MANGA CLASSICS: The Scarlet Letter Review



Title: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter

Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne, SunNeko Lee, Crystal S. Chan, Stacy King

Publisher: UDON Entertainment

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 5 stars ☆☆☆☆☆

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Delivered in manga-style, this classical novel of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s will surely attract avid classical readers and non-readers alike. A tale of forbidden romance, disgrace and retribution, The Scarlet Letter tells the story of a woman named Hester Prynne who was condemned of adultery by the people of a small Puritan town and is forced to wear a letter ‘A’ on her chest to remind her of her sins. She raises her illegitimate child alone and refuses to reveal the father’s identity, just as Hester’s husband returns secretly to America in time for her trial in order to find out who the father was.

I’ve never read the Scarlet Letter before, and now wish I did. It’s not like in other countries where they assign you classical novels to read at school so I wasn’t much acquainted with this genre until I reached college and started blogging.

Having said that, while I haven’t read the original novel (yet), its manga adaptation by Udon Entertainment was completely fascinating that I developed a newfound fondness and appreciation for classical mangas.

I think I literally drooled at the cover, plus the drawings – they had such a powerful quality to them that I was instantly reeled in. The characters were amazingly done, each one giving the readers an immediate impression which I think is much more effective than words could ever accomplish.

Pearl, especially, gave me goosebumps. Hester was simply beautiful and resolute. Dr. Chillingworth lived truly up to his name. Mistress Hibbins has this smile that makes you think she knows more and sees more. And the young reverend, Arthur Dimmesdale, had this very mournful air that makes you want to comfort him.

It was also a nice addition how the creators colored Hester’s letter A with red throughout the whole manga. The A really attracts the eye and makes its symbolism seem much more stronger.

The story flow could also get pretty confusing sometimes. CONFUSING but in a GOOD way. The manga doesn’t give away every detail, and that’s only right considering this graphic novel was meant to attract readers to read the actual book, not to serve as a replacement. I love how it kept me guessing and curious, allowing me to form my own theories and opinions about the character’s true motives, their moral decisions, and the like.

Overall, I think this classical manga perfectly sets the stage for The Scarlet Letter. I keep admiring its artistry (a salute to SunNeko Lee), the subtle lines and also the amazing depth of the characters. Granted, this isn’t my first graphic novel, but The Scarlet Letter is the first one that ever truly captivated my heart. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go hunting for more classical mangas to read now!

How about you? Have you ever read a classical manga yet?

If you had, can you share some of them with us? 🙂










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