4.461 out of 5 from 423 votes
20-something Meiko Otani is restless, living day to day with a job she hates and an unemployed boyfriend who'd rather be playing in a band. Like others her age, she struggles to find her place in the world and a purpose in life, so in an attempt to make a fresh start, she makes the decision to quit her job. Together with her friends, Meiko will embark on a journey of self discovery to find what will truly make her happy.
Naota Nanbada is a boring young boy who leads a boring life in a boring town. His older brother has left for America, and the closest he comes to any excitement is when his deadbeat dad has too much sake. But things change one day when a bizarre girl zooms up to him on a scooter and smacks him in the face with her guitar. What's more, once Naoto returns home he discovers that this strange woman has arrived ahead of him and moved in! Not only does she constantly engage in perverted activities with Naota's father and flirt with the young man himself, but she also claims to be an alien who is searching for the ‘Pirate King.' Now, Naota must learn to live with this new intruder, deal with an odd government agent who sports exceptionally large eyebrows and the mysterious Medical Mechanica, and come to terms with the fact that there are a variety of robots and weapons emerging out of his head - amongst other things. Perhaps boring wasn't so bad after all...
Both Solanin and FLCL revolve around the theme of 'growing up' and 'coming of age'. Both works display incredible artistry, and attention to detail. FLCL has much more fun and quirky characters, but Solanin's feel more realistic and grounded (I know, not saying much, but it's something).
These two manga start off almost identically: two young women are tasked with financially supporting themselves and their live-in, long-term boyfriend (who really wants to make a living with his music, but hasn't had any success), by working at a job that she despises.The couples argue and worry about fiscal and romantic difficulties.
The plotlines diverge after this, but both maintain a similar melancholy tone throughout.
Nana K. is a hopeless romantic who is co-dependent on everyone around her and falls in love at first sight with any and all men, even married ones; Nana O. is a wannabe rock star who has had to break up with the love of her life so that she can find her own path as a singer. As Nana K. boards a train to Tokyo, she longs to finally be with her beloved boyfriend Shouji; as Nana O. boards the same train to Tokyo, she plans to live her dream with only the guitar on her back. The two meet by chance both on the train and in the city - ultimately choosing to live together - and though they are opposites in every way the girls quickly become close friends. Together, Nana and Nana will learn the bittersweet truth about love, loss, and the growth that comes because of it.
Solanin and Nana are two incredibly powerful manga about young adults and 20-somethings struggling to come of age. Heart-wrenching at times and bittersweet at others, both of these manga will appeal to anyone who is experiencing or experienced how hard it is to grow up.
Two dramas about love and life of a group of friends in their early twenties who worry about their relationships, their bands, and their futures. Ohikkoshi is more comedic while Solanin is more emotionally gripping, but adult readers will probably find something to relate to in each.
Located on a small street near the center of Rome, the Casetta dell'orso is a small yet popular restaurant staffed by a group of older, bespectacled gentlemen. Nicoletta is a twenty-one-year-old woman who has just arrived in Rome to meet with her estranged mother's husband, who owns the restaurant. She intends to inform him that not only was his wife married once before, but also that she is her daughter - a secret her mother desperately wants kept. When she arrives at the restaurant Nicoletta becomes enamoured with Claudio, one of the waiters, and begins to spend more time there. Despite the age gap, Nicoletta finds her feelings towards Claudio growing; and after making a promise to keep her mother's secret, Nicoletta begins working at the restaurant as an apprentice chef. Now she is trying her hardest to become a good cook, but can Nicoletta overcome the difference in age and win the quiet Claudio's heart?
These are both slice-of-life, coming-of-age stories featuring smart, insightful young women. Both protagonists leave familiar surroundings and strike out on their own, seeking independence, new experiences and a sense of purpose. They are supported in their quest by a dedicated and good-hearted group of friends.