Author: Ai Yozawa (Story & Art)
Genres: Shoujo, Drama, Romance, Music
Published: 2000 – 2009
Volumes: 21 [Incomplete – on indefinite hiatus]
Japanese Publisher: Shueisha (tankoubon)
English Publisher: Viz Media
Available to Purchase in English?: Yes (Amazon / Indigo )
Nana is the story of the friendship between two twenty year old women both coincidentally named “Nana.” There is Nana Komatsu, an irresponsible
girl woman who is always dependent on those around her to help her. She’s a bit of an airhead and rather immature, and she has a history of falling for older men. After a series of bumps in her life’s road, she decides to follow her boyfriend to Tokyo with the goal of strengthening their relationship and straightening out her life. Then there’s Nana Osaki, a punk musician who kicks ass and takes names. She’s in a band called Black Stones (aka BLAST), and her goal is to become Japan’s top punk rock superstar. Nana has a boyfriend named Ren and he’s the new lead singer of a popular band called Trapnest. The two bands are often considered competitors with each other, and “Nana O” works hard to be seen as a star in her own right and not just “Ren’s girlfriend.”
Now you may ask yourself what could these two women possibly have in common. Well Nana Komatsu (aka “Hachi, an abbreviation of the famously faithful Japanese dog Hachiko) and Nana Osaki both need a place to live in Tokyo, but neither woman has a new rental lined up. So when they just happen to bump into each other on the train and get to know one other a bit, they decide to get an apartment together. Crazy right?
Much of the manga revolves around two main themes: the rivalry between Black Stones and Trapnest, and the friendships and relationships between the different characters. If drama’s your thing, Nana has drama in spades. Love triangles, an unplanned pregnancy, secret romantic feelings, jealousy, and even an inappropriate relationship or two. Plus maybe even someone’s death…?
I personally adore the manga, but the art style drives me nuts. >_>;; It’s a little too harsh for my liking.
Sometimes I want to stab Hachi too, she’s just so fricking DUMB!. However I do like the anime, though I watched it a long time ago so I don’t remember it too well. The anime covers up to volume 12 of the manga.
Because Nana‘s been around for awhile there have also been other media adaptations of the source manga. For example, in addition to the manga there have been two live-action movies created. The first, titled “Nana”, was released in Japan in 2005 and did quite well at the Japanese box office. A sequel titled “Nana 2” was released in 2006 with new actors being cast in two of the main roles. Furthermore there have been several studio albums related to Nana released in Japan. (Two personal favourite songs of mine are the second OP theme, “Wish” by Trapnest, and “Cherish” by Ai Otsuka).
It’s really unfortunate that the manga is still unfinished. I feel bad for the mangaka, as they were ill enough that they had to put Nana on hiatus indefinitely. I have seen very little information online about whether or not the mangaka has recovered so perhaps they are still sick, or maybe they have simply lost interest in continuing Nana. Regardless of the reason, the series ends in a huge cliffhanger of sorts, and I hope that one day fans will see a resolution to the series.
My Score: 7.5/10
Do I Recommend This Title?: If you enjoy reading shoujo titles driven by a strong cast of characters and the relationships between them, then Nana is definitely for you. ^^v Personally, even when some of the drama was boring me, there was one couple I shipped so hard that it kept me reading. (And then there was that cliffhanger ending, #@(*$(#&!!! >< )