NANA 4 by Ai Yazawa: A

From the back cover:
Nana K.’s perfect Tokyo life is crumbling around her. She can’t keep a job, she can’t keep any money, and now it looks like she can’t even keep her boyfriend! But luckily, a tasty nugget of gossip about Nana O.’s past love life helps Nana K. keep her mind off her own troubles. If she can play the role of cupid for her best friend, can Nana K. get closer to her own happy ending?

Again, I am impressed.

The break-up scene between Nana K. and Shoji in the first chapter is both brutal and amazing. I love everything about it, and that includes the art. Yazawa uses those blurry images of real places again to great effect, as making the surroundings feel more real seems to confer the same benefit upon the events themselves.

The rest of the volume is very good, too. Nana K.’s near-obsession with Nana O. continues to grow—fueled by the feeling that she’s losing those she loves, she reacts poorly to Nana O. spending time with a groupie. Later, she finds solace from her cares in planning for Nana O.’s reunion with her ex-boyfriend, Ren.

Although I’m keen to see the reunion between Nana O. and Ren, I find I’m actually more interested in the obsession angle and how that’s going to develop. The foreshadowy narration continues to make me wonder whether something ominous is going to happen. Consider:

If only I’d been more mature back then and realized what your weaknesses were. Would things have been different now?

It’s hard to imagine now that I ever found Nana K. dispensable. I just had no idea she was going to turn out to have as much to offer as she does.

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