Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice Softcover - Jane Austen

I will try to approach this review with an open mind, although the 2005 "Pride and Prejudice" movie has already ruined me for life (Hellooooo hunky Matthew Macfadyen!!!). First of all, I am of a strong opinion that classics should not be adapted into manga; and should only be adapted into graphic novels if they stay absolutely true to the novels. They lose a lot of their authenticity in the process. With that being said, this is a good (not great) adaptation of Jane Austin's most famous work, although by no means a match for the original. I recommend it to female tweens and younger teens as a means of easing into Jane Austin's novels. However, I don't believe young adults or adults will enjoy it as much. In fact, hard core middle-aged women might consider it blasphemy. So, let's break it down:


Pros: Much of the original plot has been preserved. So if you have a literature test tomorrow and don't have time to read the book, this is the next best thing to Sparknotes. Also, the artwork is breathtaking! It was perhaps my favorite aspect of the book. The artist has a unique style: most of the figures are tall and elegant, the flowers, trees, furniture, the costumes… almost everything is drawn with exquisite detail. The art portrays Victorian England's culture well enough and greatly adds to the storytelling. If you are an admirer of Japanese manga-style art, this book might be worth purchasing or at least checking out at a library.

 

Cons: The language has been simplified to tailor to a younger audience. This didn't ruin my reading experience, but I was disappionted because it took away from the Jane Austin-y-ness of the book. At times, the conversations between characters seemed incomplete, silly or awkward. If you have read the novel or seen the film, there are some familiar, well-known phrases that you will recognize, but that have been shortened and/or changed slightly. And though the characters are portrayed physically how you would imagine them to be in the book, I felt a lot of them were not three dimensional and/or deviated from their personalities in the book. A good example of this is Mr. Collin's character: here, he is jolly and always smiling, while in the book and movie, he is portrayed as a serious, gloomy kind of person.

 

Verdict: It was not as enjoyable as I hoped it would be, especially since I am perhaps older than the targeted audience of readers, but it was fun and different. Also, if you are a die-hard Jane Austin fan or a person who would always prefer the original to adaptations, you will enjoy it even less. I do believe it would make a great gift for some young girls, though. If they are into classic romance and/or manga.