An everyday story of leftwing folk

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Nana and the tsunami

We're booked to go to Japan at Easter. So, as you can imagine, I'm following events there with great interest. If the Foreign Office changes its advice, we certainly intend to go.

I know it's a bit off of me, but there's a place in the back of my mind where I've been worrying about the fate of the characters in the manga 'Nana'.

Nana Osaki and most of the members of the two bands Blast and Trapnest hail from a coastal town in the northern part of Japan. Or at least a part where it regularly snows in March. So I feel it was certainly hit by this month's tsunami.

Nana will have just celebrated her 30th birthday and it's 10 years since she left for Tokyo to pursue her singing career. So there's a kind of excuse for them to be in their hometown about now.

I'm sure Ai Yazawa has thought of this as she recovers from her illness. That there is now an option where all the main characters are wiped out in a single catastrophe. I've got a catastrophic ending to Policy Police that I know I can fall back on if all else fails. A kind of nuclear option. But, as our leaders used to say in the cold war, the point of such an option is not using it.

The tsunami also offers other options. It is also a story of survival. That "life is about getting knocked down over and over, but still getting up each time," as Nana once said to Hachi. Losing things that were "always there" can focus our minds on them even more sharply. If Ren's warehouse apartment is destroyed, will it help Nana finally get over his death? If the Terashima Hotel is washed away, will it force Nobu to make an active decision about the family business? These events may even offer an opportunity for Takumi to redeem his past bad behaviour.

Just goes to show that despite the extended hiatus in the Nana story, and the vast amount of writing and drawing that would fill the gap until the present day, these comic-book characters live for me in a kind of parallel-universe Japan.

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