Perfectly suited to be a Shonen Jump Manga

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Manga Classics - Mark Twain

*Disclaimer: reviewing uncorrected eARC via NetGalley.

 

I loved this so, so much. Huck Finn was always my favourite Twain book, so this got a boost just for being imho a great story. I really liked the art style; basically Tom & Huck can be read as mischievous, good-hearted but troublemaking Shonen Jump heroes anyways, so it's just a super fun ride.

 

The subject matter and choices in adaptation deserve some comment, though. There's definitely what we'd call in 2017 "problematic" content around slavery and the portrayal of black people in general. Maybe it's just because I haven't re-read this book as an adult, but I really appreciated the way the Manga Classics adaptation helped the satire of the story stand out, making it clear how crazy the white kids' approach to their situation was, how little true empathy they had for the black (slaves') experience when it came down to it, and how illogical and absurd much of the adults' behaviour was as well. I remember reading this and watching movies a couple decades ago and thinking it was mostly a fun, at times emotional, kids adventure story. Reading this adaptation, it's MUCH clearer to me that Twain was commenting on slavery and a transformation in one boy's understanding of his world, justice and ethical behaviour. Huck learns to see Jim, the "runaway" black slave, as a full human and feels empathy for him by the end of the story, a big transformation from where he makes fun of him and treats him like something less-than-human at the beginning.

 

Appreciated the artist & adaptation notes at the end that spelled out some of the decisions that went into making the adaptation and grappling with how to tell the story. I thought this had great pacing (especially compared to some of the other Manga Classics adaptations that are obviously summarizing and racing through large portions of the story), the art was lovely, dynamic or funny and always expressive, depending on what the scene called for. I'd watch an anime based on this.

 

Language use is preserved from Twain's original, which at times is hard to puzzle out, since it's diving into some pretty heavy accents or dialects. Between that, N-word and the content around slavery, I wouldn't recommend this for cautious/beginning readers. But again, I loved it, so if you're up to sounding out the words and playing some guessing games as to content, definitely give this a shot.