Emma: A Victorian Romance is, as the name implies, exactly that – a Victorian romance. Contrary to my belief, it is not based on Jane Austen’s novel, Emma (which is also set in England in the 1800’s). The anime, Emma is about the love affair between a housemaid (Emma) and a young aristocrat (William), set in London, sometime in the 1800’s.
There are 24 episodes of the anime and only 10 volumes of the manga – the last three of which are further tales about the other characters in the manga, apart from Emma and William.
The anime and manga are very detailed in portraying London and the English culture in the late 1800’s, and because it is about aristocrats and commoners in England, I found it quite strange that they were speaking in Japanese. Emma is one of those anime that I wouldn’t mind watching with English audio.
Though both are about the love affair between Emma and William, the anime and manga are considerably different. The season 1 of the anime is pretty much faithful to the first parts of the manga, but season 2 differed quite a bit from the rest of the manga volumes. But even though the details in the anime and manga are quite different, both are still very good and interesting. The anime and manga seem like alternative versions of the same story, which is not such a bad thing, if you think about it.
According to some sources, Emma was responsible for bringing about the maid cafes in Japan – those cafes where waitresses are dressed like Victorian maids, just like Emma’s uniform in the anime/manga. I don’t really understand who this café caters to and why the Japanese would find waitresses dressed in long black dresses with white aprons fascinating, but that’s just me!
Emma: A Victorian Romance (season 1 – 2005; season 2 – 2007)
Manga – 10 volumes; Written by: Kaoru Mori
Anime – Season 1, 12 episodes; Season 2, 12 episodes
Personal rating: 5/5