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Manga Review

Book Cover

Volume 2


Author: Ai Yazawa
Artist: Ai Yazawa
Viz Media
RRP: £5.99, US $8.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 4215 0378 3
ISBN-10: 1 4215 0378 6
Available 03 March 2008

Nana Komatsu has found a new love in art and new friends with Junko, Shoji and Kyosuk. When the four decide to go to Tokyo, to study art, Nana is devastated when she fails her exams, though her determination to get to Tokyo remains the same. Nana Osaki, having been left by Ren whose desire for fame is greater than his desire for her, finally cannot stay in her provincial town and buys a one way ticket to Tokyo. Inextricably the two Nanas’ are drawing closer to each other...

Nana: Volume 2 by Ai Yazawa continues her incredibly successful Shojo Manga. Yazawa started publishing manga in 1985 and has produced more than a dozen series. In 2003 Nana won the Shogakukan Manga, which no doubt reflected not just her story telling skills but also her sense of style. Yazawa started, but didn’t complete, a fashion course, possibly a loss for the fashion world but a bonus for her manga’s where she injects a great amount of style.

When we left the girls in Volume 1 they had yet to meet, though the juxtaposition of small town girl and another with a more urban sensibility had already been established. Having worked her little arse off in the local video store Komatsu has finally saved enough money to get to Tokyo and be reunited with Shoji, the guy who in her own words turned her into a woman at seventeen.

A fortuitous accident finds her sitting next to Osaki, through the protracted train journey the girls discover that they have much in common, other than their age. At first things seem to be going okay for Komatsu when she moves in with Shoji, but then the path of true love never runs smooth and Komatsu decides that she must find a place of her own. Time for another act of serendipity when both Nanas’ are being shown the apartment.

So starts the real meat of the story, Komatsu’s provincial wide eyed ways meet Otaski’s punk sensibility. Of course you just know that in their separate quests for love they will find common ground.

The book, although a little slow - and this might just be from a male perspective - remains nonetheless interesting. Slow, as there is a lot of internal dialogue that Yazawa lets her audience hear, the depth to which you get to know the characters is quite extraordinary. So another good read not necessarily for girls only.


Charles Packer

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