Nana Chigusa and Kaoru Sugimura have been neighbors and childhood friends for years, but they've started to drift apart in high school. Nana is an ace student and member of the student council, while Kaoru is a Beady-Eyed Loser and a slacker. But one day, an... incident occurs to shake up their relationship.See, Kaoru, as it happens, has a... thing for BDSM. One day, his mother, fed up with the weird toys that Kaoru has been wasting his money on, steals all of them to get her son to study instead of spending his evenings jacking off. But since she can't keep them in their apartment (where he'll find them), she asks Nana to keep an eye on them. Nana, wondering what Kaoru has bought, looks through his stuff... and immediately pulls out a leather one-piece, which looks suspiciously close to her size. Intrigued, Nana tries on the suit... and locks it in the heat of the moment. Even worse, she doesn't have the key, so it must be in Kaoru's room...This is the beginning of Nana to Kaoru, an ongoing Ecchi manga by Ryuta Amazume. It chronicles Nana and Kaoru's adventures in BDSM, from erotic posing and leash-wearing to bondage and blindfold play, and more. It isn't subtitled Nana and Kaoru's S&M Diary for nothing.Interestingly, a sequel of sorts called Black Label chronicles Nana and Kaoru's experience during their summer vacation after graduating. Though it's set 8 months from the comic proper, it's published side by side with it.Noteworthy for portraying BDSM as something complicated and careful if done willingly, requiring not only trust between the people involved but also preparations and care. Also notable in that it does this without sex ever happening or even being implied (outside of the Black Label story there's not even any nudity) despite the subject matter it's a relationship/romance manga, not hentai.An OVAand a Live-Action Adaptation have been released, the trailer for the live action adaptation is up on the website.Now with a shiny Character Page, please contribute.
It's strongly hinted that Kaoru felt something on his lips; Nana was a bit more attentive and touched her lips afterwards. But as the end of chapter notes pointed out, the potential kiss wasn't the big movement in their relationship, it was Nana realizing she wouldn't have minded kissing Kaoru.
A Glass of Chianti: Part of Kaoru's dream in the first chapter is that he's cradling a glass of red wine.
Anguished Declaration of Love: The emotions during their breather in chapters 57 to 61 finally get to Kaoru, causing him to face his feelings for Nana head on. Unfortunately, at the time, she had earplugs and a blindfold on.
Animal Motifs: Tachi plays mischievous, disobedient kitty cat to Nana's obedient and loyal puppy dog. This gets rather explicit in chapters 68-70.
Ascended Fanboy: Kaoru in Black Label. At first he only pretended to be Sarashina's characters during his breathers with Nana. In this, he ends up one of the characters in Sarashina's books, role-playing alongside and learning directly from said author at that.
Anime Anatomy: Genitalia are blanked, except in excerpts from dirty magazines. Largely averted in Arashi.
Ass Shove: One volume is dedicated to Nana and a suppository.
Girls sticking their tongues out, usually as a sign that they're turned on or being mischievous.
There is not a panel, not a chapter, but an entire volume dedicated to asses. More specifically, Nana's ass.
Batman Gambit: Tachi knows Nana is both a tsundere and a clingy jealous girl. So to get Nana to join in the breather, she makes a lot of noise like it's already started and he's hurting her. Sure enough...
Blackmail: Tachi gets a second "breather" from Kaoru by threatening to tell Nana how much work he puts into their sessions, which would show Nana how deeply Kaoru really feels for her. It's probably for the best that she hasn't threatened to tell anyone else. If you think about it, Nana's mother is a police chief, while Nana is a class president; Tachi could do some real damage if she felt like spreading rumors.
Nana, though she'd never admit the second part ...in public.
Mitsuko, too. She graduated from Tokyo University, arguably the most prestigious school in Asia, and just happens to also run a sex store and is a confirmed, lifelong submissive.
Breast Attack: In Black Label when Kaoru and Nana go to a nearby river they find a girl catching fish with her bare hands and give it a go themselves. Nana succeeds only for the fish to escape and land in her cleavage. After failing to get it out herself, the girl slaps Nana's breasts together which causes the fish to fall through back into the river.
Buxom Is Better: In chapter one of the first volume Kaoru notes that Nana has very large breasts and calls her "a total knockout"; her breast size is commented upon by Those Two Guys as well.
Kaoru is afraid a confession would end the breathers. He's also absolutely terrified of any progress in his and Nana's relationship for the same reason.
As much as it is blatant, Nana's fascination with BDSM is something that she has a hard time putting into words. The last time Kaoru pressed the issue, all he got was a Luminescent Blush for the inquiry.
Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: In a contest of sorts to see who can make the other admit that they want a "breather" first, Nana eventually caves and does this when Kaouru gets up to leave, making a very elated Kaouru.
Cat Smile: During the major storm in Black Label, Kaoru cooks both her and himself some dinner with whatever was lying around. Nana compliments him while Kaoru tells her, "Stop" and hides his smiling face.
Chekhovs Boobs: In Volume 9 Chapter 64 before the 3000m race we see Nana's main opponent staring and thinking to herself "damn her and her huge breasts", at the end of the race it would have been a dead heat except for Nana's larger bust getting to the tape first
Chekhov's Skill: Kaoru's running becomes really important later on when he has to take a Diving Save to protect Tachi, long after everyone's forgotten about it. He's not even winded by the run (although his shoulder is pretty banged up from the fall) while his unknown rival, the student council president, is openly exhausted and couldn't keep up. Considering the president is an all around perfect bishonen, and Kaoru is, well, not... character isn't the only thing that Kaoru is developing.
Chekhov's Gunman: Mitsuko Tachibana is introduced as just some porn shop manager, whom we later find out has an extensive knowledge of BDSM technique. In Black Label, she is introduced as Sarashima's sweetheart.
Chivalrous Pervert: Kaoru. He tries to be as nice as possible to Nana as he eases her into more and more erotic territory.
One example involved Kaoru acting as if he left Nana and Tachi, bound up alone in his room for hours. But he carefully watched the whole scene from a window ready to jump into action if anything went wrong. It's worth noting that he was waiting outside in winter weather, which was cold enough to make him sick.
He also starts working out and running after Nana has a scary run-in with a couple of shoplifters, just so he'll be better able to handle such situations.
Covers Always Lie: While there are plenty that are accurate, a number of covers seem to show Nana as the top.
Covert Pervert: Nana. Having Kaoru draw this side of her out is more or less the driving focus of the story.
Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: Averted, except for Tachi's initial outburst; she complains about her limbs being numb after Kaoru unties her.
Decompressed Comic: To the point where one twenty-page issue started at the beginning of a "breather" and ended after the first spank - out of ten. But it's mostly build-up for the massive amounts of fanservice.
Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: In Chapter 18 Kaoru brings out a ball gag and then does an Infodump about the different types of gag used in S&M including images which makes it seem to be directed only to the reader, then we get a Beat Panel of Nana giving him an odd look.
Did They or Didn't They?: Played with — Nana isn't quite certain if she accidentally kissed Kaoru, but she does realize that she wouldn't have minded if she had, which was a far bigger realization overall.
The reason Kaoru can't concentrate on his revision with Nana. At first, until the nipple clips are introduced.
A variation in Chapter 54, Nana keeps getting distracted by thinking about what Kaoru has in store for their next "Breather". At one point she's apparently been standing in the middle of the girls changing room with a big grin on her face for several minutes.
Diving Save: In Chapter 37, Tachi accidently falls down a ledge but lucky for her Kaoru was there to break her fall. And we really do mean break her fall.
Dutch Angle: Used as emphasis when something's off or characters are disturbed. One chapter, after a visit from her deadbeat father, Nana's panels begin to tilt till the viewpoint's almost at right angles to the rest of the page, matching her current turmoil at being compared to her mother.
Dysfunction Junction: Between Nana, Tachi and Karou; We find a host of personal issues that cause them all to be alone and isolated. With Karou, it's a massive inferiority complex and lack of self-esteem. With Nana and Tachi, it comes from their motivation to over-achieve which is, in part, a product of their environment.
Embarrassing Cover Up: When he had to conceal Nana, who was in full-body bondage gear at the time, from some of her friends and a teacher that walked into his apartment, Kaoru got her and himself into his bed and pretended to be watching a porno. Then, when her grunts were about to give them away, Kaoru made... er... context-appropriate noises to drown out her sounds and gross out their uninvited guests out of his place. It works magnificently and Kaoru thinks nothing of it.
Fan Nickname: Nana to Kaoru: Arashi, scanlators (and therefore fans) used this to differentiate the main series running in Young Animal to the newest one running in Young Animal Arashi; in truth the Arashi magazine also referred to the new series as Nana to Kaoru, they didn't feel the need to create a new title till the first collected Volume was published. Nana to Kaoru: Black Label is the official title of what fans have been calling Nana to Kaoru: Arashi for quite some time.
Farce: "The Crepe Truck On The Hill" arc, where a single misunderstanding leads to Tachi and Kaoru chasing after Nana to protect her modesty.
Foregone Conclusion: The Black Label timeskip series has Nana and Kaoru still together and still having breathers (and playing Footsie Under the Table). Instant drama kill for any worries 'bout the Student Council President stealing Nana away from him.
However, it also kills the possible eventual development of Kaoru and Nana admittedly becoming boyfriend and girlfriend in during the 8 months the main series must fill to reach the Black Label timeline, so it's safe to say the main series must surpass Black Label's timeline for Nana and Kaoru to truly become a couple.
Furo Scene: Several with Nana and Mitsuko in Black Label.
Genki Girl: Mitsuko Tachibana, the porn shop manager. Never has anybody been so "enthusiastic'' about leather, gags, and whips♥!
She even takes over Kaoru's position of Mr. Exposition about the finer points of BDSM in NtK Black Label!
Genre Savvy: Nana eventually remarks upon the fact that, despite her initial refusals, she ends up doing the things anyway.
Gilligan Cut: When Nana discovers the leather one-piece, she thinks about trying it on, but:
Nana: N-No, never. Never! Never!! cut to Kaoru contemplating his loss cut back to Nana wearing the one-piece
Gonk: Both Kaoru and his mother at first, although this is more of a Generic Cuteness failure on her part. Both are moving away from this, especially since Kaoru started running and putting some effort into studying.
Nana: "God please, somehow... help me to make it look... as though... I'm still smiling."
Guilty Pleasures: Nana originally just went over to get the key, but the bondage session was a great form of stress relief for her, to the point that it saved her rapidly falling apart school performance. She used that as justification to keep going. Now, she genuinely enjoys and looks forward to her sessions with Kaoru.
Probably a meta example for some readers.
Harsh Word Impact: The speech bubbles containing Kaoru's lambasting of the class president nearly crowd him out of the panel.
Hello, Nurse!: Subverted with Nana. Yes, she's gorgeous (in line with the trope), but her imperious manner scares people off.
Hotter and Sexier: A very sinusoidal example. The series was originally in Young Animal Arashi, a softcore pornography magazine. When it became a runaway success, they moved it to the more mainstream Young Animal series, and toned the content down. It was still wildly successful, so they have a second concurrent series — something that's almost unheard of outside of spinoffs — Nana To Kaoru Black Label, which takes place after a minor timeskip and has definitely taken the series back to hotter and sexier territory.
Kaoru and Tachi, though Kaoru only becomes distressed about it after finding out that Tachi's a girl.
Averted with Kaoru and Nana using the dental gag - when Kaoru teases Nana about tasting her saliva from his hand, it's another boot to the head before he can.
The Internet Is for Porn: Nana's research. Step 1: enter search term for [BDSM term]. Step 2: receive torrents of porn. Step 3: get entirely the wrong idea about what Kaoru's going to do.
Large Ham: When Kaoru and his favorite BDSM author are discussing the books, Kaoru begins ranting and raving about how much they moved him emotionally. The author says, "But after all, they're only porn books." Kaoru: "IS IT WRONG TO BE MOVED BY PORN BOOKS?!"
Even more funny are his constant facefaults 'bout just how moved he is that Kaoru is that moved. Kaoru is oblivious, the author is barely keeping himself from screaming out yes and dancing.
Hiroshi angrily thinking to himself that Kaoru's "got a secondary character's face!"
Sarashina Suutaro is described as being "like a literary master out of some manga". Apparently it's part of his writing process.
Lethal Chef: Nana tries her hand at Valentine's Day chocolate in a side story. Key word: tries. The intended recipient actually trembles in his sleep as the trainwreck progresses.
Her 'extra-healthy' cold remedy makes Kaoru pass out, begin hallucinating, then throw up.
Love You and Everybody: Tachi says she loves Kaoru to Nana, who, while she wouldn't recognise love if it whacked her upside the head with a rose-covered hammer, still blushes like mad or becomes jealous whenever anyone else trespasses on her feelings towards Kaoru. Tachi backsteps quickly to add "as a friend!"
Luminescent Blush: This plus sticking her tongue out is Nana's sign that she's intensely turned on.
Male Gaze: Apart from the specific instances (see Fanservice), Nana almost always takes center stage with a three-quarters or full-body shot during the 'breathers'. Tachi too.
Megaton Punch: Nana's usual method of telling Kaoru he's gone too far with his teasing... unless her arms are tied up; then, it's a Megaton Kick. Kaoru gets smart in a later breather and ties up both her arms and legs.
Mysterious Animal Senses: Hoshino's dog seems to bark whenever it hears the voice of a sexually aroused woman. Kaoru, Doumoto and Hoshino try to use the dog to find out which porn actress fakes her orgasm by watching porn movies all night long. As soon as the dog hears Nana's voice, it starts to bark like crazy.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: In Chapter 11 when the guys are putting the faces of various girls from their class on the bodies of fetish models, some of the names are similar to real Japanese glamor models.
Not What It Looks Like: When Nana finds Kaoru alone in his room wearing finger-cuffs and holding a dog on a leash, and it isn't a setup for a breather.
No Social Skills: The only excuse Nana has for not figuring out Kaoru's feelings towards her. Thanks to her studying, she doesn't consciously recognize attraction outside of blatant horndog-ism.
Oblivious to Love: Nana hasn't quite picked up on the fact that Kaoru loves her. Somehow. Nor has she put 2 and 2 together and realized she's in love with him.
Meanwhile, both their friends pick up on things fairly quickly. Tachi appears to be wavering between wanting to steal Kaoru for herself and wanting to help get them together; Nana's friend in the student council immediately warns her brother about the deeper meaning of her words.
Oh Crap: "Oh crap" faces are frequent. Kaoru's and Nana's are especially amusing.
Only Six Faces: Nana shares a lot of features with the other female leads in Amazume's series.
Out-of-Genre Experience: The track day. Excuse me, I ordered a BDSM romance manga; this is highschool sports manga.
Parents as People: Kaoru's mother is rather well meaning, but being a nurse simply doesn't offer her a lot of time with Kaoru. And the origins to Nana's Parental Issues can be found with this trope at work.
Playing To The Fetishes: Ryuta Amazume has started making a career out of taking various fetishes and putting them into romantic comedies: BDSM this time.
Poor Communication Kills: Nana mistakes Tachi as being her Rival in a love triangle when in reality she's Kaoru's Secret Keeper. What secret? He's in love with Nana. Understandably, it's a bit hard to explain this to Nana... But Tachi also is a bit sweet on Kaoru, too, and is starting to hesitate when doing things that might bring them closer together.
Specifically, the entire track day is one long string of misunderstandings on the three's parts. Nana keeps seeing Tachi with Kaoru, not realizing Tachi is basically dragging him along to cheer Nana (and herself) on, sees the lunchbox he brought, not realizing it was for Tachi and Nana (mostly Nana), not just Tachi, Kaoru mistakenly thinks that Tachi is the one at his door harassing him for a lunchbox when it was really Nana (and he's too embarrassed to apologize), etc etc.
Reclusive Author: Sarashina Shuutaro, Kaoru's favorite writer. It turns out to be an act.
Reality Ensues: Turns out that being bound hand and foot in a tight leather outfit without a zipper or precautions for communicating, when you're technically not supposed to be talking, will lead to some trouble.
Both Nana and Kaoru keep their "breathers" secret from others (indeed, it's part of the thrill). Tachi has also gotten in on it now, and agreed to keep it a secret.
Inverting it is the student council president and his sister. They're aware of Nana and Kaoru's mutually exclusive secrets — namely, that they're in love with each other and oblivious — but instead of keeping the secret, they're trying to exploit the fact that they are unaware.
Separated by the Wall: Nana and Kaoru live in adjacent apartments, and the common wall is between their bedrooms, which they use to signal each other by knocking. They also tend to think about their feelings for each other while staring at it.
Sexy Santa Bikini: Nana's wearing one on the fanservice art page at the start of Chapter 66. Specifically she's wearing the santa hat and boots and Kaoru's dressed as a Reindeer in the background.
Smug Snake: The student council president, who openly accosts Kaoru when they're alone, demanding he get on his hands and knees to beg to see an email when the group gets split up, talking about how he's more deserving of Nana 'cause... well, 'cause.
Spank the Cutie: Not a mere panel, but two entire chapters are devoted to Nana getting a spanking, plus half of the next chapter just to rub lotion on her sore bottom. And it's clearly an erotic spanking, which is meant to titillate Nana rather than hurt.
Speech Impediment: Kaoru has a stammer when he's nervous (fan translation - unsure whether it's in the original). It gets worse when he's administering the breathers, displaying his nerves and excitement.
There a few scenes in the "Black Label" story where this happens also for instance: She herself admits in chapter40 of teasing him in chapters: 29 - 30
Tachi has this habit of always play around with Karou in an teasing and/or gadfly manner when ever they meet.
Then in Black Label, While still at the retreat and before another session, Tachibana is told by Sarashina to tease Kaoru before Kaoru ties her up. Let's just say this much, she doesn't disappoint. Oh and just to note, Sarashina-sensei and Nana are watching while this goes on.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kaoru gives a SPECTACULAR one to Nana's teacher, club kohai's, and fellow council members, telling them they're pushing too much on Nana, and only thinking about themselves. Cue everyone picking up the slack and falling over themselves to say they're sorry to Nana.
Time Skip: A minor one. The "sequel", Nana to Kaoru: Black Label takes place during summer vacation, where Kaoru and Nana end up being tutored on proper BDSM technique by Kaoru's favorite author. Both are running concurrently, with Black Label having much more adult content (open nudity, for one).
Tomboy: The very athletic and boyish looking Tachi.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tachi and Nana respectively, although Tachi is more obviously feminine during the breathers.
Took a Level in Badass: Kaoru's been running every morning ever since Nana was accosted by shoplifters during a breather. By chapter 15, he can sprint around town without even breaking a sweat, whereas the much more athletic (on paper) student council president can barely keep up. Similarly, it's spelled out very clearly that Kaoru is every bit Nana's match intellectually, he just has trouble focusing on studying.
Tachi, Kaoru and Nana are in a romantic Type 5 - Kaoru's infatuated with Nana while Tachi's developed a crush on Kaoru. What's preventing a traditional type 4 in Black Label is whether Nana can work out what her growing affections for Kaoru mean.
Tsundere: Nana, although with a twist — she's the submissive in an on-again-off-again BDSM relationship with her ChildhoodFriend. Thus, she has a very good reason to be embarrassed about her relationship with him, and motive for denying it when asked. Kaoru, meanwhile, is even more abrasive to Nana than she is to him, with a twist: he's only worried about her reputation, as he sees himself as being beneath her and dragging her down.
Nana switches to type A tsun when her mother finally comes home (using almost the same words as Kaoru, at that).
Twice Shy: The only people who don't realize that Nana and Kaoru are in love with each other are Nana and Kaoru themselves. Nana almost confesses to him at the start of the chapter in response to his self-depreciating comments about how she must not like being around him (and part of her Character Development is her starting to realize her feelings for him), and he's quite open with himself about being in love with Nana. The student council president and his sister are also quite aware of this, and are plotting to get the president and Nana hooked up before the two figure it out. Given the NtK Black Label timeskip has Nana and Kaoru still together, still having breathers, and off at a BDSM author's house for private tutoring in BDSM techniques... The president isn't going to win this one.
Two Scenes, One Dialogue: When Sarashi-sensei begins telling Kaoru how he met Tachibana, it switches to Tachibana in the bath telling Nana how she met Sarashi.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: An unmarried example, but no one could be blamed for doing a double take at seeing Kaoru and Nana together. Kaoru's friends even take a jab at their supposed unsuitability for each other.
The entire plot is basically driven by Kaoru's assumption that Nana could never see him as boyfriend material, which makes it something of an inversion.
Unlucky Childhood Friend: Played with. Kaoru feels this way about Nana in general, but the breathers have given him a chance to connect with her, and the growing attraction each feels for the other could lead to an actual relationship down the road.
Unusual Euphemism: After reading this, you will never again be able to talk about "taking a breather" without giggling.
Invoked in chapter 6. Nana has to use the restroom, and Kaoru seems to be finding her a restroom, but they go to a clearing and Kaoru wants her to do it there. She is hesitant to do so, but she does give in.
In chapter 75, she's is suffering from another one, while in her "Dog Girl" outfit. After much panic, and trying to do it as an actual dog would, she finds a way to relieve herself. Kaoru then helps clean her up.
UST: Considering the thingsthat Kaoru does to Nana, the fact that there is UST is impressive.