series written by Yazawa Ai
and published by Ribon Mascot Comics
Cookie. The series concerns the exploits of two girls, both named Nana, both the same age.
In the first half of the first volume, we meet Komatsu Nana (her first name written in kanji). She has just graduated high school and is extremely naive. She's something of a kogyaru and she gets into a lot of trouble because of her naiveté, falling in love at the drop of a hat. We see in flashback throughout the first volume of the story her involvement in a sexual relationship with an older man during high school. After high school she goes to an art college, but all her friends and her new boyfriend are leaving for bigger chances at ritzy Tokyo art colleges. She wants to go too, but has to bide her time for a year.
In the second half of the first volume, we are introduced to Oosaki Nana (her first name written in katakana). This Nana is much more daring and punk rock than kanji-Nana. She wears crazy goth/punk fashion, sings in a rock band, and lives with the bassist of her band. They are desperately in love, but when he gets a break to join a band in Tokyo about to go major, he jumps on it. Nana stays behind, not wanting to waste away being domestic while her boyfriend is a rock star. But they promise to meet again in a year.
Thus, the story heads to Tokyo where the two Nanas eventually meet and start sharing at apartment. More summary would ruin the story, but it follows the exploits of the two main female characters, with love and rock music and life in Tokyo.
The art continues themes seen in other works by the same artist, such as her love of fashion. Everyone in the series seems to be long and lanky, with killer fashion sense. Even though the Nanas live in very different worlds, they are both terribly fashionable at all times. One gets the feeling that the artist loves using her characters as fashion experiments.
The series is currently very popular in Japan, with major advertising spreads on trains and billboards proceeding the release of each new chapter. As of this writing, eleven volumes have been released, as well as a fan book.
The author's other works have also been well received. The earlier Gokinjo monogatari was made into an anime series around 1995 and its predecessor, Paradise Kiss has been translated in the US. Another of her series, Kagen no tsuki is being made into a motion picture starring Hyde, the vocalist from L'Arc~en~Ciel, and is set to be released in August of 2004.