Review ・ Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice
Like many others I know, I grew up engrossed in Jane Austen’s delightful tales or romance and clever wit. I never liked most TV and movie adaptationsーthe exception being the BBC’s 1995 seriesーas they were either too stuffy, or completely unconvincing and unengaging. Which, given how well the novels have held up over the past 200 years, is a bit disappointing. So it was with mixed hope and dread I took on the manga version of the classic Pride and Prejudice, adapted by Stacy King and illustrated by Po Tse.
I was pleasantly surprised! I finished the book in just a matter of hours (and would have been finished sooner if I wasn’t interrupted by comparatively trivial things such as work and YJ… Just kidding, he’s an excellent distraction!) and really enjoyed it. At 376 pages of graphics and text, it can’t contain every single detail and some parts are not entirely true to the bookーthen again, neither were the TV or film adaptations. Having said that, Stacy King’s choice of original lines combined with modernized text and Po Tse’s sumptuous illustrations really brings the story to life. The duo picked the most important story elements and create an engaging and humorous adaptation worthy of the original. One example: Mrs. Bennet’s wild and ridiculous outbursts were emphasized by her changing into chibi form, making it all the more hilarious. In fact, I think I liked this Mrs. Bennet much moreーI could laugh at her silliness without feeling frustration over her exaggerated tirades that caused her older daughters so much angst.
As for the main characters Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, they are the epitome of a shojo manga couple. Eyes the size of soup dishes, but with the sass and intelligence due our heroine, Elizabeth is convincingーif a little bit too beautiful. Darcy is… Pretty much as you expect him to be, with the added visual of a rather spectacular six pack towards the end. Phwooar! (Colin Firth could only dream of those abs!)
All in all, I think it’s a great adaptation of a much loved novel and will appeal to Austen fans looking to rediscover the classic tale in a new form. I’d also recommend it as a way to ease into the classics for those unfamiliar with Austen’s worksーor even those looking to learn English. I know some of my Japanese friends would find this a more manageable text to read than the original.
Do you read manga or graphic novels? Would you consider reading a classic novel in manga format?