[REVIEW] Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter

Series: N/A
Nathaniel Hawthorn
Adaptation: Crystal Chan, Stacy King | Illustration: SunNeko Lee
Morpheus Studios, W.T. Francis
manga, classics
March 10, 2015
UDON Entertainment
Amazon | B&N
A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne's tragic saga of Puritan America. 
Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. 
Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.

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I have never read the original book of this classic but I’ve always been interested to do so. When I saw this manga up for review, I instantly grab it.

 Set in the 17th Century Boston, The Scarlet Letter is the story of Hester Prynne who committed adultery in a cruel Puritan community. She faces the brand given to her as she raises her child, Pearl. On the other side of the story is Arthur Dimmesdale who is trapped in this cruel and judgmental society. There’s beauty and darkness all together in this really lovely classic novel.

Right from the beginning, I knew I’d like Hester just by looking at her stance and her brave appearance. Aside from that, there’s also softness in her features that would really make you love her and hate all the people who scrutinize her.

The story flows smoothly and is very easy to understand unlike what the actual text could possibly offer. Hester’s character being determined is well depicted. She’s determined to live a new life, to set aside the brand the people are throwing to her, to raise her child by herself and raise her well. Arthur as the miserable man trapped by the society is very well shown especially when Chillingworth entered Arthur’s life. There was really great story progression there that made me really understand what’s going through Arthur as well as Chillingworth. Pearl is a very adorable yet very perceptive child. It feels that she can readily read through situations but the way she talks is really like that of a child who’s very curious of things.

This manga adaptation allowed me to enjoy this classic story I’ll probably get bored reading if it’s composed of blocks of text with more descriptions than what the heck is happening. I think that reading the actual text and this manga adaptation have its ups and downs.

I’ve heard a digest of the story of The Scarlet Letter a couple of times and finally knowing the whole of it felt great. It even made me want to go for the actual text. Just seeing how the manga depicted the emotions of the characters made me feel that reading the actual text would allow me to really feel the story and the things that go inside the characters’ heads.

One of the things I like about this manga is how it made things easier to understand yet at the same time, it feels that there’re some deeper things that cannot be shown through drawings and bubble texts (or maybe I’m just over thinking here). A restriction I see in manga is how it can’t voice out a lot of a character’s inner thoughts. They have to be shown explicitly (through the drawings, obviously) but you can't dive deeper into them.

Another great thing about the manga is the really great illustrations done by SunNeko Lee. It’s not very Japanese manga in style but quite close to it. There’re no heavy uses of tones but the characters’ emotions were really done well. When you know they’re in great grief, the art just shows it well. The paneling is also very well done. Very engaging. And the few spread pages were really stunning (it sucks that I only have an ebook review copy but just looking at it, I think that it’ll be really great in print).

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What I Like: (1) the very attending grabbing opening, (2) the portrayal of Hester Prynne, (3) Pearl as the really adorable and perceptive child, (4) how easy it is to understand the story, (5) the great and very engaging paneling, (6) the stunning illustrations

What I Didn’t Like: (1) some of the narrations were quite stiff, they sometimes sound bookish not manga,

~this manga was provided in exchange for an honest review~

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