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.
Cal’s Rating: 8/10
Cal’s Notes: I found this manga to be very lovely. It is set in Victorian England and since I am British myself I find that pretty cool. The story deals with a relationship between a member of a high ranking merchant family and a maid, as well as the struggles they have to deal with because society won’t accept their love so easily. The characters are pretty good on the whole even if they are not always the most energetic bunch. Emma herself is a very well put together character and she develops quite nicely plus she’s really cute and then the mangaka went and put her in a maid’s outfit which is about +10 adorable points, give or take. You then have the male main character who is generally rather stoic on the whole but in a very noble gentlemanly kind of way, if you know what I mean. He does display human emotions quite frequently which makes him nice and the relationship between the two is rather sweet. Their is also a generous amount of attention given to the side characters which is always nice to see. The artwork in this manga is very easy on the eyes with the Victorian scenery being just about perfect but the character designs may not be the most dynamic, however I will just say that Emma looks a lot better when she finally lets her hair down. In summary this is a very nice and mature historical josei manga that is worth looking into if any of this sounded interesting to you.
Avelys-sama told me I am only allowed to write a paragraph here. Due to this censorship, if you want to read all I have to say about Emma then click here <—
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Pon’s Rating: 8/10
Pon’s Notes: Authored by unabashed anglophile Kaoru Mori, Emma is a very striking, elegant manga set in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution in England, about a young maid named Emma and the heir to a wealthy family named William who fall in love with each other. It exudes beauty, its pages filled with painstakingly detailed backgrounds and designs, its atmosphere a careful balance between realism and romanticism, its characters touchingly reflective of the ills of 18th century English high-society. The artwork is top-notch, and deserves a great deal of respect. Mori is one of the better mangaka at paneling and framing – many scenes and sometimes even entire chapters consist of little more than a few lines of dialogue, but the art conveys information and emotion that dialogue could not. The portrayal of Industrial Revolution-era architecture and technology is extremely impressive, and the character designs – in particular their clothing – are intricate and refined, while retaining the soft line work that is prevalent in shoujo.
However, Emma is much more than a visual spectacle – it is also one of the finest romances this reviewer has ever had the pleasure of reading, with a degree of characterization and worldbuilding that far exceeds what the average romance is capable of. Almost every character is fleshed out remarkably well, and there are few true villains, as Kaoru Mori takes great care to explore the pros and cons of the story’s many class-related conflicts. Emma herself is a good, if slightly flat character, and Mori does a nice job contrasting her perspective as a lower-class maid with that of the aristocracy she finds herself surrounded by. Mori is also adept at bringing her world to life; whether it be the bustle of the cobbled streets, or the vibrant opulence of a dinner party, every detail makes 18th century England feel a little more real, ready to burst forth from Emma’s pages. She also does a great job blending the grounded realism of high society with the starry-eyed romance between Emma and William. The romance, the story – everything feels very genuine.
The manga is not without its pitfalls – there are a few rather unnecessary gag characters, and Mori takes some liberties with minor plot details – but all things considered, if you are looking for an evocative, realistic, well-written romance draped in exquisite artwork, you cannot go wrong with Emma.