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review 2019-08-08 06:22
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre (OEL manga) by Charlotte Brontë, story adaptation by Crystal S. Chan, art by SunNeko Lee
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë,Crystal Chan,SunNeko Lee

This is my first Manga Classics read. I chose it specifically because I've read the work on which it's based, although it's been a few years. Also, while I didn't love the original Jane Eyre, I didn't hate it either, which is more than I can say for some of the other works adapted for the Manga Classics series.

This seemed to be a pretty faithful adaptation. It began with Jane's childhood - first her aunt's mistreatment of her, and then her life at a school for poor and orphaned children - and then continued on to her time as a governess at the Rochester household and everything that happened after that point.

I'll be blunt: I don't actually like Rochester. I didn't when I originally read the novel (I'd already long since learned his big secret via cultural osmosis), and I didn't when I read this adaptation. He and Jane had some nice moments, and Chan and Lee did a great job, but it didn't erase my fundamental dislike of the character. He's a selfish man who tried to maneuver a much younger woman, his employee, into a position he knew would horrify her if she knew the full truth. And he didn't plan on telling her one bit of what was actually going on until well after it was too late.

I remembered really enjoying the portion of the original novel set during Jane's childhood. That part seemed a little weaker in this adaptation, although I'm not sure why. Still, it was nice seeing Jane all small, angry, and cute.

All in all, this adaptation was well done. The story was easy to follow, and the use of certain manga visual conventions (such as the sweat drop when Rochester tried to explain away some of the strange things Jane witnessed and experienced) was very nice. The artwork was attractive, and if there were times when Jane seemed awfully young-looking compared to Rochester, well, she was quite a bit younger than him.

I'd like to take a look at more entries in the Manga Classics series, but at the moment the series looks like a good potential starting point for building a more purposeful library graphic novel collection (as opposed to my library's current method of relying mostly on random gifts) that would probably be considered acceptable by staff members who are more leery of graphic novels as a format. The one concern I've heard was from a coworker who worried that students would use them as a way to avoid reading the original novels. We don't collect Cliff's Notes for this reason. However, I'd argue that, if this was such a big concern, we wouldn't collect movie versions of the books either, and we certainly have those. This manga adaptation isn't going to tell a student anything about Brontë's style or use of language, or every little change Chan made to the story to adapt it to a new format - they'll still have to consult the original for that.

I own the Manga Classics version of The Scarlet Letter, so I might try that one next.


  • 2-page comic-style afterword by SunNeko Lee
  • 4 pages of notes from Crystal S. Chan, discussing the work she did to adapt Jane Eyre to manga format, including some slight changes she made to improve the flow of the story in this format, the limitations of the novel's original first person narration, the advantages that manga gave her over other formats like film and TV, and info about some of the decisions she and SunNeko Lee made for the artwork.
  • 2 pages of background notes written by Stacy King - info about Charlotte Brontë, the novel, and life as a governess.
  • 2 pages of character design sketches


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2019-07-16 13:44
Reading progress update: I've read 312 out of 318 pages.
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë,Crystal Chan,SunNeko Lee

This is an excellent adaptation overall, although it didn't magically cure my dislike of some of the aspects of the original.


I'm essentially finished - these last few pages are background notes about the author, the book, and what being a governess was like, as well as a note from Crystal S. Chan about some choices she made when adapting the work. I especially like Chan's comments - she talks about slight changes she made to improve the pacing of the manga (borrowing dialogue from a later chapter of the book to make the manga flow better, for example), as well as a few of her and SunNeko Lee's fun little touches (Chan worked cats in whenever the original novel gave her the opportunity to do so, knowing that Lee liked drawing them, and Lee used Chan and her husband as inspiration for a couple details in Jane and Rochester's character designs).

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text 2019-07-16 12:59
Reading progress update: I've read 279 out of 318 pages.
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë,Crystal Chan,SunNeko Lee

St. John: "Do not forget that if you reject it, it is not me you deny, but God."


Ugh, all the men Jane meets are awful.

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text 2019-07-16 02:48
Reading progress update: I've read 219 out of 318 pages.
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë,Crystal Chan,SunNeko Lee

I forgot my Booklikesopoly book at work, which is annoying, especially since I never even got a chance to read any of it during lunch. If I go out and run another errand tonight, I might go get it on my way home.


In the meantime, I have this. Excellent use of manga visual conventions right here:



He's smiling and has a calm expression, but the little manga sweatdrop lets readers know there's some anxiety/discomfort there. Sure, yes, we totally believe you when you say it was Grace Poole in Jane's room.

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text 2019-07-11 15:19
Reading progress update: I've read 206 out of 318 pages.
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë,Crystal Chan,SunNeko Lee

I'm reading this while biding my time in Booklikesopoly jail. The weather was too terrifying last night to even consider trying to write reviews. On the plus side, I never lost power.


It's been a while since I read the book. I don't recall liking it all that much. It wasn't bad, but I disliked Rochester since I knew what was going on and what he was roping Jane into. Although my memories of the original are somewhat vague, this seems to be a pretty faithful adaptation. The occasional "manga humor" panels are a bit at odds with the overall feel of the volume, but the rest of it is good.


Rochester has just asked Jane to marry him, and I continue to dislike him.

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