‘Manga’-Fying Shakespeare: The Case of the Temptest by Shweta Basu - HTML preview

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Shakespeare has arguably been one of the most adapted authors across the centuries, around the world, through varied media forms – be they told (written media); shown (visual media, whether direct or mediated) or interactive (games or visual novels). Here the adaptation to be dealt with is the September 2007 edition of The Tempest from the series entitled Manga Shakespeare, by the London publishing house specializing in graphic novels; named SelfMadeHero (SMH) and its unique presence as a brand-new addition to the oeuvre of adaptations of Shakespeare’s works.


According to John A. Lent, manga are comics created in Japan, or by Japanese creators in the Japanese creators in the Japanese language, conforming to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th Century (pp 3-4). As Adam Kem has discovered, they have a long and complex pre-history in earlier Japanese art. A number of artists in the United States have drawn comics and cartoons influenced by manga, such as Vernon Grant, Frank Miller, Adam Warren, Toren Smith, Ben Dunn etc. In 2004 TokyoPop introduced original English-language manga (OEL manga), and the illustrator SMH manga The Tempest is a British artist, who has drawn for this endeavour.

Heike Jüngst, points out that “Manga have become the largest segment of translated comics in the Western World (50); which is further attested by Paul Gravett in 2006 that “this is not some passing craze or flavor of the month.” As Troni Grande states, it is also “a means of resisting the established value of high culture” (2) which is similar to Linda Hutcheon’s views about pop-art forms such as movies and games (that are technologically mediated) as opposed to accepted, expensive and senior high-art forms such as dramas, operas, ballets and forms of readable literature, whether they be spin-offs (that are direct in their performance and appeal) – all of which are artistically important in their own regard.


Since the publication of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, (illustrated by the acclaimed mangaka Yoshitaka Amano), with its appropriation and reinvention of characters from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest along with the character of Shakespeare himself, “the scholarly community has finally recognized the significance of…Shakespeare in the Comics.” (Grande 1)

The Manga Shakespeare series capitalizes on merging Michael Bristol calls the “Bardbiz” with “Mangabiz” (Grande 2) – while managing the commercial interests of youth circle, backing it up with the academic investments of high culture, setting these two “Shakespeares” side by side on the homepage of SMH, where the manga business is popularized with the help of the bonus and free academic resources – thereby toppling the hierarchy of source and adaptation, high and low; aesthetic and commercial. As the back-cover advertisement of the book puts it, “Drawing inspiration from trend-setting Japan and using Shakespeare’s original texts, this series…brings to life the great Bard’s words for students, Shakespeare enthusiasts and manga fans.”

The British Manga Shakespeare (namely the ones from SMH) is by no means one of its kind, but is “arguably one of the most artistically and critically interesting and has experienced remarkable financial success as a graphic series.” (Grande 2) And this statement is fairly fitting for the manga The Tempest under this label, which, edited by the literary critic Richard Appignanesi and illustrated by the “Western” manga artist Paul Duffield is both meticulously crafted and visually pleasing.

Manga Shakespeare as a whole, functions as a point of “double access” to Shakespeare, interposing its identity as a British-born, high-culture representative of its national aesthetics and traditional literary studies against its nature as a brand-new, pop-cool icon of a youth culture (that otherwise might not be engaging with Shakespeare). It capitalizes on the paradox that “Shakespeare is at once a popular commodity and a beacon of high culture.” (Grande 3) True to the hybrid nature of this corpus, it brings into play the “dialogue between the historical moment of it creation and the contemporaneity of its mise-en-scène” (Bristol 13), a characteristic inherent in the afterlife of any such profusely popular and enduring literary work.

Manga Shakespeare uses the reader-centered conventions of Japanese comics to create a kind of “dialectic between word and images”. The editor and the artist do so through performing a duet of pared-down-lines from the original text, along with multiple panels and perspectives (which are characteristic to manga) to achieve a dynamic effect that serves to create a greater interactive experience; also to enhance the intensely psychological and fictionalized realm of this Romance. As Robin E. Brenner points out, in manga “the layout acts as storyteller”; “manga contain many of the shots and patterns of cinema, including close-ups, pans, jump-cuts, and irising (using a circular frame to zero in on a subject as lenses originally irised in ‘filmmaking’ )” (65). The fact that manga artists “typically use many more panels per page than are used in western comics… requires more attention and work on the reader’s part to order and make sense of the sequence of panels” (Brenner 66)

Although it is a fairly common manga convention, the initial pages of the SMH manga The Tempest, which give us the omniscient knowledge as a reader through a visual of the characters’ features and characteristics, set in the context of a larger world, including the island, are in colour. It is when we enter the story itself, set in Prospero’s “World”, the fateful island, is when the black-and-white pagers begin. This may serve to illustrate that the readers, as well as the characters are under a certain controlling force, which has its own way of delineating the realm under control in shades of black, white and grey. Here the colours of bountiful nature have no existence. Also, following the manga tradition the front and back covers are in colour, the prior is the only page that the reader chooses to flip open, and the latter pleases to shut, otherwise the story laid out in the colourless pages propel the reader forward, an uncanny force alike that of Prospero’s magic.


As a western take on the eastern manga tradition, it does not topple the custom, rather suits it to its own purpose. The pages are left-to-right, (not right-to-left as is usual with the manga convention), thus granting it a graphic-novellish flavour, also a greater level of universal acceptance. Although the art-style itself is quite western, the characterization technique is essentially manga-based which therefore merges the boundary between East and West, making it hard to locate the work in any one canon, be it manga or graphic-novel. An analogy may be drawn between this phenomena and the universality of Prospero’s island, which could be anywhere in the world. Also, just as the author, a British native, tells a tale of characters and setting not set in Britain, so does the artist, doubly remove the continental characters from their native roots, first through the English narration of the story, which largely follows the author’s own devising; through an alien, eastern medium, that calls itself the manga.

This work possesses merely a single instance (in page 29) of the characteristic use of SFX in manga (which serves the purpose of onomatopoeia) – but compensates it with profuse use of specialized speech-bubbles, which are suited to situations and characters – therefore tinging the speeches with different levels of emotional expressions, otherwise impossible in the scope of mere lettering.

The survival of the language of the 1950's in Appignanesi's "text heavy" adaptation of The Tempest, defamiliarizes the usual manga volumes' gestures towards modernization of the script. Shakespeare's lines, at times truncated, are juxtaposed with the manga pictures, with no textual notes and very limited aids for the reader to help in converting them to modern paraphrase, except for a few captions that stand in for stage directions, indicating scenes or characters. As Pierre Bourdieu sees it, "the 'eye' is a product of history reproduced by education" (3); hence a reader must possess enough cultural competence in both the fields – the detached contemplation required to 'read' manga - the reader must make efforts to make both the conventions intelligible. Herein lies the ambivalent stance of the Manga Shakespeare, as it appeals to the "popular gaze" by emphasizing "norms of morality or agreeableness" (Bourdieu 34) (as posing itself to be a textbook counterpart) (cite); again it places itself in front of the "pure gaze" by advertising its experimental attempts (expressing itself as an oriental graphic novel).

As Federico Zanettin outlines, the "dialect" of manga can be distinguished from the broader language of comics because manga has its "own set of conventions and stylemes" (18). For instance, "manga typically pauses the action of the narrative, by spreading one scene across several panels or by using the page to show close-ups and detailed moments" (Ingulsrud and Allen, 31)

It is indeed, as John E. Ingulsrud and Kate Allen explain, "the deliberate manipulation of panel size, shape and arrangement of expressive effect has been developed most extensively by manga creators (31). One of the primary differences between Western comics and manga involves the interplay between layout, characterization, and the role of the reader. Generally in comics, characters are relatively "stable" and "do not change"; however, "in many manga, the characters themselves can be drawn in degrees of iconicity or caricaturization, representing different psychological states and positional identities" – which holds true for this manga as well. (Ingulsrud and Allen 27) Here there is no use of chibi (heightened emotional expressions of characters through childlike miniatures, usually with large heads and dimunitive bodies), but the pathos of the characters have been well brought out with subtlety of expressions, and traditional styling used in manga - large eyes, graceful figures, expressive backdrops merge seamlessly with the western elements.


(Also Similarities with Other Mangas in Terms of Characterizing Trends)


Although since the 18th to some 20th century representations, Prospero has been depicted as 'an old, grey-bearded sage', many 20th C. commentaries, with their better knowledge of Renaissance Royal Culture, have depicted a middle-aged Prospero. When Richard Burbage performed Prospero's role in 1611, he was 44, (Shakespeare was 47) which reinforces our impression of Prospero as between 40 and 45, but no older. (Vaughan and Vaughan 24)

Here in this manga adaptation, Prospero is somewhere between these two extremes -- with his strong, chiseled features betraying little distortion by age; his pure white beard and long braid being the customary traits of the manga 'holy' magi – which may act as a reference to Prospero's white magic. His grey arched eye-brows lend him a menacing look – suited to a man planning to exact revenge. Prospero here possesses a bald pate, which, though is unusually rare in manga, is associated with wealth and prosperity in the East. Prospero's dress consists of the customary robe and cape of a magus, with a Red-Indian twist, which, along with the rune mark on his face problematizes his role as a white colonizer. His magic staff is not a gaudy, majestic one, rather knobbly and wooden – which can be connected to the rough occult magic with connotations of Medea (Vaughan and Vaughan 266) that Prospero professes of practicing and finally abjures.

Prospero's skin is of a reddish-hue, so is his daughter's. The logic that their skin may be tanned during their twelve year long stay in a tropical island is refuted in page 31, where baby Miranda is placed upon the boat destined to take them away from Milan. There too she appears to possess the skin-tone akin to that of a Red-Indian. Antonio too appears to share the same hue, which, then, marks the blood-line as that of non-Caucasians. This shrewd, sallow-faced usurper and prime conspirator, is never out of his wits (similar to Nii-Jienyi from Saiyuki). Caliban in his turn, has been given a similar skin-tone to Prospero and Miranda, which again, is in keeping with his identification by commentators with New World natives or negro slaves. Myriad projections of Caliban have occurred down the ages, a direct result of the ambiguity surrounding the depiction of his character in the play itself. Here Caliban is an ape-like, man-beast, hunched to the ground akin to the "(usually) ominous figure of the wild man" throughout Europe. (Vaughan and Vaughan 59)

Prospero describes Ariel as "quaint", "delicate", "dainty" and "tricksy" (1.2.318; 4.1.49; 5.1.95; 226){1}. An airy spirit painted in blue-white, Ariel is airborne and the scroll/ribbon-like appendages are reminiscent of the ropes and wires in stage performances. Only the upper -half of his body, proof of his persona, is morphed; as for the lower half, primarily used for locomotion, is not necessary, and is therefore absent. It also serves to show that the humanoid shape is an assumed one. The body is androgynous, but devoid of sexual organs, as Ariel, being an aerial spirit, cannot reproduce – shape-shifting also becomes easier. The locks of hair act as excess limbs, providing greater mobility and control. The angular physiognomy serves to reminisce the fairy-elves that grant wishes. The long elven ears grant greater power of surveillance. The ribbons, in lieu of shroud, lend an ethereal quality. The scrolls may stand for embodiment of knowledge, and Ariel melts in bubbles into thin air – symbolizing transience of form and metamorphosis.

Paul Duffield's Ferdinand does justice to the "verye well made and nimble withall" King Ferdinand of Naples, "perhaps suggested to Shakespeare by Castiglione's The Courtier, translated into English in 1561 by Thomas Hoby" ((Vaughan and Vaughan 141). Ferdinand's "opportunity to demonstrate his physical attractiveness when he appears carrying logs in 3.1" (Vaughan and Vaughan 141) is aptly used to portray a moonlight-fair, shirtless Ferdinand courting Miranda across several pages. Even in 1.2.458, Miranda expresses a "truism of Renaissance neo-Platonic discourse, that beauty is the physical signifier of a virtuous moral nature." (Vaughan and Vaughan 182)

The illustrator has taken his liberties to depict Adrian and Fransisco, two of Alonso's courtiers with usual manga features. Alonso is also the usual 'King' figure, complete with gaudy European clothes and facial hair, (which is otherwise rare in manga). Interestingly, Gonzalo, Alonso's honest councillor, is depicted with the apparel akin to a Buddhist monk's. This depiction may stem from "First Folio's 'councellor' combining two modern words: 'councillor', member of a council, and 'counsellor', one who gives advice" (Vaughan and Vaughan 141). This tradition is well in keeping with the tradition of the Great Sage in the far-east, who is both the highest of priests and diviners while also upholding the crucial duty of the King's advisor. Given that Japan is a Shinto-majority country, (that religion being a derivative of Buddhism) Gonzalo's depiction certainly makes sense.

A manga stereotype, Sebastian is the pessimist plotter whose malignancy cankers his own sinews away as well as drains his vitality to make him bloodless, with dark-circles under his eyes (the old villain of Escaflowne).

Stephano is a marked departure from the super-efficient and uber-intelligent butlers that abound in manga (e.g. kuroshitsuji). Here he rather falls in the category of the smug, happy go lucky range of characters that oftentimes are drunk, sleepy or stupid. Trinculo, dark-skinned and dreadlocked, who looks almost the twin of the King of Tunis in page 191, falls more into the tradition of a humorous stock black character (e.g. Barett from Final Fantasy 7)

The Boatswain, unshaven and dishevelled, looks the perfect example of working class professionalism. The mariners, true to the popular image of seamen in Elizabethan culture, look unkempt and scarred – proof of their 'uninhibited behaviour' (Mahood 209)


Both Prospero and Alonso are dressed in reds of Authority and Regallia, Gonzalo in the white of Peace. While Antonio is dressed in the black absorption, Sebastian is in the green of jealousy. Trinculo the "pied-ninny" (3.2.61) is dressed in the motley fit for buffoonery, while Stephano the ultra-modern butler is dressed in the butler-costume along with sports shoes. Miranda and Ferdinand's apparels are at perfect harmony with each other – the prior being dressed in blue/lilac of cool calmness/flowery soothness and the latter is attired in the blues of balanced composure, fit for a princely warrior.


Hair colour is frequently used in manga as a mechanism to differentiate between characters, also denoting connection between hair colour and personality traits.

White: Prospero and Gonzalo:

White hair refers to age, wisdom and sagaciousness, while the possessors are powerhouses of ability and magic. A strange inhuman essence surrounds the white haired characters. These characters are usually strong-willed, skillful and dignified.

Silver: Ferdinand:

The silver haired ones are calm, balanced, demure, sophisticated, sublime, logical –– they are modest and self-less. They may possess a hidden power or heirloom (which in case of Ferdinand is the Princedom of Naples).

Brown: Miranda, Sebastian:

The brunettes are approachable, comforting, temperate, kind, practical, consistent, sincere, enduring, predictable, as well as boring. Miranda is not as meek and submissive as she is often portrayed. Yet, despite occasional disobedience and outspokenness, here, she is the demure early modern heroine (the seemingly improper sections of her dialogue chopped off; 1.2.353), a personification of the 'themes of chastity and fertility' (27) with which Prospero seems to be obsessed. Contrarily, Sebastian is an example of the deception of this colour, as a character with this hair colour may be far from "normal".

Black: Antonio, Alonso, Trinculo:

Black hair may stand in for refined, cerebral, capable, powerful, independent, sad, cruel, macabre characters. While some of these qualities are fit for the King Alonso, others are for the usurping Duke Antonio. The ‘manga’ Trinculo, presumably an African, does not quite fit into the category.

Blond: Stephano:

Blonds are usually confident, happy, romantic, artful, whimsical, naive, impish, callous, stubborn – a category where the 'manga' Stephano fits in perfectly.

The Spirits:

Ceres, with her dusky skin and fair hair stands in for the eastern myth of plenty. The ribbons of Iris and the nymphs make their spirit nature explicit, while Juno is a modern stage-queen.


As Margaret Roper deduces, the text in the SMH edition is truncated with over sixty percent of the play's dialogue removed (9). No characters or scenes have been removed; only the metaphoric and descriptive language has been excised, which leads to "a more direct communication of the plot and the action" (Roper 9). As in the manga illustration style, the characters rather than the scenery dominate the frames. The less realistic illustration and simplification of the characters create what McCloud suggests is an amplification of meaning because attention is focussed on the idea rather than the detail as is the case with intricate illustrations (27). The visual narrative is constructed by "analytical montage" – constantly shifting points of view, varied panels, close-ups of characters – resulting in the visual energy experienced by the reader's attention to expressions and gestures rather than the physical action of the play.

This edition focuses on the romantic relationship between Miranda and Ferdinand and achieves this end through selection of text and illustrations. This again helps to solve the estranged relationship between the characters of Prospero and the Courtiers, which as Duffield professed in his e-mail interview, was the key aspect of the work.

Prospero is introduced as more of a father, than a magus, an image of calm control and paternal compassion as he soothes Miranda, who is upset by the vision of the storm in the mirror. Caliban, is introduced in the Dramatis Personae not as the "salvage and deformed slave" as in the Folio, but as "a witch's son and Prospero's slave" emphasizing the supernatural and subjugated status rather than his physical form (Duffield 6). Caliban is introduced firstly as an immature creature with large innocent eyes crouched at the tree where Ariel is imprisoned with a look of crouched concern. Caliban's dialogue is heavily abridged, as are the scenes in which he appears, and so his voice and actions are limited to those which serve only to further the plot. Thereby the focus on the relationship between Prospero and Caliban is reduced. The illustrations include the tropes of romantic love and the conventions of courtship. Duffield's characterization of Miranda is childlike and demure – complete with the anime conventions of androgynous costume and sparkly eyes (like Lime from Saber Marionette J). "The text retains the references to her virgin status and the threat of rape by Caliban and the illustrations emphasize her innocence and the Patriarchal protectiveness of Prospero." (12) The romantic aspect of the play is also emphasized by the inclusion of most of the dialogue between Ferdinand and Miranda in the play-text, particularly in 3.1. This scene is illustrated for over eleven pages and the images mostly consist of the embracing Ferdinand and Miranda. There is also a full-page image of the young couple gazing into each other's eyes. (Duffield 120)

Similarly the blessing of Miranda and Ferdinand's union by Ceres, Iris and Juno in 4.1, is illustrated over four pages. "This does not move the plot forward rather it focuses on the romantic love of the young couple with Juno's blessing (Roper 13). The bounty of nature is aligned with the young couple as flowers bloom around Ceres's feet as she approaches – "through their love there is hope for healing of the past and the creation of a new future" (Roper 13).


The location of the action in this manga is described as being in 21st century after an energy crisis "has plunged mankind into a second Dark Age" (back cover). The illustration of the island shows derelict buildings, rusted pipe work and broken overhead cables indicating that in the past it was a place of industry, but its human inhabitants have now abandoned it. Duffield stated that the general idea behind the setting of the play was that "humanity has reduced itself to a more feudal system ...in this setting, technology can be seen as a kind of sorcery, kept alive, by a few knowledgeable people seen as sorcerers." (Duffield, "E-mail Interview"). The action takes place in a failed civilization, a world damaged by man – featuring derelict oil pumps and felled forests. The costuming of the characters is a mixture of styles and periods that the illustrator used "to give the idea that this could be anywhere and anytime to add to the mystical feel of the play." (Duffield, "E-mail Interview")

Subsequent images are used to emphasize the healing of the land itself, which had already been scarred by man's disregard for nature. In the heavily edited 2.1, all sixteen lines of Gonzalo's speech describing his utopia to rule the island as natural paradise where "nature should bring forth all abundance to feed my innocent people" (2.1.148-57, 2.1.160-65), seemingly inconsequential in communicating the plot of the play, is laid out in illustrations over three pages. "The illustrations feature a splash page (Duffield 80-1) with the idealized scenes of men and women and children at play with images of Gonzalo's face, peaceful and placid, in the corners of the frame." (Roper 13)

Illustrations provide some interesting renderings of details both in and out of text. Some selected illustrations will be discussed to provide insight into the artist's reign of imagination.

That the relationship between Ferdinand and Miranda is central to this edition of The Tempest is indicated by the cover, featuring Prospero holding his staff as he looks down upon Ferdinand and Miranda who are clasping hands. Here the young couple is highlighted immediately and their defensive pose implies that there is some danger they must overcome together. The nimbus behind Prospero is fashioned like the red orb of Sun, which may stand for Japan. Prospero's body is comprised of his island-world, while his cape (symbolizing control) envelops and shapes his world. Therefore Prospero appears to be a god of the island, manipulating everyone within his reach.

The sea-wave patterns on page 2 seem to be inspired by the Japanese scroll paintings, depicting mythological figures. On page 9 is a map of Prospero's isle, featuring the journey-tracks of different characters.

The magic mirror on the cell-wall, which reflects the situations of those charmed – is much akin to the famed fatal mirror of the legend of Snow White. Also it grants Prospero omniscient knowledge, therefore his enquiries to Ariel regarding the performance of his tasks comprise of nothing but verification.

In page 50, after Prospero frees Ariel, he is shown to carry him in his arms, a gesture which connects perfectly with the later inquiry by Ariel, "Do you love me master, no?" (4.1.48) to which query Prospero replies with positive adoration.

In page 117, an interesting illustration shows Miranda standing in the midst of a queue of two-dimensional woman-shapes, which confirms her as one who has no knowledge of the past or future associated with her like.

In page 132, curiously formed wood-spirits, who are reminiscent of the Greek god Pan with his horns, bring in the banquet. The harpy costume-player Ariel is also quite different from the Greek depiction of harpies.

The full-page illustration in page 151, corresponding to the lines 4.1.151-56 show Prospero standing on the surface of a Globe and page 152 shows him unveiling the curtains to reveal the Earth in space, which in page 153 are shown to be the curtains making way to Prospero's cell. This is an interesting rendition of the myriad wordplay associated with the word "globe", be it the Globe theatre, or the Earth itself, it is lodged inside Prospero's cell, his cavern of knowledge.

In page 158, the burlesque assassination attempt corresponding to lines 4.1.222 is played with a different take. Here unlike the original text, Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano actually enter Prospero's bed-chamber, yet indulge in the greedy costume-hankering (sans Caliban, seemingly the more focused and grounded of the three) in spite of having the target in sight - which serves to show their foolish depravity at its worst.

In page 166, the illustration corresponding to the lines 5.1.25-30, Prospero's arm is shown slinging the scales (symbolizing Justice), one base of which is weighed down by spirits, therefore signifying Prospero’s strength over his enemies in spite of which Prospero vows not to exact revenge for their past wrongs.

In page 169 (lines 55.1.35) the illustration shows Prospero tracing the fated circle with a staff, a move to which many editors recourse. The magic circle in its turn is a poignant trope in manga, associated with both white and black magic. Here the connection is especially competent, since the lines here are associated with that of Medea, the famed practitioner of witchcraft in Ovid's Metamorphoses.

The illustration in page 170, (lines 5.1.54-56) features Prospero breaking his staff then and there while creating a certain rupture both in the featured fabric as well in the story itself. He also drowns his book, source of all his strength.

The importance of narratives in the shape of paper comes through in several places. The most complicated example of this may inhere in the event where Ariel drowns Prospero's book, through the illustration the reader discerns that the book is none other than the manga itself that he is reading. Thereby the manga harkens back his origin to a fictitious past which exists in the pages of the manga, as well as various versions of The Tempest which has claimed popularity through the ages. The manga makes itself canonical through the ages. The manga makes itself canonical through a politics only possible through visualization. This also invokes the fact that the narrative of the manga is formed around the manga itself, just as Prospero's power derives from his book(s).

The illustration in page 191, juxtaposes the two couples – Claribel/King of Tunis and Ferdinand/Miranda. What is interesting is that in the latter picture, it is Miranda who assumes the male role of the protector, by being on the right side.

The top panel of page 197 shows Prospero's invisible hands, which like that of a puppet-master has controlled the Boatswain and Alonso through the strings of destiny.

In the final illustration, where Prospero condemns his magic and sets Ariel free, both of them transform into scrolls that have their utterances written over them. This may serve as a validation of primacy of written language and also perpetuation of knowledge, to which the mortal death of one scholar is immaterial, as he continues to live through paper. Also this serves to unite Prospero and Ariel, master and servant, human and spirit, through bonds of knowledge, which will contain them in a singular work for years to come.


A work of art's worth of critical acclaim is determined by the reception of that artwork by reviewers and critics.{2} And this work is cetainly not an exception.

The Independent on Sunday comments regarding the Manga Shakespeare as a whole, that "artists use the dynamic flow of manga to give Shakespeare's plots an addictive page turning energy" .A reviewer in The Times recognizes the ability of manga to "convey motion and emotion", while another reviewer of Manga Shakespeare comments that "manga is a dynamic, emotional and cinematic medium easily absorbed by the eye. Its attractive art and simple storytelling methods enthuse readers to approach Shakespeare's work in the way he intended – as entertainment."

As for the SMH edition of manga The Tempest, the review by Dr. Mel Gibson, for WriteAway.com (July 2008) sums up the overall distinctiveness of the work -

 "This interpretation of The Tempest offers a profoundly satisfying reading experience...the clarity with which both action and meaning come across is exceptional. The pacing and use of imagery for contemplation enhances the understanding of the play, asking the reader to take time to think through specific ideas and moments in the action... The drawing employs sweeping and dramatic lines and the initial colour pages establish the overall atmosphere well. As with the characterization, the geography of the island is well realized and the map outlines both space and journeys, so helping to frame what happens in the play."

According to Around the Globe Magazine, "The narrative crackles with energy and teases new insights from the silences behind the words."



An adapted work is important "both as a formal product, a transcoding or transposition of a particular work or works; and as a creative process, an act of re-interpretation as well as re-creation" (Grande 18). Adaptation may well be seen as a form of translation, and this edition fits in well with Susan Bassnet's comment that translation involves a transaction involves a transaction between texts and between languages and is thus "an act of both inter-cultural and inter-temporal communication" - which has been discussed before in the paper.

As Walter Benjamin comments "Storytelling is an art of repeating stories", yet, adaptations are experienced "as palimpsests through our memory of other works that resonate through repetition with variation" (Hutcheon 8), and "the pleasure comes from... [this] comfort of ritual combined with the piquancy of surprise." (Hutcheon 4). This same feeling comes true for this "translation", which as a unique sort of split-text, creates a graphic-scriptic duology, between the source and the adaptation. Therefore it may be concluded that Shakespeare in the Manga Shakespeare series has been mangafied, but by no means diminished – it serves aptly to illumine its classical value.