I sometimes like to imagine Vader meeting Leia on the Tantive IV and wondering why in the hell she seems so familiar. He’s heard of her, sure, but since Vader is not always directly involved in politics he’s never seen her before and she’s just so young. But it’s not just that, there’s something else…
I think it also bothers Vader that she is completely unbothered by him. Vader is probably used to getting the upper hand on people purely based on his appearance - especially when you consider his suit, his height, and his modulated voice - but Leia is completely unfazed. She openly defies him, she lies to his face, and she’s smug about it, too. And yet, despite all the setbacks and confusion, Vader cannot for the life of him put a finger on why she bothers him so much.
Maybe it’s the way she talks to him, or her lack of fear, or maybe it’s the youthful veracity that tinges her every dissentful remark.
Once Leia escapes the Death Star, though, Vader finds himself preoccupied with the origins of another - a certain Luke Skywalker. Not only is he the pilot credited with destroying the superweapon, but he bears the same name as him, as well as the same tutor: Obi Wan.
Vader thinks nothing of Leia, at least not until his confrontation with Luke on the second Death Star. Luke’s origins are almost a no-brainer. Once he learns of the rebel’s surname, it’s only a matter of time before he confirms that the boy was his… but there was no mention of a sister. After all, Leia was an Organa - he always knew that. Regardless of whether he followed galactic politics or not, Bail Organa had been a contemporary of Padmé’s, and royals have kids all the time, right? There was no reason for him, or anyone else for that matter, to think otherwise. But suddenly, Leia makes sense to him now.
She looks like Padmé. She has her eyes, her hair, her same penchant for politics - but she’s not actually like her at all. She looks like her mother, yes, but she takes after him. She is as passionate and personable as Padmé, but she is fueled by the same fearless ferocity as Anakin. He sees Padmé, but all Vader can sense is himself - but a better self, an old self he left behind long, long ago. And in his son, he sees his older visage - the same youthful face framed by blonde hair, those bright blue eyes - but he senses Padmé. Luke has her kindness, her compassion, and her unending patience when it comes to others and seeing the good in them. Leia is tempestuous and argumentative, and just as impatient with the galaxy as Anakin was with the Jedi Council.
She has Padmé’s eyes, yes, but she is also every bit of Anakin, yet a far better version of himself than he could ever possibly be.
1. You look at a map of a city you’ve never been to.
You see patterns and street names and they tell you nothing. The map remains dead, the city unknown.
2. You go to the city you’ve never been to.
It becomes a city you know.
3. You look at a map of a city you’ve been to, but have left behind. As you look at the map, you remember.
You are looking at nostalgia. You walk through street names and remember the taste of cake in the café whose name you forgot, but you remember its yellow walls and comfy chairs. A square is no longer four lines on a map, but an open space with people and statues and laughter and a fountain in the center. The monotonous, two-dimensional blue that indicates an ocean turns into postcard memories, so many shades of blue and green and the smell of salt and fish. The famous building with the famous name that everyone knows is now a personal experience, it is yours and yours alone in a way that will never make it anyone else’s. A billion feet have walked these (now familiar) paths and two of them were yours. You can trace the steps you have taken and you remember feelings and colours and strangers who offered you a smile. There is the hostel you slept in, there is the river you crossed so many times, there is the corner where you listened to the most amazing street musician. You fondly whisper street names that you had trouble pronouncing when you first spoke them, clumsily. You connect dots, and they turn to images in your head.
The map is alive, the city an old friend.
4. The map you look at is always the same; the perception is different. It is you who has changed.
p.s. // every time i look at a map I have a feeling that is hard to put into words
what she means: If you look at Freeze Your Brain at face value, you could easily interperet it as simply about JD’s fixation on 7/11 and his issues oversharing. But it’s really more about a place that feels normal and familiar and safe in a frightening and new situation. It’s easy to overlook this, as a lot of the song is made to be comedic. Take the lines “When mom was alive/we lived halfway normal./Now it’s just me and my dad,/we’re less formal” for example. During the musical, it’s easy to focus more on Veronica freaking out than on JD’s words and their meaning. This is done intentionally, as if to show that JD hides how hurt he is about his mother’s death with other emotions, as many people do. Towards the end, it is shown that JD uses slushies to control a possible self-harm habit and self-destructive thoughts, and that’s when the gravity of the song hits you. Despite sounding light-hearted, Freeze Your Brain is about a teenager trying to hold onto the one place that makes him feel safe and happy no matter where he is. If you consider the possibility that his mother introduced him to 7/11, it’s also about trying to recapture childhood emotions, despite the fact that so many things have changed.
So at the end of every volume of NANA, Ai Yazawa has a brief paragraph about the manga or just some introspection about her life. They give great insight into the series and I think only a few are found on the scans of NANA online, so I thought I’d share them all!
The creator, Ai Yazawa, told us, “I created this story so that it could be enjoyed as a stand-alone and, at the same time, have a complete ending that could be connected to an ongoing series. I hope you’ll look forward to the future of the two Nanas!”
A note from Ai Yazawa: “I had thought that if the two Nanas met each other, they would probably be constantly fighting, but they seem oddly friendly. What’s up with that?! It’s one of me (not so) seven wonders (ha-ha).”
Since childhood, the artists I’ve looked up to haven’t been writers and illustrators, but mostly musicians. Music provides me the most emotional effect and excitement. If there was no music, I don’t think my creative juices would boil. Music is that important to my life.
- Ai Yazawa
I realized one day that there are hit songs with the same names as the main female characters, NANA, JUNKO, and SACHIKO (the kanji for JUNKO is different, though). It’s not that big a deal, but I sometimes just hum the melodies longingly.
- Ai Yazawa
In the initial drafts, Nana’s band was a rockabilly band like the Stray Cats. But due to various circumstances, I didn’t keep it that way. But if they were rockabilly, Ren, Nobu and Shin would have had pompadours. And Yasu too?
- Ai Yazawa
When I was a child, I used to take piano lessons. Even after I stopped taking lessons, I bought sheet music I liked and continued playing. I’ve had my hands full for several years now, but one of these days I’d like to learn how to play jazz piano, which I’ve wanted to do for years now.
- Ai Yazawa
I had an opportunity to interview a group of professional musicians. I showered them with questions, but they answered willingly, and it was very helpful. I was having problems balancing the fictional world of manga-like simplicity and gorgeousness with a sense of reality. But I realized again that what’s important is the humanity of the characters.
- Ai Yazawa
When I was in high school, there was a cool girl in my class who was a lone wolf. I was really into a foreign New Romantic-type band then, and when she asked me one day, “Do you want to go to their concert together?” I was overwhelmed. My heart fluttered more than when I was with my boyfriend (☺). Have you had a Hachiko experience like that? - Ai Yazawa
Despite the world reminding her every day of her life that she’s undeserving of being given anything by it, that she was unworthy of what little she’d managed to take from it - despite all of that, she never believed a word of it.