Guest Author - Brenda Chen
Nana is an anime series adapted from Ai Yazawa’s popular Shojo manga. It first aired in Japan from 2006 for three years.
The story focuses on two young adults who share the same first name, Nana. They have contrasting backgrounds and are looking for different things in life. Nana Komatsu wants to get out of her small town and live a happy life. Nana Osaki seeks fame and glory as the lead singer of her punk rock band. One fateful day, their paths meet while taking the same train to Tokyo.
Nana Komatsu aka Nana K or Hachiko was born in a small town as the middle child. She relies on others going to her friends often for advice. Nana K tends to fall in love too fast and frequently with almost every man she meets at first sight. Her first love is during high school with Asano, a married businessman. When Asano informs Nana that he is leaving to Tokyo and cannot see her anymore, she gets brokenhearted. Afterward, Nana K’s close friend Junko introduces her to a mutual guy friend, Shoji. Immediately smitten but learning from her last relationship, Nana K wants to take things slow and only be Shoji’s friend. He eventually professes his love as more than a friend to Nana K, and she accepts.
Nana Osaki aka Nana O spent a majority of her childhood living with her grandmother. Her mother abandoned her as a young child. She has a strong raspy singing voice, is always composed on the surface yet at the same time rebellious. In high school, she meets Nobu Terashima. He introduces Nana O to the world of rock music by lending her a Sex Pistols album. Nana O’s longest and first relationship is with Ren; the bassist in a band called Blast that Nana and Nobu were also part of. Ren and Nana O lived together in the same home for years. One night Ren breaks the news to Nana O about him moving to Tokyo to join another band, Trapnest. She is devastated of Ren’s departure but does not give up on her dream of becoming a famous singer.
At the beginning of the anime, we first see Nana Komatsu excited as she leaves her hometown to stay with her boyfriend Shoji in Tokyo. After minutes of boarding the train Nana K searches for an empty seat. Jam packed with nowhere else to sit she finally finds a place next to a woman wearing fishnet stockings. Over sharing beers and having some good laughs, she finds out that the very cool looking lady is also named Nana.
Throughout this fascinating anime, we see the two Nanas adapting to their new life in Tokyo and as eventual roommates. The relationships, connections that the characters have with one another in this anime are deeply and so realistically written and illustrated. If you are someone who likes a deep, intricate story about love, dreams, elements of punk rock music, and some reality added in then Nana is a must watch. I recommend this anime to viewers 14 to 17 years of age and up due to mature elements.