Monday, October 09, 2006

Manga Monday 12

Emma (Volume 1)
Kaoru Mori

Emma is a delightful new manga from Kaoru Mori. It follows a young maid who harbors a secret attraction to a young noblemen whom the governess she serves as her master used to teach. This book is set in Victorian Era London and like the romances of that period, it provides an examination of the differing social classes. It was really interesting reading this book, being a big fan of Victorian novels like Vanity Fair and Pride & Prejudice. Two of my favorite forms of art converge here into a wonderful experience I never really thought I'd see (and one I never really thought of happening). The creator is really interested in London from that era, and had consultants on hand to check for historical accuracy in her illustrations. And she does a fantastic job conveying a world I've come to love to comics. As the perspective bounces between Emma and the man she admires, two fascinating characters are being drawn out, and ultimately, to each other. A real winner and an amazing debut for this series. A

Hikaru No Go (Volume 2)
Yumi Hotta & Takeshi Obata

This must be a hard book for the creators to balance. It's basically like what a sport manga must be like, except a boardgame is the players' field. But if a character like Hikaru has potential to be the best go player ever, there has to be a certain amount of suspense and tension to keep things interesting. Volume two of Hikaru No Go establishes Hikaru's interest in working to become a strong go player himself instead of relying solely on his expert go-playing ghost. So we're basically watching two sets of players at work through the title character: a Hikaru that puts forth no effort to win, and a Hikaru who works hard to be worthy of his opponents. Our protagonist has become more of a noble figure in this book with his ambition. A-

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