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A Reader of Fictions: Orsino's Horsemen/The Disguise - Shaun Davey

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, July 25, 2011

Orsino's Horsemen/The Disguise - Shaun Davey

Manga Shakespeare: Twelfth Night

Adaptor: Richard Appignanesi
Illustrator: Nana Li
Pages: 207
Publisher: Amulet Books

Usually, I give manga versions of classics a wide berth. Though I love classics and manga, I find that the combination does not generally flatter either. However, Twelfth Night is my favorite play and the cover art looked promising, so I decided to give it a go. I am so glad I did! It is completely silly and entirely delightful.

This version of the play has a steampunk feel to it, which just takes something awesome and makes it better. Orsino has a car, Antonio wears a pirate's eye-patch and the clothing is completely wild. Most of the men go about either shirtless (with an open coat of course) or with tufts of chest hair coming out the top of their low cut tops. Malvolio, when cross-gartered, looks like some sort of crazy S&M guy. Olivia wears a dress that goes down only to her knees.

So yeah, it's kind of ridiculous, but so is the play really. I mean, there is crossdressing, cases of mistaken identity, absurd sword fights, tempests and sudden declarations of love (despite supposedly having been deeply in love with others). Actually, all of these ridiculous, but hugely delightful plots, are what make this play such perfect fodder for manga. If you've ever read manga, you know what I'm talking about.

Nana Li did a great job with the illustrations. I especially loved Orsino with his emo haircut. Too perfect! Maria, one of my favorites, has been drawn in such a manner that her spunk is entirely evident. Shakespeare fans, this is incredibly nerdy and hugely amusing!

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Anonymous Christina K. said...

This is so unique! What a great way of taking Shakespeare to a new art form!

May 10, 2012 at 5:17 PM  

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