Caroline Davis

Emma (Volume 1) by Kaoru Mori

In Manga on February 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Summary: Set in Victorian England, a young maid named Emma and a wealthy member of the gentry named William Jones meet and fall in love, but they are unable to express their feelings to each other because of the class differences that keep them apart.  To further complicate things, a visiting prince from India (William’s friend Hakim) is also attracted to Emma, and William’s father expects him to marry Eleanor, a girl from a higher class.  In the midst of societal pressures and expectations, can true love conquer?

Highlights: The first installment of this manga series caught my interest quickly with the beautiful and detailed drawings and the introduction of several interesting characters.  The story is paced slowly (or this could be a result of the difficulty I had in reading the panels right-to-left, as I am not a regular manga reader), and the love story unfolds in a series of interactions between the two main characters.  After finishing Volume 1, I’m already impatient to find out what happens next!

The series is rated “Teen Plus,” defined by CMX Manga as “appropriate for an audience of 16 and older. They may contain partial nudity, mild profanity and more intense violence.”  According to my research, later volumes in the series contain some nudity in a non-sexual context, which may be the reason for the rating.  In my opinion, this volume is appropriate for a younger audience, as it contains none of these elements.

Library Journal listed Emma as one of the Best Graphic Novels of 2007, and YALSA named it as one of the 2008 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens.  It has also been adapted into an anime series titled “Emma: A Victorian Romance.”


Official Emma Website

Publisher’s Weekly Article

Other Reviews:

@ At Home With Books

@ Dear Author

@ things mean a lot

  1. Out of curiosity how much responsibility do we have if we turn a tween reader on to a series that may be firmly a teen series in a couple of installments? This is not a judgment one way or the other, just food for thought with a lot of different answers.

  2. I think this is a great question with a complex answer. It really depends on the individual kid, their parents, and the nature of the series. In the example of “Emma,” as far as I know the nudity in future installments takes place when one of the characters is bathing – certainly not completely inoffensive, but not extremely controversial in the same way that mature sexual content or profanity would be. A great example for this question is “Twilight” – should 10-year-olds really be reading it? Again, I think it really just depends on the 10-year-old. I’m personally in favor of not restricting kids from reading books that interest them (within reason), but I also believe that parents have the final say in what is appropriate for their child. I think (to some degree) librarians are responsible for talking with concerned parents about content level to help determine whether it is appropriate for their tween.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that tweens become teens, and some of them might appreciate having a series that matures with them.

    • My general feeling is to agree with you. Again my feeling is that if kids encounter things that make them truly uncomfortable that they aren’t ready to read in general they put it down, change the channel, whatever. But I do find series that ‘age’ with the characters an interesting situation – I am thinking of Alice by Naylor, or even Bella, who by book 4 is married and having sex (not without the ring of course) and while I find the description somewhat hilarious (biting pillows?) I can see some might not be as blase as I am. Just wanted to follow up on the thought – you don;t always have to answer my comments btw – it is usually ‘food for thought’

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