Follow TV Tropes


Manga / Nana

Go To

"Hey Nana, do you remember...?"

Nana "Hachi" Komatsu is a 20-year-old Genki Girl from the countryside with a bad habit of falling in love at first sight. Nana Osaki is a 20-year-old punk rocker from a different small city, who's coming off a bad breakup with her boyfriend (and former bass player of her band). When "Hachi" decides to follow her boyfriend to Tokyo, and the other Nana heads there to start her music career, the two young women meet by chance on a snowbound train. They rent an apartment together several days later. Surprisingly realistic drama and an oddly romantic friendship ensues.

The manga Nana is technically Shoujo, but according to The Other Wiki, it's often been confused for josei, and according to that same wiki, by 2005, it was the fourth best selling Shoujo manga. The first live action movie was the #2 film in Japan in 2005, behind only the then-latest film from Studio Ghibli, Howl's Moving Castle. The anime ran for 47 episodes and is licensed for distribution in North America. Both the anime and the manga are licensed by VIZ Media, Viz lost the license and the anime is now licensed by Sentai Filmworks and is streaming on Hi Dive.

The manga began serialization in the magazine Cookie in 2000, but it went on an indefinite hiatus in 2009 due to the author, Ai Yazawa, recovering from an illness; while it has yet to resume, as of 2022, Yazawa has stated that she does eventually plan to continue the story.

In 2013, to commemorate the 100th issue of Cookie, a bonus chapter was released.

Not to be confused with Shichinin no Nana.


  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Hachi's neglect of Shoji in favor of focusing her energy on Nana and Blast is part of the reason why Shoji strays. Averted with Nana and Ren whose love for one another did not dim while he was with Trapnest.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Every guy in Japan knows who porn star Yuri is.
  • Am I Just a Toy to You?: Hachi and Reira both ask this. Of the same guy, no less.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Misato is hired as one of BLAST's managers/assistants.
  • Babies Ever After: Or rather, a Deconstruction of it.
  • Backstory: The manga does this well and eventually shows the members of Trapnest (Yasu, Reira, and Takumi) when they were in high school together.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Takumi, probably the closest this series has to an antagonist, ultimately marries Nana and fathers her children.
  • Bait-and-Switch Lesbians: The hinted infatuation between the two Nanas is practically thrown overboard as the series progresses.
  • Bathtub Bonding : Nana K and Nana O are seen bathing and discussing life. This also happens with Nana and Takumi, as well.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The members of Trapnest, such as Reira, and Ren are considered beauties, and the boys in BLAST are considered attractive as well.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Post break-up with Shoji, Hachi wishes that her next boyfriend is cold and distant so that it would hurt less when he inevitiably betrays her. Nana also wished that Hachi would soon get a boyfriend, one with long hair since Hachi prefers it. Enter Takumi.
  • Beta Couple: Junko and Kyosuke
  • Bilingual Bonus: For Japanese viewers in particular since both the lyrics of almost all of BLAST's and Trapnest's songs include English phrases
  • Bittersweet Ending: At least for the anime; the manga is on hiatus. Hachi eventually seems to break away from Takumi, and maintains a friendship with some of Blast. But ultimately the two Nanas part ways seemingly forever, something which Hachi is still devastated by.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Shin, particularly in early chapters. Though, there's a reason for this. He didn't live in Japan until his teens and was apparently brought up by a bilingual flight attendant.
  • Break the Cutie: One of the premier examples in shoujo manga.
  • Call-Forward: Very effectively inverted. Hachi as the narrator addresses a lot of questions on whether or not their future would've been different if Hachi had acted or reacted to something differently. This creates the sense that something BAD has happened in the future that has separated Hachi and Nana but since the audience doesn't know exactly what that is, even during happy episodes and chapters there's an ominous feeling permeating throughout the narrative.
  • Camp Straight: Nana originally thought Shin was gay, but it turns out he was always part of Camp Straight.
  • The Casanova: Takumi, who always seems to be juggling two or three girls at the same time.
  • Casting Couch: In a variation, Misato may be sleeping with the agency president for Blast's benefit. The series went on hiatus before it was confirmed.
  • Child Naming Request: Nana K asks Ren to name her child.
  • Cigaretteof Anxiety: Almost everyone smokes and almost everyone is going through emotional turmoil. These show up all the time.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Yuri isn't exactly amused by Mrs. Takumi Ichinose staying at the same dorm as Nobu and makes her feelings very clear.
    Yuri: Nice to meet you, ex-girlfriend. I'm the new girlfriend.
    • Nana O. has some of this with regard to Hachi early in the series.
  • Compete for the Maiden's Hand: Takumi and Nobu with Hachi
  • Country Mouse: Hachi comes from a small town. So does the other Nana, but she is not as "mousy" about it.
  • Darker and Edgier: This is a shoujo manga, not josei. But because all of the characters have realistic flaws and are constantly making poor choices because of those flaws, it can easily be mistaken for josei.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Little Ren.
  • Death by Irony: Ren. You'd think death by overdose (since he has a really bad addiction relapse by the later chapters), but it is in fact a car crash that does him in.
  • Debut Queue: The manga begins with A Day in the Limelight origin stories for both Nana and Hachi.
  • Distant Finale: It is pointed that there is one six years later, at the least. For the anime, the manga being on hiatus.
  • Domestic Abuser: Takumi to Hachi. Takumi attempts to manipulate and control Nana, and rapes her on two occasions.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Since becoming famous Ren has picked up a drug habit, implied heavily to be influenced by his loneliness at being apart from Nana. He struggles to stay clean with Nana back in the picture, but relapses when she focuses more on her music. The only ones that know are the other members of Trapnest.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The majority of the characters. For example, Nana O. was abandoned by her mother, and Takumi had an alcoholic father.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Misato.
  • Empathic Environment: There is rain and snow for fear and despair, sad clouded days, melancholic sun... almost everything to represent the characters feelings at the moment.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Nana O.'s fans are mostly girls, and they go all lovestruck all over her. Nana K. loves her too, and Misato.
  • Everybody Smokes: The vast majority of the cast. BLAST is even named after BlackStones, a real-life Swisher brand of cigarettes.
  • Expy:
    • Ren is one to Sid Vicious - whom he cites as an influence for himself. And Nana's appearance - at least in the Movie version - was stated by her actress to be based off of J-Rocker Shiina Ringo.
    • Most of the characters' designs seem to be either borrowed or updated versions of ones from Yazawa's older works. Ren looks quite similar to Takeshi from Neighborhood Story, save for Takeshi's red hair and eyebrow piercing, and also plays the guitar in a band. Takumi's design is particularly prevalent, though, having not only looking like an older version Tomoki from Kagen No Tsuki (and who also cheated on his girlfriend) but also Yuusuke from Neighborhood Story and to a lesser degree, Akira (with his hair down) from Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai.
  • Face Fault
  • Fangirl: Misato, who has binders of BLAST trivia.
  • The Fashionista: Both Nanas, although their tastes couldn't be more different.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: Happens twice. The first is when Shoji cheats on Nana which effectively ends the friend group of him, Nana, Kyousuke, and Junko. The second is when Hachi picks Takumi over Nobu, which basically removes her "Team Mom" role from BLAST.
  • Flash Forward: Beginning with volume 12, there are segments that take place in the distant future, where Nana and the former Black Stones members try to look for Nana.
  • Foil: What the entire show is premised on. Nana K. is an open, needy, dependent, selfish, immature woman who falls in love WAY too easily with men who don't always deserve it and has no real dream for herself other than to be happy with the one she loves. Nana O. is a fiercely independent, emotionally closed-off, mature-for-her-age woman who at times takes for granted the love she has from others and is willing to sacrifice and repress her own love for the sake of her dreams and ambition.
  • From Bad to Worse: Trapnest's agency and Takumi are against Ren deciding to check himself into rehab as the foreseeable scandal would mean the end of the band. Layla takes it upon herself to run away as a distraction, but Ren—being the selfless person he is—goes after her. He crashes from speeding on the snow-covered roads while trying to lose paparazzi following him. His death does not only affect Trapnest, but it becomes a catalyst towards Nana O.'s future disappearance and the end of Black Stones.
  • Genki Girl: Nana K. is considered by her roommate to be like a puppy for her energy and desire to please so she's nicknamed Hachi, as in Hachikō.
  • Gratuitous English: The grammar is good, but the pronunciation varies. In The Movie, Mika Nakashima (Nana) has a very thick accent. The anime series used one bilingual singer and one who isn't fluent in English but has a good accent. On the other hand, bad English would be in-character.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality / White-and-Grey Morality: There really are no true antagonists but a rather Slice of Life story with complex, human, and relatable characters.
  • Gyaru Girl: Nana K's sister Nami is "still a ganguro girl." She is tanned and open about sexual matters.
  • Horrible Hollywood: Well, horrible music world. Full of Yakuza who pick up runaways and get them into porn, and music company presidents who get guitarists into heroin.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Considering most of the male cast is near six feet or above... But mostly present in Shoji/Sachiko.
  • Humble Goal: Misato states that her purpose in life is being a BLAST groupie.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: Takumi's excuse for his constant philandering.
  • Instant Bandages
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: A tragic double case of this.
  • Identical Stranger: Shin's "guardian" Ryoko looks a fair bit like Reira at first glance, and one of Takumi's many liaisons involves an actress with a passing resemblance to her as well. Hachi herself points this out to him once while watching a popular drama she's on— of course, completely oblivious to the fact that they'd just slept with each other. He understandably gets squicked and flat out denies it.
  • Jerkass: Takumi. He tends to flip between this and Jerk with a Heart of Gold. But mostly when it comes to Hachi's pregnancy. ... Most of the time, anyway.
  • Karma Houdini: Takumi never gets the smack-down he so much deserves.
  • Kiss of Life: In the case of Nana's panic attacks — once from Ren and another later from Hachi.
  • Lady in Red:
    • In the manga, Shin and Reira have a joint birthday party, bringing together all of the major players, and Hachiko finally sees Nobu with sensual porn-star Yuri and begins to speculate on their relationship.
      Hachi: I wonder... who that girl was. You don't see anyone around here wearing a red dress anymore.
    • Nana O. also bought herself a red dress when her grandmother passed away, largely because her grandmother forbade her from wearing red to tempt men.
  • Loony Fan: Misato is very nice, but also very obsessed. One scene plays it for joking horror: she uses a utility knife to cut out a tabloid article about Nana and adds it to her collection while her TV runs a news story about a stalker taking pictures of someone for years and then murdering her. Misato turns it off and asks her framed photo of Nana about love and self-control.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Nana K. notes that she wants someone who will treasure her, but falls in love at first sight, despite the man's inner character.
  • Love Hurts: Both Nana K. and Nana O. suffer from fatally flawed relationships.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Averted. There are scenes with Ren in his coffin, scenes before the funeral and after the funeral but not really one single scene from the funeral itself.
  • Meaningful Name: The title of the series. It is named Nana because of the protagonists, Nana Komatsu and Nana Ohsaki, who start living together in the same apartment. And it gets down from there.
    • "Nana" is also "seven" in Japanese. Nana K. (Hachi) has a superstitious obsession with the number seven, believing that it brings bad luck. Two sevens in one place are particularly unlucky. And their apartment number is 707. Which makes it four sevens in the same place.
    • Taking that in consideration, chapter 77 is definitely a bad omen. Ren is killed in an automobile crash accident.
    • Hachi's nickname is also more meaningful than it first appears. The "seven and eight" and "she's like Nana O's dog" jokes are obvious, but the real symbolism only becomes clear much later in the story. Hachiko, the dog, is famous in Japan for waiting for his owner at the local train station for years after his owner passed away. In the timeskip sections of the story, Hachi waits for Nana O. to return to apartment 707 even when Nana O. is long believed to be dead.
  • The Mistress: Hachi, surprisingly, during her high school years. See also Takumi's stable of ladies.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Nana to Ren.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • An entire scene in episode 15 makes heavy references to the production of the show, and has minor cast members discussing when they get time off (during sweeps)... and worrying about the show being canceled if "Hachi" were to kill herself.
    • The manga is possibly even worse (or better, depending on your point of view) in this respect. The Nanas regularly ask the author to hurry up boring scenes, and at one point chastise her for overusing number seven-related symbolism.
    • "Junko's Bar", at the end of the volumes, is definitely built with no walls for both the readers, and the characters of the series (and other guests from Yazawa's other works), while serving as a space of promotion as well.
  • Noodle People: Almost everyone. More noticeable in the manga.
  • Odd Couple: Nana K. is a perky cheerful girl who falls in love at first sight. Nana O. is a quieter and cooler type.
  • Operation: Jealousy: It's heavily implied that this is why Reira started going out with Yasu in high school.
  • Opposites Attract: Despite being exact opposites right down to their family origins, the two Nanas seem to enjoy each other's differences.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Virtually all the drama and tension in the series is from characters being to proud or humiliated to actually clarify what's on their mind, and letting everyone's worst imaginations run wild.
  • Production Throwback: The volume extras have characters from Yazawa's older works, like Paradise Kiss and Tenshi Nanka Janai.
  • Red String of Fate
  • Smoking Is Cool: Everyone smokes, with exception of Hachi, Reira and Nobu.
  • Smug Snake: Takumi.
  • Secret Relationship: Takumi/Hachi and Shin/Reira.
  • Seven Is Nana: The whole premise.
  • Sex Changes Everything: For pretty much everyone.
  • Ship Sinking: While it is open about what could happen with Nobu and Hachi in the "present", especially concerning that she gets divorced from Takumi sometime in the six years period... it is definitely clear that Nana and Ren as a couple gets sunk... when he dies.
  • Significant Name Overlap: The story kicks off when two girls named Nana have a chance encounter and hits it off so well they become roommates. Nana Komatsu is nicknamed "Hachi" to tell her apart from Nana Osaki. Having their given names the same makes their differences more obvious.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Under all the emotional hardships and depressing elements of both the series and the manga is a heartfelt, realistic, relevant, and hopeful message of "as long as we are alive something good will happen"
  • Snow Means Death
  • Special Edition Title
  • Sprouting Ears: Nana K. is often shown with dog ears and the dog comparison is discussed among the characters. It's part of the origin behind her nickname "Hachi". Nana O. is also sometimes seen with cat ears.
  • Stalker Shrine: Misato has a framed photo of Nana and bookshelves full of organized BLAST material.
  • Stepford Smiler: Almost the entire cast, though particularly Hachi, Reira, Shin and Misato.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Yasu.
  • Team Mom: Hachi, who is usually the childish one in most of her relationships, is actually quite motherly towards the members of Blast (with the exception of Yasu, who is this type of character himself), even before she finds out she's pregnant. Afterwards, it only increases especially in regard to her taking care of Nana after Ren's death in the current story arc. Shin even starts referring to her as "his mother".
  • Those Two Guys: In-universe, Takumi mentions that most people only know him and Naoki as "the long haired guy and the blond guy".
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Nana Osaki is the tomboy, Nana Komatsu is the girly-girl.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Yasu dealing with the paparazzi and the media circus around Nana O. and Ren's relationship in episode 39 of the anime. Twice.
    "Instead of looking in other people's gardens, make sure your own flowers bloom". (Badass Walk)
  • Truth in Television: Marijuana and other hard drugs are banned in Japan, with Japanese law enforcements take violations seriously to the point that being caught with marijuana is enough to get you to kiss your career goodbye. In later parts of the manga, Shin gets arrested after he and his pimp get caught with marijuana, which causes Black Stones to cancel their first tour. However, it becomes a Subverted Trope when in chapter 66, the distant future shows that Shin is now a successful actor, though Yasu does mention he should be grateful that he was even able to make a Career Resurrection at all. Another instance of this happening is when, shortly after Ren dies, Takumi and Yasu speculate if it was due to drug use. Takumi begins to become concerned about how this would affect Ren legally until Yasu mentions that the police will do nothing about it as Ren is dead.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Pretty much everybody, but especially Hachi. Justified, since the author originally went to school for fashion design before becoming a mangaka.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Reira, who unfortunately suffers from a lot of UST because of it.
  • Wham Episode:
    • When it is revealed that Hachi got pregnant. And that she is unsure who the father is: it was either Nobu or Takumi, and neither takes the news well.
    • The flash forward chapters are whole built into this. The first flash forward chapter reveals that Hachi had a cute little girl named Satsuki, but the WHAM happens many chapters later when it is revealed that she has an older brother, named Ren.
    • When it is discovered that while Nana's mom abandoned her, she formed a new family, and Misato, her number one fan, is not who she is supposed to be, taking the name of Nana's real half-sister.
    • In another flash forward chapter, Hachi finds out that Nana is still alive and well, and her whereabouts are rumoured to be in Europe.
    • Ren's death in chapter 77. Partly drugged, followed by paparazzi, he took a wrong turn (by a distraction) and crashes. The real sad thing of this? It happened on Nana O.'s birthday.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Hachi's pregnancy in the current storyline—nobody's sure if little Ren is (biologically) Takumi's or Nobu's.
  • Yoko Oh No: This is how the Trapnest fans see Nana O. when it is openly reported that Ren was not only in Black Stones, but also her boyfriend. Especially when BLAST gets known in the music media, the fans thought that Nana was only using Ren as a "ladder" to success. It doesn't end good for either her career or herself.