A manga about a maid? Set in Victorian times? You have to love it! It’s just too good to leave on the shelf. I first stumbled upon Emma in the Borders Books and Music store located in Boston, MA. I was surfing the manga shelves for my favorite titles and came upon this series. My initial reaction was amusement; a period manga about a maid involved in a love story between the lower and upper classes. Interesting, but not my kind of story. I put it back. Later during my visit I stumbled upon it once more. There’s something about Emma that you can’t ignore. At first she reminded me of Belldandy, from Oh! My Goddess, she has that same warm, loving, innocent face. Then I was hooked on her story.
Emma has everything: romance, action, comedy and sensuality.
Romance is definitely the dominating theme through this series, not only between William and Emma, but among other characters as well. It has that doomed relationship between different classes that you just can’t help but root for. You know they are going to suffer, and catch a lot of criticism for daring to break with traditions, but you have to see how it ends. At the time I was reading this series it wasn’t complete. I had to wait for the next volume to be published, so if a volume ended with a cliff hanger I had to wait months for the next part of the story. I can tell you I browsed the manga section often.
But it’s not just the romance that gets you hooked; there’s action, too. William defying his father and all of society! Emma leaving. Emma captured. Emma lost and confused. It’s a wonderful rollercoaster told superbly by Ms. Mori with words and graphics. Her attention to details puts you in the time period. Her slow progression puts you in the moment. Fabulous. Simply fabulous.
On a Different Note
- Reading period series always reminds me how fashion has changed throughout the years. What women wear today could be considered indecent exposure by walking around in your undergarments back in the days. It blows the mind that a simple act of removing a glove was considered an act of courtship (not just anyone could remove your gloves and take your naked hand). Don’t you sometimes wish that mystery of courtship was still around?
- There’s some nudity in this series; nothing distasteful, but it’s still there. It shouldn’t stop anybody from picking up this wonderful manga series, but I know that some people are offended by it. Just warning you (or your parental units).
- I’ve also watched the Emma anime, and while it isn’t absolutely 100% faithful to the manga, it does a very good job at bringing the story from the page to the screen. If you’ve watched the anime I recommend reading the manga to fill in the missing stories and interactions between characters. If you’ve read the manga, I would recommend watching the anime to see how the producers translated the print to animation. Well worth the time.