10 Books/Manga Like Nana
Nana is a deep and emotional work with an emphasis on drama, fashion, and music. In it, we follow the relationship between two girls named Nana and witness how they’ll overcome many hurdles to accomplish their respective goals. This manga went on to claim many awards. Its mangaka Ai Yazawa was praised for having a strong understanding of the three elements mentioned above. On top of having a fabulous art style that brings the world to life, it’s essential for shojo manga enthusiasts to read this story.
If you’re in the mood for more drama, music, or fashion-oriented books/manga that offer a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 10 books/manga to check out when you’ve caught up with Nana. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!
Paradise Kiss – Ai Yazawa
Similarities – Drama, Romance, Art Style
Nana isn’t the only work from Ai Yazawa fans will adore. Paradise Kiss is an equally enjoyable work that’ll remind folks of modern soap operas. With its visually appealing art style, fun characters, and engaging plot, you’re in for a swell time with this one. In it, we follow Yukari, a woman who bumps into a purple-haired heroine and faints.
Yukari awakens in a strange place and learns the people who inhabit it are fashion designers. After being coerced by its head designer to become their model, we examine Yukari’s life with the people here. Like the Nanas from Nana, Yukari faces multiple challenges, makes difficult choices, and develops significantly throughout this tale.
Like Nana, Ai Yazawa excels at giving readers deep relationships to observe in Paradise Kiss. The fashion group members form intense bonds with each other in this tale. The relationship Yukari forms with George is filled with passion and turmoil. You’ll enjoy seeing these two experience the highs and lows of companionship as they strive toward their dreams.
Hence, if you love Nana, you’ll adore Paradise Kiss.
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad – Harold Sakuishi
Similarities – Music & Drama
Another fantastic music series worth checking out is Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad. This tale centers around Koyuki, a boy who seeks purpose in life. After meeting an emerging guitarist named Ray, Koyuki develops a passion for guitar playing. They form the band BECK and hope to become the best band of all time.
Like Nana, Beck focuses on the growth of their lead figures throughout their music-themed journeys. While traveling with BECK, Koyuki develops excellent guitar skills and learns to cope with the ups and downs of his career with them. This mirrors the individual challenges and sacrifices the Nana’s experience and make in their series.
On top of having intense drama and highlighting the importance of friendship, Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad is a music series that’s worth your time.
Solanin – Inio Asano
Similarities – Drama, Music, Slice-of-Life
Inio Asano is known for creating soul-draining works that are grounded at their core. Solanin is a music-themed tale that contains fantastic characters and a well-written narrative. Like Yazawa, Asano excels at portraying his female protagonists’ journey toward self-discovery and independence.
Solanin’s lead character, Meiko, questions her life choices and feels trapped by society’s expectations. She’ll leave her office lady position behind to pursue music, which is something many folks can relate to. This theme of self-discovery and pursuing one’s dream occurs in Nana too. Both Nana’s must navigate through their intricate bonds, careers, and personal aspirations. During this time, they’ll attain significant growth and enough courage to break free from society’s norms.
If you’re looking for another series that highlights the highs and lows some young adults face, Solanin is a great alternative.
Given – Natsuki Kizu
Similarities – Romance, Music, Slice-of-Life
Given is a fantastic music manga with beautiful storytelling, enjoyable characters, and great critiques of the music industry. The story’s about Ritsuka, a boy bored with all things in life. However, when Ritsuka meets a talented singer named Mafuyu, his life takes a dramatic turn for the better. Nana and Given shine in their exploration of love, music, and human relationships.
Natsuki Kizu excels at depicting his characters’ deep emotional connection through music. Ristuka and the others find solace in expressing themselves through the music they create. Lika Yazawa’s work, you’ll love how Kizu showcases how music can bring people together and assist them in conquering life’s difficult hurdles.
On top of giving her characters personal traumas and goals, Given is a phenomenal music series that’ll keep you invested.
Neighborhood Story – Ai Yazawa
Similarities – Drama, Slice-of-Life, Romance
Neighborhood Story is another fantastic read from Yazawa. This story, like Nana, explores youth, love, friendship, and the challenges young adults face as they strive to complete their life goals. In Neighborhood Story, we examine Yuta, Takemoto, Hagumi, Ayumi, and Mayama as they grapple with their own dreams, aspirations, and problems with adulthood.
Yazawa spends time highlighting their distinct insecurities and reactions toward life. This will remind folks of how Yazawa handles our lead characters’ journeys in Nana as they have their own set of issues to contend with. Both stories offer solid portrayals of romance and friendship. You’ll adore seeing the relationships in both tales blossom by their respective conclusions.
If you loved Nana for its well-written cast and heartfelt storytelling, Neighborhood Story is a story you don’t want to skip.
Sand Chronicles – Hinako Ashihara
Similarities – Romance, Drama, Slice-of-Life
Sand Chronicles is an award-winning shojo series many Nana fans should check out. It gives readers a solid portrayal of love and friendship and will leave them with an emotional tale they’ll never forget. In Sand Chronicles, we examine Anna Ueukusa’s life in rural Shimane. After suffering from personal dilemmas, she fled to this area with her mother and must grow accustomed to it all.
That said, Ann must overcome several trials pertaining to her adolescence and emotions. Like the protagonists in Nana, Ann experiences significant growth throughout Sand Chronicles, thanks to the bonds she forms and the people she interacts with in the tale. Another parallel between these stories is how their authors examine each protagonist’s set of connections and backgrounds.
Ann and other cast members suffer from severe personal traumas. Hinako Ashihara fabulously shows how these emotional scars affect their decisions and perceptions in life.
If you’re looking for another emotional work with a stellar cast and realistic portrayal of life, check out Sand Chronicles.
We Were There – Yuuki Obata
Similarities – Slice-of-Life, Romance, Drama
We Were There is a solid manga that features a realistic and heart-wrenching take on love. in it, the protagonist Nanami Takahashi, finds herself entangled in a love triangle between Yano and Takeuchi. This love triangle intensifies the series’s storytelling and will remind folks of the love triangles portrayed in Yazawa’s work.
Fans will love Yuuki Obata’s deep dive into the joys and heartbreak one will experience during their pursuit of a significant other. On that note, We Were There explores themes of loss and grief like Nana. Yano grappled with the tragedy of losing his previous girlfriend Nana Yamato and this echoes the pain Nana Osaki deals with regarding her prior past relationships.
With its exploration of love triangles and the impact one’s past can have on someone’s growth, We Were There is a great option for Nana fans to check out.
Skip Beat – Yoshiki Nakamura
Similarities – Characters & Romance
Skip Beat is another fun romance series with a great stance on the entertainment industry. In it, we follow Kyoko, a girl fueled by revenge who enters the entertainment world to become a successful actress. She hopes to outstage her former companion for the harsh words he shared toward her during a secret conversation.
Yoshiki Nakamura fabulously delves into the challenges, sacrifices, and growth Kyoko experiences during her endeavor. Like Nana, Kyoko learns to overcome her weaknesses and embrace her true self. She’ll endure heartbreak, betrayal, and setbacks, but will emerge stronger and wiser than she appears at Skip Beat’s start.
Despite her disdain for her former companion, Kyoko forms solid relationships with other cast members in the manga. These individuals will provide her with the motivation she needs to continue moving forward.
While this series focuses more on acting instead of music and fashion like Nana, it’s another great work Nana fans shouldn’t write off.
A Devil and Her Love Song – Miyoshi Toumori
Similarities – Music, Drama, Slice-of-Life
A Devil and Her Love Song delivers a solid tale about its female lead’s struggles with fitting in and forming connections with her classmates. It’s another work that excellently explores themes of acceptance, and forgiveness, and indicates how friendship can lead one down a brighter path. Another parallel between these manga is how they use the music industry as a backdrop for their storytelling.
In A Devil and Her Love Song, our lead character, Maria, has a beautiful singing voice. Her voice provides her with the tools she needs to get people’s attention, for better and worse. Similarly, Nana highlights how music guides its Nana-named duo toward interesting paths.
With its emotionally resonant storytelling, reflections on love and friendship, and examination of one’s pursuit of their dreams, A Devil and Her Love Song is a manga you should read after Nana.
Honey and Clover – Chica Umino
Similarities – Slice-of-Life & Drama
If you need a series that’ll make you laugh, cry, or reflect on your life (so far), Honey and Clover should suffice. It offers a gripping and emotional narrative about love, self-discovery, and pursuing one’s goals. In it, we examine a group of art school students as they struggle to steer through the intricacies surrounding their relationships.
The story delves into ideas such as unrequited love and friendship, much like Yazawa does in Nana. You’ll appreciate Chica Umino taking the time to highlight the ups and downs of her cast’s connections. Like Yakzawa, Umino spends time examining the issues that plague her characters’ minds, and the ways they persevere through these issues come off as genuine and not farfetched.
For fans of slice-of-life and drama, Honey and Clover shouldn’t disappoint.
So there we have it, our 10 books/manga to read after you’re caught up with Nana.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!