After Pride and Prejudice and The Scarlet Letter, I was searching for a chance to read yet another adaptation from the Manga Classics series. So, I can't explain my happiness when I got this edition of Les Misérables, a novel that I'm particularly familiar with. In this novel, there are many important characters and I was curious to see if each of them would have sufficient time for development in the change of medium.
The story is one of the most beautiful stories ever written. It illustrates the human nature in the most suitable way. Humans are neither purely evil nor purely good. This means that a convict like Jean Valjean can do good deeds and be a good man all of his life. It also means that people of the law like Javert can become blind and have wrong judgment. Right and wrong, honour and treachery are all things that sometimes are hard to be distinguished.
The adaptation of this manga satisfied me. I was aware before I start reading it that it wouldn't be possible for every scene in the novel to be included. Besides this classic work is massive and it would take several volumes, in order to contain everything. But this adaptation managed to select the scenes in a way that the story was consistent. It also gave the atmosphere of 19th century France in an effective way. The dialogs were clear, although sometimes they were more modern than I would prefer them to be.
The portrayal of characters, as far as the writing is concerned, was very good. We learnt a lot of backstory for all of them, their motives were transparent and it was easy to connect with them. Fantine's story was very touching and it was saddening to read of her misfortunes. The character that was problematic to me was Cosette. In the end, she seemed almost ungrateful towards Jean Valjean and this wasn't the case in the novel.
The art style was for another time impressive. The scenes on the barricades and the revolution had an amazing atmosphere. The expressions on the faces of the characters are unforgettable. The pain in Fantine's face when she is forced to sell her body for a few francs, the stern expression of Inspector Javert and his inner conflict about his morality, are just a few examples. However, I didn't quite like the image of Cosette. Her face when she has grown up, is almost he same as when she was a little girl. I'd like to see her more mature, both in the face and in the character.