Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Emma, Volume 09

This round of side story collections of Emma provides a more consistent output than the previous volume. Half of the material here consists of various events surrounding the Merediths, the German family that took in Emma. Concerning Dorothea and Wilhelm, Kaoru Mori pays careful attention once more to subtle hand gestures, and perfectly injects the minimum requirement of flashbacks for humor and nostalgia. Personality contrasts also play an important role in the third Meredith story, surrounding the maids and butlers; Polly's mischievous, frank attitude serves as a perfect foil for Alma's stoic observations as the latter joins the former spending their free day about town, buying various things for the others and themselves.

The story of William and Hakim's first meeting also contains allusions to a later departure of Britain from India, but, as Mori somewhat laments in her always humorous afterword, isn't examined too extensively. It primarily serves as a vehicle for an amusing background to the two characters, particularly the always-charismatic and curious Hakim.

Bookending the volume are two tonally opposite stories, the first a feel-good plot of Erich temporarily losing his squirrel, Theo, to the woods; the second involves an tale of three opera singers and their efforts to adjust to their careers. The Boy and His Lost Pet serves as a vehicle for Mori to show of her visual storytelling power in isolation, much of the chapter bearing a less mean-spirited resemblance to Gon. The last story reaches an anti-climax involving the maturation as the lead comes to terms with his love life and career prospects. The low-key acceptance is a simple reminder of how far ahead Emma is in romance from every other manga out there on the English market.


  1. You know, I see tons and tons of praise for Emma, but the cover art is just lifeless enough, (and my kneejerk hatred of all things maid related ingrained enough) that I continue to have absolutely no interest in giving it a chance.

  2. It's like Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, except with romance and maids instead of nostalgia and robots. (Also, fuck all the Aria comparisons to YKK.)

    Mori's art doesn't work in color nearly as well as black and white.