Nancy O'Toole's Reviews > Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 1

Soulless by Gail Carriger
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Sep 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: library, graphic-novels, paranormal
Read on May 17, 2012

Alexia Tarabotti is soulless, meaning she has the ability to drain someone of their paranormal abilities with just one touch. When she’s attacked at a party by a starving vampire, Alexia realizes that something is not quite in the supernatural community. In Soulless: The Manga Volume 1, the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series is adapted into manga format, showing Gail Carriger’s alternate Victorian London, a world filled with vampires, werewolves, steampunk technology, and silly hats, in an all new light.

Adapting an existing property into a comic format can be tricky. At best, the adaptation can give us a new view of an already beloved story. At worst, the result can come off like a poorly condensed novel with some inconsequential pictures thrown in here and there to cash in on the graphic novel trend. The manga version of Soulless, fortunately, falls into the first category. What makes it shine the most is the artwork, done by REM. Although a few of Alexia’s outfits are unrealistically revealing for the time period, REM otherwise does a great job of capturing the feel of the series. The character designs, although not always how I pictured them, are well done, and a nice amount of attention is spent on the detail of the backgrounds and outfits. REM also has a knack for capturing the facial expressions of the character, making it easier for the audience to understand how they feel.

Soulless: The Manga: Vol 1 is 224 pages long, where the novel is 373. You’d expect this to result in a lot of ridiculous cuts and changes to the story, but it’s actually an incredibly faithful adaptation. Some readers may be disappointed to see certain characters who are less central to the story be pushed aside, but I was okay with how much screen time everyone was given. I found, just after reading the fifth and final book of the Parasol Protectorate Series, that it was actually quite satisfying to see where characters like Alexia, Connall, Akeldama, Lyall, Ivy and Biffy began. One thing that bothered me a bit with the Soulless novel was how large a role the romance played. Although this hasn’t changed in the manga version, I found that I was actually okay with it this time around, perhaps because I was better prepared for the romantic focus.

The first volume of the Soulless Manga is one of the best graphic novel adaptations that I’ve come across in a while. I felt that the manga-style artwork was really lovely and fit the story well. I was also impressed at how faithful the story was to it’s source material. I am planning on continuing to read the Soulless Manga. The second volume is set to be published in November.
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Reading Progress

05/17/2012 page 224
100.0% "Read this in one sitting. Probably the best graphic novel adaptation I've read in a while (even with Alexia's way inappropriate outfits). Review coming soon."

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