Susan's Reviews > Emma, Vol. 01

Emma, Vol. 01 by Kaoru Mori
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Oct 19, 08

bookshelves: young-adult, manga-graphic-novels
Recommended for: Jane Austen fans, Luxe fans
Read in September, 2008

This series has style and substance. The period setting and understated tone may not be for everyone's tastes, but Mori really brings a lot of quality to the table with this Victorian love story. A star-crossed romance forms between a restless and somewhat bumbling young aristocrat and a shy maid. Though the two realize their feelings almost immediately suspense and drama ensues as class issues, personal tragedy and family interference create numerous obstacles. Mori crafts character readers can root for and even many incidental characters are given intriguing or mysterious histories that tease the reader into wanting to learn more. This is a fantastic series for people who are new to manga or are manga skeptics because the world of the story is so well-fleshed out and the books so meticulously plotted it feels like reading a novel (with an extra benefit of wonderful art). Characters maintain clear individualized appearances and both male and female characters have a robust more true-to-life look that almost flies in the face of the preternaturally lithe, wispy quality that is so popular in manga. Also, much attention is paid to historic and atmospheric detail in the story lines and the art. Mori is a self-professed Anglophile and often includes tidbits of her background research in her asides. The series offers a lot of crossover potential for girls who are drawn to classic lit romances by Wharton, Austen, or the Brontes, or even for readers of the developing "Luxe Lit" genre of books that are gaining in popularity now.

Age Recommendation 13+
Outside of a kidnapping that occurs in one volume, there's really no violence. As for sexual situations, the romance in Emma is in the Jane Austen line: a love story conducted almost entirely via covert glances and what is implied rather than said. In the interest of full disclosure, there are a couple of panels in volumes five and six that briefly depict bath time nudity of a minor character. Since there's really no crucial or plot-linked reason for it, I suppose this might qualify as fan service but the scenes themselves are very mundane and have no sexual context at all within the story.




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