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The Japanese Odd Couple

One of my absolute favorite comics right now, without a doubt? NANA, a modern day “odd couple” story starring two Japanese women by Ai Yazawa. And now, the movie is going to hit North America in early 2008.

It’s a simple premise; Nana Komatsu is a young, innocent girl from the country who falls in love a the drop of a hat, while Nana Osaki is a punk rocker who’s tough enough to face the world around her and real-world savvy. When the two meet on a train heading to Tokyo (where both are moving), they end up sharing an apartment together, despite the two being radically different kinds of people. And as you can imagine, the two both have conflict with each other as well as grow to enjoy each other’s presence.

Like I said, a simple premise, but honestly it’s one of the best comics out there. Yazawa’s art is gorgeous, and the storytelling is so alive and interesting that it transcends its basic ideas and continually feels fresh and exciting. Each time a new volume is released, it’s promptly devoured at my home because I can’t wait to see just what happens next. So the idea of the live-action movie being released in English? Well, I’m over the moon.

Even better, NANA was a big hit in Japan, which makes me think (and hope) that it’s great. You know, I think I’d even settle for merely “good” because I’m so excited about the idea of people unfamiliar with the comic reading it, wanting to find out more, and then picking up volumes of the manga and also falling in love with Yazawa’s stories. With an actual theatrical release for the NANA movie, well, anything’s possible.

And what’s that? There was a sequel movie, NANA 2? The excitement is getting to be too much… I think I’m going to just sit down and fan myself with a copy of NANA until I can compose myself again. So much good stuff on the horizon!

VIZ PICTURES LICENSES FOUR LIVE ACTION FILMS BASED ON POPULAR SHOJO BEAT MANGA TITLES

HONEY AND CLOVER, LOVE*COM THE MOVIE, NANA And NANA 2 To Be Released Domestically

San Francisco, CA, November 1, 2007 – VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ Media LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, has licensed the live action versions of four films based on popular shôjo manga titles released under VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT imprint. These include HONEY AND CLOVER, LOVE*COM THE MOVIE, NANA and NANA 2.

HONEY AND CLOVER will be released theatrically in select cities beginning in December. LOVE*COM THE MOVIE will be released straight to DVD in February 2008 and distributed by VIZ Media. NANA will be released theatrically in early 2008 and NANA 2 will have a theatrical release in the spring of 2008. HONEY AND CLOVER, LOVE*COM THE MOVIE and NANA will have special premiere screenings at the upcoming New York Anime Festival December 7-9, 2007.

HONEY AND CLOVER
Based on the bestselling shôjo manga by Chica Umino, HONEY AND CLOVER is a romantic comedy that focuses on five college students and the art school they attend. When talented painter Hagumi Hanamoto enrolls in the program, her presence and unique approach to art affects the entire school and her new friends. The plot thickens as Hagumi becomes embroiled in a complicated love triangle as she struggles to find her artistic voice. HONEY AND CLOVER showcases the journey that everyone must take to transform from adolescence into adulthood and the long and challenging road these five young people must navigate to balance the demands of school, work, and love. The English version of the HONEY AND CLOVER manga is currently serialized in VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT magazine. VIZ Media is set to publish the title as a self-contained manga in March 2008.

LOVE*COM THE MOVIE
Based on the bestselling comic by Aya Nakahara, LOVE*COM THE MOVIE is a high-school romantic comedy centering on two students. Risa Koizumi is the tallest girl in class, and the last thing she wants is the humiliation of standing next to Atsushi Ôtoni, the shortest guy. Fate and the whole school have other ideas, and the two find themselves cast as the unwilling stars of a bizarre romantic comedy duo. But as their friendship develops, so do Risa’s feelings toward Otani. The English version of the manga series is currently available under VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT imprint.

NANA, NANA 2
Based on the popular manga by Ai Yazawa, NANA and NANA 2 follow the adventures of two girls both named Nana. While they share the same name, they couldn’t be more different. Nana “Hachi” Komatsu hopes that moving to Tokyo will help her make a clean start and leave her capricious love life behind, while Nana Osaki, who arrives in the city at the same time, is a punk rock beauty who has plans to score big in the world of rock and roll. Although these two young women come from different backgrounds, they quickly become best friends. NANA performed well at the Japanese box office upon its release in 2006, grossing more than 4 billion yen and stayed in the Top 10 for several weeks. The English version of the manga is published under VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT imprint.

“We are very pleased to announced the forthcoming North American debuts of these four new films inspired by popular shôjo manga series,” says Seiji Horibuchi, President and CEO of VIZ Pictures. “These films demonstrate how unique stories can successfully make the leap from manga to animation to live action while each depiction remains true to the original story, the live action versions of these titles provide a whole new dimension that fans of all stripes will enjoy. We look forward to audiences discovering HONEY AND CLOVER, LOVE*COM, NANA and NANA 2.”

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