Manga Monday – Strawberries, Punk and Love

Published on April 13th, 2009

So spring is creeping upon us and with it comes sunshine, the birds and the bees and all that ‘love is in the air crap’, so what better way to kick off this weeks Manga Monday with than a true romance Shojo manga.

This particular manga is one of my favourites and one I digest also most instantly from release. Before you roll your eyes and ignore this entire post, this manga is so popular it has two live action films based off it, an anime series and has sold over 22million copies world wide. Now while this is a romance manga don’t be expecting anything too Disney. This entire series is powerful, emotional and above all bold. It doesn’t have a prince charming or a fairy tale romance. It shows the realities, the unpredictable nature and the absolute heart aches even true love can bring (and if you are wondering, yes I do cry every time I read it).

Welcome to the power, passion and punk rock of Nana.


The manga follows the stories of two girls who both meet on the train to Tokyo, both called Nana. One is innocence andcuteness and moving to Tokyo to be with her boyfriend only to find out he has been seeing someone else. The other is moving to Tokyo is forget her biggest love and try to make it big in her rock band. It’s hard to really describe the plot of Nana without giving too much away and to be quite honest, spoiling it. If you have ever been in love, been hurt by love or had unrequited love you WILL be able to deeply relate to this book and it will defiantly set something stirring within you (give it the chance!).

Nana is written by Ai Yazawa and her art style, use of imagery and language are used in such a way that I think only Ai could have created Nana. Unlike the past mangas I have shown you, Ai’s artwork it typical of Shojo mangas (characters are portrayed as tall, elegant and never over sexualised) and the detail is superb, right down to nana’s distinct Japanese punk rock style.

The book has an adult rating as passion and sexuality go hand in hand and just because there it’s a romance doesn’t mean the book is without drama or humour. Writing Nana off because it’s a Shojo is a big mistake because it really does deliver on so many levels. It’s a manga you appreciate for its artwork, appreciate for its story and then hate because you are the idiot who read it on the bus home and ended up bawling their eyes out publicly.

Hollie ‘pheonix’ Bennett