Yaya is a shy, introverted sixteen years old girl, who, having
lost her mother at a young age, lives with her over protective
and emotionally invalidating father. School isn't much better
as Yaya is the butt of her so-called friends jokes. Although
very aware of this Yaya is too timid to fight back, only on
the weekend, when she dresses in emulation of her favourite
band Juliet and hangs around with similar people does she
get respite from the horror that is her week. All this is
about to change when Nana hits town, self assured and unafraid
she watches Yaya's back and rights the wrongs done to her.
They should be the best of friend, if only they could meet.
The problem with that is that via a child's magic compact
it is Yaya who, unbeknownst to her, transforms into Nana...
Volume One of Othello (winner of the Tanoshimi's
Otuka Choice Competition 2007) is written and illustrated
by Satomi Ikezawa, who is also known for Guru Guru Pon-Chan.
Othello is a shoujo novel, but that shouldn't turn
you off if you're not a young girl, as the themes are not
only universal to teenagers but to anyone who wished they
had better interpersonal skills. If you're looking for a metaphor
then Yaya's compact, which turns her into the self assured
Nana, has a direct correlation with the various drinks that
adults consume for courage.
life is indeed tragic. We are shown, in flashback, her mother
who is presented as loving and supportive. Her father, however,
is over protective and views his child's ambitions with some
derision. Rather than allow Yaya to experience the world with
his support, his over protective nature just disables her
even more. It is not that he isn't a loving father, but his
emotional distance is in stark contrast to her memories of
The attractive male student Moriyama is the love interest
for Yaya and her friends. Initially, because of her emotional
fragility, she views his natural offhand humour as just cruelty,
but as the two get to know each other she discovers that beneath
his brash exterior there lies a heart of gold.
main antagonists and, due to her fears of being alone, two
best friends are Moe and Seri. They are not exactly evil,
just two good-looking bitches who thoughtlessly torment Yaya
for their own amusement and gain.
In fact it is the characterisations which sets this manga
above many others. It deals with the type of situation which
we all experienced as adolescents and, in a slightly different
form, as adults (sorry kids it doesn't get any better, you
just get older) its roots in reality just makes the pathos
more painful and Nana's pay back all the more sweet.
Volume One contains the first four chapters, which
set up the main characters and back-story very nicely and
throws in a few extras for fans.
Overall this is a very impressive psychological manga that
should be in any serious collection.