Kaoru is a 17-year-old virgin who has an S&M fetish. He has always dreamt about an SM relationship with his childhood friend Nana, who is looked upon as perfect and is always the target of boys' eyes. Their relationship has somewhat deteriorated through the years, due to them hanging out with different people and because Kaoru is not taking his education too seriously.
One day though, Kaoru's mother gives some of his S&M toys to Nana for safekeeping. Nana finds the leather one-piece that Kaoru bought and tries it on but accidentally locks herself in it and doesn't have the key!
Kaoru frees her of the one-piece, but then Nana realizes she may like Kaoru's hobby more than she thought. Subsequently, the two of them start engaging in so-called "breathers." These breathers are intended to relieve Nana of stress that originates from her attempts at keeping her grades and name perfect.
Personally, it was a 10/10, but I know that most people aren't going to enjoy it as much as I did, so I'm going to rest on an overall 8/10, but I won't budge further. >_>
A few years ago, there was one night where I didn't really feel like watching a new anime and was caught up on my current manga, so I was clicking on any random manga that showed up in front of me and skimming through it to see if there was any interest. Nana to Kaoru just happened to be one of those. The content is pretty adult, so it's
not going to be widely accessible, so I'm betting that most people won't ever find it. If you do, PLEASE RE AD IT.
The art is honestly pretty horrible. The scenes pack impact, but that's partially due to the content in them. The facial art specifically is pretty bad, but if you can get past the dark lines and any of the other problems with the art, you will absolutely enjoy this manga.
There really isn't an overlying plot for this series. The events that happen aren't building towards anything major, and while I personally find that unappealing when I pick up a new series, this is a special case. Each separate event has importance, each separate event is tense, and they're the type of events that don't need an overlying plot. In the case of this manga, the overlying plot is the 'romance' genre itself.
'Breathers' are, in this case, simply just bondage sessions, and are what bring the two main characters together. As childhood friends, they grew up and separated over time, belonging to different cliques in school and expected to go separate ways throughout their life. Stress relief is one aspect of the breathers, but it shows that the simplest of desires can bring two completely different people together, whether it be a release of stress, lust, or just a shared secret. But the greatest part about "Nana to Kaoru" is that fact that it'll take it one step further.
As a romance, it's intended to bring the OTP together, and it does... kind of. With the content, it does give that 'illicit love' type of feeling and is really tense, which is great. But even deeper than that, it shows that the connection between them isn't physical as bondage would represent, but emotional. It shows the inner workings of what bondage can be, not just what we would normally just think it is.
If you're looking for something that'll make you take a step back and re-evaluate yourself, read this manga. It's not going to change you as a person, but it may help change the way you think about things.
Nana to Kaoru, oddly enough, is a look into proper, Real Life BDSM. It includes things you tend not to see, like the fact that it doesn't have to be about sex. Care and attention has been shown, not only for the idea of prep work, but the psychological aspects have been shown as well. There is no pain without wanting to go there, and limits are gradually pushed.
In short, this is a must read for anyone that has the wrong ideas about what BDSM is.
This is one of those manga that is so special, considering its genre, everyone is waiting an anime adaptation.
(EDIT: Anime is a disaster. Really. Do not watch it.)
Outstanding ecchi, no-nonsense flow of plot, and no otaku "desu" crap, make this an addictive read, with no over ratings whatsoever. My fellow MALers, I proudly present, somewhat underrated but exceptional, Nana to Kaoru.
If your imagination was tickled by the synopsis, then you're on the right trace. It is as interesting as it sounds, as original, and even offers more - unlike the very common "plot per chapter" thingy we encounter, this manga offers a lot
of continuity, rarely any real closure of a chapter, and brilliant plot twists and surprises. Once you start reading, you simply get so into it, you can not stop. Maybe you'll even pay a visit to Wiki to learn some more about S&M, which is very nicely presented here (I think.) - this manga could easily serve as a manual to anyone interested in S&M, or even get you interested.
What you will probably notice soon is that there is a lot of work put into details, but especially facial expressions - mostly because they actually mean something to the plot itself. But of course, the rest of the manga deserves it's rating as well - the surroundings, the clothes, the people - everything was made in details. What also caught my eye, is that every character design is different - there isn't that much of a similarity among the females, like in many other manga or anime, where they usually simply change the haircut and eye shape, and consider their job done.
Just like in any other story, the characters are making half of it. So what do you get with a girl who finds herself enjoying the perverted ways of a childhood friend? Chaos in her head, of course (and not to mention the chaos in his). The ways the relationships progress and the pasts are revealed is not too fast and it always reveals something interesting to nibble on. (hehehe. nibble.)
As for the supporting cast, they are not lacking personality either, nor are put in the corner - every once in a while, they get their 5 minutes of fame. Or shame, depending on the situation.
This manga is such that, once you start reading it, especially those who don't know the ways of S&M, or are looking for something refreshingly new, you can not stop - it is that interesting, not to mention funny and amusing. While I wouldn't be afraid to put the "psychological" tag on it, it doesn't really go that deep, so you can still enjoy it without much thought.
This immediately became one of my favorite manga, I finished 36 chapters in two days, and can not wait for further releases. To anyone who appreciates ecchi, or to those looking for something different, Nana to Kaoru is a right choice.
When I picked up this manga I really didn't expect much, I haven't read manga in a while so I decided to do some light reading, something with no real plot and some ecchi to spend the time. Browsing through the adult section, this particular title caught my eye. BDSM in western culture is generally viewed as very dark and inhumane. While in Japan, there are practices such as shibari, a rope bondage, that is considered as art. It was a topic that I wasn't very familiar with and wanted to know more about.
After a bit of reading, I was heavily mistaken. What I expected
to be some perverted, nonsensical, easy read manga, turned out to be one of the best romance story I've ever read. I guess I can understand why "Fifty Shades of Grey" was so popular. The concept of S&M is explained extremely well throughout the manga. The author does a very good job in depicting the physical and emotional aspect of the practice. But what really got me into the manga was the 2 main protagonists.
Kaoru and Nana are childhood friends that live next to each other and go to the same school. She is the perfect model student, good grades, good at sports, and the vice president of the student council all the while being praised for her good looks. Kaoru, on the other hand, is a failing student with his only passion being towards Nana and S&M. The relationship between the two is an awkward one. They used to be good friends but, after entering high school, Kaoru had a difficult time maintaining their friendship due to academical differences and differences in interest. That is until one day, Nana finds a leather piece used for bondage in Kaoru's room. Out of curiosity she tries it on and accidentally locks herself to the clothing that needs a key to open. With help from Kaoru she is able to get it off, but she finds enthrallment from wearing the leather piece. From then on, they start to develop a secret relationship as master and slave while trying to contain their true emotions from each other and from others.
Their methods gradually go deeper into the world of BDSM as their feelings for each other grow. She uses the practices as a "breather", a way of relieving stress, letting go of all her problems and letting Kaoru take full control. For Kaoru, he couldn't have asked for more. Being able to perform his beloved S&M to the girl he has always looked up to and secretly admired.
Stories of polar opposites attracting are nothing new, in fact, fairly common. Nana to Kaoru is no exception. When based strictly on romance there are tons of other better mangas. What makes Nana to Kaoru so special isn't the story of love between the two, but the way they portray their feelings for each other during their "breathers". During their breathers, it feels so real it feels so significant; the author makes you believe that S&M is the answer to all the problems. It is beautifully written and drawn capturing every emotion that makes you kind of want to try it out for yourself.
In conclusion, I loved this manga. I have not read anything like it before. I highly recommend it. I cannot wait until the next release and will be reading its somewhat sequel, "Nana to Kaoru: Black Label" the moment I get the chance. Whether or not you are a fan of BDSM, you will undoubtedly grow interest after reading this manga.
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