Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Emma, vol. 7
The story: The seventh and final volume following the romance between Emma and William finds the two young lovers far apart, with no hope of discovering one another. But, somehow love finds a way and they meet again with the help of Hakim. After reuniting, the two pay a visit to Emma's former employers and Emma asks Mrs. Meredith for a rather big favor. Later still, William has a confrontation of sorts with Eleanor's family, hopefully laying talk of their engagement to rest.
Reaction: After finishing this, I was filled with optimism for Emma and William. They know that they have a rough road ahead of them, but they're committed to making it work one way or another. Perhaps because of how much I've grown to love these characters—both separately and apart—I was very proud of them and their determination. I also liked how the Joneses dealt with this social setback, as it were. While I'm somewhat sad at seeing this series end, I'm looking forward to reading the side stories of the other characters I've come to appreciate in this Emma-verse created by Kaoru Mori.
Deep thoughts: If there's an innocent bystander in all this, it's probably Eleanor. Unfortunately, her family doesn't deal with the breaking of her engagement nearly as well as the family of her former fiancé did. It was disheartening to see just how a woman was treated in such a situation. Even now, women are blamed for the way they are treated by men, even though their situation and circumstances are no fault of their own, especially in cases of sexual assault or physical abuse. While Eleanor was quick to fall in love, she's not at fault for the way her short-lived engagement turned out.
Artwork: I loved, loved, loved Monica's extravagant outfit, no matter how inappropriate it may have been for Victorian-era England. Additionally, Mori's illustrations of America reveal its scenic vistas and capture it's hard-scrabble character. Again, the details are what make this series so truly enjoyable, whether it's the largesse of the Meredith household or the greenhouse-like interior of Mrs. Jones' country home.
The verdict: Highly recommended. I was pleasantly surprised by this offbeat, romantic seinen title. The historic charm of this book is completely unexpected and Mori has taken the time to not only craft an intriguing love story, but created characters one truly cares about. Emma is available in the U.S. from CMX.