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.