It’s difficult for me to imagine that anyone really needs me to sell NANA to them but the truth is I will enjoy writing this, and if it encourages one or two more people to jump on the NANA bandwagon, that will thrill me.
NANA is the story of two young women, both named Nana, who meet on the train to Tokyo and, through a series of coincidences, end up becoming roommates in an old seventh-floor walkup. In many ways that apartment, number 707 (“Nana” in Japanese means “seven” by the way), is nearly as important a character as the two Nanas themselves.
Written and drawn by Ai Yazawa (author of Paradise Kiss, among others), NANA contains some of the most authentic human beings I have so far encountered in manga. Yazawa’s characters are rich and complex, each just a little bit (or more than a little bit) broken as most of us humans are, and because of this, their relationships with each other and their choices, both good and bad, feel so real, they could come straight out of the reader’s own life. It would be so easy for a story like this, which focuses mainly on relationships, to fall into soap opera-like melodrama but the intensely real characters save it from doing so, time and time again. This is especially surprising in a manga where a good portion of the characters are rock stars.