Manga Moveable Feast: Archive

Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa

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I’ve been doing a lot of extrablogular writing this month! First, there was the third installment of Breaking Down Banana Fish at Manga Bookshelf, in which we discuss volumes five and six of that series. Next, Melinda Beasi, Danielle Leigh and I talked NANA—the eleventh and twelfth volumes, specifically—in our latest NANA Project at Comics Should Be Good. Lastly, as part of Fumi Yoshinaga week at Manga Bookshelf, I took part in a roundtable focusing on her historical boys’ love series, Gerard & Jacques.

In addition to the roundtable action, I’ve contributed to two Off the Shelf features at Manga Bookshelf in July: on the 7th—when I discussed The Clique (Yen Press), Millennium Prime Minister 3 (DMP), and Okimono Kimono (Dark Horse)—and the 14th, when my picks were Fruits Basket: Banquet (TOKYOPOP), Dengeki Daisy 1 (VIZ), and Crimson Hero 13 (VIZ). During the third week of each month, Off the Shelf is replaced by BL Bookrack, and since this coincided with Fumi Yoshinaga week, I reviewed Solfege and Don’t Say Any More, Darling (both DMP).

I’ve also written two solo reviews at Comics Should Be Good so far this month: Saturn Apartments 1 and Afterschool Charisma 1 (both VIZ).

As you can see, it’s been a busy month, and it’s not over yet! Tune in next week for more, as the Paradise Kiss MMF begins!

NANA 12 by Ai Yazawa: A

Cut for spoilers!
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NANA 11 by Ai Yazawa: A

Cut for spoilers.
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NANA 10 by Ai Yazawa: A

NANA is a series I vow never to spoil.
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NANA 9 by Ai Yazawa: A

Spoilers beyond the cut.
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NANA 8 by Ai Yazawa: A+

No way am I spoiling this.

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NANA 7 by Ai Yazawa: A

Still too good to spoil, even fractionally.

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NANA 6 by Ai Yazawa: A

This is the kind of stuff one just doesn’t spoil.

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NANA 5 by Ai Yazawa: A

From the back cover:
Nana K. is going home—for an awesome Trapnest concert! She drags Nana O. along, convinced that somehow Ren will sense his ex-flame in the audience. But life is never that easy, and Nana O. isn’t sure if she even wants Ren back. As for Nana K., is she prepared for Trapnest to come down off the stage and into her life, or will her fangirl attitude land her in a heap of trouble?

Review:
It’s rather hard to review this series without giving away all the plot developments, and they’re really too good to spoil. The volume picks up where the last left off, with the girls in the front row at the concert, Nana O. seeing Ren for the first time in years. I really like how things turn out with the two of them.

The latter half of the volume is Nana K.’s turn (I think I’m just going to start calling her Hachi, because everyone in the story does). She’s lost and making bad decisions, drawn to Nana’s glittering life because her own is such a mess. She’s mature enough to know that ultimately, her actions will lead her to feel pain, but she’s trying to live for the moment and put thoughts of tomorrow out of her head. I love how Yazawa is able to portray that she’s changed since we first met her, but do it in a subtle manner. She’s still got lots of issues and things to work out, but she’s not quite as naive as she sometimes pretends to be.

I continue to be madly in love with the technique of interposing real life images into the panels. My favorite is the use of some real office furniture at Hachi’s workplace. Simply seeing a real chair at her workstation makes it seem like there really could be a young woman like her out there someplace. I haven’t experienced anything like that with any other manga.

NANA manages to be entertaining, moving, realistic, and funny all while boasting some damned great art. This is not one to miss.