Thursday, August 27, 2009

Manga Discovery: Dante's Divine Comedy


Dante's Divine Comedy
( Dante Shinkyoku )
by Nagai Go
Manga adaptation of Dante Alighieri's classic work "The Divine Comedy". (Baka-Updates)

Any work of fiction (I consider The Divine Comedy as fiction) that has religious or mythological references will always grab my interest. I was really pleased when I found out that there's a manga version of Dante's work! I know the overview of that classic, but I hadn't really read the original text; and I won't ever, because poetry hates me (I suck in deciphering poems). Seeing illustrated versions of the events in the poem had been easier for me to understand what's going on even if the lines have been pretty poetic. I can somehow understand poetic lines if there are illustrated versions of those.

Though I'm happy to see the poem in a comic format, the art is cool in some parts but I don't find it amazing overall. It was able to express the horror in hell . . . but those character designs and art style on the character faces . . . they seem too . . . simple. Or maybe the illustrations based on Dante's poem by Gustave Doré, Salvador Dali, and Sandro Botticelli are just much much much better. See the comparison:


(Known Illustrations VS Manga version )

As for how the adaptation went, the important parts had been mentioned, and some of the mangaka's interpretation were nicely presented and made sense. There had been some changes or additional parts, but overall it was still loyal to the original work. Among the changes, what I liked is the part wherein Dante somehow doubts if the sinners truly deserve what they're suffering from. The character Dante had not been extremely close-minded to the point that he thinks all those people in hell deserve what they went through.

Though I find all this hell stuff and the characters involved in it very interesting, I don't completely agree with what the original author is trying to imply in the original work. It will take me so long to list all my complains on Dante's beliefs, but to sum it up: I see Dante as a biased and judgmental religious extremist. I also find it funny that though he's anti-pagan, he included mythological characters in a supposedly Christian-only work . . . but aren't the mythological creatures/characters supposedly pagan creatures and gods? Pfft! This is why I abhor religious zealots.

That's my opinion. I don't want a Dante fan to criticize me for that.

Back to the manga, to sum it up, though the art didn't appeal to me much, how the story had been adapted . . and how they are presented . . . had been done really well. This is not a substitute of the original classic, like what the scanlators have been emphasizing; but it's a good alternative reading for those who are lazy or don't want to bother to look at the original work, like me. Ehehehe. Actually, I would really have read the original work . . . if only it wasn't in poem form!!! Gaaaaahhh . . . .

So anyway, I liked the manga, but it's not the type for me to want to read at once on every release (since I already know, or have an idea, of what will happen next anyway. Besides, it's more fun to read it continuously). So I'll just finish it when it's completely scanlated~


READ: 1 volume of a 3 volume complete manga that is still being scanlated
VERDICT: Finishing When it's Fully Scanlated
I'm a sucker for Dante's hell stuff . . . . I just had to check it out~
The art didn't appeal to me much (the famous illustrated versions are just so much better~) but it's a pretty good comic adaptation of Dante's Divine Comedy!

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