Monday, January 21, 2013

Manga Mondays #138: Nana vol. 1 by Ai Yazawa

Manga Mondays Meme!

I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 2 and a half years ago. It's always been a personal feature, but now I'm going to try turning it into a meme. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme would be a good way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.

The linky will be below my review.

Nana vol. 1 by Ai Yazawa


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. (courtesy of Goodreads)


*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.

I've been meaning to read Nana for months, ever since Rummanah over at Books in the Spotlight, one of my favorite bloggers, started reviewing it. I wasn't disappointed!

I loved the similarities and differences between two girls with the same name. The first volume is more of a prequel. We learn about Nana K. and Nana O's lives prior to Tokyo.

On the surface the girls seem very different. Nana K is fairly immature. Boy crazy without knowing how to build a relationship. Dependent on her best friend for her happiness and structure. Nana O appears to have it together. She has a good time with her friends, loves her boyfriend, and loves being in a band. Even when Ren, her boyfriend, moves to Tokyo on short notice, in effect ending their relationship, she seems to roll with it.

Looking deeper the girls are very similar. They're both lost. Nana K wants love. Nana O wants to be successful. But they don't have much direction (Nana O has a little more). They're both lonely. Nana K has a best friend and a new friend/boyfriend. Nana O has loads of friends and an ex-boyfriend. But they both seem very much alone with their struggles. I'm excited to see how their lives converge in future volumes.

By far my favorite thing about Nana is the seriousness and maturity. Most of the shojo manga I read features younger characters. Even those featuring older characters have plot arcs that are eye-rollingly unbelievable. It's fun to read, but I also like something more real. Nana isn't a happy escape, but it pulls out far more emotion than most manga series.

Sign up for the Manga Mondays Meme!


  1. I have been told that Nana is one of the best animes ever by a reviewer I deeply admire. True, Nana does not seem like your typical shoujo but It is definitely on my must read list!

  2. Oh no Alison. I went through the emotional rollercoaster that is this series with Rummanah when she was reading it and I've never before been so stressed out about a series I wasn't reading myself. I think I might have even had more stress about it than Rummanah:) I'll be interested to see what you think when you get to later volumes!

    1. Ah, no Jenny. I was a mess reading this series. LOL!

  3. This sounds really cool. I want to read it now because I want to see how it is able to invoke a lot of emotion in the reader seeing as most manga don't.

  4. Sounds really good. Hopefully I will get to reading it soon.

  5. Hang on tight for an emotional rollercoaster! You will roll your eyes a lot, but in the end I thought it packed a powerful emotional punch. Not a fan of Nana K. at all and you will see why. Feel free to email me your frustrations, etc. Glad you enjoyed it!


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