While many believe it’s uncommon for shojo series to tackle mature issues with well-developed realistic characters, Ai Yazawa’s NANA toes the line between shojo and josei, standing out as one of the few series that manage to present its readers and viewers with a serious and mature topic. Since it won the Shogakukan Manga Award in 2002, NANA has lost nothing from its popularity — in fact, over a decade later, it still holds up.The allure of NANA lies in its realistic yet enchanting characters, making its audience feel as if they are falling in love for the first time. The show features a wide range of characters with powerful backstories.
NANA follows the story of two young women with the same name who decide to move to Tokyo for different reasons. Nana Osaki wants to become a professional musician and make it big, while Nana Komatsu wants to be close to her boyfriend without financially depending on him. The two Nanas find themselves sitting next to each other on the train to Tokyo and eventually share an apartment. Despite being polar opposites, the two women forge a unique, unbreakable bond that would constantly be put to the test. Understandably, the backstories of Nana Komatsu, or Hachi, and Nana Osaki are the ones that are discussed in detail. Let us see which of the two has a more complicated, painful, and touching backstory.
Nana Komatsu was born as the middle child into a happy, clamorous family in a small town surrounded by mountains. Growing up, she never had to worry about things like food or money. At the age of sixteen, she began attending an all-girls school, where she met her best friend Junko. Starting with her art teacher Mr. Okamoto, Nana has had many crushes throughout her high school career — video store clerk Nakamura, Mr. Kawasaki who works as a chef in a restaurant, and a pizza delivery boy named Yoshida.
As a result of her habit of falling in love at first sight, she’s instantly attracted to twenty-nine-year-old Takashi Asano, whom she met at a movie theater. As if the age gap wasn’t bad enough, it turns out that Asano is a married man. Nana’s desire to love and be loved leads to an affair that lasts several months. As a young girl who was taken advantage of — both sexually and emotionally — Nana tries to cope with this trauma that she disguises as heartbreak for years. Later, she meet Shoji — someone who’s not like the other guys. He eventually becomes her boyfriend, but moves to Tokyo for university. Wanting to stand on her own two feet and be closer to Shoji, Nana also decides to move to Tokyo.