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NANA (manga)

NANA (ナナ) is an ongoing josei manga series by Yazawa Ai. It has become extremely popular in Japan because of its characters being easy to relate to and its realistic storylines. It has been serialized in the manga magazine Cookie since 1999. A movie was made in 2005 (with a sequel in 2006), and an anime adaptation began airing in April 2006.

The manga volumes (tankouban) have sold over 17 million copies collectively. Tribute albums and music for the films have also been made.


Spoiler-Free Series Synopsis

NANA is the story of two different girls who share the same name, Nana. They come from completely different backgrounds and have completely different personalities. Oosaki Nana (大崎ナナ) is an orphan whose dream is to sing, and Komatsu Nana (小松奈々), also known as Hachi, is a naive, upper middle-class girl whose dream is to love.

They meet each other on the train to Tokyo and make acquaintances but go their separate ways. Later on, they run into each other again and end up being roommates. From this point on they build a rather unique relationship and go through many ups and downs to maintain it, as well as other relations in their lives.

There is a heavy music theme to the series, as Oosaki Nana is the lead singer of the band Black Stones (Blast) that rivals Trapnest (Toranesu).

Characters

Main Characters

  • Komatsu Nana - A naive 20-year-old girl who was raised in an upper-middle class family. She falls in love rather easily and is very co-dependant. She is nicknamed "Hachi" by Oosaki Nana after the legendary dog Hachiko so the two Nanas aren't mixed up by their friends, but also because Komatsu Nana follows Oosaki Nana like a dog. Nana is the middle child of two other sisters, one of whom is a ganguro.
  • Oosaki Nana - A 20-year-old who has led a rough life. Her mother abandoned her as a child and she went to live with her grandmother. When her grandmother died during Nana's first year of high school, she lived alone. She eventually became the lead singer of the Black Stones with Ren, Yasu, and Nobu, unti Ren left the band to join Trapnest. After moving to Tokyo to make it on her own, she reforms Black Stones with Yasu and Nobu, and adds Shin as their new bassist.
  • Honjou Ren - Oosaki Nana's boyfriend. He has long been involved in bands and is now the guitarist of Trapnest, Japan's hottest band. He wears a padlock around his neck that only Oosaki Nana has the key to. He was once part of Blast as the bassist.
  • Takagi Yasushi (Yasu) - The drummer of Black Stones and the wisest. He is also their lawyer. He was once in a relationship with Reira.
  • Terashima Nobuo (Nobu) - The heir to a traditional Japanese hotel. He is the guitarist of Black Stones.
  • Okazaki Shinichi (Shin) - Ren's replacement in Black Stones. He lied about his age on the application form, claiming to be 18, though he is in actuality only 15. Nana makes him promise to become better than Ren before letting him in the band. He is also a prostitute.
  • Serizawa Reira (aka Layla) - The lead singer of Trapnest. She is half American and half Japanese but keeps this a secret from the public. Although she looks elegant and refined, Reira is actually quite quirky. She was once in a relationship with Yasu.
  • Ichinose Takumi - The producer, bassist, and lyricist for Trapnest. He is the most popular of the band and is known for being a playboy.
  • Fujieda Naoki - The drummer of Trapnest. He serves as a filler character to round out the band. (This is even indirectly admitted in the side story "Naoki Story".)

Supporting Characters

  • Uehara Misato - Blast's most dedicated groupie, also a lolita. She follows them from their hometown to Tokyo. It is highly doubted "Uehara Misato" is her real name; later in the manga it is discovered that Misato is really the name of Oosaki Nana's little sister. Misato chose to adopt it so she could feel closer to her idol. Misato also becomes the manager of Blast.
  • Saotome Junko - Komatsu Nana's best friend from her hometown. She moves to Tokyo with Kyosuke (see below) to attend art school. Junko serves as a rational viewpoint for Komatsu Nana.
  • Takakura Kyosuke - Junko's boyfriend. Kyosuke, like Junko, is very mature and level-headed, perhaps moreso than Junko. The two are often thought of as an old married couple by their actions together.
  • Endo Shouji - Komatsu Nana's boyfriend for the first few volumes of the series and the reason why she moves to Tokyo. He attends the art school in Tokyo. Shouji ends up cheating on Nana with a fellow co-worker named Sachiko. Though he is not favored by the readers, he does appear in scenes with Kyosuke and Junko throughout the manga.
  • Sachiko - Shouji's coworker and eventual fiancee. She is very shy, passive, and dainty, the opposite of Nana.
  • Uehara Misato - Not to be confused with the Blast groupie Misato (see above), although Misato is every bit the groupie as the lolita. She is in love with and strives to be just like Oosaki Nana. It is later revealed that she is her younger sister.
  • Miu - An actress with low sales on Gaia, the label Blast gets signed to. She is on a hiatus from acting and has depression. She is talented at Mahjong because of a movie role. She dates Yasu later on in the manga though is nervous of how their relationship will affect Oosaki Nana.
  • Kosaka Yuri - An AV star with Gaia trapped by her contract. She is loud, outgoing, and immediately takes to Nobu. Whenever Yuri gets a boyfriend she attempts to run away because she no longer wants to be involved in the porn industry. It is often mentioned that she looks similar to his Komatsu Nana.

Volume Summaries

Volume 1

Contains the background stories of Oosaki Nana and Komatsu Nana, and explains why they move to Tokyo.

Volume 2

Komatsu Nana moves to Tokyo after Shouji passes his entrance exams. She meets Oosaki Nana on the train ride and the two hit it off. The two go their separate ways before Komatsu can get Oosaki's address or phone number. Komatsu moves in with Shouji only to find out her residence with him isn't so permanent, and while apartment-hunting meets Oosaki Nana again, who is considering the same apartment as Komatsu Nana. After some arguing, the two decide to share the apartment (Room 707) and split the rent. Oosaki Nana gives Komatsu Nana the nickname "Hachi" while they are shopping (and will be called such in this article from here on out). Nobu shows up at their door late at night and begs to stay, giving Nana a song he composed. Blast gives their first official Tokyo performance in Room 707, with Yasu listening on Nobu's phone and Hachi as their adoring fan.

Volume 3

Hachi begins her job at Sabrina, a vintage furniture shop. She begins to work informally as Blast's manager and holds auditions with Nana and Nobu for a new bassist. A young boy claiming to be 18 named Shin shows up to the audition. His ability to play bass is nearly on par with Ren's. Hachi's relationship with Shouji is slowly unraveling as Shouji meets Sachiko, a new coworker. The two begin an affair, leaving Hachi oblivious as she is busy with her job and Blast.

Volume 4

Hachi and Nana are out one night when they catch Shouji and Sachiko in an emotional embrace. Hachi painfully and submissively leaves Shouji, and Nana is at her side threatening both Sachiko and Shouji. Blast plays a live gig at a Tokyo bar, and lolita groupie Misato comes to support. Misato gets to hang out with the other members of Blast and goes to Tokyo Disney with Nana, leaving Hachi feeling left out and threatened by the girl. Hachi and Misato become friends after this, and Hachi finds out from Misato that Ren and Nana were lovers. Sabrina closes, and Hachi is left unemployed. The low point in Hachi's life is uplifted by the arrival of two tickets for the Trapnest concert in Hachi's hometown, and she invites Nana to go with.

Volume 5

Nana and Hachi have gone back to Hachi's hometown to stay with her family during the concert. Ren sees Nana in the front row and freaks out backstage. Nana gives in to her feelings of sadness and love for Ren and the two hook up. It's revealed that Yasu and Reira once love each other. Nana declares Reira her vocal rival. Hachi loses another job and, at a time of vulnerability, sleeps with Takumi.

Volume 6

Hachi begins yet another job and continues her relationship with Takumi. Trapnest comes over to Room 707 to hang out with Blast and play Mahjongg. Ren, Shin and Nobu find out about Hachi's affair with Takumi and Nobu nearly starts a fight with him. Shin makes an offer to Reira and the two begin a secret relationship of their own. Blast is propositioned by Gaia, a Tokyo record/media company. The relationship between Nana and Hachi is becoming strained by the drama in their lives.

Volume 7

Blast plays another live at Lifehouse, their regular joint. The producer of Gaia Music is in attendance. Hachi feels left out and goes to Takumi for comfort. Shin and Reira have begun to fall in love. Hachi breaks it off with Takumi, unbeknownst to him. She and Nobu confess their feelings for each other and hook up. Nana begins to aim for the goal of surpassing Trapnest.

Volume 7.8

This is a slightly more expensive fanbook. The title is a pun on the two main characters; "nana" is Japanese for "seven" and "hachi" is Japanese for "eight". It has an encylopedia on the A-Z of NANA, and has character profiles for most of the characters that have appeared up to volume 7.

Volume 8

The volume that defines the storyline of the series - Hachi discovers she is pregnant. Blast has signed the contract with Gaia and are in limbo waiting to record. Nana is still with Ren, but the paparazzi is close behind. In Hachi's time of loneliness, Takumi is the first to find out of her pregnancy. He calls Nobu and tells him while Hachi is locked in her room screaming for him not to. Nobu is devastated but goes back to Room 707, where an awkward moment takes place between him and Hachi. Takumi is willing to marry Hachi.

Volume 9

Nana feels betrayed by Hachi's news. First her boyfriend, and now Hachi is lost to Trapnest. Hachi sits quietly while Takumi formally tells Nana of the current events. Hachi moves in with Takumi but feels separated from her friends.

Volume 10

Nana gets Hachi's new address from Ren and throughout the volume, the two just miss each other. Shin tells Hachi his story. The paparazzi get a photo of Ren and Nana together and use it to create a media frenzy and give a boost to Blast's career. Hachi and Takumi fight over Nana, but they make up when Takumi offers her a diamond ring. Nana breaks down after realizing she won't be seeing Hachi anymore, but Yasu comes to her aid and hits one of the paparazzi. Ren becomes suspicious of Yasu's feelings for Nana.

Volume 11

Nobu tries to meet with Hachi, but she doesn't want to. Reira and Shin continue their relationship through phone emails. Takumi and Hachi go to Hachi's family to formerly ask for her hand in marriage. Blast moves into the Gaia dormitory and meets Miu and Yuri, two other talents on the label. Nana has a respiratory attack and is told to keep her stress levels down. Blast and Trapnest both perform on the music program "Music Studio" (similar to Music Station). Ren asks Nana to marry him. Nana and the rest of Blast make plans for a secret rendezvous with Hachi back at Room 707 on fireworks night. Nana and Shin resolve to get Hachi back.

Volume 12

It's seven or eight years later, and Hachi is walking to Room 707 with her daughter Satsuki. Everybody is older now, and Nobu and Hachi are awkward but friendly towards each other. Nobu is wearing Nana's treasured Vivienne Westwood ring and the mood in the apartment is morose, hinting at a sad future for Oosaki Nana. The story shifts back to the present, where Hachi is meeting with Blast (who are all wearing disguises). Nobu is absent. Takumi tells Hachi they can't get married yet because of Ren and Nana's wedding announcement. Blast makes their major debut and Reira has a double birthday party with Shin, although their relationship is still secret. Naoki invites Hachi to the party without Takumi knowing, and Hachi finds out why she wasn't invited in the car. Meanwhile, Nana's mother has been found by the paparazzi.

Volume 13

Hachi attends Reira and Shin's birthday party, angering Takumi. She meets Yuri, who is now Nobu's new girlfriend. After briefly reuniting with Nana, Hachi once again returns to Takumi despite being raped by him at the party. It's revealed that Miu cuts, and Hachi finds out about Shin and Reira's relationship from Takumi.

Volume 14

Trapnest is away on tour again, and Takumi is cheating on Hachi. She knows, but doesn't care as long as she's #1 in his heart. Yuri runs away from the dorms and is costing Gaia huge amounts of money because she's still on her contract. Ren develops a cocaine addiction. A new assistant for Blast, Tsuzuki-san, is hired by their manager, but it's actually a familiar face: Uehara Misato! The other Uehara Misato is also introduced in this volume. Reira and Ren go out for a reflective walk in the nighttime snow and the paparazzi snaps an innocent hug between the two, consequently framing and sending the photo to Nana as a wedding present. Ren confesses to Reira that he fantasizes about murdering Nana so she can be only his.

Volume 15

Ren and Reira are scolded by their managers for letting the paparazzi get the picture. Takumi makes a deal with the paparazzi so the picture doesn't get out to the press; he agrees to let them interview him and Hachi. The two get married before the interview. Blast gets back from their tour of Osaka and discover their new manager, which elates Nana. The other Misato begins dressing like Nana and going to punk clubs. Yasu and Miu come clean about their feelings for each other. Shin breaks up with Reira. Nana freaks out on Ren about the image of him and Reira and has another attack.

Volume 16

The story shifts to the future again, where an elegant blonde woman is singing in a fancy, overseas club (likely the United States). The woman has a lotus tattoo just like Oosaki Nana... Back in the present, Blast has nearly finished shooting a PV. Nana and Ren fight before Ren leaves for England with Trapnest. Blast holds an event for thirty of their first fans, but many have stopped supporting the band since their major debut, so other fans have been contacted, including Uehara Misato. When the lolita Misato finds out about this, she begins to feel threatened and it becomes evident just how mysterious she is. Hachi is confronted by the paparazzi about Nana's mother.

Trivia

  • Each volume of manga ends with the special bonus story "Junko's Room", an ongoing story throughout the volumes. It serves as a humorous read involving the main (and supporting) characters of NANA meeting up and commenting on the latest happenings in the story. Yazawa Ai's other characters have also found themselves in Junko's room.
  • Sid and Nancy play a big part in the story with Ren and Oosaki Nana's relationship. Nana is a big fan of The Sex Pistols and references are made about Ren resembling Sid. At one point, Ren tells Nana that would make her Nancy.

Merchandise

There have been hundreds of promotional items for NANA, including furoku in Cookie. Cell phone accessories, plush dolls, keychains, and even jewelry has been made for the series. Most notably are the two games that have been made. The Playstation 2 game in 2005 enabled players to become part of the NANA world as neighbors to Hachi and Nana. They could decide on a style for themselves and the actions they want to make.

The PSP game was released in July of 2006, entitled "NANA Subete wa Daimaou no Omichibiki!?" (NANA - Everything is the demon god's doing!?).

Music

The following albums have all been released as tribute albums to NANA, with each artist on the albums expressing musically how they think Trapnest or Blast would sound.

External Links