Saturday, January 14, 2006

Nana Vol.1

Nana Vol. 1 Ai Yazawa’s Nana follows two very different young women who seem to have little in common at first except that they share the first name of Nana. Yet as their stories progress we see they share similar paths, though the way they reach it is from different perspectives.

Nana Komatsu is a young woman who continuously finds herself in adult romantic tangles that she isn’t ready for. While her body might be that of an adult, her emotional sense is still very childlike. She only sees men as potential love interests, which to her mind means sex.

When an older married man she had been sleeping with tells her he’s moving to Tokyo so their relationship is over, it devastates her.She turns to her friend Junko, a strong, confident art student, for help. Yet Junko has a secret of her own, she’s enrolling in an art school in Tokyo that will mean leaving Nana alone as well.

Nana Komatsu’s story is one many have to go through, as friends leave to pursue their dreams. Nana at first wants to cling to them, and follow their paths that aren’t for her, at least as she is now.

She must eventually learn to stand on her two feet, and find a strength and direction of her own, not lean and depend on others.

Nana Osaki’s is a completely different character though. While Komatsu leans on others and is unsure of what she wants. Osaki is strong and knows exactly what she wants, to be a rock star.

Yet she too must learn the hard lesson of losing those close to her, as they seek paths of their own. Her love Ren is the lead guitar of the band she’s in, but has been offered the opportunity of a lifetime to join another band that has just signed a major record deal.

Osaki’s path is different though, as she can easily go with Ren to Tokyo, marry and have his kids. Yet it would mean giving up her dream of being a singer herself.

Despite how much she and Ren love each other, that path just isn’t for her. She can’t give up her dreams, even for love, because that would be a betrayal of who she is at heart.

The theme of love not being enough was very emotionally moving, because it was handled so well. There is no right or wrong here, there is just the circumstance that they find themselves in.

It is an impressive first volume, future volumes will have the two Nanas meeting each other, and I’m curious to see how they react given how different they are. Yet with their similar paths they should find some common ground.

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