NANA is a series I vow never to spoil.
From the back cover:
Being engaged isn’t as wonderful as Hachi thought it would be. She has a trendy new apartment, but she’s isolated from all her friends and Takumi is hardly ever home. When scandal hits hard, Trapnest (and her fiancé) flee to Europe, and Hachi is left to watch Blast suffer in the scandal rags and tabloid shows.
So much happens in a volume of NANA that I feel like I should keep a scorecard or something! There are important revelations (Nobu still seems to have feelings for Hachi, Yasu’s feelings for Nana become known both to her and Ren), realizations (Blast must sacrifice some of their ideals about how they want to become successful in order to seize the chance they’ve been given), and reconciliations (even though Nana and Hachi have not met face to face due to the paparazzi frenzy surrounding Blast and Trapnest, Nana takes advantage of a microphone thrust in her face to declare that she’s still working to make Hachi’s dreams come true).
The most fascinating part of the story for me right now is the Nana-Yasu-Ren triangle. Although Nana and Ren both have moments where they think that their love for the other hasn’t diminished, things still aren’t the same as they used to be. Nana feels that her bond with Yasu may be even stronger than hers with Ren, and Ren’s commitment to Trapnest leads him to decide not to defend Nana from reporters. Instead, that role falls to Yasu who does it without a second thought. It also becomes clear that Yasu has completely abandoned his ambitions to practice law in order to pursue a musical career, something he had told Reira long ago that he wasn’t willing to do. I personally am really rooting for Nana and Yasu to get together.
Less successful to me is the Hachi plotline: I’m confused, though I think that may be because Hachi is confused. She tells Jun that she “really, really” loves Takumi, and laments that she can’t seem to fall in love with nice guys like Shoji or Nobu. Later on, though, it seems like she’s talking about Nobu when she says, “I’ll never be fulfilled by happiness like that again, the kind with no shadows.” Were her earlier comments just an attempt to make the best of an imperfect situation? She likes him enough to derive some happiness from their life together, even while mourning what might’ve been?
On the whole, I love how complex all of these characters and their circumstances are. I still profess a desire for some big, unambiguously positive event for these beloved characters—something like that would surely merit an A+ from me—even while I recognize that such untainted triumph rarely happens in life, and appreciate that Ai Yazawa recognizes it, too.