Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

A Joan of Arc manga

Joan is a wonderful manga by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. Beautiful scenes of medieval life blend with a really interesting story that both tells the story of Joan of Arc and of her effect on France after her death. Oh, and better yet -- for once, Joan's not depicted as crazy!

Emile is a gifted young knight, his adoptive father's pride and joy. One catch: Emile is really Emilie, but was raised as a boy to protect her from her parents' enemies. Emile's hero is Joan of Arc, whom her father trained. Emile begins to see visions of Joan: sometimes visions of actual events back in time, and other times of Joan the saint coming to advise her. Joan tells Emile to do God's will and protect the King (the same guy whom Joan helped become king, and who ultimately betrayed Joan). So Emile goes forth into France with a small band of her father's men, her hopes high and her experience low. In the process, she and we get a good look at the important folks and forces in France back then. We also see a very nice examination of the difficulty of following God instead of just our own wills, and the struggle to keep faith or to go back to faith after losing it.

The only problem with this manga is that the translator obviously had problems with French words written in Japanese. The worst one is where he translates "Helas!" as "Alas!" So here's the girl standing with a big grin on her face, and the speech balloon says, "Alas!" (, the editors these days stink like...gooseberries!) But hey, as long as you know the problem before you read it, you can translate it mentally for yourself.

Reviews from Sequential Tart, The Fourth Rail,, and Diamond Comics. If you don't believe them, you can download a preview of Joan (and Yasuhiko's other big religious manga, Jesus) from Comics One's sample page in the manga section. (While you're at it, tell me if Bass Master is any good, huh?) You won't regret it!


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