Thursday, September 17, 2009

Emma, vol. 9

The story: This is another volume of side stories of other characters in the Emma-verse. I was really hoping to see something with Hans, to no avail; he only appears in two measly panels. However, we are treated to fun stories involving many other members of the Meredith household, from the temporary loss of young master Erich's pet squirrel, Theo, to some background on how the Meredith romance started to a shopping day involving Polly and Alma. There's also a flashback to when William and Hakim first met, as well as a love triangle involving three singers from the opera Eleanor and William attended.

Reaction: Despite the lack of dialogue, I really enjoyed the introductory chapter involving Theo; there's something quietly wonderful about this story. Of course, the story of Hakim's and William's first meeting is entertaining on a more obvious level -- from William's astonishment at the grandeur of Hakim's home to his frustration at Hakim's innate talent at tennis, I found myself quietly giggling. The last story involving the operatic love triangle was also bittersweet, but uplifting, too.

Deep thoughts: When William and his father visit India, Hakim's father speaks about the English colonization of India and how "no foreign nation has ever governed India for long." Interestingly, India was ruled by a company, the British East India Company, until their rule was transferred to the British crown in 1858. India didn't buck the English government until they achieved independence in 1947. While it seems odd that Hakim's father states that no foreign nation has ruled for long and a century seems a very long time, in the grand scheme of history on the Indian subcontinent, it's really quite short as the known history of India dates back to 3300 BCE.

Artwork: Of course, I still love Kaoru Mori's artwork and it has grown on me even since the first volume. I especially loved the fantastic forest scenes involving Theo in the first chapter. The angles and viewpoints chosen really immerse the reader in Theo's world at that point in time. Of course, the opulence of Hakim's palace is well illustrated and I love all of the details that Mori goes to painstaking work to include, from the costumes to the patterned walls and ceilings. Lastly, I really love the hustle and bustle of the shopping district that Polly and Alma visit; all of the architecture is perfectly historical from the brick buildings to the cobblestone streets to the window displays. It shows a great deal of research on Mori's part.

The verdict: Highly recommended. I think it's fairly obvious at this point what I think of Emma. With the tenth and final volume arriving soon, I'll be sad to see this perfectly told and illustrated story end! Emma is available in the U.S. from CMX.

Review copy provided by CMX.


  1. Haha!!! Poor Hans does get the shaft. I think he shows up briefly in more of the after stories (I remember him in a panel at the wedding), but I don't remember anything specifically "starring" him. Haha, a reason to re-read the side stories :).

    Oh! There's also the "Emma" spin-off "Shirley" out there (though, it sadly appears to be out of print).

    "Emma" is in my top 5 manga series. I love it, no matter how many times I've re-read it.

  2. Not Emma, but Eleanor with William at the opera...

    Volume 9 is a great book (yeah, the Hakim & William story was fun, along with the shopping trip), but it'll be nice to see more of Emma and William with #10 (vaguely recalling mention of such, but I haven't seen the book in any language, yet).

  3. @Anonymous Thanks SO much for catching that! I can't believe that I mis-stated that. Ugh, the burden of being your own editor.

    I am looking forward to seeing more of Emma and William in the next volume, especially since it's supposed to feature both their wedding and the reception afterwards. Of course, I'll be sad to see this great story go!