The first time I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I was in high school. It was the book I chose for my senior thesis paper (specifically, I focused on the character of Mr. Collins). To give you some perspective, the Colin Firth miniseries was still a good five years away at that point. So I’ve been a fan for a long time, and I love manga, but I wondered if I could accept a manga version. Could it do the story justice?
THE PLOT: Wait a minute, you don’t know this classic story? Go read it right now. Go on, I’ll wait.
Okay, seriously: The five Bennett daughters don’t have large dowries or good connections, but they need to marry well because their cousin will inherit their home when their father dies. Things are looking up when a wealthy young man, Mr. Bingley, moves into the neighborhood and is smitten with Jane, the oldest daughter. Second-oldest daughter Elizabeth, an intelligent and witty young lady, spars with Bingley’s unpleasant (and rich) friend, Mr. Darcy. Add in a gold-digging mother, various meddling relatives, a degenerate fortune hunter, stupid little sisters, and two of the worst marriage proposals of all time, and you’ve got yourself a classic.
MY TWO CENTS: As soon as I saw this, I was intrigued. Elizabeth and Darcy in manga format? For the most part, it works well. The art is very pretty, although Elizabeth’s hair is down in formal company a bit too often for my Regency tastes (I know, I’m being picky). The art of Mr. Collins made me laugh out loud every time I saw it. The story is streamlined a bit, and there are some liberties taken with both the story and language (no one will convince me that Regency-era folk said “No way!” EVER.) There are a couple of weird moments that I’m pretty sure aren’t canon (Elizabeth’s tearful breakup with Wickham). But overall, it’s a fun read.
BOTTOM LINE: A fairly faithful presentation of a classic story. Don’t read it INSTEAD of the classic, though; read it to supplement your enjoyment. I’m interested in checking out more of the Manga Classics that are on the way: Les Miserables (I’m assuming THE BOOK, not THE MUSICAL), and The Scarlet Letter. You can check out the style of the art here: http://www.udonentertainment.com/blog/tag/manga-classics/
TEACUP RATING: Four out of five teacups for this adaptation. (The original, of course, gets a million teacups.)
ON SALE DATE: Both hardcover and paperback formats will be available on August 19, 2014.
Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.