Rummanah Aasi
 Nana is my first venture into Josei, a manga genre that is targeted to older women (ages 18 to 30). The themes, characters, and content of the manga are bit more mature. Nana is a complete manga series, compiled of 22 volumes and an anime adaptation (2 seasons, I believe) that can be found on Hulu. I plan on reading the entire series and then go back and watching the anime.

Description: Nana Komatsu is a free spirited, twenty year old who easily falls in love. After a year at art school, her best friend and her boyfriend move to Tokyo. Nana decides to save up her money and follow them.
  Nana Osaki is a punk singer in the band Blast with her boyfriend Ren. When Ren gets an offer to join an up-and-coming band in Tokyo, he leaves Blast and Nana behind. A year later, Nina heads to Tokyo as well to become a better singer and a hope to reunite with Ren once again. The two women meet by chance on the train to Tokyo, and despite being nothing alike, they hit it off.

Review: In Nana Vol. 1 we met both Nanas in their separate story lines. In Nana Vol. 2  both Nanas are on the same train heading to Tokyo. By chance they sit next together and Nana K. initates the conversation, where she practically tells Nana O. her entire life story up to the point of going to Toyko. When they get off the train, they expect to go their separate ways but fate (or coincidence) brings them back together in a most unexpected way. They both want the same apartment, which is an ideal location and relatively affordable. Unfortuantely both Nanas can't afford the apartment on their own, but they manage if they both share the lease, which what happens. 
  Most of volume 2 centers around the apartment and the difficulties they have with it. The apartment is old and they are novices at renting, especially Nana K. Most of their problems with the apartment are common to those who have lived on their own. There is the lack of power, heat, and the need for cosigners. There were a few comical scenes of how the girls try to find solutions to their problems, especially finding a job to support themselves. Nana K's new job at an awesome looking retro furniture and clothing store is a perfect match to her bubbly character. Nana O. tries to figure out whether to reunite with her band, Blast, or start over fresh. 
  I really liked how this volume was more of a slice of life than a melodramatic plot. Despite not knowing too much about the lifestyle of contemporary Japan, I could still relate to the characters and their quest for freedom, new direction in their lives. I also really liked the art in the series. Nana O.'s dark, serious tone are shown with dark shades of color with minimalist backgrounds. Nana K.'s warm, carefree, wanderlust personality are depicted with her girlie clothes and lively patterns. Photographs are also used as some of the backgrounds to make it more real.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: This manga contains smoking, drinking, nudity, and small sex scenes. Recommended for older mature teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: Nana Vol 2 by Ai Yazawa
2 Responses
  1. Ok reading this review makes me realize I still know very little about this genre. This is so different than what I assumed. This sounds like just a fun book about two Japanese women like a chick lit...

  2. Cool! I have both volumes one and two to read. I like manga because they are kind of spare on words and yet, with the artwork and what is written it speaks volumes. I like spare writing sometimes. It's why I'm venturing into something I would have considered was only for kids. I'm finding that's not the case at all!! Thanks to your guidance! I think I'm going to enjoy the story of these two Nanas.


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