Pride and Prejudice, depicted in gorgeous shojo manga style?! Being a confirmed Jane fanatic and, as a teenager, an avid admirer of melodramatic manga in which all the characters are mildly anorexic and have enormous eyes, I could hardly resist buying this hefty manga. Nor was I disappointed. I devoured this fun, exquisitely-drawn manga in a few hours and enjoyed revisiting the world of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy in a new medium.
Devout Pride and Prejudice fans might be a little squeamish at seeing such a complex and verbose story as Austen's original novel simplified for the manga format. And, yes, despite my enjoyment of it, I cannot deny that this is certainly "Austen-lite." However, I began the book acknowledging that it would be nearly impossible to capture all of the social intrigue and slights and character complexities of the novel with dialogue bubbles and the occasional narration. I think this would be an excellent introduction to Jane, or to classic literature in general, for a teenage reader or someone who usually avoids reading classics. In any case, I was actually impressed with how much of the novel's plot the manga encompasses and how many classic P&P quotations it includes.
I loved the way the artist Po Tse depicted all of the characters! Elizabeth and Jane were visually just gorgeous, and I think the writer Stacy King captured the strength of their friendship and their characters very well.
|Elizabeth and Jane|
Also intact are most of the humorous moments from the original novel. Mrs. Bennett's match-making antics made me smile! I loved the scene in which she tries to make Mr. Bennett convince Elizabeth to marry Mr. Collins, swearing that she will never see Lizzie again if she doesn't marry Collins. Mr. Bennett replies that Elizabeth is in the unfortunate position of losing one of her parents from this day forward, for he'll never see her again if she does marry Collins! Speaking of the always-irritating Mr. Collins, I also enjoyed his character and the sort of abbreviated, almost chibi-like way he was drawn compared to the other, more elegant characters.
|Mr. Collins' arrival frightens everyone|
Most elegant of all was Mr. Darcy, and I think the artist did an excellent job showing his emotions through the lack of emotions visible on his angular, sardonic face... Does that make any sense?? Anyway, I was perfectly satisfied with the way Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship changed (and changed) over the course of the story. All of the major plot points were covered, unless I'm forgetting something. A few things seemed out of place or a little anachronistic in the manga, such as the way Kitty constantly flirted with the local soldiers much more openly than she did in the book. In one scene she yelled, "Hey, boys!" or something like that, across a busy street and I was a little miffed, because that wasn't something any girl in an Austen novel would do.
|Elizabeth and Darcy|
Nitpicking aside, I would highly recommend this manga to an Austen fan who cannot get enough of Pride and Prejudice (meaning all of them, I guess!) As a manga reader, I was incredibly pleased with the breathtakingly beautiful art. There was also something very satisfying about reading a stand-alone story, because many of the manga series I have read consist of dozens of volumes. I will definitely be checking out the other Manga Classics in this series, and I am particularly eager to get my hands on the manga adaptations of Emma and The Scarlet Letter.
This book is
gorgeously-drawn faithful irresistible