Book: My first manga…
October 22, 2009 § 19 Comments
This is not Jane Austen’s “Emma.”
It is a graphic novel by Ms Mori. I’ve read it for Dolce’s Japanese Literature Challenge III.
It was my first experience with reading “back to front” (as we would consider it), and left to right.
The book had instructions on the inside cover for neo-readers.
It’s Victorian England and Emma is a maid, a beautiful maid by all accounts (tho’ we see her be-spectacled and be-hatted). She receives letters and invitations from all manner of young men and writes her regrets back to them.
Along comes a rich young lord who was nannied by Emma’s boss.
He has a friend from India who happens to show up on the scene as well.
Life goes on with the leisure class visiting one another while Emma worries about how she will afford new eyeglasses, goes shopping, visits the library.
Will the young lord win her heart? Will his Indian friend usurp Emma’s affections?
Does Emma have a clue?
The story is genteel.
The artwork is wonderful, rich with detail and accurate (for all I know!) to the architecture and costume of the time.
I took my time reading this.
I didn’t want to read it quickly, like I might read an Archie and Friends comic book.
But then, this is a book. A real book. A nice book.
The paper is nice. The covers are nice. There is plenty to look at, to stand around and stare at and appreciate.
Slow down, look around, enjoy, was my sub-mantra as I read.
Interesting how Mori chooses to use her cartoon squares. She gives us close ups on character’s faces. No hurry. She knows her art. The street scenes are wonderful. Then, with the Indian entrouage arriving, we see a certain bejeweled pomp including elephants and servants. There are also crowd scenes and street scenes where everthing is sketched, right down to lit streetlamps but sometimes, Mori leaves faces blank, undrawn.
Mori always labels the end of the chapter (except chpt 3 in my book does NOT have “end”) and follows the “end” page with a one-page “epilogue.”
I like her style.
Is the story stunning? Not yet. Is the reader intrigued? Yes, by the combination of all the elements.
Yes, I have ordered volume 2. (be careful; it’s a multi-volume story and brand new, it retails at $9.95 for each volume and there are at least 4.)
So, yeah, I would like to get the entire set…but there’s no rush.
Manga. Emma. Try it for your bedtime read.