Monday, January 10, 2011
The last volume of Emma! I've made it through my first entire manga series!
Meticulously researched and beautifully rendered, EMMA is a beloved, award-winning series that was adapted into an acclaimed anime series in Japan. In Victorian-era England, a young girl is rescued from a life of destitution and raised to become a proper British maid. Emma meets William, the eldest son of a wealthy family, and immediately falls in love with him. William shares her feelings, but the strict rules of their society prevent their relationship from ever coming out in the open. Traditional class distinctions and rich, historical details provide the backdrop for this appealing romance. (courtesy of Goodreads)
The last Emma volume! How bittersweet. Volume 10 gives us a little of everything: Emma and William, servants, Eleanor, William's family, Hakim...a proper finish.
The volume starts with a sweet chapter about Emma learning to ride a bicycle. For such a forbidden relationship, they sure have a sweet innocent courtship. Poor Emma is not a talented bike rider, although she gives it a good try. Really, she is no worse than any adult riding a bike for the first time - it'd be so much harder to learn to ride as an adult. Her various mishaps leads to a few cute moments with William at the end of the chapter.
The second chapter features Adele and Maria, two of the servants at the Meredith home. The chapter takes place when the Meredith family still lived in Germany. Adele always comes off as hard and relentless, married to her job. This chapter in no way changes that view, but it makes you understand why and really sympathize with her more. She is an interesting contrast to fun, bawdy Maria. The two forceful personalities work surprisingly well together.
Next up is a chapter with Arthur at Eton! I love boarding school plots. Arthur is a prefect at Eton and captain of the rowing team. He and his fellow prefect take a very spirited young student under their wings and try, with various degrees of success, to mold them into the model Etonian they want him to be.
Then comes a very short chapter called "The Following Day." After Eleanor meets her boy at the resort town, they say a reluctant goodbye to one another. But it's not goodbye for long! I predict a happy life for Eleanor.
We then have another short chapter featuring little moments of servants we know and love like Tasha and Hans, but don't get a lot of play elsewhere in the volume.
The volume concludes with a two chapters of William and Emma's wedding! All the characters come together to wish them well. The servants and the wealthy party as one. I thought a particularly sweet moment came when Emma had to write down her surname for her wedding license. She chose Stowner, after the lovely Mrs. Stowner, her employer and William's governess. Emma wears a beautiful dress, although I'd hate having such a high collar. The wedding chapters manage to sum up everything and send the characters out with a bang. It's a proper ending to a wonderful historical fiction manga.