Time for a good dose of Britishness! I must admit going into this I wasn’t really expecting much, there have been many dodgy western attempts at manga and even the cover art didn’t really sell it to me… But I do love some classic English Literature and Pride and Prejudice is pretty well covered in terms of book, play and film adaptations (if you find a video game based on it let me know). So why not a manga?! It’s got romance, drama, family and class disputes and generally lovable characters. So here we go, pour yourself a cup of tea and get immersed.
So for those of you who have no idea what the story is about… Shame on you! Just kidding, it’s a romantic story that deals with manners, morals and social status during the British Regency period (1795-1837). It follows the Bennet family, especially the 5 daughters, Elizabeth the second oldest being the main character.
Unfortunately for Lizzy she has a father who although is a landed country gentleman kinda just wants to stick to his books, her mother lacks any sort of social awareness and her elder sister Jane is the most beautiful and kind of the sisters (so the only sister Lizzy gets along well with). Her younger sisters leave a lot to be desired; Mary is studious but boring, the youngest Lydia is flirtatious and immature and Kitty just follows after her. So despite the posh and historical setting you basically have an average family where there is only one or two socially acceptable people and the rest just embarrass the hell out of you.
The main meat of the book follows the interactions of Elizabeth and a Mr Darcy. Mr Darcy is a very rich and influential young man who has no time for idle chit-chat and thinks most country folk are dumb asses out for money and well he’s basically the Pride from the title and a bit of an ass. Over time you see a softer side to him and realise that he is only slightly assish xD His best friend Mr Bingley is also very wealthy (though not as wealthy being a secondary character) however he is much nicer and should have basically been drawn with massive puppy dog eyes.
There is so much to this book so you should probably read it, basically it’s a story about Mr Darcy overcoming his pride and Elizabeth overcoming her prejudice of Mr Darcy and instigating damage control for her stupid family. Poor Lizzy.
Now we’re all caught up, and re-joined by those who already knew the plot, what can I say about this adaptation? Well I think it’s actually one of the best I’ve seen, I mean it, honestly! Every key scene from the book is illustrated here and the language is kept the same with a few minor tweaks so you don’t feel like donning a top hat and monocle afterwards but still feel that old English vibe. The book is a classic and so you don’t need to worry about the plot or characters being rubbish so the main concern should be the art. Well rest assured as you should have seen by the scans, the art work is beautiful throughout, they kept it in a beautiful mature style (no moe worries here) and although there are a few chibi panels between chapters and to illustrate more hilarious aspects, they are cute and there’s no over the top manga clichés… well except one but it involves Mr Collins who is just a crazy character anyway.
I also love that is doesn’t shy away from the humour in the book, it’s quite easy to make it very prim and proper throughout but some of the scenes are just hilarious and meant to be so. Elizabeth represents all of us who have to deal with more unorthodox members of our families, she still loves them but recognises they need to be reined in slightly. She also isn’t afraid to admit she is wrong once it is proven and feels guilty if she has treated someone unfairly. The romantic scenes with her and Mr Darcy are heart throbbing and I found myself wanting to keep reading to get to the next one while not missing out on the rest.
If you love the novel and love manga then I can’t recommend this enough to you! It’s beautifully drawn, beautifully written and already has a plot you love! If you’ve never read the book but are curious or just love romance and classic britishness, then you’ll love this as well as it’s basically Queen of all that. Jeez I’d recommend it just to show that western classics or really any story from any culture can be adapted well into manga.
As a side note, the same people have made other manga classics! Below are the manga already released with Jane Eyre and Sense and Sensibility due to be released round July. As far as I’m aware they have multiple artists working on them, so Pride and Prejudice and Emma have the same manga-ka Po Tse, with the others having a different artist(s) so I can’t vouch for all of the art styles…yet. Happy reading!