Edumanga (aka: Atom Pocket Jinbutsukan) Vol. #02 - Anne Frank - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 168
  • ISBN: 1-56970-974-2
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Edumanga (aka: Atom Pocket Jinbutsukan) Vol. #02 - Anne Frank

By Sakura Eries     August 02, 2006
Release Date: May 31, 2006


Edumanga (aka: Atom Pocket Jinbutsukan) Vol.#02 - Anne Frank
© Digital Manga Publishing


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Etsuo Suzuki/Yoko Miyawaki
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
Adapted by:

What They Say
For two years, Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex. During this time of fear and oppression, one young girl kept a record of her life. In the midst of the tragedies of war, Anne kept her hopes for peace alive and her indomitable spirit lives on in the words of her diary.

Astro Boy and his friends take you to the world of Anne Frank as she experienced it; through her eyes.

The Review
Packaging:
This volume of DMP's educational series Edu-Manga highlights the life of Anne Frank. She is shown on the front cover against a plain white background with Astro Boy and Uran standing respectfully to the left. Anne, who is wearing an orange blouse and plaid skirt, is shown seated with fountain pen and her now famous diary in hand. Above is the Edu-Manga logo in brown, which consists of "Edu-Manga" in prominent capitals, and Astro Boy with a smaller bubble of text "GOOD FOR THE BRAIN" above it. Below is a brown purple bar with the publisher's and series logo. The title is in block capitals to the left, and author / artist credits are in black capitals to the right.

The back cover features the Edu-Manga brown logo on top. Below the logo is "Anne Frank," which is straddling the brown background of the top and white background below so it looks somewhat awkward. In very large font is the story summary. Underneath the summary is Uran offering a rose to Astro Boy, who appears to be reading a book about Anne (in Japanese), with Dr. Elefun looking on. The inside front and back covers contain information about the Edu-Manga series.

Binding and materials are satisfactory, better than the copy of Edu-Manga: Helen Keller that I reviewed. Extras consist of DMP ads, a reference timeline table, mini-biographies on associated historical figures, and a forward from the production supervisor, Kazuki Takahashi of the Holy Jesus Society, Anne's Rose Church, Anne Frank Material Collections Museum.

Artwork:
This artist is not the same one that was used for Volume 1 of the Edu-Manga series, but Miyawaki's style is very similar to Yagi's, where the drawings, with a few exceptions, tend to come across as largely plain and simple. However, Miyawaki does put more effort into the details of the characters' faces than Yagi did. While the drawings of the very young Anne and Margot are woefully boring and not particularly cute, her depictions of them in their teens as well as the adult characters are more distinct. The copy of Anne Frank's diary that I checked out of the library had pictures of both Anne and her father, and there is a resemblance (although not the most meticulous) between those pictures and the manga depictions of Otto Frank and the teenage Anne.

Backgrounds lack detail. However, the illustrations do get the message across. For instance, the scenes of the concentration camps, while not extremely graphic, sufficiently conveyed the horror of those places.

Text/Translation:
While the dialogue flowed well enough, there were a few misspellings in the translation, and the table of contents lists chapter 5 as "A Diary for Posterity, but the actual chapter header is "A Diary for Mankind." Also, Anne refers to Margot as "sister" rather than by name as she does in my translation of her diary. I'm guessing the original Japanese text did say "Oneesan" or something to that effect. In addition, there's something about the translation that perplexes me, and that is the fact that the names in the manga don't match the names in my translation of Anne Frank's diary (translated from the Dutch by B. M. Mooyart). Hanneli, Fritz Pfeffer, and the Van Pels in the manga are Lies Goosens, Albert Dussel, and the Van Daans my translation of her diary. It seems a little strange that the names don't match up, especially since other names do, including the cats' names.

Sound effects are mainly translated with block letters that are placed next to the original Japanese. Except for a few exclamations, there's no variation in dialogue font. The pages that are nearly all text could have been formatted better. Except for the back cover summary and the DMP ads for other titles, everything was in capitals. Takahashi's forward is printed in extremely small font, and I almost missed it because I mistook it at first for copyright language. Also, the reference table could have been designed more neatly; the events listed don't quite line up with each other.

Content:
This manga is a biography of Anne Frank that is "hosted" by Astro Boy. The story unfolds when Astro Boy's friend Uran decides to start writing a diary because she heard that Anne Frank became famous through hers. This incident sparks a conversation between her, Astro Boy, and his friend Dr. Elefun, and leads to a visit to Anne's Rose Church in Nishinomiya.

Five chapters follow, detailing the life of Anne Frank. The first chapter describes her background, her early life in Germany, and her family's move to Holland to escape Jewish persecution by the Nazis. Chapter 2 tells how she receives her diary and how her family goes into hiding shortly afterwards with the help of her father's Dutch friends. Chapters 3 and 4 describes life in the "Secret Annex" where Anne and her family hid with four other Jews for two years. These are the chapters that overlap with most of the events recorded in Anne's diary. Chapter 5 relates the discovery of the Secret Annex by the Gestapo, Anne's untimely end in the concentration camps, and the return of Anne's diary to her father, the sole survivor of the Frank family, after the war. The chapters are interspersed with question and answer segments between Astro Boy and the Dr. Elefun regarding details on World War II, anti-Semitism, and concentration camps. At the very end of the manga is biographical information about related historical figures and a time line of Anne Frank's life.

Comments
This title is the second in DMP's Edu-Manga series. Anne Frank's "The Diary of a Young Girl" has long been a standard on high school reading lists (I myself read her diary in my early teens), and I can see how this particular manga would serve to provide context or get readers interested in her story.

As I read the manga, parts of it struck me as being slightly different than what I remembered so I went back and reread parts of "The Diary of a Young Girl." What I found was that while the events of Chapters 3 and 4 are taken from Anne's diary, Suzuki does take liberties with the details. For example, while there is a love interest between Anne and Peter, Suzuki makes their relationship progress differently than it does as recorded in Anne's diary. Anne does write of an instance where she uses a crossword puzzle as a pretext for hanging around in Peter's room, but it does NOT end with the two of them getting all flustered about the word "kiss" the way Suzuki presents it. Personally, I find the changes irritating because I'm a bit of a canon freak. Also, I think that trying to dramatize the story this way makes Anne less real. Not to mention, there's plenty of actual drama going on in her life without Suzuki trying to embellish it.

This title is rated for all ages. While I do believe the story is worth reading, the fate of Anne Frank and her friends and family in the Nazi concentration camps was not a pretty one and may not be appropriate for very young readers. I asked a friend of mine her opinion, and she told me that her 11-year-old great-niece, who is half Jewish, has already seen the play based on Anne Frank's diary. While my friend felt that her great-niece was old enough to process the subject matter, she recommended against readers much younger than her picking up the story.

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