6 May 2012

Nana Manga review

WARNING :Recommended Readers: Best for 18 and over. Sexual situations, high school dropouts, drugs, infidelity, pregnancy...the list goes on.

English: Nana
Type: Manga
Volumes: Unknown
Chapters: Unknown
Status: Publishing
Published: May 15, 2000 to ?
Genres: Drama, Music, Romance, Shoujo, Slice of Life, Josei
Authors: Yazawa, Ai (Story & Art)
Serialization: Cookie
Check out the Anime review HERE

Oosaki Nana (aka Nana) is a strong headed girl. The hard life she had been living mold her into one stubborn girl who is full of ambition. One year after her boyfriend left her to head to Tokyo to be a guitarist with some big shot band, Nana decided to try her luck in Tokyo in realising her dream to be a punk rock band singer.

Komatsu Nana (aka Hachi, Hachiko, Hachikou) on the other hand, is such a spoilt childish girl. All her life seems to be revolving around herself, her crushes and her heart breaks. Assuming to herself that she finally found that one true love, her boyfriend suddenly decided to move to Tokyo, telling her to follow him when he got into university later.

One with her guitar and a pack of cigarretes, the other with her one luggage full of clothes, one trying to be a singer without the help of the boyfriend while the other is just following the boyfriend out of her spoilt personality, the two Nanas met each other in the train, make friends, and through a series of fortunate events, ended up sharing a flat together.

This manga by Ai Yazawa would then develop into a friendship story between the two Nanas, each with a different background, pasts, lifestyles and attitudes, and how they walk the path in pursuing their dreams of love, career and happiness. Definitely not a manga to miss to all those shoujo manga fans :)

Not a typical shoujo manga art, the art of NANA is really very unique. More than anything it looks like a vector art. It may looks inproportionate in some parts (very long legs and hands), but I think that is just Yazawa sensei style of drawing.

You would find in every corner of the manga the love of Ai Yazawa for Vivienne Westwood, that gives the manga the gothic feel. I think this really enhance the mood of the manga since Nana is a member of punk rock band, all her clothes (and also the other band members') are really well matched to their jobs. Yazawa sensei did a good job in designing the clothes for the two Nanas, that reflect their contrasting personality. While Nana seems to always wear dark gothic clothes with seemingly dangerous accesories, Hachi always wear cute doll-like clothes with cute accesories as well. I think this had helped in defining the two main characters well.

Not only that, most of the time it seems Ai Yazawa sensei used some kind of filtered stock photos for the background, which makes the manga truly unique.

I think NANA has a good plot, which is very relevant in our everyday's lives. There is no so called 'magic' in the way the both Nanas tried to reach their dreams. They went through so much troubles that is highly realistic in our today's lives. The concept of friendship between the two Nana here and how much they value each other is truly shown in a series of twisted events.

Not only that, each characters had developed well in terms of their personality, and we could see it being reflected in their actions, attitudes, even down to the way they dressed up. Yazawa sensei had done a good job in elaborating each character's personalities and in showing how they grow up to be more mature after each incidents.

Other than the cleverly planned plot and also the well define development of the story, NANA also has a good humor in it. From the way Oosaki Nana called Komatsu Nana 'Hachi' so as not to mix things up between their friends ('nana' could mean '7' in japanese, while 'hachi' means '8'), Yazawa sensei also make references on how the number '7' seems to affect both Nanas, referring it back to their names. The way Hachi always refer to the 'evil demon king' is totally hilarious, and also the way her wild imagination about 'Sachiko' came true is also very funny yet sad at the same time.

Truly a joy to read, I think NANA is suitable for 15 years old and above (due to some sexual references)

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