Born in 1967, Ai Yazawa is the author of numerous best selling
manga, including Tenshi Nankajanai (Im No Angel) and Gokinjo
Monogatari (Neighborhood Story). Her title, Kagen no Tsuki (Last
Quarter), was so popular that it was even made into a live action
film last year. It was not until 2002, however, that U.S. readers
had a chance to enjoy Yazawas stylish and sexy oeuvre. That was the
year Tokyopop began publishing Paradise Kiss.
Yazawa also contributed character designs for the Courtney Love inspired series, Princess Ai. The collaboration between the grunge rock queen and the wildly popular mangaka was an immediate hit.
Yazawa continues to produce new Nana installments each month for Cookie. Even after all these years, her series remains as popular and influential as ever. As proof, a live action Nana movie is currently being filmed in Tokyo.
Nana, Japan's most popular shojo (girl's) manga, is appearing in English for the first time. Nana Komatsu is a flaky young woman who's just emerged from an emotionally devastating affair with an older, married man. She dreams of a perfect romantic love, like in the movies, but her best friend, Junko, counsels her that it might be time to try being friends with a guy instead of just falling in love with him. So when she meets Shoji, Nana is determined to be completely platonic, despite Shoji's interest. Meanwhile, Nana Osaki, a high school dropout, is rocking onstage as lead singer of a punk band and offstage with the band's guitarist, Ren. When Ren alone is offered a recording contract, Nana decides not to go to Tokyo with him. She wants to prove to herself that she can be a star without Ren. Both Nanas find their way to Tokyo, where this first issue sets them up, leaving later volumes to unfold the complexities of their entwined destinies. Despite the soap opera surface, Yazawa's art is graceful and naturalistic, portraying all of the characters, both main and supporting, with such depth and care that you cannot help being drawn in. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Nana meets Nana when a bubbly bundle of insecurities teams up with a tough but vulnerable rocker chick. Sharing first names and Tokyo newbie status, the two decide to share an apartment while they search for Love and Meaning. Charming, self-centered Nana Komatsu has followed her rebound crush to the Big City but can't commit to him or settle into a job; while Nana Osaki, rebounded from her great love with a rock bassist, hopes to make it big singing with a rival band. By Vol. 5, Nana O. has reunited with her beloved ex, Ren, and Nana K. has begun an affair with Ren's bandmate Takumi, object of her fangirl obsession. This is Japanese twentysomething chick lit at its best, bursting with relationship drama, parties, good humor, cute fashions, romantic-sexual entanglements, and beautifully expressive art. Beneath the drama run serious messages about loyalty, friendship, and maturity in a complicated world with changing rules. Nana is still coming out in Japan, where it is the best-selling shojo title, winner of the Shogakukan Manga Award, and inspiration for an anime and a live-action film. With discreetly portrayed sex, it's best for ages 18+. Highly recommended for young women now grown past "teen shojo" titles.-M.C. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.