For the past few years, Manga Classics has been adapting beloved classic novels into a graphic novel (manga) format.
What is manga?
Manga is Japanese style comic art. Each panel is typically read from right to left instead of traditional Western comics from left to right.
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre
As an orphaned child, Jane Eyre is first cruelly abused by her aunt, then cast out and sent to a charity school. Though she meets with further abuse, she receives an education, and eventually takes a job as a governess at the estate of Edward Rochester. Jane and Rochester begin to bond, but his dark moods trouble her. When Jane uncovers the terrible secret Rochester has been hiding, she flees and finds temporary refuge at the home of St. John Rivers” – Goodreads
Jane Eyre was the first Manga Classics adaptation that I had read. I was so excited to discover a manga adaptation of my favourite novel of all-time, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Reading the manga was a completely new and fresh experience. When reading the original novel, everything is seen though Jane’s point of view. Her interiority gives the novel its richness and depth. A manga is visual and automatically limiting in depicting interiority. Yet, the artwork in the manga, and concise adaptation of the text worked very well. I was so happy to see all of my favourite quotes from Jane Eyre transplanted into the manga. Manga Classic’s version of Jane Eyre is a great adaptation and introduction to Bronte’s masterpiece as it captures the very essence of the storyline.
I received a copy of Manga Classics: Jane Eyre via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book
Title: Manga Classics: Jane Eyre Author: Charlotte Bronte Illustrator: SunNeko Lee Story Adaptation: Crystal S. Chan English Script: Stacy King Pages: 319 Year Published: 2016 Genres & Subjects: Manga, fiction, classic, romance, Victorian England, adaptation
Manga Classics: Les Misérables
Adapted for stage and screen, loved by millions, Victor Hugo’s classic novel of love and tragedy set in 19th century France is reborn in this fantastic new manga edition!
Gorgeous and expressive art brigns to life the unforgettable stories of Jean Valjean, Inspector Javert, and the tragic Fantine in this epic adaptation of Les Misérables!
Ever since I had seen the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, I really wanted to read the novel. The problem is… the novel is over 1000 pages. I felt so lucky to happen upon the manga adaptation of Les Misérables. It was like experiencing the novel as an appetizer. I have renewed my resolve to read Hugo’s novel, eventually.
Les Misérables takes place in France during the French revolution. Amid the revolution, a Jean Valjean tries to protect himself and his daughter, Cosette from the relentless inspector Javert who will stop at nothing to put Valjean back in jail. Meanwhile, Cosette has fallen in love with Marius, the mysterious gentleman she often sees while on walks with her father. Marius is equally as enamoured with Cosette, but he has other obligations to the revolution.
As the novel is extremely long, the plotline is very complex with an array of characters. I was surprised how the manga was able to condense the events of the novel seamlessly without quickly speeding through the action of the revolution and the romance between Marius and Cosette.
I would recommend this manga to those, like me, who want to attempt to read Hugo’s Les Misérables one day.
I received a copy of Manga Classics: Les Misérables via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book:
Title: Les Misérables Author: Victor Hugo Illustrator: SunNeko Lee Story Adaptation: Crystal S. Chan English Script: Stacy King Pages: 337 Year Published: 2014 Genres & Subjects: fiction, manga, adaptation, classic
Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter
A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tragic saga of Puritan America. Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.
Once again, Manga Classics does not disappoint with their adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter. In Puritan New England, Hester Prynne has been charged with the crime of adultery after giving birth to an illegitimate daughter. Her entire town has shunned her, and forced her to wear a large scarlet letter “A” for “adulteress.” In spite of being publically humiliated by her community, Hester refuses to denounce the father of her child.
When I first read the novel, The Scarlet Letter, I felt most sympathetic for Hester out of all the characters in the novel. Somehow, after reading the manga, my view of Arthur Dimmesdale has changed. Hester is portrayed as a strong woman who tries to become a respectable member of her community in spite of being shunned and rejected at every turn. Eventually, she even thrives on her service to others as her penitence. Arthur Dimmesdale, in contrast, knows no peace and lives in the fear of being exposed for his crimes. Even though he is a valued member of his community as a religious leader, he cannot see a positive outcome for his future. In the manga, you can feel Arthur’s melancholy and torment in the way he is drawn.
The Scarlet Letter converts very well into a manga format for its heavy reliance on symbolism. The manga presents these symbols visually, and the effects are stunning. The illustrations really provided great depth into the psyche of each character. For instance, I found it fascinating how Roger Chillingworth slowly began to look more serpentine as the manga progressed.
I would recommend Manga Classics’ The Scarlet Letter to those who have and haven’t read the original novel. As with all Manga Classics, the manga version is a compliment, or a nod to the original. The faithfulness to the original novel is always executed perfectly with an attention to detail I would not have believed possible in a manga.
I received a copy of Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book
Title: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne Illustrator: SunNeko Lee Lettering: W. T. Francis Story Adaptation: Crystal S. Chan Pages: 308 Year Published: 2015 Genres & Subjects: fiction, manga, adaptation, classic
Until Next Time,