Title: Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen, Stacy King (Adaptation), Po Tse (Illustration)
Publisher: Udon Entertainment Publishing
Source: Myricks Marketing and Media LLC on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check out this book on Goodreads.
Beloved by millions the world over, Pride & Prejudice is delightfully transformed in this bold, new manga adaptation. All of the joy, heartache, and romance of Jane Austen’s original, perfectly illuminated by the sumptuous art of manga-ka Po Tse, and faithfully adapted by Stacy E. King. (Source: Goodreads)
I was a little wary of this manga when I first saw it on shelves at work. I thought it probably wouldn’t work out. I’m not a huge fan of manga, there are a few series I read or have read in the past, but I am not all in all I huge fan of manga, which made me a little cautious of a manga adaptation of a book that I love, and a books which has so many fantastic and less than fantastic adaptations already. I was a little surprised when I started reading this and thought, “oh my, this is really good”. It’s not perfect but it’s good.
In terms of story, it sticks pretty close to the original. There are obviously some bits cut, but the main plot points are in tact and the flow is still good. There are some added lines, sort of interior thoughts, the kind of commentary on situations that you often see in manga. There are some between chapter additions too, little mini strips essentially which add some comedic relief. It’s pretty fantastic overall though that King kept things pretty well intact with the original writing even. Maybe the one comment I have about the writing is that…it was a little too fluffy at times? Like, the Darcy and Elizabeth were too clearly in love right off the bat? This made the build up of the relationship a little flat.
In terms of character design I really enjoyed a lot of the art on the characters. I felt like, largely, it seemed era appropriate and character appropriate. I thought Elizabeth was gorgeous, her hair was probably the best part of her, the unruly curls made her seem even more fierce. I liked Jane as well, she definitely had an aura of serenity. The sisters, Lydia, Kitty, and Mary, were also well designed. I thought Mrs. Bennet was well done too, she looked sort of…Mrs. Bennet. It was pretty much perfect. Mr. Bennet was not a favourite of mine however. He looked too young and the hairstyle was not good for me. Bingley was basically perfection, he is the cutest, and considering Bingley should be the cutest thing ever it was just amazing (have you seen Tom Mison’s Bingley? This was pretty much on the same level.) I didn’t initially like the Darcy character design, but it grew on me. I think it was a little too…sharp and slender? I don’t know, I prefer something stony but a little soft. Overall though I thought it was really good.
The art overall was also just fantastic. The spreads of houses and stuff were just gorgeous and really captured the grandeur of the estates that the gentlemen in the book own. Pemberley especially was really well done. I just overall thought the entire world was well created and illustrated. I think my one qualm was that there were a few sort of “risque” depictions of the girls which just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the book, there’s one of Jane at one point where it’s just lots of boob and it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
Overall this adaptation captured the tone and spirit of the book pretty well. Obviously I found it had a few faults, but that’s alright it was still hugely enjoyable and really a visual pleasure. I think this is a good introduction to the book but definitely not a replacement, nothing can replace the original.