Graphic Novel Review : Manga Classics Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Manga Classics: Macbeth

Series : Manga Classics by Udon Entertainment / Official Site
Illustrated by : Julien Choy
Adapted by : Crystal S. Chan
Year Published : 2018
Genre : Manga, Classics, Action, Drama
Edition : Digital (also available in Paperback, Hardcover, and Kindle eBook)
# of Pages : 329 pages

Summary

Welcome to the Manga Classics brilliant adaptation of Macbeth! In this classic tale by William Shakespeare, a brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. He is then wracked with guilt and paranoia.

Review

So confession time, I know practically nothing about Shakespeare’s writing style or Macbeth. I’ve only read about the plots of some of his plays in passing.

Comparing to Manga Classics rendition of The Count of Monte Cristo to Macbeth, I think I prefer the former for its more easily comprehensible dialogue and, subjectively speaking, an art style that’s more to my preferences.

The art style employed in Macbeth is no slouch though, it’s very versatile with varying approaches to to the character designs. Some characters look tough and burly, others border on pretty and several linger in-between. They have an intensity to their poses and facial expressions that would be at home in any action-oriented shounen (for male, usually a young male demographic) manga publication. Some of the final scenes of the book boast some well-directed action.

I think that this volume, for all its efforts, is easily recommendable to people who either have a familiarity and/or affection for Macbeth, an interest in Shakespeare in general, and would like to see an ambitious attempt at marrying those concepts to a shounen-style manga while keeping the dialogue purely intact and not re-written, not updated or reimagined.

I usually prefer keeping things pure in that way. I can tell this is a fine effort, but I struggled more than I would have liked to in deciphering every line. This warrants a slower and more analytical approach to reading. I do intend on checking out several more works by Manga Classics after utterly loving The Count Of Monte Cristo though. I hope they continue making these adaptations, though I might be more keen on checking out ones that adapt literature from the 1800s – early 1900s. If your purpose is to get kids/pre-teens into classics, I think some of the other adaptations by Manga Classics are more suited to that end.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Udon Entertainment for providing me an e-ARC of this title for review.

Overall Rating – 7/10

Why You Should Try It – If you’re a fan of manga (particularly, shounen manga) AND Shakespeare. If you have a familiarity with Macbeth. If the art style speaks to you.

Critiques – The art style, while by no means bad, was less personally appealing than expected.

Manga Classics: Macbeth (Amazon Link)

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