Emma (エマ Ema?) is a historical romance manga by Kaoru Mori. It was published by Enterbrain and serialized in the monthly magazine Comic Beam. The series began in January 2002 and finished in May 2006. Yen Press holds the license to publish the English translation.
The Victorian Era of the United Kingdom (1837-1901) was, in many ways, a turbulent period of transition and innovation, marking a turning point in the history of Europe and eventually, the modern world. Set in the heart of 19th Century London, Emma follows the story of a demure and modest maid. Loyal to her employer, the retired Governess, Kelly Stownar, Emma works for her as a live-in "Maid-of-all-works", the colloquial title for the sole Maid of a standard middle-class household in Victorian England.
After ten long years, the young and handsome William Jones pays a surprise visit to his former Governess, unaware of the changes and surprises that await him themselves. Greeted at the door by an accidental hit to the face, the soft-spoken gentleman meets Emma for the first time. Apologies and greetings follow, and it is love at first sight.
The grim shadow of inequality, class difference and aristocratic obligations looms over this unconventional relationship, doomed to be disapproved by William's noble family and further, by society itself. William's father, the proud businessman Richard Jones vehemently opposes his son and future heir's decision of associating with a member of the lower working class.
Being born in a family of businessmen flourishing in the surging wave of the Industrial Revolution, William shoulders the burden of his family's legacy. A relationship with a mere working class maid is an unacceptable prospect, an ideology that Richard Jones, and upper class England itself staunchly adheres to.
Having no family of her own and facing the insurmountable chasm of class disparity, Emma stands alone in her struggle to realize her true love. The two lovers fight against their respective fates, in a quest for happiness that would demand more than mere perseverance. As their relationship continues to face opposition, Emma and William travel their individual paths in life, ultimately reunited by the synergy of human kindness, belief, and the technological revolution that would change the world forever.
Emma: Further Tales
The main story of Emma's serialization run in Enterbrain's Comic Beam was between the January 2002 and May 2006 issues, ending at 52 chapters, corresponding to the end of the seventh collected volume. These stories were serialized in Comic Beam as Emma: Further Tales (エマ 番外編, Emma Bangaihen) between the September 2006 and March 2008 issues, and are collected as additional volumes of Emma.
Chapters and Volumes
- Main article: Chapters and Volumes
The original release has a total of 72 chapters that are split between ten volumes. The YEN Press release splits the 72 chapters between five volumes.
Emma was awarded an Excellence Prize at the 2005 Japan Media Arts Festival. The English translation was listed by Library Journal as one of the best graphic novels of 2007 and was named by the Young Adult Library Services Association as among the 10 best graphic novels for teens for 2008.
- The English license was originally held by CMX, an imprint of DC Comics. Following CMX's closure, Emma remained in a state of limbo until being picked up in 2015 by Yen Press.
- Emma is drawn in a meticulously crosshatched pen and ink style, and Mori is noted for the depth and accuracy of her research in creating the characters and settings. A companion reference called the Emma Victorian Guide has been published to explain many of the unfamiliar and obscure historical references.
- The manga has a cult following in Japan, even going as far as opening an Emma themed maid café in Shinjuku.
- Its popularity has sparked an interest in English maid cosplay, even going as far as having the official Emma anime website selling Emma's "costume" for ¥45,000.
- Emma. YEN Press. Retrieved December 13th, 2017.