Monday, February 16, 2009


GENRE: Shoujo / Drama
For mature audiences.
2005 Ai Yazawa, VIZ Media LLC

Nana Manga and Books
Nana DVDs
Everything Else

Cover Description:
Nana Komatsu is a young woman who's endured an unending string of boyfriend problems. Moving to Tokyo, she's hoping to take control of her life and put all those messy misadventures behind her. She's looking for love and she's hoping to find it in the big city.

Nana Osaki, on the other hand, is cool, confident and focused. She swaggers into town and proceeds to kick down the doors to Tokyo's underground punk scene. She's got a dream and won't give up until she becomes Japan's No. 1 rock'n'roll superstar.

This is the story of two 20-year-old women who share the same name. Even though they come from completely different backgrounds, they somehow meet and become best friends. The world of Nana is a world exploding with sex, music, fashion, gossip and all-night parties.


Depressing yet addictive... >>> by skysenshi (02.16.2006)
This is from the same author that brought you Paradise Kiss (Ai Yazawa). While I had forgotten the mangaka's name initially, I had guessed from the art style that it could only be her. And reading the manga's back cover, I immediately gauged that it wasn't going to be your typical run-of-the-mill shoujo mush.

I was right.

But damn if this doesn't make Paradise Kiss seem like Card Captor Sakura! Seeing as the story revolves around two bands and a groupie that binds them together, expect the unexpected of a shoujo fare. The cover wasn't joshing when it mentioned sex, gossip, fashion and parties. There's lots of sex -- so much that I cringed when my aunt's secretary's 11-year-old cousin peeked behind me to ask if I was doing my assignment.

Nana is by no means a hentai title. It actually resembles those Western soap operas where the lead characters, at least in Nana Komatsu's case, get to sleep with everyone. Yazawa is much like my other favorite mangaka, Yuki Yoshihara, in that she's not afraid to explore the sensual side of shoujo writing. The only difference is that, while Yoshihara made my sides split with laughter, Yazawa made me cry so many times. And she's not done making me cry. As of this writing, Nana is still ongoing.

We follow the impressionable Nana Komatsu and her accidental room mate, punk rock star Nana Osaki. Though vastly different, their lives intertwine so well that one's tragedies affect the other. They ride high and low, although most of the time, things get more and more depressing. Especially when it comes to their ultra complicated love lives. Don't even ask me to enumerate the men. I get confused myself.

Despite the depression, I can't seem to stop myself from reading. I always want to know what will happen next and believe me, things progress at a pretty fast pace. I suppose it's because some of the texts are just quotable and many of the situations are realistic. Though you'd hate to see Komatsu in the arms of a man you did not favor, sometimes you'll just have to let go. The same is true with real life. What struck me most was that even with the difference in lifestyles that both Nanas have, you can see the strength and resilience in the women. Komatsu starts out young and naive, but as she makes one sacrifice after another, she grows to become a rather strong-willed woman in the face of the people she loves most. Rebelliously independent Osaki, on the other hand, learns how to treasure people around her as she conquers Japan with her passionate dreams. This is what amazes me about the characters, they're helplessly (sometimes irritatingly) flawed but they have the ability to evolve beyond the shoujo stereotype.

Another thing I love about Nana: the clothes! Whether it's Komatsu's preppy style, which sometimes resembles Audrey Hepburn's classic look, or Osaki's Vivienne Westwood inspired getup, you just can't lose.

Individual Rating: Art 9; Story 9; Characters 10

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