Monday, August 18, 2008
My first Manga Experience
This was the first manga book I read. Now I won’t lie, I was one of those confused people trying to read it like an American comic book. Thank god I read it in the safety of my own home so no one would laugh at me.
Anyway, Emma is a work of historical fiction which means there are no crazy fantasy elements to the story. The book takes place in England during the 1890s, I think. It could also take place in the early 1900s. But that aspect really doesn’t matter. Anyway, Emma is a young maid working for Kelly Stownar. One day Mrs. Stownar has a guest and that is William Jones who is a very wealthy young man. The reader learns that after Mrs. Stownar’s husband dies (very soon after their wedding) she gains employment as Mr. Jones’ governess. William is taken by Miss Emma (oh god no not another wealthy man falls in love with a poor girl story!) But yes that is what we get as the reader experiences their awkward blooming romance.
The author, Kaoru Mori, is said to have studied countless hours for this book. She researched her heart out! Oh really? First off, if you want to say you are 100% accurate then you better back it up, which Ms. Mori cannot do. There are a few inconsistencies throughout the book, but I’ll only list three.
We have William giving gifts to Emma, which would be quite scandalous. The only time people were allowed to give gifts is when they were courting, and these two aren’t courting. Plus with the social divide I’m not sure how they could court but I'm sure that's explored in later books As the story progresses we have Hakim, one of William’s friends come to England. Hakim decides one day to ride an elephant through the streets of London. Yeah, once again we have historical accuracy.
Now, maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just a bitter historian who hates it when people say things are historically accurate ( *ahem* The Luxe / Emma) and then they don’t deliver. Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t care about the little historical hiccups along the way and just want a fun read then…don’t read this.
I’m not sure where the story is going but I found it really tiresome and old. This had been done a million times before and frankly I don’t want to read about another rich guy falling for the maid.
If teens are looking for a non fantasy love story with historical details then this maybe for them. American readers don't see these types of books, and that's one thing I do like about manga. The Japanese market, unlike the American comic book industry, are reaching out to female readers.