Reviews for Manga Shakespeare: the Tempest

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 May

Gr 7 Up -The enduring strength of The Tempest lies in Shakespeare's poetic language, and this abridgment offers richly illustrated "sound bites" of some of its most famous lines. The theatrical qualities of manga are well suited to the romantic drama and fairy-tale elements of the play, moving the story forward while enhancing the meaning of the poetry. This art form lends itself well to the images of Ariel's invisibility to all but Prospero, Antonio and Sebastian plotting the deaths of Alonso and Gonzolo as they circle the sleeping bodies, Miranda's large eyes weeping as Ferdinand declares his love, and Prospero's finger drying her tears while saying, "Fair encounter of two most rare affections! Heavens rain grace on that which breeds between them." This adaptation follows the series format: the book is read from left to right and the cast of characters appears up front. Both the introduction and a map showing the location of major events help readers follow the plot. One obstacle is the abrupt change of scenes with no visual clue that the story has shifted to another scene. Back matter includes a plot summary and brief biography of Shakespeare. This adaptation would be useful both as an introduction to the play and as a companion piece for classroom study of it, using images to illuminate the Bard's eloquent poetry.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

[Page 153]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2008 June
Appignanesi's abridged texts both maintain the multithreaded plots of the plays but sacrifice most exposition and longer speeches in order to fit each character's language into the limited space allowed by speech bubbles. Readers will get a good sense of action and character from these adaptations but gain only a limited sense of the richness and complexity of Shakespeare's language. Yet substituting the visual conventions of manga in place of those typical for performed drama serves in some instances to increase the difficulty of comprehending the play. As is typical in manga, the characters share many physical traits. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, a tale in which mistaken identity is a theme, the fact that the four young lovers all appear rather interchangeable in Brown's illustrations might lead to reader frustration rather than thematic enlightenment. Similarly Duffield's tendency in The Tempest to dot speech balloons across a frame rather than tightly aligning them with a particular speaker could make the dialogue difficult to follow. More sophisticated manga readers might have no trouble with these conventions, but for readers inexperienced in Renaissance drama and manga, the blend of artistic traditions will prove daunting Although presenting Shakespeare as manga is bound to attract new readers to the plays and continues a rich tradition of adaptation and reinterpretation, these additions seem likely to appeal most to those who are already familiar with the plots of the famous dramas.-Megan Lynn Isaac Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.