Yaya is a shy, introverted sixteen year 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 friend's 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...
they say, in Babylon 5, "and so it begin",
so ladies and gentleman I give you Volume Five of Othello
(named after the game, not the play). Given that Satomi Ikezawa's
manga of Othello had started so well, with such a strong
premise of teenage identity, you have to wonder if she could
keep interest up in the story of Yaya's double life without
it dissolving into just another teen story.
by this portion of the story Nana has not only a love interest
and protector in Moriyama but also a nemesis in Megumi Hano.
And there in lies the main problem, Hano. In the previous
Four) she was exposed as a wealthy megalomaniac
pimp who takes an immense dislike of Nana and vows to destroy
her. With her inclusion Satomi has moved the story much more
into the realms of fantasy, losing some of the bite of the
earlier volumes. Having said that, I'm not sure that she had
in mind middle aged men, with a background in psychiatry,
when she was writing Othello, but rather a younger
female audience with a penchant for day dreaming.
Five contains another four chapters, seventeen to twenty,
as well as the usual extras such as the honorifics, translation
notes and a preview of Volume Six.
seventeen, The Revenge, and Hano is out for blood.
The penny is finally dropping with Yaya that she is also Nana,
but is not quite ready to accept this. As part of her revenge
Hano offers to let Yaya out of her contract if she meets her
later that night, but when Yaya does, she discovers that the
only way she can do this is to play tag whilst dropping from
like I said, a teenager with a helicopter really does move
the book into the realms of fantasy, still...
eighteen, Dogfight in Midair, and Hano's hope that
the stress of a mid-air fight would bring forth Nana is fulfilled
but when things go wrong Hano has to rely on Nana's help before
she crashes to the earth. The whole of this chapter is one
extended fall through the sky, whilst the girls fight over
the contract, funny in places but the length of the chapter
does make you think that they would have hit the ground before
they could get all the action done.
nineteen, Nana vs. the Enemy of all Women, and Yaya,
rather graphically, gets her bottom felt up on a train and
suspicion falls on two men. The first is Yoshio Yamada, a
middle age, slightly dumpy unemployed man, who the police
immediately suspect. The other is Senji Kasuda, the young
and good looking son of the Cabinet Minister for Disaster
Prevention. Satomi uses the chapter to not only highlight
that a molester does not have to conform to a stereotype -
the young guy did it - but also to show that such values are
often passed on from father to son. Nana finally confronts
the father of Senji, only to discover that not only does he
condone his sons behaviour, but is also willing to use his
position to protect his son. Corruption breeds corruption.
last chapter, The Odd Relationship, and it must be
time to get back to the love interest, Moriyama. At one of
his gigs Yaya is accosted but a couple of men when a new girl
comes to the rescue. Although Yaya gets to spend some quality
time with Moriyama it ends with the new girl turning up and
throwing her arms around him.
another cliff hanger to end on. In the end, the volume provides
a nice mix between social comment, romance and fantasy.