Mangaka of bestseller Nana, Gokinjo Monogartari (Neighbourhood Story), Paradise Kiss, Kagen na Tsuki, Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai (I’m Not An Angel)
There is a good comic rental/sale over my area – called ‘TienDi’..www.tenchicomics.com. This is like a heaven’s gift to manga addicts like myself.After a long drought, decided to do a manga takeaway with Gokinjo Monogartari & Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai Janai. These are her earlier works .
Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai
This was done from 1991 to 1994, with 8 volumes and is basically shoujo. Basically talks about a love triangle ‘ Akirax Midori, Akira x Hiroko, Midori x Ken etc. and how the relationship progresses. A simple storyline with quite raw artwork. Couldn’t adapt it in the beginning as I’m so used to her stylish looking characters. However, towards the last volume of this series, you can slowly notice that her artwork has evolved more and more ‘Paradise kiss’ like, which is good!
Gokinjo Monogartari A series from 1995- 1997 with 7 volumes. A slightly evolved artwork, compared to Tenshi Nanka Janai. This is funnier and has more drama. Totally love the way where there is a cross reference of characters. it’s like doing hide-and-seek, searching for the missing piece.
Especially if you are an Ai Yazawa fan, you will have no problem identifying characters from Tenshi Nanaka Ja Nai and Paradise Kiss. This is considered a prelude to Paradise Kiss, especially towards the last few chapters where the same characters become the main leads for Paradise Kiss.
In this manga, the fashion has really been great -it’s such an inspiration for my everyday wear! Every small detail is carefully looked into – the polka dot hairband, the chanel hairband, the glass platform shoes etc…I thought this is totally different from other mangakas, and you can tell that a lot of effort and thoughts have been put in the story. Now I’m wondering…. should I be getting the illustration book for this? With this, I think I have almost completed all her previous mangas. The Other Ai Yazawa’s works (in retrospective)
Last Quarter –
3 volumes, a mix of shoujo and supernatural. This is quite different from her usual works. The shoujo factor is there, but the way the story moves, makes you realise only much later that you are actually reading a supernatural story – I was kind of caught off-guard here. Story evolves about a high-school student Mizuki with a handsome young man, Adam, and her ex-boyfriend and four school children solving the mystery of Eve.
Paradise Kiss –
5 volumes, a mix of shoujo and fashion.
For those fashion wannabes, this is a great story, basically depicting the life a fashion designers (George and gang) and an up-coming model (Yukari, otherwise known as Caroline). For this manga, the artwork has already reached its best form – tip-top condition. Can practically swoon over the male characters drawn here.
Starting from this manga, you can see that the targetted audience has changed as well. It seems to be made for those young girls, who have grown up reading her Tenshi Nanka Janai and Gokinjo Monogartari, to growing gals. The contents are therefore much more serious and you can slowly notice the signs of bittersweet elements here, which is not seen in her previous manga.
Of course, this bittersweet element totally went full-blown, in her current and most popular manga-to-date Nana. This is still my current favourite at the moment – the number of heart-wrenching moments in this book, is beyond counting by the human hands. Guess this manga is totally targetted at young women, as the contents are mature and despite the funny moments here, the issues involved are much more complicated. Totally adores it.