NANA Vol. #16 (Mania.com)

By:Danielle Van Gorder
Review Date: Friday, October 02, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, May 05, 2009

With a killer lead-in, this volume definitely provides the setup for some serious drama

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Ai Yazawa
Translation: Tomo Kimura
Adaptation: Allison Wolfe

What They Say
Nana "Hachi" Komatsu hopes that moving to Tokyo will help her make a clean start and leave her capricious love life behind her. Nana Osaki, who arrives in the city at the same time, has plans to score big in the world of rock'n'roll. Although these two young women come from different backgrounds, they quickly become best friends in a whirlwind world of sex, music, fashion, gossip and all-night parties!

Blast is at the top of the charts, and the band is making all kinds of P.R. appearances. Nana just wants to sing though, and all the marketing is starting to wear on her. A party planned for the loyal fans might be just what she needs to cheer her up. But there are secrets about her past lurking in Osaka, and the magazine Search Weekly is determined to bring them to light!

The Review!
As Trapnest prepares to go overseas again for two months and the holidays loom, Nana is more and more aware of her growing isolation.  Despite having Ren and Blast in her life, she feels increasingly disconnected, and has no idea how to find her way back to shore.  Part of the problem is that she isn't getting what she needs out of her relationships - in part because she doesn't know how to communicate what she needs, and in part because she doesn't actually know herself.  She should be on top of the world, but instead she's just lost.

Plus, Blast is having problems of their own.  They're selling albums, but the band feels like they're getting farther and farther from the music, and having to adapt their style more than they're necessarily comfortable with.  Each of the members has a packed schedule of interviews, quiz shows, and photo shoots, but not so much with club shows and concerts.  Some of their early fans are drifting away, so they plan a special fan party, but a crazy kind of coincidence may just cause the whole thing to blow up in their faces.

Hachi is in her own world, adapting to her life as Takumi's wife and a future mother.  It looks like it would be lonely, but if there's one thing that Hachi really does well it's adapt.  She even takes the two months apart from Takumi in stride.  But there's more trouble in the works as an inquisitive reporter dredges up more of Nana's past and then, for reasons of his own, gets Hachi involved as well. 

In Summary:
Reading Nana is much like watching a train wreck - but rather than the usual sort of train wreck, it's one in slow motion in the snow set to something by Rachmaninoff, heartbreakingly beautiful and poignant and tragic all at the same time.  The start of this volume was harsh, and certainly colored everything that came after it, but we as readers only have the start and end of that arc, with everything that happens in between still unclear.  What is clear is that this series never, ever lets up, and each volume leaves me wanting more.  Nana is brilliant and beautiful and sad, and should serve as a benchmark to other series for years to come.
 



Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 16 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 8.99
Pages: 264
ISBN: 978-1421523750
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: NANA