shining example of this. And for Asian youth in America seeking representation in film and television, Netflix may just be the place where it all grows. “Girl From Nowhere” is just one of many baby steps towards a more diverse Netflix binging list.

So whoever — or whatever — Nanno is, she’s a grim reminder of what could happen to those who commit evil. If you’re looking for shows curated by Asian hands, consider joining Nanno on her journey through high school during your Halloween night.