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I Won't Let You Suffer... - A Takumi/Hachi Manifesto

Title: I Won't Let You Suffer
Author: Raine/RR/Renegade Raine/Sarah. Choose which ever one you'd like. :D [renegade_raine]
E-mail: renegaderaine@hotmail.com
Fandom: NANA
Pairing: Takumi Ichinose and Nana "Hachi" Komatsu
Spoilers: I've detailed the relationship pretty well, through chapter 64. Some speculation on 66. :\
Special Thanks: To my little sis for letting me use her Imageshack to upload the crapload of images used in this manifesto, as Photobucket won't work for me. >.<
Notes: Yeah, this is a couple of days early, but my mom is a computer hog, and I never know when she's going to strike. Also, I went way over the word limit in one section. I got carried away and didn't have the heart to cut any of it out. ^_^;

Last updated: 4/21/2007





Introduction

NANA, by Ai Yazawa, is a story that chronicles the struggles of two girls who share the same first name of Nana. Nana Oosaki is a talented singer, who wishes that her punk band, BLAST, will make it big in Japan after her boyfriend leaves her (and her band) to go join another band, Trapnest, in Tokyo. Nana Komatsu (who later becomes known as Hachi) is a dramatically different woman, who has the simple dream of getting married and starting a happy family. She eventually leaves so that she may join Shoji (her boyfriend at the time), who also left to Tokyo to attend college.

So when both Nanas go on the train to Tokyo, the two meet. Nana Komatsu pretty much talks about herself the whole time to the other Nana, and later regrets not asking her any questions about her own life. But she didn’t have to dwell on it too long, as she met her again while apartment hunting in Tokyo. Both fall in love with the same apartment, but initially, they both refuse to give up the apartment. One of the realtors then suggests that they move in together, as the rent would be hella cheap. With that, the two Nanas agreed, which started a deep friendship bond between them.

The story may sound simple, but I’ll assure you that it’s actually quite complex. Originally, I was only into shonen (boy’s) comics, but this is the manga that opened my eyes to just how good shoujo (girl’s) comics can really be. Ai Yazawa is now one of my heroes, as the way she creates her characters is incredible. Not one character of hers is a complete goody-two-shoes or a complete douche bag, which makes for very realistic characters. As a somewhat of a tomboy, I usually scoff at romance in manga, because it’s almost always very cliché. However, Yazawa has a way of crafting relationships that is both interesting as well as realistic. The relationship of Takumi Ichinose and Nana “Hachi” Komatsu, however, has really drawn my attention, as it’s not only angst-ridden, but also very beautiful in my eyes.

Even if the couple is very much canon right now, it’s shocking to me on how so many people really hate the couple. Every time I have brought up the fact that I support the pair, every person who supports the pair of Nobu and Hachi pretty much regard me as the second coming of the anti-Christ. Often, people throw accusations on how Nobu is the better man, about how Takumi is a bastard, or how Hachi doesn’t know what’s good for her. So in this manifesto, I will show exactly why I disagree with all three points, as well as detail why I love the pairing of Takumi and Hachi very, very much.



Takumi Ichinose

Anyone in the NANA fandom should have realized by now that this guy is by far the most hated character in the entire series. And despite supporting the couple of Takumi and Hachi for a very long time, I agreed that Takumi was pretty much a bastard. However, after I sped-read through the entire manga again, I realized that Takumi really isn’t anywhere near as bad as approximately eighty percent of people make him out to be. In fact, he’s recently become my favorite character in the series, as I see his character to be the by far most complicated and interesting.

In Naoki’s Story, a bit of Takumi’s past is revealed. From an early age, most students feared him, as he was known for getting angry…and hitting people with baseball bats. Eventually though, he decided to start up a music club and managed to persuade enough people to join it. According to Naoki, Takumi then stopped hitting people and instead focused on playing the bass. That, however, doesn’t stop Takumi from having a bit of fun. Naoki also noted that every time he saw Takumi, he’d have a different girlfriend. Old habits apparently die hard.

However, it’s eventually revealed that home life for Takumi wasn’t exactly a bowl of cherries. His mother was very sick, and constantly stayed in a hospital. Takumi’s father didn’t want to deal with the responsibility of taking care of her, so he became an alcoholic. On top of that, his sister got knocked up, and married the father of the child, whom Takumi apparently beat up. When his mother dies though, however, Takumi takes complete responsibility to take care of her funeral, showing that even though he had a temper and had womanizing tendencies, he knew how to be responsible and mature at the right times.

Despite all the family drama though, Takumi continues to pursue a music career with his band, Trapnest, which consisted of singer Reira, drummer Naoki, and a couple of other members that didn’t stay too long because they disagreed with Takumi’s way of running things. Later on, Takumi decides to move the band to Tokyo, so that they had a bigger chance of success. Around this time, he manages to convince Yasu (Blast’s drummer), who convinces Ren to join Trapnest as their guitarist, leading to a tearful goodbye between Ren and Nana Oosaki, but this ain’t a Ren/Nana manifesto. According to Naoki, the band was an instant hit in Tokyo, with their album selling over a million copies.

As far as personality goes, Takumi himself makes it very clear that business occupies “90%” of his mind. He really seems like an emotionless person on the outside, but from what I’ve seen, I believe that in his head, he’s still trying to recover from his childhood, which has forced him to give a tough exterior.

Despite popular opinion that Takumi is either abusive, uncaring, jealous, controlling, egotistical, possessive, and/or a bastard, there really isn’t a whole lot of evidence to back that up. From my speed-reading, I found maybe a couple hints of jealousy, very minor bits of egotistical behavior, one case of being possessive, and exactly two cases of being a complete bastard. However, nothing that I read in the manga supports the claim that Takumi is abusive, uncaring, or controlling. I just merely think that Takumi’s character is sorely misunderstood. It’s true that he said/did some really bad things, but by the expressions on his face and his reaction afterwards, in most cases I don’t think he realized just how cold he seemed. He just merely either misread a person’s expression or he went way too far when telling the truth. So therefore, there’s a discovery I made from re-reading the manga: when it comes to certain situations, Takumi lacks tact. REALLY lacks tact.
Does this make him a bad person? I certainly hope not. But yet, the majority of NANA fans see him as some sort of evil villain, when really, he’s not. The only real bad thing I see about his character is that he’s still a womanizer. However, he’s done so many good things through out the manga, the general opinion of him still really puzzles me. Hopefully, once you read through the rest of the manifesto, you’ll agree with my opinion that Takumi really isn’t that bad of a bad guy. Just very misunderstood.



Nana Komatsu

Nana, or Hachi as she’s commonly called, is a woman I can’t help but love, as she really reminds me of someone that I know. She grew up in a happy and loving family, but has more than enough of her share of problems. To say that she’s misguided in love would be a huge understatement. During high school, it appears that she didn’t have any sort of romantic relationship with anyone (although she had lots of crushes) until she met a guy in a movie theater. The problem? He was in his twenties, was already married, and their relationship pretty much consisted of having sex in a motel or the back of his car. She was devastated when he broke things off with her for a long time, but she eventually got over it. Her next relationship was with Shoji, who she originally only wanted to be friends with, but it eventually led to more. However, even though she moved to Tokyo for him, Hachi started to spend more time with the other Nana (whom gave her the nickname of Hachi, as she reminded her of a dog) than with Shoji, so he eventually cheated on her with another woman, which led to a fairly messy break up.

As far as personality goes, Hachi is very realistic as far as manga characters go. She’s very kind to pretty much everybody she comes across, very outgoing, and has all the qualities of a perfect housewife (cleans, cooks, huge maternal instinct). However, her two worst traits are that she’s very dependent on other people, and can sometimes be selfish. It’s obvious that she usually means well, but often times her needs cause her to be blind of other people’s needs, which creates problems.

The most interesting part of her character is that she’s somebody who comes off so innocent and sweet at first, but she does not fit into that cliché at all. She’s very needy and constantly needs attention, which was why she initially turned to Takumi. She does not deal well with poverty, and prefers to be spoiled. The beautiful part is that she knows her shortcomings, and wants to change. Even if she’s still a little spoiled now, it’s been nice to see her evolve to somebody a little more independent. And despite her shortcomings, Hachi (in my opinion) has developed the most complex and beautiful relationships with the people around her. Most notably with Nana, Shin, Nobu, and of course, Takumi.

Things to know before reading the next section

1. It’s long. REALLY, REALLY long. We're talking about 8,000 words.
2. I will show some manga pages for reference, and if you’re not a manga reader, just know to read the quotes right to left. In other words, read it backwards. XD
3. Although I attack some common arguments against the pairing of Takumi/Hachi and for the pairing of Nobu/Hachi, I REALLY don’t mean any offense to any Nobu/Hachi shippers in attendance. Let’s be friends, okay? ^_-;
4. I have covered every chapter that has been scanlated, so there’s SPOILERS AHOY! However, I have marked each section by volume, so you can read to however far you wish to go.
5. I have listed the moments by chronological order in the NANAverse, so for example, the flashbacks regarding the future for Takumi/Hachi will be toward the end of this section.
6. From here on out, I'll be referring to Nana Komatsu as Hachi, to prevent confusion from the other Nana in the story.
7. There's a lot of pictures (as I find the "Let the pictures explain themselves" to be the best tactic), so I apologize to any dial-up users ahead of time. ^_^;

CLICK HERE!

Why I Like the Pairing and Why You Should Too!

Even if this isn’t my ultimate favorite OTP in the universe (that title belongs to both Sasuke/Sakura of Naruto and Renji/Rukia in Bleach), this is still my number one favorite CANON pairing. Who the hell knew that something so beautiful and complex could evolve from what was originally intended to be a one-night stand?

Even if the couple started in less than healthy terms and have gone through huge problems, they always seem to work through it. Also, I think the two have made each other stronger. Ever since they moved in together, Hachi has seemingly softened Takumi’s exterior, even if just by a little. And in turn, Hachi is seemingly way more confident and independent, and even if I’m sure Nana had some part to do with it, I like to think that Takumi also had a part in her evolution.

The real reason I really love this pairing though is because Takumi is not a perfect person, Hachi is not a perfect person, and the relationship is far from perfect. You rarely see any couple that goes through as many problems as they have in any other form of media, but yet, their love seemingly always prevails and they work through their problems. Let me tell you, it’s extremely refreshing to actually see a couple go through some sort of angst and strife. It might sound horrible, but I am so sick of seeing cutesy relationships that contain absolutely no problems, that I could scream. That’s not realistic! However, the relationship between Takumi and Hachi seems so real to me that even though they’re only drawings, the way Ai Yazawa made these characters together just absolutely makes my heart go out to them.

Unfortunately, with the latest chapter (66), it looks like the couple's chances of lasting aren't anywhere near to where I thought it was. The future part was confusing, to say the least, but the second to last page is discouraging.

Ah well, even if the couple does not last, at least it was fun while it did. T_T

Fandom

Unfortunately, NANA is just starting to become popular in the US, so there isn't any fanfiction or fanart I can point anyone to. And even worse, the few fans there are mostly ship Nobu/Hachi or Ren/Nana. However, here are a few sites that might help out.

blackstones - A general NANA site that seems to be pretty active.
nana_fans - Another general, but active, NANA site.
Takoyaki's NANA Yahoo Group - This is the place you REALLY want to know if you're a NANA fan, as all scanlated chapters go here.
Another good site to know - You can download chapters here as well and use torrents to get the live movie and/or the anime.
Complicated - The fanlisting for Takumi/Hachi, if you're into those sort of things (which I'm not ^_^;).

Tags: #manga/comic, nana
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