Jun 27, 2008
Emma (Manga) add (All reviews)
maybelletea (All reviews)
Emma is something you don't see every day. It's a shoujo manga, but it's based in early 19th century England, where social standing is considered irrefutable. So it’s a little problematic when maid Emma falls in love with gentry William, and vice versa. You can probably see the arising conflicts in this story already. What is so beautiful about this story is the way Kaoru Mori displays Victorian England so accurately. You can certainly tell she did her research, just by the way the characters act, especially towards William and Emma’s relationship. At any rate, the main plot of the story is the divergences towards a maid and a gentry together, which in that time, was absolutely not acceptable.

At times the romantic emotions are portrayed across to the reader as so strong and violent, and passionate. And yet other times it’s really just a sweet beating love between the protagonists, without becoming saccharine. Their struggle to be together makes their love all the more stronger as the series progresses, even though doubt and sorrows is felt.

The art is gorgeous. Just breathtaking. It is done with a crosshatch pen and ink style. The detail put into the large European buildings and landscapes are wonderful. I really love the expressions she put on the characters, and the flow of the panel placements, which is often quite slow as the characters’ countenance would vary. It really brings more to the story.

Character development is splendid. Emma, as the protagonist of the story most of the time, was a good female lead, she was very likeable. She comes off as shy and introverted, and obedient as well, but as the story progresses she becomes a bit more strong-willed, and wants to face her conflicts instead of running away in fear as to hurting the one she loves. William is pretty likeable too, and he’s obviously very spirited in his love towards Emma in the beginning, and later does he realize the sacrifices he must make to make the love survive. However, I also liked Eleanor’s unrequited love to William, despite her being his fiancée for a part of the story. She was always giving more and more love to him, and got none in return, for he was only ever for Emma. The other, smaller characters had their quirks as well, such as Eleanor’s sister, Monica, who obviously adored her little sister to an extent where it could be considered a sister complex, and hated anyone who made her unhappy (namely William, but mostly for taking her away from him). There was also Hakim, William’s womanizing friend from India, who acts as a foil for William. In other words, he contrasts towards William’s character, causing the reader to plainly see William’s certain faces of his personality. Hakim was an interesting character, and added some sort of odd comedy to the story, with his elephants and harem of young Indian woman following him everywhere (who, if I recall don’t say anything at all throughout the entire story). Hakim also had feelings for Emma, but proceeded to encourage Emma and William when he found out their feelings for one another.

Of course, I enjoyed this series to a very high extent (though I suppose I wouldn’t buy them specifically, as I read them from the library and that’s enough for me). This is certainly recommended for the people who want a more realistic drama and romance, with believable characters and their prejudices. Emma, really, is one of the best romance manga I’ve ever come across, and I hope you’ll try reading it.