Disney Manga: Beauty and the Beast – Belle’s Tale (Full-Color Edition) ARC Review

About

In Disney’s live-action film “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle, a bright, beautiful, and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince inside. Soft, warm, bright colors show Belle’s optimistic view of the world in this full-color manga-style graphic novel, which explores Belle’s innermost thoughts as she learns that true beauty comes from within.

Thoughts

Just as lovely as The Beast’s Tale. I found this one leans in more towards the live-action films dialogue and plot points versus how The Beast’s Tale blends both films together, but it was still enjoyable to read.
What I loved about both stories is that the reader gets insight into what both Belle and the Beast are feeling in each of these scenes. It’s really sweet, especially when they’re read back to back.
Gaston seemed like more of a jerk, if that’s even possible? He was almost comedically irritating, which was fantastic because I really think that was needed without Le Fou singing his praises throughout like he does in the films.
Pulling attention away from his character in the last book was a bit confusing, mainly because of have the films memorized, but I almost wish that in Belle’s version they kept the scene where he ends up face down in the mud after his failed proposal. He’s a character you love to hate.
Overall I really liked Belle’s narration, and seeing the progression behind her and the Beast’s growing relationship. Oh, and the iconic “I love you” scene, I was so happy it was included!

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disney Manga: Beauty and the Beast – The Beast’s Tale (Full-Color Edition) ARC Review

About

In Disney’s live-action film “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle, a bright, beautiful, and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince inside. Dark, cool, muted colors show the Beast’s pessimistic view of the world in this full-color manga-style graphic novel, which explores the Beast’s struggle as he tries to move on from his past and learn what it is to love.

Thoughts

I liked how the manga blended both versions of the movie, animated and live-action, and managed to keep and pull together many of my favourite scenes. Beauty and the Beast has always been a favourite of mine, and I think this manga is an excellent introduction to the story for those who haven’t watched any of the films yet, or a great gift for readers who are, like myself, absolutely obsessed with Disney.
I enjoyed the artwork, and thought the backgrounds were really lovely. It’s unusual for me to read a manga in full colour, and I really enjoyed it. I’m not sure if it’s because the story is set in France but the way the Beast’s half of the story is set up, made me think of the popular anime The Rose of Versaille, which is also a favourite of mine.

I felt a few key, or iconic scenes and characters being absent pulled me away from the story a bit, but I realized that because this is the beasts perspective, he wouldn’t have known about Gaston or the towns people until they arrived at the castle. So I think if I were to go back, I would read Belle’s story first and THEN the Beast’s.
Overall well done, and I can’t wait to read Belle’s half of the story.

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you Disney Manga and Tokyopop for giving me the opportunity to review this series. I was absolutely thrilled when I found out I was accepted to review both books in the series. Thank you so much!

The Beasts Tale is set to release in March 22.

Cruella – Disney Manga Review

I bought this manga for my niece (she’s 9), because I wanted to find an age appropriate manga for her to read and she is a HUGE Disney fan.

Cruella: Black, White, and Red by Hachi Ishie has lovely illustrations, which gave off a mix of the 80s and 90s manga styles. I liked the way the panels were laid out, and how the characters were introduced. I also loved the artwork for each chapter.

I’d like to start off by saying the manga is not an adaptation of the film.

The manga has 3 chapters in total, each covering a part of Cruella’s life, mainly focusing on her between ages 18-21. I actually liked that the book didn’t age her down because it was directed at a middle grade audience.

Horace and Jasper were well developed throughout, but I thought the one character in the leather jacket, who is mentioned by Jasper in a later chapter would be more prominent than they were. It seemed as though this character was being built up to be a major player and then he kind of just disappeared, and then Emilia was introduced. This leads me to the pacing, which in the first chapter I felt was fairly well done, however because the book is set at different points during Estella/Cruella’s years before she becomes a designer, I felt like too much was being crammed into these short scenes.

It almost felt like a manga short story collection instead. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a one off, or a short series, but regardless I enjoyed reading it and I know my niece will love it. I just felt like it needed a little more story wise, so I gave it a rating of 4 stars on Goodreads. I also took into consideration that this is meant for young readers, so it’s possible some of what I felt was lacking is because this is a reimagining of a reimagined character…and I had expected it to cover pieces of the movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Overall I thought the book was fun, and I would definitely recommend it to young Disney fans who are also looking into reading manga.

One other thing I will note is that this book reads the same as Western graphic novels, versus a Japanese manga, like the Maximum Ride series and most Western made manga.

Disney’s Real Life Book Review

I purchased this book the same day I met my editor. She was having a book signing at a Chapter’s in the area and at the time I had no idea she would become my editor! I just thought she was really nice and her books sounded fantastic.

That day I was also lucky enough to be shopping with my Nana, who like me buys a lot of books and had about three or four gift cards on her. Basically, Nana gave me the go ahead to go nuts and buy as many books as I wanted (within reason), so I decided I’d try some new series. Her store was massive and carried a lot more of the graphic novels and manga’s than the location near me at the time. The new locations near me are…gorgeous! We have so many books in those sections now.

Anyway, one of the book I grabbed my Real Life, which I thought looked kind of cute. I liked the art style and the fact that there was a diverse cast of character’s. I also thought the synopsis sounded really good. As you know my TBR continues to grow daily…so it took me until 2021 to actually read this book that’s been glaring at me from the shelf for these past few years.

Now, I want to start off by saying that yes, I liked the idea but I have some critiques because I was disappointed by how certain things were implemented. My main critique is is with the diversity, the same thing that I was excited about.

The book follows three girls, Amber, Alice and Andrea, who all have a crush on Thomas, a guy who seems to have popped out of thin air who looks exactly like the fake profile they made on Real Life, an app that’s almost like a combination of facebook and instagram. Amber is black or mixed race with black. I was never really sure as she has red hair and green eyes and the reader’s only see her mom. Alice is white, blonde hair and blue eyes and then Andrea is Asian, specifically Japanese as her last name is Tanaka.

Left to Right: Amber, Alice and Andrea

As I mentioned when I first saw the cover of this book, I was excited because it gives the illusion that these three girls are a close knit group of friends. They’re all happy and smiling together doing this really cute group pose. However, when I started reading it quickly became clear that these three girls were merely playing into negative racial stereotypes, mainly Amber and Andrea.

I’ll start by discussing Amber. Amber falls into the mean black hottie trope, which is used so often in television that it gets on my nerves. I have yet to watch a show where the black or mixed girl is portrayed as shy or gentle or clumsy. I wanted to like Amber but every time I thought “she’s not that bad” she did or said something that seriously rubbed me the wrong way. All I kept thinking was how it sucked that this rude, bratty girl was the only representation of a black female character in this entire book. If she was contrasted by another character who was well…to put it plainly nice, it wouldn’t have bothered me as much. Another thing that continued to happen with her character, is that her complexion changed constantly. I don’t know about anyone else, but my skin colour definitely doesn’t magically switch between races because I’m mixed race? If I suddenly went all pale, I’d definitely go check in with a doctor or something. The inconsistency with her skin tone was extremely frustrating. In the first chapter alone, there are several instances where her and Alice are the exact same colour.

Next Andrea, who was equally messy. Of course, the Asian girl is the honour student, grades driven, super smart, nerd. Like I haven’t seen that a million times. At least she has a secret love for art. I preferred her character a little more than Amber’s and it was only because there were other Asian female character’s that she could be contrasted with. If those other girls weren’t there I would have went, “Oh look the Asian Nerd Trope.” Sadly, there were points where Andrea, like Amber was just…mean.

Lastly Alice, who ends up being the most likeable character. She’s the one that I found myself rooting for, why? Because she was nice. She’s the target of bullies at her school. Mainly cyber-bullying and her brother who attends the same school, doesn’t do anything to stop it. He’s actually annoyed by her and treats her like a burden. Her parents want her to play volleyball for her dad’s team. She’s good at it, it’s about the only thing she’s good at, however she has a love for theatre and wants to act in the school play. Alice is portrayed as a hopeless romantic, hopeless klutz and a hopeless dork…and yet, you like her character because you HOPE things will turn out well for her in the end.

Alice is also contrasted by other female character’s who look like her, and males too. Contrast is important when you have a diverse cast. Why, because not all people are the same. Not all jocks are the same. Not all nerds are the same. Not all theatre kids are the same. The. Contrast. Is. Important.

This story is in England and from what I’ve heard (and have seen on BBC) it’s very multicultural, so for two out of three leading ladies to fall into these typical racial book/film tropes is ridiculous. There’s no excuse for it. It’s no wonder that the book received 3.5 stars on Goodread’s. Like, this story could be really good but it’s hard to ignore how these girls were basically created by using a checklist. Not only that but there was also racist imagery in the book of one of the girls with buck teeth and slanted eyes, dressed as an “Eskimo” in Alaska. That’s a huge nope. How did that get the green light in 2018?

There’s no excuse for how Amber and Andrea are portrayed, nor for that imagery. It’s frustrating seeing these negative, racial stereotypes used constantly. It’s as tired as using the Dumb Jock or the Mean Cheerleader. I knew a few cheerleader’s back in high school and, I’d say 80% of them were the sweetest people I have ever met. I only have good things to say about them! They were down to earth, cared about their friends and stood up for their classmates when they saw something wrong.

I’m not saying that I think Alice should have been portrayed differently, I’m just saying that it would have been nice if the writer’s actually give Amber and Andrea a chance! I really tried to like them. I did…but by having these two girls just act as stereotypes, it really took away from the story. I don’t even know if I want to read the rest of this series. I’m so disappointed.

As for the rating…I’m stuck between 2.5 and 3…mainly because there were elements of the plot that were interesting but the thing that drew me to this book in the first place felt like a huge slap in the face once I started reading.

I’m going with 2.5

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I don’t care if it was 2018, this book fell into the category of diversity baiting…and I can’t even express how much I hate that. Proper diversity is showing a variety of character’s of different backgrounds who compliment and contrast one another. They don’t play into racist stereotypes, they are 3 dimensional. These character’s actually get backstories, have families and hobbies…like, why is Amber so mean? There was no reason other than “She’s the Queen Bee.” Really? That’s it? It’ not a defence mechanism? She just bosses people around and acts like a spoiled brat because she can? Andrea, likes to study and everyone’s always talking about how she’s going to get the Nobel Prize some day. She’s so smart! People call her a nerd. Like at least they gave her the whole bit about her mom trying to set her up with all these random guys but still…”I don’t have time for boys. I have to study.” Seriously?

I’m glad other reviewers felt the same way about these character’s. When I started I really thought “give it a chance maybe it’ll invert the tropes or something” but no. Nope. Not at all.

Anyway, that’s my rant. Looking forward to seeing REAL diversity in YA books going forward.


Character Bookshelf (show us what types of books your character might enjoy reading).

Rose is the biggest reader of the group so I’ll be selecting books for her first. I think I’ll pick 3 per person.

Rose

  1. A Tale of Two Cities
  2. Building of Jalna
  3. Winnie-the-Pooh

Rose loves love stories and adventures. In one of the drawing prompts I did of her this month, she’s featured reading Building of Jalna. I think she’d have a fondness for Winnie-the-Pooh. I can definitely see her reading it with her little brothers.

Roland

  1. Frankenstein
  2. Great Expecations
  3. The Catcher in the Rye

Roland’s top pick would definitely be Frankenstein. I have a feeling he’d like reading a book about a scientist driven mad by his obsession to defeat death.

I also think he’d like Dicken’s like his niece. He’d probably enjoy reading about Pip in Great Expectations. Catcher in the Rye would also be on his bookshelf. He’d probably find himself drawn to Holden’s narration.

Peter

  1. The Big Sleep
  2. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
  3. The Little Prince

Peter seems like the type to get into a bunch of series. He’d take a liking to a character and want to follow them on their journey. I can seem him liking a character like Marlowe. He’d probably picture himself being in a detective novel himself. I can also see him being a big Narnia fan. Mainly because he’d like the whole fighting battles and going on an adventure part. Lastly, I think he’d have a fondness for The Little Prince. I think it would be one he goes back to read every once in a while from when he was younger.

Dianna

  1. A Little Princess
  2. Emily of New Moon
  3. Northanger Abbey

Dianna is a person who doesn’t like to give up and I think she’d like books featuring character’s that despite their circumstances remain true to themselves and their goals. She’d love Sarah and Emily for that very reason.

Nicholas

  1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  2. Peter Pan
  3. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Nicholas is new to reading but he does love a good story. I think he would enjoy adventures about “far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!”

If you can name the quote that film is from, you’re awesome!

Anyway, for that reason he’d probably really enjoy reading the Wizard of Oz series. I think he’d really enjoy the illustrations in it. He’s also think Neverland and Wonderland were interesting as well. I can picture him imagining these worlds and spending hours trying to recreate them in his sketchbook. He might also start quoting the character’s after a while.