Recently, I’ve just completed reading an utterly charming manga called Emma by Kaoru Mori.
If you like historical romance and Candy Candy – even more so if you’re an Albert Candy fan- this series will be perfect for you.
Synopsis from Baka-Updates:
In Victorian-era England, a young girl is rescued from a life of destitution and raised to become a proper British maid. Emma meets William, the eldest son of a wealthy family, and immediately falls in love with him. William shares her feelings, but the strict rules of their society prevent their relationship from ever coming out in the open. Traditional class distinctions and rich, historical details provide the backdrop for this appealing romance.
There’s nothing over the top as far the premise goes. Rich boy meets poor girl, and they fall in love. One of the most used cliche tropes in the world of romance fiction.
So what distinguishes Emma from the others?
The execution. The manga has one of the most well written expositions. The author doesn’t reveal everything in one glob, but neither does Kaoru Mori drag the story by delving too far and deep into the back/side stories and side characters to a point that they take the attention away from the main plot (a trap that writer can easily fall into) and become a major distraction (one of my pet peeves)–instead they are explored further in a collection of short stories that follows the manga. The pace is mostly kept constant throughout the 7 volumes at an enjoyable rate. The dialogues are focused and to the point without trying to be overly witty. A touch of humor adds charm to the story. And as I said, there’s nothing over the top with the plot – okay, Hakim and his entourage, maybe in the borderline – and there’s nothing outrageous about the characters either. No one is extremely evil, and no one is extremely good. They’re just human beings with virtues and flaws. And that is why it was so easy for me to empathize with the protagonists, even at the beginning of my reading.
The art. I wasn’t taken by the art at first as the style was quite different than what I normally consider beautiful. After all, rather than a shoujo manga, Emma is actually a seinen, and by definition seinen targets male readers as opposed to female like in the case for shoujo. That must be one of the reasons why I dropped the series a while back. But I’m glad I decided to revisit the series recently. And boy I admit now I was wrong to think that a manga geared for male readers will be filled by nothing but fanservice-type vulgar scenes and shallow plots. And the art? As I read more, I developed appreciation for it, that by the second volume I found myself enjoying it immensely.
History. The details are amazing, and they’re not just there for the sake of filling the page. But to accurately illustrate how life was in England in the late 19th century. The mangaka has done a fantastic job depicting the era. Clearly, tons of research must have gone into it.
Romance. I’ll let the images from my favorite scene do most of the talking. Sigh…
What can I say:D I’m a sucker for romance. And dokidoki scene such as the one above is my cup of tea. Emma is all about romance (which is quite surprising considering it’s a seinen), and for a series geared for male, Emma tackles it 1000% times better than some female targeted series I’ve read in the past. No sappy dialogues, no sappy actions, no long winding contrived plots, which are my other pet peeves (umm okay the hair thing is a bit in the sappy side, but I digress). From now on, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for other seinen romance series.
Ending. A satisfying ending is a must for me (which I didn’t obtain from Candy Candy and thus feel compelled to write a more satisfying ending myself in the form of fanfiction), and Emma provides me with that. So that’s good.
Similarities to Candy Candy. I must confess that the reason I was drawn to the series was because of the male protagonist. His name is William:D That aside, the premise is more or less similar to CC (specifically if you’ve read my story It’s More Than a Fairy Tale, you’d notice the similar elements right off the bat: social status differences, which is essentially the underlying plot of Fairy Tale). Emma, like Candy, is also an orphan, but personality wise they are night and day. Emma is way more reserved than Candy. William, however, is similar to Albert (even more so to Albert in my stories). And after reading the manga, I just can’t stop thinking of a new set up for Albert and Candy. An AU story in which Candy is a maid at the Andrews Mansion and Albert is the Master of the house – you can imagine what would happen next. 😀
Well, if those still don’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will 😀
If you want to check it out, you can search google for the English translation. But since both the anime and the manga have been licensed, I will strongly recommend you purchase them, that way you’ll support the mangaka. And you can always go to wiki for more information.
PS – for CC fans, do you think Emma looks like Patty? 😀