Otaku USA Magazine
Neighborhood Story Is a Must-Read from the Viz Manga Vault

Start reading Neighborhood Story in the VIZ Manga vault!

The VIZ Manga app is a gift for people whose taste in manga spans beyond Shonen Jump. For $2 a month, readers can dive into currently running titles and classic selections, with more of both being added all the time. Over the holidays, the app added the shoujo coming-of-age classic Neighborhood Story — and you’d better believe we are immediately on board.

The first volume is currently available to read in the app. If for some reason you’re not already on board, allow us to regale you with multiple reasons why it’s a must-read.


From the Creator of NANA


You may not have heard of Neighborhood Story, but you’ve almost certainly heard of NANA. This rockin’ shoujo classic about two young women with the same name is beloved by fans of all ages. The bond between Nana O. and Nana K. has inspired anime and live-action adaptations. It’s also one of the bestselling manga of all time, with more than 50 million copies in circulation.

Ending just three years before NANA debuted, Neighborhood Story also hails from Ai Yazawa. And while the protagonists are somewhat younger than the Nanas, you’ll see many common Yazawa themes across both titles. Stylish stars, at least one rocker chick, and complicated romances are all in play. Plus, there are links to other Yazawa titles, including a very clear through-line to Paradise Kiss.


Iconic Art

The fashionable Mikako

Ai Yazawa’s art style is hard to miss, and it’s on full display throughout Neighborhood Story. Her characters are cute, expressive, and stylish all at once. More than that, their fashion is quintessentially 90s — or at least manga 90s — in the best way. And thanks to this series’s setting, we get to see a lot of that fashion.

The story takes place largely at Tokyo’s Yazawa Art Academy (see what she did there?), where students spend half the day in general education and devote their afternoons to one of four creative trades. For Mikako, that’s fashion. Her personal “Happy Berry” label is an opportunity to show off unique style choices, and events throughout the manga give characters more opportunities to dress up. But it isn’t just about the 90s shoujo aesthetic. It’s also about the 90s shoujo mood.


A Classic Love Story

from the Neighborhood Story anime

At the center of Neighborhood Story‘s cast are Mikako and her childhood friend Tsutomu. The latter has begun receiving a lot of attention from the ladies, as he bears a striking resemblance to a certain pop star from another of Ai Yazawa’s manga. The pair are clearly very close, but their attempts to work out their feelings for each other lead to a lot of misunderstandings. And a lot of fighting. Surrounding them is a cast of equally confused and enamored teens.

How will the romance geometry shake out? Who will follow their dreams? And how do all these things become a part of Paradise Kiss? Start reading Neighborhood Story now and find out!

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.