Now That's What I Call Foreshadowing

I was reading the latest volume of Ai Yazawa's Nana when I came across one of the nicest pieces of foreshadowing I've seen in a while, and it all starts with this image...

Nana v8, p. 38Nana v8, p 38

Nothing remarkable there, right? Just Nana O. and her boyfriend Ren, tossing some breakfast banter back and forth. But look at that action again. What's Nana doing? Taking her birth control pills. It's nothing extraordinary or unusual, but it puts birth control in the back of your head, so that when four pages later, Nana K. does this...

Nana v8, p. 42Nana v8, p. 42

...the first thought that passes through your head isn't "Must be something she ate," but "Oh shit, she's pregnant."

Well done.

And while we're at it...

Those three panels are part of an amazing four-page sequence that bears further analysis...

Nana v8, p. 42-45Nana v8, p. 42-45

First, we're starting and ending with curry - Nana's being taught how to make it at her job, and Takumi's eating it at lunch. Not only that, Takumi mentions that he usually doesn't give it a second thought, but starts craving it as soons as someone else mentions it. He may think he's talking about curry, but we all know he's really talking about Nana.

There's a nice sequence as the disoriented Nana begins to understand her condition. We start with a jumble of cluttered, effects-heavy panels that are mildly disorienting. But then, as she comes to her realization, the panels become less cluttered, less effects heavy, until she's standing alone in a simple panel with a relatively clean background.

At the bottom of the second page, there's a double image of Nana that lets you observe her lost in her own head, and lost in the streets of Tokyo as well. The circular panel border at the bottom of the is also a psychological separator, sealing Nana in her head, away from the clutter of the "real world" that stops at its borders. And then, it's repeated in the shape of the plate of curry on the next page, which makes for a nice transition visually.

But wait - it's not just a visual transition! Nana is also symbolically standinding on Takumi's plate, staring at him as well. Not only does she realize that she's pregnant, she realizes whose baby it is, and Ai Yazawa is hinting it to you before it's made explicit by the story.

I won't even go into the symbolism of Takumi cracking an egg all over some "plebian curry..."

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