*Nana Book 10 — Recommended

Everyone’s getting over their hurt feelings and getting on with their lives. You can’t stay in a state of emotional intensity for long; it’s too tiring. Picking up the pieces, though, may require some work.

Nana Book 10 cover
Nana Book 10
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Nana’s still torn between her deep love for Ren and her jealousy of his band Trapnest’s success. Well, jealousy isn’t quite the right word; she doesn’t want to be them, she wants her own achievement instead. It’s more a rivalry.

Plus, she and Hachi haven’t worked out their misunderstandings over how they parted. And trying to remedy them lead to missed meetings that would be comical in another context.

The other characters find themselves similarly conflicted. Reira’s gotten a good night’s sleep after her emotional breakdown and is jumping back into the circuit of Trapnest publicity while pondering her feelings for Shin. His childhood also echoes in Hachi’s situation, and she wants his advice on how to make her case turn out differently.

It’s all complicated by tabloids looking for the next big story. If they can’t find it, they’ll make it, and the ties between Trapnest and Nana’s band Blast (short for Black Stones) are catnip to them. The resulting media circus shows Hachi the kind of person her fiance Takumi really is, as well as keeping apart people who need to be together.

It’s heart-breaking for the characters, but to the reader, immensely gripping. Everyone’s plans have to change through no fault of their own. It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to happen, plot-wise, given the careers involved, yet incredibly dramatic in shaking up all the relationships.

Feelings shouldn’t change just because new light shines on them, but the intensity of the press vultures warps everything. Except Yasu’s nobility — he’s still a bald knight protecting those he cares about. The increased pressure reminds everyone of what’s really important to them, but just being right or talented won’t protect them from the rumors and scandal or even their corporate bosses.

Every time I think this series is going to settle down, turning out more of the same (even if its level of consistency is being a great read by a talented creator), there’s something new and surprising happening. It’s intense and wonderful. (I previously talked about Book 9.)

Similar Posts: *Nana Book 8 — Recommended § *Nana Book 11 — Recommended § *Nana Book 21 — Best of 2010 § *Nana Books 12-14 — Recommended § Nana (Anime Uncut Box Set 1)

8 Comments

  1. I loved this volume of Nana! I was happy to finally see the focus return to Hachi and the moral dilemma she’s found herself in . . . and that she chose the path that in the past she probably wouldn’t have taken: deciding to work for her relationship instead of just sitting idly by while it derails. I was truly touched by her thoughts and actions and her interaction with Takumi who seems like such a villain at first . . . to realize that Hachi may be exactly what he needs. And that he may be what she needs as well.

    Hachi and Takumi are the story of so many lovers: thrown head-first into marriage because of pregnancy, hardly any familiarity with each other, and then the inevitable, “Do we want to make this work?” and learning to realize that relationships that dedication and effort, not just love and romance.

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful story. The part where Takumi wipes out his ex-English lover’s name on the window (because Reira is trying to distract him from Hachi while he’s on the phone with her and almost seems to WANT him to cheat her) and the part with the baby shoes. I cried at both scenes. Takumi has a soft side to him that only Hachi brings out. :)

    I know a lot of people got defensive over Hachi and Takumi’s story, but I find it personally relateable: not the pregnancy or being thrown into a relationship with somebody you hardly know bit, but the emotions of somebody who finds joy in standing beside someone who’s goals in life are higher are set ever skyward, who’s often completely oblivious and naive, but has the capacity to love and comfort those closest to them as well. It’s a strange dichotomy, and the kind of relationship that can actually be very rewarding . . . if you’re the kind of person who knows how (and wants to) handle it.

    Hopefully I didn’t mix anything in here from volume 11 btw . . . >_>; It’s been a while since I read them.

  2. Wow, what a great mini-review of an aspect I completely didn’t talk about! I love your analysis of Takumi, because you’re right about the elements that keep him from being a villain, that make him someone you still want to read about. He’s so straightforward about who he is and what he needs, that it’s almost a business deal, but that’s what he needs and he wants to be clear about it.

  3. Maybe it’s because my personal philosophy is what is keeping me from loving Takumi. He’s not a villian. Whatever his motivations are, he now has Hachi and the baby, and he steps up to the plate as best as his life allows him. I still think at this point, Hachi’s trying more then he is (like you said, very notable), but that’s just who he is, I guess.

    I might be too romantic, but to me, their love is not really love. There is more to love then romance, but sheer effort and circumstances bringing them together is hard for me to accept. IS THAT LOVE? Or is it just a deep bond that somehow transcends love altogether? Takumi and Hachi might be what each other needs, but they wouldn’t have chose each other otherwise, and that and the way their very relationship works make me dislike this pairing.

    You know what I would love? Hachi to find something to live for. I wanted someone like Nobu, who makes her the best she can be, and gives her the support she needs to love those around her and move forward. Takumi is merely supporting his dreams, and she has to hang on to him. Maybe there is a joy in loving others, but not someone like Takumi, who’s still not treating her as well (Maybe not in this volume, but I vaguely remember Hachi eluding to other women).

    It might just boil down the fact that I would never live this life. I can see how it might be rewarding. I know people who find it rewarding. But I would rather go out there and blaze my own path, and walk side-by-side, then support.

    I find him so fascinating… And yet I can’t endorse him. Maybe I haven’t been through enough to become “cynical” yet. I still find myself unable to take Isettling for love, and building such an unconditional, forced, almost one-sided love, even if both are content as of now. Maybe I just can’t take so much realism… I can’t imagine Hachi forever loving this one-sided relationship, especially if she keeps growing as a young woman and Takumi keeps going the way he is. But they’re sort of stuck with each other, no matter how bitter their relationship are… Further fueling my dislike. *sigh*

    And sorry for hijacking your review, Joanna. I just really wanted to reply. Sorry.

  4. Not at all — I love seeing this kind of analysis!

    And you reminded me of how Takumi sees Hachi in this volume. She calls to apologize for saying something to him, and when he thinks back, he doesn’t remember what it was. All he sees in his memory is her as a yappy dog bothering him while he’s on the phone. Very self-centered, he is.

    I wouldn’t call their relationship one-sided, though. Each is getting what they need right now from the other. The question is whether that is, or should be, sufficient.

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