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Why Manga is Perfect for Adapting Shakespeare

Review of Manga Classics' Romeo and Juliet

By C. Weaver, PhD

AP English Literature teacher

While most graphic adaptations of Shakespeare are poorly done and the art fails to illuminate the text, Manga Classics adaptation of Romeo and Juliet is a masterful production that is particularly suited for schools.

Not only does it include the whole text of Shakespeare's play, but the artwork makes clear the lines in a way not even a stage play or a film version can. Since manga normally illustrates what is in a character's mind in a way western comics cannot, all of the difficult figures of speech and mythological references in Shakespeare are illustrated on the page so that the reader can understand the lines clearly.

Teachers and students alike would find this text useful in their classroom libraries. Indeed, given that the full text of play is in Manga Classic’s book, it could entirely replace the traditional Romeo and Juliet texts in schools, and I would encourage them to do so.


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