I've read and watched NaNa several times since its release way back when and that's a testimony to why I am reviewing even almost 10 years after the tragic hiatus.
The story is unlike any other you will find in shoujo/josei manga. Sure, there are some of the usual tropes but they are told with such sensibility that you will look past those and enjoy every single part of it.
I personally adore the art. Being someone who has followed Ai Yazawa's work over time, NaNa is at the height of her talents. It is however an acquired taste, I admit, but those single shot panels of
eyes, where so much emotion is conveyed, I just haven't been moved that way with many other manga.
Her art just has style and a fashion sense that's usually lacking in many other manga.
Just think about it; in how many manga do you see a character's outfit change every single day? Any real person would change clothing throughout the days, which is what also adds to the realism here.
The characters are all, in some way likeable as well as not. All of them, bar none, have flaws. There is no perfect hero that lacks depth and no character is simply a plot-device only there to teach the hero a lesson.
Some characters even the most despicable are full-fledged human beings and you are led to understand the meanings behind their actions through skilfully crafted backstories and character development arcs.
I can only give it an overall of 9 because the story is incomplete. It is a masterpiece and should definitely be read, but beware of the heart-ache and tragedy that not only will come from the plot but due to the story being cut off right at a crucial moment, you will be left quite frustrated.
I hope one day Yazawa sensei will be able to complete her work. NaNa is a cult classic that cannot be missed out on, simply put.