Manga Classics — The Best of Literature in Manga Form

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Welcome to my post on manga classics.

Manga classics? The best of literature in manga form? I don’t get it 「(゚ペ)

Yeah, when I first saw the title in my local Kinokuniya (Japanese book chain), I was also confused. However, when I picked up the book and read the secondary title, I was blown away.

If you want to know, the complete title of that book I picked up was ‘Manga Classics. Pride and Prejudice’.

Wait. THE Pride and Prejudice? The one by Jane Austen?

Yup, the very one. Here is the cover down below o(≧∇≦o)

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Source: amazon.com

So why am I writing a post on famous books in literature adapted in manga form? Because this project is amazing and as a person who reads both literature and manga, I am excited to see all the new titles that Manga Classics has lined up for this year.

This post is mainly introducing the Manga Classics project and explaining why you should give it a try and what I love about it. So, let’s begin shall we o(〃^▽^〃)o

What is Manga Classics?

The Manga Classics project is basically aiming to expose the generation of today to classics of the past such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Hamlet, etc. through the manga medium as manga has gained a massive following over the last few years.

The team basically comprises of artists and literature academics (yes, actual academics!) who also happen to love comics and manga.

Manga Classics takes a classic work and adapts it into a manga form, telling the story just like how a manga would — with drawings, sound effects, and speech bubbles.

Pretty neat right? (۶ꈨຶꎁꈨຶ )۶ʸᵉᵃʰᵎ

Contextualising to the modern reader

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Source: amazon.com

Manga Classics not only adapts the classics into manga, but they also have 4-koma and pages of whole text explaining certain cultural norms to the modern reader as most of these classics are at least 100 years old.

For instance, in Sense and Sensibility, the Manga Classics team dedicates pages upon pages at the back of the book explaining why it would have been extremely worrying to everyone when Marianne was out and about with Willoughby all by herself.

This allows the modern reader to understand why the author of the book would put certain scenes and have his/her characters to react in a certain way. It provides some context so that the readers would not be so confused because “of course women can be with a man by herself! Who said she can’t?!”.

Why I love Manga Classics

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Source: amazon.com

Well, wouldn’t you be excited about seeing your favourite books presented in say, movies? I know there is a debate on whether movie-adapted books are good but you cannot deny that the hype before the movie’s release is always present regardless of ratings.

It’s the same with classics being adapted into manga. The manga community has never seen manga-adapted literature classics before and for many, it’s such a thrill to be able to read the classics in a more “exciting” medium. In all honesty, the classics haven’t aged well because culture and writing style changes all the time. Nowadays, reading long sentences full of descriptive prose is rather tiring. Compared to the modern book which has more dialogue than description, reading a book from the 1800s is just as fun as watching paint dry. Sometimes, even reading a modern book is challenging because of the internet and the world of the-140-character-word-limit.

By adapting the classics into manga, it creates a better way for young people to learn about societies of the past without being bored or confused. Young people know manga well and so will understand a lot better than reading a writing style that they’re not used to.

For me personally, having read the original text, it’s even more exciting because I get to see my imagination come to life with these manga. Sometimes, I feel that the drawings are depicted better than in my wildest dreams (ノ。≧◇≦)ノ

Take Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. After reading the manga adaptation of it, I realised why Mr Darcy is not so very liked at the beginning — he’s basically a tsundere. The way he was portrayed in the manga was really reminiscent of how a tsundere character would act like and it really surprised me as I would have never thought of it that way.

Tsundere: An anime trope where a person is really cold on the outside but has a warm loving side on the inside that the person will reveal slowly as the story progresses. 

The Manga Classics team even admitted that Mr Darcy is basically a token tsundere (/^▽^)/ It just made the story of Pride and Prejudice a lot more entertaining to read than when I read the original text. I guess it’s because I’m of this generation so used to technology and the internet.

I’ve read more manga adaptations besides Pride and Prejudice and I must say that I love their work so far. One manga that the Manga Classics team is releasing this year is Dracula and well, having read the original text with all it’s interesting descriptions and storytelling-by-letter format, I am impatiently waiting for it to be released. I can’t wait!!! (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧

Why You Should Read Manga Classics

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Source: amazon.com

Remember in my post on Why is Manga so Popular I mentioned that manga has a really wide audience because it caters to genres that both children and adults will love?

Related post: Why is Manga so Popular?

Well, just because the classics are now adapted into “comics”, it doesn’t mean that you as an adult should not read it. I mentioned before that manga is made for everyone (doesn’t mean every manga can be read by everyone) because the mangaka have creative license to make what they think will be a best-selling manga.

The Manga Classics team even mentioned that their manga adaptations is meant for both students and adults. I think they want the generations to connect via a medium that is has a large-reaching audience.

Like I mentioned in my Why is Manga so Popular post, there is literally no shame in reading manga in public because there are manga for children only and there are manga for adults only so there is a genre for everyone.

So please give Manga Classics a try, if you have read the original texts for some of them like I have, I think you would be pleasantly surprised with the way the Manga Classics team chose to adapt the original story.

Final Thoughts

I am closely following the Manga Classics project as they slowly released more well-known classics in manga form. As of this year, they have released 15 titles with some of the more famous being Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Edgar Allen Poe Short Stories, Les Miserables, Jane Eyre, and more.

This year, Manga Classics is releasing Dracula and Hamlet. I am going to keep following them to check on any updates of the exact month and day of the release and hopefully, I can update you all on the progress of any new releases that Manga Classics will release in the future.

If you want to follow Manga Classics on you own without waiting for me to update you, you can click here to go to their website to see what they’re up to.

As always, if you have any opinions on Manga Classics and their project, feel free to comment down below, I’d love to hear it

4 Comments

  1. This is a really good post, I have heard of manga from my kid sister because she uses the book from school and she really gets addicted sometimes. I think it’s great to see that classics can actually be adapted in a really nice and sleek comics. I’ll definitely give it a try and follow their release. Best regards!

    1. Yup, the classics are now being released in manga form. They actually use the words from the original text (or at least as much as they can since there are cultural shifts) and the drawings bring some of the subtlety to life 🙂 I think you would enjoy them very much. It’s actually really entertaining to read, especially if you’ve read the original text.

  2. Classic hamlet and Dracula! Oh my God! That would be simply massive to read on. Since ive started following this website, I have taken my reading to another level with the manga and the comics associated with it but learning it is now projecting towards recreating the classics would definitely be a big plus. Wow! That would be definitely awesome. I look forward to seeing more of these.

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