Nana to Kaoru: Black Label series begins 8 months in the future of the parent version, with Nana and Kaoru in the summer of their final year of high school.
Nana is a normal teenage girl in her last year of high school getting ready for college admissions tests during her summer vacation, with the exception of one thing: She takes "breathers" with her childhood friend, Kaoru. An encounter with Tachibana, a worker she knows at an S&M shop, brings Nana further into the S&M world as she learns what it means to be master and slave.
The best, my favorite by far, in the realm of manga, are the two series put out by my favorite mangaka*: Nana to Kaoru and Nana to Kaoru Arashi by AMAZUME Ryuta.
* Mangaka are both writer and illustrator on single manga, something I see as great skill and effort on the part of the artist.
These are ecchi series, with ecchi think Rated-R in USA movie lingo, which standout far above all other titles in my mind: animanga, ecchi and even hentai, think X to XXX when seeing hentai.
These series center on S&M story-lines between SUGIMARU Kaoru and CHIGUSA Nana, teenage characters of the same grade,
during the last couple of years of high school, with very little expose breasts and buttocks. No exposed sexual flesh dealing with the main characters.
Amazume-sensei delivers ecchi titles beyond these, but Nana to Kaoru titles are the best in my humble opinion.
A great side story to the ongoing (at this time) manga, "Nana to Kaoru". My first impression of this story was that it would probably evolve like the main manga arc, which is to say that there would be too much delay in the development of the relationship between Nana and Kaoru, and at first it appears that this is going to be the case so I was just prepared at that point to enjoy some comedy and then some. However, the manga quickly switches gears to focusing on Sarashina and Tachibana and their unorthodox relationship as the couple invite Nana and Kaoru out to
spend a few days of vacation with them in the country.
The thing that keeps this side story fresh is actually the exploration of the older couples Master/Slave relationship and their feelings about the complexities of such an arrangement and attempting to define what makes a "couple" between lust, desire, need and love. Furthermore there is a great exploration of the power dynamic in such a relationship from the side of the submissive partner that isn't usually explored in any kind of h-manga (which is one of the things that always make Nana to Kaoru a pleasure to read - it's based in reality and not just fantasy). All of this was incredible to read.
Overall the plot was really well done and (for once!) the reader is rewarded with some nice character development between Nana and Kaoru as they struggle to define what their relationship means to them. Furthermore it's interesting from an outside observers perspective that the author has created a scenario where all the "power" in the relationship if you will actually rests with the submissive partner (Nana) and there is some hints of both Nana realizing this as well as starting to come to terms with what she's doing (or not doing) in her relationship with Kaoru and how it may be impacting both of their desires. On the whole this is really just clever and entertaining stuff and even a notch above the regular "Nana to Kaoru" writing.
Overall, if you're a fan of the main series, then you're going to love "Black Label". It has everything that you've come to expect from "Nana to Kaoru" but ontop of that is a deeper exploration of the psychological and relationship aspects of the main characters relationships. Truly a treat to read.
20 chapter and counting; this manga deserves a solid review!
Being a hardcore fan of the Nana to Kaoru series, I was more than thrilled to hear about the sequel placed 8 months in the future during the summer break, Arashi aka Black Label. While I was happy to have a double dose of BDSM goodness, I had my suspicions - will it really be as good as its prequel?
It's BETTER. BDSM enthusiasts, prepare yourself for a joyous read. Arashi not only brings a whole new pairing with experience into the story, but brings on a professional level of 'the Art of the Rope' into the
manga. Get you tissues, cause you're up for one hot ride!
The story goes like this - it is summer break. Everything seems boring as usual, until Kaoru meets his idol Sarashina-sensei, the man behind the famous BDSM books Kaoru loves so much. One thing leads to another, and both Nana and Kaoru end up spending a few days of summer with him and his... very attractive 'slave', learning from the professionals, in the lovely house in the middle of nowhere. Things happen. And we're darn glad they happen.
Sounds pretty good, does it not?! Needless to say, and supposing you're already familiar with the fantastic art of this mangaka, there are going to be some very ecchi scenes that are detailed so beautifully you could cry and some more... hardcore things. If you don't like things to get too 'rough' so to speak, you may not like some things about it - thought I should warn you.
The manga goes more deeply into the characters of our lovebirds that seem still very shy considering their untold feelings for each other, and Nana get more and more into the whole idea of BDSM, feeling less nervous, and more excited the more she understands it.
Kaoru, being already a hardcore pervert we all love, is more developing in the love section, coming to more terms when it comes to his feelings for Nana, and trying his best to get better as Nana's Master.
As for our new pairing, I wouldn't like to spoil much... but you're going to love them. Both full of experience, both cool about what they do, both smart, rational people, but with so much emotions kept inside; and all these come to sight during the one and only, "Session".
To conclude, Arashi is a read-worthy sequel with pretty much everything you got in the prequel, brought up to a higher, more realistic and at time hardore level of BDSM, but still keeping its awesome character development, instead of turning into an either meaningless ecchi or sappy romance.