Nana: Volume 19 by Ai Yazawa
Nana "Hachi" Komatsu lives in the hope that her moving to Tokyo will leave old, bad memories behind so that she can start afresh. Nana Osaki comes at the same time as her and wants to live the a rock and roll life, and though they are both from very different backgrounds, they get together to become the best of friends. The usual nights of sex, drugs and said rock and roll plus wild parties means that they get everything they want - but there are prices to pay. Nana, as a result of this wants to live the high life of a solo artist, still thinking that Blast can make it big, but while she is getting all the attention, her friends might not be doing so well being in the background. She also wants to act and takes up other jobs that keep her in the press - if she does this then there is the slimmest chance her band can make a serious comeback.
Nana is rated as M for mature as there is mild sexuality, drug use and violence, yet there is a lot of appeal to Ai Yazawa's Nana series.
Set in the Present Day Japan, Nana wants to find herself and enjoy making her music. Those who hang around her are a mixed bunch of delinquents, punk rockers and artists trying to make it in a normal world that doesn't always embrace them.
There is a lot to like for older teens as, at least in this volume there are a lot of cute hearts, flowers and cakes for the girls as Valentine's Day is coming soon. Scenes where there is a cake on the kitchen table with an unhappy face on it and one with a comical looking Takumi waking in bed with a teddy bear on the pillow next to him are amusing, but the main stories of Nana Osaku feeling annoyed at the members of Trapnest betraying her trust. Admittedly, they were only trying to help in their own way, but she has her pride to deal with as well as her own ego, and if she isn't careful, she could alienate those she cares most about. When Hachi sends the apology note to Ren, he wonders whether to go to her apartment for no other reason than he loves her. Ren has his own inner battles to deal with though. His rising cocaine use is starting to spiral out of control,and the band's president is annoyed at its cost - if he doesn't write enough songs that will make them hits again.
Ai Yazawa has succeeded in creating a manga that can appeal to those interested in the cute and punk side of everyday life and serves as a slice of life drama for both Nanas to be in. The artist intermixes drawn manga with actual photographs to bring out the realism of the manga.
This Nana: Volume 19 book review was written by Sandra Scholes
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