Monday, April 06, 2009

Manga Monday: Emma Continues

Emma (Volume 8)
Kaoru Mori
Emma may have had her story come to a climax in the last volume to be published through CMX a year ago, but Kaoru Mori isn't done with the characters she created for her Victorian world. In the latest volume of Emma, Mori gives some of the secondary characters of the book center stage in short stories. The first story is of Emma's widowed employer, Kelly Stowner, when she was young and in love. Together with her husband Doug, the two of them scrape up enough money to go to the legendary Great Exhibition of England, where they marvel at the sites and have an altogether pleasant time, one that Kelly will look back on in the future fondly. Next we get a look at the lives of characters following the events of the previous Emma volumes, in the form of a sullen Eleanor Campbell, whose shocking broken engagement has left her depressed and gossiped about in some corners. Her protective sisters watch out for her and try to cheer her up, but it takes the interest of a young gentleman to snap her out of her stupor, and she realizes things will ultimately be okay. I'm really glad we got to see more of Eleanor. As much as I love the romance between Emma and William, I felt so awful for poor innocent little Eleanor, being set aside for another woman when she truly fancied herself to be in love, as naive as the idea was. It's a story that everyone can relate to who's had a broken heart, and it's told beautifully, filtered through Mori's historically accurate, wonderful drawings of this time period. The one story I didn't really care for in this volume was "The Times," where the life of a newspaper is examined, from the ads that some people take out, like some characters from Emma have done, to its "death" as it's used as wrap for fish, burned for warmth, drawn on by children, etc. This volume ends on a high note, with the lovely little "With Family" story, in which we are treated to maid Tasha's visit home, where she discovers the true meaning of family and what it means to be a part of a group of people who love and understand her, faults and all. Overall, this was a very satisfying experience, being a ravenous Emma fan, and I'm excited to hear that another volume focusing on side characters will be coming soon. I can only hope that we will see more of Emma herself sometime in the future...

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