NANA (2005) is a Japanese drama directed by Kentaro Otani. Screenplay by Kentaro Otani and Taeko Asano. Based on the popular manga by Ai Yazawa. Starring Mika Nakashima and Aoi Miyazaki. Released in the US on DVD by Viz Pictures.

Based on the popular manga by Ai Yazawa, NANA follows the adventures of two girls both named Nana. While they share the same name, they couldn’t be more different. Nana “Hachi” Komatsu follows her boyfriend to Tokyo in hopes of making a new start, while Nana Osaki, who arrives in the city at the same time, is a punk rock beauty who has the ambition to make it big in the world of rock and roll. Although these two young women come from different backgrounds, they quickly become best friends while chasing their happiness and dreams.

Girls, guns or zombies? Japanese girls and guitars!

Not rated. 114 minutes. Watch the trailer (without audio) here …

[Trailer no longer available. Bastards.]

In NANA, fictional rock star Nana Osaki is played by real-life Japanese pop star Mika Nakashma who recorded a handful of rock songs for the soundtrack, plus a handful more for the 2008 sequel NANA 2. The main theme from the first film, “Glamorous Sky”, was composed by L’Arc-en-Ciel singer Hyde (with lyrics by manga writer Ai Yazawa). Watch a short clip of Nakshima performing the song (here).

Nana Osaki’s band is Black Stones. Nana’s ex-boyfriend, Ren (Ryuhei Matsuda), plays guitar for mega-successful rock band Trapnest. Trapnest is fronted by Reira who is played by real-life (American-born) Japanese pop star Yuna Ito. Watch Ito perform Trapnest’s song “Endless Story” live in concert (here).

My thoughts… NANA is my favorite Japanese drama, and one of the best live-action manga adaptations ever, second only to Shusuke Kaneko‘s brilliant films, Death Note (2006) and Death Note: The Last Name (2008). NANA is all about friendship, love and rock ‘n’ roll! It’s a nearly perfect film – from the engaging story, to the heartfelt performances, to the awesome songs, to the sometimes heartbreaking original score (courtesy of Ueda Tadashi)! Watch NANA!! You’ll love it!

Read my original post on RCR (here).