It is often fun to pick up a classic that has been reimagined either with the original characters or with a new interpretation. A manga version of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen takes this to a whole new level. While reading the original book, several times over, I have created my own mental images to go along with the story but seeing the book play out in these intricate and carefully crafted illustrations, by Po Tse, is amazing! Summarising Austen is VERY difficult and leeway has to be given to condense it into a format like manga. For the most part, I think the author, Stacy King, has done a phenomenal job of capturing the essence and energy. As an enthusiast, I want every line but I can appreciate how this platform will encourage a new generation of readers to pick up and experience Austen and that can never be a bad thing.
For those of you who have never read manga, “Manga (漫画 Manga?) are comics created in Japan or by creators in the Japanese language, conforming to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century. They have a long and complex pre-history in earlier Japanese art.[2. “Manga” as a term used outside Japan refers to comics originally published in Japan. Owing to this heritage the book reads from right to left and starts at what Westerners would term the back of the book making it an authentic experience!
From the back cover:
“Udon publishes a deliciously dramatic graphic novel from the familiar tale of courtship between a prejudiced country girl and a prideful member of the upper class. Elizabeth Bennet’s mother decides that her daughters will be perfectly matched with her rich new neighbor, Mr. Bingley, and his guest, Mr. Darcy. Before the couples can pair off into the happiness of forever after, Elizabeth must see through the machinations of the dishonest Mr. Wickham, endure the manipulations of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and most importantly, conquer her own bias against Mr. Darcy. The animation studio, Morpheus, creates realistic settings and costumes, which strongly echo the TV and movie adaptations. King adapts Jane Austen’s work by stripping down the dialogue and descriptions and emphasizing the tragicomic elements. Austen’s cutting social critique softens into melodrama and comical episodes that prominently feature the absurdly avaricious Bennett matriarch. Tse’s artwork reflects the new direction, where roses soften the frames of character portraits and extra attention goes into the expressions. This work features highlights of dialogue from the original book and could act as a gateway to the world of the graphic novel. For manga lovers, this book would help make Austen accessible with the inclusion of comedy, which leavens the shoujo’s tendency toward the histrionic. The chibi version of a cranky Mr. Darcy is well worth the price of admission. Classrooms might benefit from their upcoming series of classics, including Les Miserables.” –VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)