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Kaoru Mori's _Emma, Volume Nine:_ the Merediths, Tennis and Music
Written: Jul 19, 2010 (Updated Jul 30, 2010)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Five stories certain to enchant most readers, unless they are very prudish.
Cons:I wish that there was more about Wilhelm and Dorothea.
The Bottom Line: A collection of five short tales that fit into the larger series as a whole.
Manga author and artist Kaoru Mori continues her exploration of the Emmaverse in the ninth volume of her series about the life of a housemaid in Victorian England, and the man that she loves.
Once she had written the series to its conclusion (volumes one through seven), Ms. Mori still had a few more tales to tell, and proceeded to publish them in additional volumes to the series. They're rather brief little vignettes, but told with as much attention to detail as the longer story is. One of the nice things about Ms. Mori's work is that she is constantly working at improving her skills, and it is really starting to show with these later volumes in the series.
Before I read these, I had pretty much dismissed manga -- a comic book style that originated in Japan, and its close cousin, anime -- as an art style that bored me silly. I don't much go for superheroes, nor for the antics of schoolchildren. But this was something different, and after reading a few glowing reviews, I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did.
Erich and Theo
Erich, the Meredith's young son, has a rather special pet, a squirrel named Theo. Out picnicking one day, Theo gets lost in the woods, causing no little amount of trouble, and quite a bit of anxiety for Erich.
On Wings of Song
Out of the many characters in this series, one of my favourites are the Merediths. They're the married couple that Emma comes to work for after her mentor, Mrs. Stonor, died. Dorothea is the more impetuous, adventuresome part of the pair, while her husband Wilhelm is more quiet and thoughtful. I always did wonder how did they meet and marry, and keep that love still alight through the years. This is one of my favourites and quite beautifully told. The prudish, however, may want to skip this one, as a good deal of the story is of the couple in bed, and rather naked at that -- however, it's one of the best portrayals of intimacy and love that I've seen in comics, and good heavens, we certainly need some positive role models these days.
As a child, it seems that William Jones travelled to India with his father. On a visit to a maharaja, William meets a boy about his own age, Hakim, who is the ruler's second son. Boys being boys, they soon are indulging in a tennis match, and they both learn a bit about sportsmanship and each other.
Two of the maids in the Meredith household go shopping. Polly is the one who is buying for the others on the staff, as well as for herself, and she's of the sort who has money burning in her pocket. Alma is older and far steadier. It's a cute little throwaway sequence, but the details are very nice.
In the series, one night is spent at the opera, and here is the backstory to three of the singers who appear in that brief chapter. This one involves a white kitten, and a lover's triangle that may or may not be solved. Rather over the top, but still readable.
One important note is that the book is published in a Japanese style to preserve the feel of the original story and the continuity in the art, so it takes a slight adjustment in reading it from right to left. Also, I do recommend having read the previous volumes in the series as there isn't any sort of synopsis provided to fill in the gaps.
This was originally serialized in Enterbrain's Comic Beam in Japanese between 2002 and 2006. It also has been adapted into an anime series, and has developed a cult following in Japan.
Overall, four stars, and it appears that the next volume will contain more of these little vignettes about the lesser known characters in the series. Recommended.
Emma by Kaoru Mori
Volume Nine -- you are here
Many thanks to Pestyside for adding this to the database for me.
This is part of the 2010 Funny Pages Write-Off being sponsored by Elvisdo
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