Friday, April 9, 2010

Emma Volume 1 by Kaoru Mori

Next in my quest to read a whole whack of books in a short period of time is Kaoru Mori's manga series Emma. I have held off from reading another graphic novel series while I'm working my way through Ranma 1/2 because I don't want to get too entangled. It would be very easy to read nothing but manga, I freely admit. But I have justified this one by saying to myself that I am helping to promote my library's graphic novel collection, and also this series is only seven volumes long. I have access to the first volume at the library I work at, and the first six at my local system here, but the last one I will clearly have to try to order in. Luckily the system I work at will do that for me.

Emma has been making the rounds here in the blogosphere. I've seen it a number of places, including things mean a lot, The Written World, and In Spring it is the Dawn. Each one only made me want to read this series more. Now that I've finally got to it, I understand the appeal. To be honest, I did find myself just the tiniest bit ... let down? That's not quite right. A little slower than expected, I think, but I have to remind myself that this is the first volume of a series, and here we're just starting to meet the characters and grasp the shape of the challenges facing them.

And so far, I really do enjoy it. The art is just stunning. The portrayal of London is a bit tidier than I'm used to, but it's full of lovely detail and other than the tidiness, authentic. There's something really fascinating about looking at Victorian London and its culture through the eyes of a Japanese mangaka; it could so easily be false or fetishized, but it feels right. The story is sweet, filled with the embarrassments and thrills of early first love; although, I think, here I can put my finger on what bothered me. I didn't buy much more than a careful mutual attraction based on love-at-first-sight; I want more of Emma and William getting to know each other. Like I say, though, this is the first volume of seven, so I imagine I'll get more of that. With this story, I get the feeling it's going to be more the journey than the destination, and the journey is going to be slow and beautiful.

12 comments:

Missy AKA Little Messy Missy said...

Looks good!

kiirstin said...

Indeed it is. :)

Nymeth said...

This does get better as it progresses, fear not! I don't like the idea of love at first sight either - but though the story only gives them limited airtime together, there are implications of a more meaningful connection. Or perhaps that's what I wanted to read :P

kiirstin said...

I think you've got it right, from the little I've seen so far. And I can buy a love-at-first-sight story every once in a while!

Darla D said...

I started reading this one after reading Nymeth's review (she is racking up some serious TBR karma, along with you, so thanks so much), and then when I saw my library only has the first volume of the series, I kind of ran out of steam. I should go back and finish it - what I read of it was charming - particularly the elephant, if I remember correctly!

kiirstin said...

Our library only has the first one of this series too. I am guessing it wasn't popular enough to encourage the purchase of the subsequent volumes. I'm doing my best to change that, foisting it on anyone who I think might be remotely interested.

Darla D said...

I checked the circ stats for our copies of volume one - I think we own maybe eight or nine in the system, and every one but two had been checked out in the past two or three months. I think that's pretty good. But I guess with all these budget cuts, we're just not ordering what we used to. Sigh.

kiirstin said...

Ouch. Yeah, that sucks. Ours only went out once in the year before I got it out, so I think our case was a definite lack-of-interest problem.

Manga series are so darned long, and expensive. And they tend to be treated very roughly by our patrons. It's hard to make an investment in that, I bet, especially with budget squeezes.

Just out of curiosity, do you guys take preventative measures, ie. covering trade paperbacks that are/will be heavily used, that sort of thing? There seems to be a bit of a push-pull thing happening with us -- we want to protect the popular books so they last longer, but apparently some of the things we were doing cost too much/take too much time.

Darla D said...

We stopped doing the covers for paperbacks, etc., a long time ago, but it really did help keep the books in better condition. I don't know if this will be revisited because of cuts to the collection or not - the materials are expensive, as you say. We are lucky to get some great donations of things that we can often add to the collection, though. I love treasure hunting through the bags of books (although I have found some nasty surprises as well!).

kiirstin said...

Ewwwww... I don't think I want to know what the nasty surprises are. (Who am I kidding. Yes I do.)

For some reason, we're not accepting very many donations lately, especially if it's something we already have in one of the other branches. Which is kind of sad, because we do get donations whether we can accept them or not, and some of them are in beautiful condition and would fit in the collection. But we've been given the go-ahead for a book sale this spring, which is better than nothing.

Darla D said...

Once a teen brought back a book, and it was dripping wet. My friend, who was at the circ desk, handed it back to him and said it was wet and sticky, and he couldn't return it that way - it was ruined. He seemed surprised, and then admitted that his dog had gone to the bathroom on it!!! And that's just ONE story...

Too bad about the donations - it's hard to let those lovely hardbound books go when you know they'll only be available in paperback soon.

kiirstin said...

I was trying to figure out which I was more surprised about -- the fact that he was surprised he couldn't return a sopping, sticky, peed-on book, or the actual dog peeing on the book... and then I realized that I was surprised at neither. :P

Sticky mystery substances are the *worst* though. Our DVDs often come back with those all over the cases.