Last year, I was going through some up and downs. Some of the downs had to do with love. I stayed home a lot because I was in a crappy mood and didn’t want to be crappy around my friends. Also, I just wanted to be alone a lot. Being a bum in my house was literally on my schedule. So what did I do? I turned to anime. Lots and lots of anime.
Anime was doing a great job distracting me from being sad. Despite being a fan of many geeky mediums, anime is what I turn to when I’m sad and need some cheering up. Then Nana came along and messed everything up. I thought it was going to be a cute, harmless little shōjo/josei anime, but by the time I got to episode 5 I felt like I was looking in a mirror. So much for a distraction, right? I became completely consumed with Nana after I started reading the manga. I began playing that, “Just one more chapter!” game, and before I realized, it was 3am.
Interestingly enough, I continued to obsess about Nana even though reading it made me sad. I turned to anime for temporary happiness, but I clung to the one that did just the opposite. I saw Nana and Hachi go through the same experiences I’ve been through, and because of that, I couldn’t look away. I hoped that in the end, they would live happily ever after, which would mean I would live happily ever after. But the manga is incomplete. The author, Ai Yazawa, became sick and wasn’t able to finish the story… my story. But I think in the end that was the point.
What I got out of my Nana experience was that regardless of how different everyone’s experience is with relationships, love and heartbreak, there are universal themes and truths we all go through. The manga forced me face my feelings of sadness in a space I normally associated with happiness. Nana was unfinished, but I imagined a happy ending for the characters… Because that’s what I deserve.