Cut for spoilers.
From the back cover:
With the tabloids still out for blood, Nana and her Blast bandmates move into a weird dorm building run by their agency. But they’ve barely got enough time to settle into their new digs beacuse their crammed schedule has them running from music studio to TV interview. The stress of band life and dealing with a disintegrating Ren have started to take their toll on Nana. If she collapses now, will she ever get back up?
Although this volume isn’t light-hearted by any means, it is still far less painful to read than some recent ones have been. Time heals all wounds, as they say, and keeping busy helps, too. Nana and the other members of Blast are working hard on their album as well as doing interviews and live shows, and she’s feeling so good that at one point she thinks she could handle talking with Hachi about Takumi and the baby. In a similar “moving forward” vein, Nobu meets a girl he might like and is forgiven by his parents for not wanting to inherit their inn, and Hachi introduces Takumi to her family.
One of the things I really like about NANA is the way that it shifts focus between the leads. For a while there, we were all worried about Hachi, but it really seems that she’s at peace with her situation. Yes, she has regrets, but, as Jun says, she has her feet on the ground more than before. Hachi has palpably matured and she actually has a career goal in mind now. I’m left wondering if perhaps this pregnancy wasn’t ultimately a really good thing to happen to her, despite that it meant the end of her relationship with Nobu.
Now it’s Nana that I’m really worried about. She’d had this idea in her head that Blast becoming successful would somehow bring Hachi back and that Nobu would fight to get back together with her. When she learns that he has no intention of doing that, she begins to hyperventilate and ends up at the hospital. It’s like she has no faith in her own ability to keep Hachi near her—going back to motherly abandonment issues, perhaps—and so is depending on Nobu to do it for her.
She also feels like she’s “drowning helplessly in Ren,” and several times seems to be expecting Yasu to declare his feelings for her and rescue her from Ren’s pull. When she realizes at last that Yasu will never do that because of how close he and Ren are, she gives in to some extent and reconnects with Ren, who proposes. Trouble is waiting, though, because Ren has been using drugs, and a paparazzi guy also seems to’ve located her mother. Poor Nana.
This volume’s full of the drama, but I’m relieved that it wasn’t quite the kind to make me cry.