ARC Mini-Review: Manga Classics: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Crystal Chan, Kuma Chan, and Jeannie Lee

Titles: Manga Classics: Adventures of Hucklberry Finn

Authors: Mark Twain, Crystal Chan, Kuma Chan, and Jeannie Lee

Publisher: Udon Entertainment

Source: Udon Entertainment on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)

Check this book out on Goodreads

Buy at: Chapters | Book Depository

Chafed by the -sivilized- restrictions of his foster home, and weary of his drunkard father’s brutality, 14 year-old Huck Finn fakes his own death and sets off on a raft down the Mississippi River. He is soon joined by Jim, an escaped slave. Together, they experience a series of rollicking adventures that have amused readers, young and old, for over a century. The fugitives become close friends as they weather storms together aboard the raft and spend idyllic days swimming, frying catfish suppers, and enjoying their independence. Their peaceful existence ends abruptly, however, with the appearance of the King and the Duke, an incorrigible pair of con artists who take over the raft. After many difficulties, Huck and Jim escape their tormentors, and with the help of an imaginative rescue by Huck’s old friend Tom Sawyer, Jim gains his freedom. Manga Classics breathes new life into this American Classic with a faithful adaptation of Mark Twain’s masterpiece. Chafed by the -sivilized- restrictions of his foster home, and weary of his drunkard father’s brutality, 14 year-old Huck Finn fakes his own death and sets off on a raft down the Mississippi River. He is soon joined by Jim, an escaped slave. Together, they experience a series of rollicking adventures that have amused readers, young and old, for over a century. The fugitives become close friends as they weather storms together aboard the raft and spend idyllic days swimming, frying catfish suppers, and enjoying their independence. Their peaceful existence ends abruptly, however, with the appearance of the King and the Duke, an incorrigible pair of con artists who take over the raft. After many difficulties, Huck and Jim escape their tormentors, and with the help of an imaginative rescue by Huck’s old friend Tom Sawyer, Jim gains his freedom. (Source: Goodreads)

I finally got around to reading this after receiving my ARC sometime in October…and I didn’t finish it. I barely got 50 pages in. This manga adaptation didn’t have much going for it – it’s the sequel to Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for which this adaptation doesn’t provide any context, the story has some deep seated racial problems, and the art is middling to bad.

I had not read HuckFinn or Tom Sawyer going into the manga adaptation, I can guarantee that I will not be reading them in the future. The story of HuckFinn, or the little of it I got from the beginning of this adaptation, was not very interesting. I’m not sure if that’s a problem of the adaptation but it’s a huge fault of this manga either way. Without having read the source or the first novel I didn’t have a lot of context for the characters and their relationships and this adaptation does nothing to provide that.

HuckFinn also showcases the historical racism of America – the ongoing racism of America as well. The adapters chose to edit things from the source – they removed Huck’s smoking habit(!!) – but they left the”n” word in. And they left a lot of it. I understand the desire to maintain the story as much as possible so WHY edit anything out – especially the things they did – only to maintain the frequent use of the “n” word. IF the intention is to have some discussion of the issues of race in America I think that there needed to have been more dialogue created somewhere in the editors notes to contextualize and rationalize the continued use of the original language and the removal of other really unimportant issues in the book – because honestly smoking is not a big enough thing to rationalize removing it from the story altogether.

The art was a miss for me. It was very shonen looking. Huck sports ridiculous anime hair for the entire book and makes goofy anime faces throughout. It just felt…off to me. There are notes at the beginning and end of the novel about how the adapters wanted to open a dialogue through this manga about the important issues of the novel (as noted they weren’t doing a great job already) but the art just makes it all seem trivial. The whole book feels goofy and juvenile.

I didn’t finish this book, I couldn’t bring myself to. It was boring and problematic to say the least. I really think the Manga Classics team needs to think a little harder about what they’re adapting and how instead of just rushing out a ton of these a year. I’ve kind of given up hope on this series.

Ramble on,
Kimber


Have you read Manga Classics: The Count of Monte CristoLet me know your thoughts in the comments!
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