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tareren's NANA Manga Review

NANA

NANA manga Review

Nana "Hachi" Komatsu hopes that moving to Tokyo will help her make a clean start and leave her capricious love life behind her. Nana Osaki, who arrives in the city at the same time, has plans to score big in the world of rock'n'roll. Although these two young women come from different backgrounds, they quickly become best friends in a whirlwind world of sex, music, fashion, gossip and all-night parties!

Story & Playability

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 :)

Rating: 9

Graphics

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.

Rating: 8

Sound

Not applicable

Rating: 5

Fun

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).

Rating: 9

Final Verdict

8.17 (good)

Reviewed by tareren, Nov 02, 2005

Comments

  1. kuroimisa Retired Moderator Nov 02, 2005

    Lol very clear review- I had no idea what Nana was about, and I was confused when two characters who were completely different were called Nana.

    Too bad the sound part let the rating down >_> Lol - will scope out and see if I can find the manga sometime :)

  2. Kazahaya Nov 02, 2005

    I really love this manga. It's different from the shojo I'm used to see. They are past the stage of "ah, he looked at me *blush*".
    I like the topics the manga talks about, and it's becoming more and more interesting as the plot advances.

    I don't know if you know, but there has been a movie in Japan, based in this manga (this summer), with some quite well known people playing the main characters (Nakashima Mika as Nana Oosaki, Hiroki Narimiya as Shin, etc...)

  3. Kiako Nov 02, 2005

    thx for writing the review, now i know what the story is about.

  4. tsukasagr Nov 02, 2005

    Great review! I was wondering if this manga was worth checking out. It sounds great. Thanks!

  5. Ayamael Nov 02, 2005

    thanks for the review tareren... i knew a little about the manga, they're translated here in French, but i couldn't afford to buy it and so, from reading some parts of it very fast i got mixed up on the story ^_^' but i heard about the movie a lot, d/l most of the music and clips (which i love by the way, just gotta love Mika Nakashima's rockish style in it ^_^') and i'd love to see it, but... anyways, thanks, you really got me interested in the story... maybe i'll buy it someday. when i'm not broke ^_^' loll

  6. Shelbey Nov 02, 2005

    Very good review :)
    Even if you let the F let the rating down to 7.50 (lol), I liked the way you described the story, especially when you say that the plot is relevant in our everyday's live (except from the 7th / 8th volume, aka when it's Nana's turn to be the narrator)

    Well, Nana is my favorite manga ^_^ It's so mature compared to all the shojos I've ever read, and I love the characters in there, many of them look so real (waouh, I many time did I cry despite the fact I don't usually !)
    The thing that's so interesting in there, it's the fact that the characters aren't just "good" or just "bad", they're just not perfect. I can't just hate one, or just fully love another.
    The story keeps going darker and darker, but humor is still here.

    I just love this manga :D

  7. ScribbleKitty Nov 03, 2005

    Great Review!

    I must dissagree however on the sound. Although it is a manga and therefore doesnt have music, there have been albums put out as a tribute to the Nana manga. If thoses CD's were included in the review (I think there's 3 of them) the whole review would be better overall.

    The CD I have is 'Love for Nana: Only One Tribute' and the songs on it are supposed to represent the different sound styles of the Black Stones and Trapnest. Its a compilation album with various J-Rock artists providing the songs for the differnt bands.

  8. Val4s Nov 03, 2005

    I juste read the 10th manga but it sure is good!
    Your review is just as I would have described it^^

    I'd say it's a must read!

  9. 4n991 Nov 10, 2005

    tq for the review. it swept away my confuseness hehehe...looking forward to read it

  10. fantasygirl Nov 19, 2005

    thanks for the review

  11. buntaAE86 Nov 20, 2005

    good review. I was debating whether i should or not but now i can buy it! YAY!

  12. Yuuki-ReBirth Nov 25, 2005

    Yeah, I know NANA movie is coming out soon ^^
    Never really read the manga though, although you always suggested it to me, nice review ;)

  13. Kishuku Dec 12, 2005

    Thank you for the review, although I'm not a fan of the artwork, the story is captivating!

  14. Loneprincess May 13, 2006

    not a bad review though i havent seen the manga yet ....it sounds inteestin.....^^

  15. Countess-D May 29, 2006

    Real, modern and full of a culture I can only admire. Nana is one of the two anime series I’m currently watching and if I do is b/c it has lots on its favor. First the “fulfill your dreams” idea is always alluring, then we have such lovable and realistic characters one can only feel like they are buddies you have known for years and their development, their relationships, and fears…it all serves to encourage us and teach us about life and about following our dreams in a real world. This is one of those series more people should really watch =_=

  16. DarkAoi Jul 04, 2006

    hmm...sounds interesting! =] nice review! =]

  17. Rosegirl18 Jul 09, 2006

    It's very good that you reviewed for the manga of Nana instead of the recent anime, which is hardly near finished. I think it would have been good if you had brought up some more characters and how they are realistic.
    Overall, a good review, although on the short side, quite descriptive and good punctuation.

  18. azndragonz Jul 26, 2006

    didn't know that the manga existed. i just knew that about the anime, and the movie (as ppl here are talking about, which i think they are referring to the realistic actors version).

    was introduced into Nana about a week ago (from narutofan plus). and since then, been attracted to it. lol.

    IMO (just making a common sense judgement here), the anime is probably better than the manga because there's music it, espeically japanese rock punk FTW. i think the music quite helps us relate to the characters.

    anyways, just finished the 14th episode. quite happy that Shouji got over Nana. lol. Sachiko looks much better. lol. however, since Shouji isn't Nana's boyfriend anymore, i guess the anime would focus much on him anymore.

  19. SanzosSaru Sep 12, 2006

    This is the best review I've read in this site so far. Straightforward, yet beautifully written, it shows you care for the series and the artist. It's also very clear, concepts laid down and every single thing that makes this manga so special is mentioned.
    Maybe you could have talked more about supporting characters and cast, because that's another of its strong points, but overall, great review

  20. Sanisa Feb 24, 2010

    Thanks for the review! Nice ^__^

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