Anime, Live-Action Films & Manga

Anime and manga fans who love shojo have likely heard of Ai Yazawa, and if they've heard of Ai Yazawa, then they've heard about Nana. Nana is one of several popular series by the mangaka, and it's a beautifully crafted story about two friends pursuing their dreams.

With art that is simultaneously delicate yet lively, and incredibly stylish, Nana is a must-have for any shojo fan's collection. Even non-shojo fans will find that this series has effortless appeal with its enticing drama, romance, and more mature tone than other shojo staples. Here's how to get started with the critically praised series.

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The Plot of Nana

Nana follows the story of two twenty-something women with the same name, Nana Komatsu and Nana Osaki. Nana Komatsu is a small-town girl who decided to follow her boyfriend to Tokyo. She was hoping to live out the dream of big city living, full of excitement and surrounded by her boyfriend and friends. Nana Osaki fronted a popular punk rock band and decided to leave her hometown to live out her dream of rock and roll stardom.

Both women first met on their train ride to Tokyo, only to cross paths again at an apartment viewing. They decide to become roommates which begins their journey of friendship as they adjust to the realities of life in a big city.

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Where to Read the Nana Manga

Nana first ran in Shueisha's Cookie magazine from 2000 to 2009, when Ai Yazawa's health put the series on an indefinite hiatus. The manga also ran in Viz Media's now-defunct Shojo Beat magazine. Nana would also go on to win the Shogakukan Manga Award early into its publication. For years, the manga was out of print, and collected editions were incredibly hard to come by, with volumes selling for well beyond their original price. Thankfully, it's now a lot easier for fans to get their hands on.

Nana is distributed by Viz Media and is currently collected in 21 volumes. Readers can buy the digital manga on the Viz Media website, Google Play, and iBooks for $6.99. It is also available for $6.29 on Kindle and ComiXology, and $6.49 in Nook format at Barnes and Noble. Paperback editions of the manga can be purchased for $9.99 on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million. As of the date this feature was written, both Right Stuf Anime and were back-ordered and/or out of stock. They are priced at $7.99 and $9.19, respectively.

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Where to Watch the Nana Anime

Like the manga, finding box sets of the anime was very difficult, and often very expensive. Fans will be happy to know that the anime was re-licensed by Sentai Filmworks in January 2021 for high-definition digital and home releases. The NANA - Complete Collection Blu-ray set is available for pre-order, with its release set for Feb. 2, 2022. The set collects all 47 episodes of the anime and can be found Right Stuf Anime for $97.49, Amazon for $104.99, and Barnes and Noble for $149.99.

HIDIVE began streaming the anime in April 2021, with two episodes premiering weekly. Nana is available to stream in its entirety, subbed and dubbed in English.

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Where to Watch the Nana Live-Action Films

The popularity of the series led to two live-action film adaptations. The first film, Nana, was released in Japan in 2005. The sequel, Nana 2, was released the following year. The first live-action adaptation was well-received, but reception to the sequel suffered as a result of some actors not reprising their roles, including the actress who'd originally played Nana Komatsu. Neither film had full theatrical releases outside of Japan.

Unfortunately, the live-action films are hard to come by for fans looking to experience this version of Nana. Hopefully, in the same way, that Sentai and HIDIVE made the anime more readily available to audiences outside Japan, the live-action films will find a home on a streaming service or even a special home release.

Regardless of if the series continues, its legacy remains. Nana has crossover appeal for shojo and josei fans alike, with its poignant depiction of relationships and the chaotic nature of young adulthood. Nana is a treat for the eyes and heart, and it's easier than ever for audiences to follow the two Nana's on their Tokyo adventure.

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About The Author
Nicky Rodriguez (14 Articles Published)

Nicky is an Anime/Manga Features writer at CBR. She draws, flats, and colors comics and is currently chipping away at her webcomic, The Unlucky Ones and the Edge of Nowhere. She's illustrated the bilingual children's book, Con Papá/With Papá (2022). Nicky holds a BFA in animation and MFA in comics from California College of the Arts and you can follow her work on Instagram, @artofnickyrodriguez.

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