Nanako Itagaki (板垣菜々子, Itagaki Nanako) is a recurring character in Hajime no Ippo.
She is the younger sister of Itagaki Manabu, attending his matches to cheer him on. Nanako is also romantically interested in Makunouchi Ippo. She tries to come between Mashiba Kumi and Ippo whenever she sees them together.
Nanako met Makunouchi Ippo, who she is a fan of, at her house after her brother invited him to their home to meet his family and celebrate his victory as a pro boxer. Her and the rest of her family cracked jokes much to Ippo's discomfort. She then laughed with her family at Ippo's unintentional pun, much to the latter's chagrin.
Nanako and Manabu went to a local pool to keep an eye on Ippo after hearing he was soaking and resting when he reached peak physical exhaustion from training for his upcoming match with Shimabukuro Iwao. When they arrived, she saw Mashiba Kumi with him. She greeted Ippo in the pool, and boasted about her young age to Kumi. Nanako wanted to know who Kumi was and what her relationship with Ippo was, since she heard that Ippo didn't have a girlfriend. Later, she talked with Kumi about their brothers being boxers and how she was jealous of Kumi's close relationship with Ippo, but believed she has a chance for her with Ippo if she works hard.
After Ippo's victory against Shimabukuro, Nanako visited Ippo. When she learned that he had been sleeping the last two days, she worryingly went to Ippo's room after permission from Makunouchi Hiroko. Nanako tried to kiss Ippo after she saw him asleep, but was stopped upon Kumi's arrival. She argued with Kumi until Īmura Mari arrived and criticised them for being too loud. After Nanako saw Mari searching Ippo's bedroom and looking through his photo album, she joined her. After Mari's comments about being interested in Ippo, the three began to argue. Hiroko then entered the room with some tea for them, and commented that when Ippo was like this, she tries to let him sleep as peacefully as she can. After they heard that, Nanako, Kumi and Mari felt ashamed and decided to leave in order for Ippo to sleep.
While Manabu was trying to figure out the Dempsey Roll's methodology, Nanako was curious as to what was going on with Ippo, annoying Manabu.
During Manabu's East Japan Rookie King Tournament semi-finals, Kumi helped Ippo and Manabu train by timing their sprints. As Kumi and Ippo were about to make plans for Saturday since they were free, Nanako interrupted the two, claiming that she was free too. As they change the subject to talk about Manabu's East Japan Rookie King Tournament instead, Nanako was positive that her brother would win the tournament unlike someone else's brother. Manabu was invited to go out with them Saturday, however, he wasn't in the mood. Later, while Nanako was at Ippo's house to help with the boat, she teased Kumi on the phone by revealing that her and Ippo were "going out" Saturday until Ippo grabbed the phone to explain that they were going to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the qualifying match to see who Manabu fights in the semi-finals.
Nanako went with Manabu and Ippo to the Kōrakuen Hall to see who her brother will fight. She watched as Makino Fumito wins his match, making him her brother's next opponent. As they left the venue, they were approached by Makino, who made remarks and thought Nanako was Manabu's girlfriend. She defended her brother before Imai Kyōsuke arrived. After tensions rose and Ippo stopped the three from getting anymore heated, Makino left not before stepping on Ippo's foot, which made Nanako frustrated. When Manabu got home after sparring with Mashiba Ryō and his face was swollen, Nanako called Ippo to inform him and was delighted that he showed up to their home. Two days before Manabu's match against Makino, she went to get her brother so that he could eat dinner. However, Manabu couldn't eat due to the weigh-in being the next day. She noticed her brother looking depressed in his room.
After studying for school, Nanako went to Ippo's roadwork spot and hugged him when she saw him, noticing Kumi with him afterwards. When Nanako revealed that Manabu bet on her in his match against Imai, she was annoyed that her parents wanted her to marry Imai because he comes from a rich family. When Manabu's East Japan Rookie King Tournament finals match against Imai arrived, Nanako went to the Kōrakuen Hall and sat with her family, Kumi, and Umezawa Masahiko, who gave everyone headbands to cheer for Manabu. Nanako cheered as Manabu won and became the Eastern Rookie King by decision after six rounds. Afterwards, Nanako visited Manabu at the Kawai Hospital.
When Nanako visited Manabu at the hospital again she saw Manabu trying to leave before he is supposed to be released and ordered Imai to make him stay. When Manabu was arguing and wanting to leave, Kumi returned to yell at Manabu for not resting, which caused Manabu and Imai to calm down, annoying Nanako.
A few days later, Nanako was with Manabu when he was ready to leave the hospital. After Ippo came to pick him up with his vehicle, Imai offered to walk Nanako home, however, she told Imai that he wasn't suppose to talk to her since he lost the match. When Imai walked away, determined to beat Manabu in a rematch, Kumi thought that men hate to admit they lost. Nanako told her that if one had something to lose why wouldn't they try to keep it as she walked back home by herself.
When Ippo, Aoki Masaru, Kimura Tatsuya, Manabu, and Takamura Mamoru were playing baseball, Nanako came to the stadium to cheer for them. Nanako, Kumi, and Nekota Ginpachi cheered as the game resulted in Kimura's shopping district team's victory. Later, Nanako went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch Manabu fight in a six round match, which resulted in Manabu's victory by decision.
At the Makunouchi Fishing Boat, Nanako welcomed Ippo and Manabu back from the boat and offered to help. However, her help wasn't needed and Manabu tried to make her go home, but Nanako wanted to stay due to Kumi's presence. As Ippo went to talk with Kumi, Nanako became bothered, commenting to Manabu that she shouldn't get in the way. After asking if it bothered Manabu, Manabu mentioned that he is jealous that Ippo has a belt and a cute girlfriend, which Nanako disagreed since she doesn't think of Kumi as his girlfriend. Nanako stormed off after Manabu continued to talk about boxing.
Later, Manabu arrived home with Imai after they were beaten in a spar. Nanako thanked Imai for coming with Manabu and Imai was about to leave before her parents invited him in for dinner. Nanako and Manabu were annoyed as Imai bragged about having problems with living in his big house and were shocked that Imai chimed in with his own puns with their parents. After dinner, her mother asked her to walk Imai home, however she decline as she believed Ippo is the only one for her.
Nanako went to the Kōrakuen Hall and sat with Ippo and Kumi while watching Manabu's match against Kaonar Pachiyoso, which ended in Manabu's victory by knockout in the second round. She stayed to watch Mashiba fight for the OPBF lightweight title against the champion Aaron Domingo. before Mashiba's OPBF title match. Before the match, since Nanako learned that Kumi hates the word "slip" from Manabu, she teased her by saying "slip" multiple times. Nanako watched as the match ended in Mashiba's victory by knockout, becoming the new OPBF lightweight champion.
While Manabu's mind was on training during dinner, he wouldn't talk which made Nanako think he is being creepy.
After helping at the Makunouchi Fishing Boat, Manabu was approached by Mari, who wanted to talk to him about the Class A Tournament. Nanako was annoyed after seeing Ippo and Kumi together as they walked somewhere else for Mari to interview Manabu. While watching Manabu to roadwork, Mari mentioned how his speed is incredible, which Nanako noted that she couldn't catch him while playing tag as children. As Manabu and Mari talked, Nanako went to go where Ippo and Kumi were, claiming that she wants to walk Wanpo. Later, she ate dinner with her family, minus Manabu since he had to do his weigh-in the next day.
Nanako eavesdropped on Manabu while he was on the phone and heard that he has a date, which she thought he was going out with Kumi.
The night before the Class A Tournament finals, Nanako checked on Manabu and told him to do his best. The next day, Nanako arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall for Manabu's Class A Tournament finals. Before his match began, Nanako and her parents did the "Itag-kiin" pose with Manabu. She watched Manabu's match against Saeki Takuma, which ended in Manabu's victory in the fourth round by knockout, celebrating by doing the "Itag-kiin" with her parents and Manabu. She stayed to watch Kimura and Aoki's Class A Tournament finals match, where Kimura lost by decision and Aoki lost against Iga Shinobu by a seven round knockout.
When Manabu got his prize money from winning the tournament, he treated Nanako and their parents to sushi at the Koedo Sushi in celebration. However, when they got there, Nanako and Manabu were shocked to see Saeki working there as a chef. Seeing that Saeki is fine with Manabu and his family eating there, Nanako began to eat. After complaining that there is no food on the sushi belt and that Saeki is being slow, Saeki put extra wasabi on Manabu's sushi, however, their father ate it and passed out from the spiciness.
When Manabu's match against Imai for the vacant JBC featherweight title and Ippo's match against Alfredo Gonzales arrived, Nanako went to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the matches. She watched as Manabu lost in the first round by knockout and Ippo lost by knockout in the seventh round.
Part IIIShinoda Tomoyuki came by and asked for Ippo to be a second and Ippo said that he would think about, Nanako walked home, excited that Ippo may be in her brother's corner.
When she first appeared in the story, she is pretty young, and Ippo comments on her beauty.
A 16 year-old high school student at introduction, Nanako is one of Makunouchi Ippo's biggest fans. Because of this, she views Mashiba Kumi as a rival and competes with her at almost everything. She takes any chance to be around Ippo, and even tried to steal a kiss from him once when he was sleeping after a rough match, but she was interrupted by Kumi. It's shown that she has a perverted side, as when she jumped into pool where Ippo was, she rudely grabbed his penis while stating an innuendo.
Like her older brother Manabu she is very attractive, but she also has the same love for puns as the rest of her family. Imai Kyōsuke is in love with her, but she tends to ignore his feelings as she has no interest in dating her brother's rival.