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Harry N. Abrams

Manga Shakespeare: Othello

Manga Shakespeare: Othello

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Othello and As You Like It are the newest additions to the imaginative world of Manga Shakespeare. In the face of the false evidence produced by the conniving Iago, Othello cannot trust his wife, and his mistrust leads to the play’s tragic conclusion. In As You Like It, Rosalind, dressed like a boy, falls in love with Orlando. A mistaken-identity comedy follows, with a happy ending (or the ultimate justice served) for those who deserve it. Both plays have been refreshingly updated in the style of manga while maintaining Shakespeare’s beautiful language.

School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up

Osada has populated his version of Othello with a bestiary of part-animal, part-monster characters with third eyes; second sets of arms, wings, and tattoos; and sadomasochistic or infernal overtones. Sometimes the design choices seem to be thematic-Cassio looks quite young, Othello is vaguely angelic-to reinforce an individual aspect of a given character or to provide a small irony. But overall, the effect is mystifying and distracting, and the characters are chimeric aggregations with no sense of purpose or place. The opening of the play focuses on the fact that the marriage between Othello and Desdemona should be stopped because of his Moorish origins-but how can this be an issue when the challenge is being put forth by an anthropomorphic fox? One finds oneself asking why these design decisions were made, and the lack of evidence of any thoughtful intent makes the adaptation unintentionally comic and bizarre. Coupled with a lackluster use of tone and shade, and a series of monologues that lacks narrative form, this volume would seem unlikely to convert manga readers to Shakespeare, nor to lead literature readers to comics.-Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH

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