February 3, 2023

Japanese adaptations of the beloved saga

Experience the capture of Princess Leia by Lord Darth Vader and the evil minions of the Empire. Farmboy Luke Skywalkers discovery of her desperate message hidden in the droid R2-D2. Luke’s fateful meetings with legendary Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and intergalactic smuggler Han Solo and the climactic battle to destroy the sinister Death Star. Source: Star Wars: The Manga product page

For over 40 years, there have been many ways to re-experience Star Wars through adaptations including video games, novels, radio dramas and comics. One of these adaptations was created in the Japanese comic art form known as “Manga”.

What is Manga?

Manga loosely refers to a style of comics originating in Japan. They usually are published in installments, and depending on their form, can be very short or up to several hundred pages long.

“Although each artist has his or her own style, in general, drawings are done in pen and ink and are black and white, with an emphasis on clean lines. Except for highly realistic series, most characters have very large, almond-shaped eyes, and their other body parts often are humorously out of proportion.” Source: Wisegeek

Covers from the manga adaptations of the Original Trilogy movies released by Marvel Comics.

Each of the Original Trilogy films, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi, were created and released in 4 volumes, while The Phantom Menace, the only Prequel Trilogy film adapted into this art form, was created and released in 2 volumes. All of these manga adaptations have been translated and edited from the original Japanese for English speaking Star Wars fans first by Dark Horse Comics and now via Marvel Comics under the Legends banner.

As you can see from these examples from the manga adaptation of The Phantom Menace, the characters look like their on screen counterparts except for a few details usually associated with this particular art form, especially the almond shaped eyes. These examples are from Volume 1 and is from my personal collection.

As a fan of both the manga art form and Star Wars fan, it was easy for me to discover these adaptions and add them to my collection. Fortunately, due to the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, there is now a resurgence of the manga adaptations. For example, the popular Star Wars YA novel, Lost Stars was released on May 4, 2017 as a digital manga by LINE that can be read on mobile devices in Japan. There are also plans to adapt other Star Wars novels including Heir of The Jedi and Lords of the Sith.

Examples from the newly released digital manga adaptation of Star Wars YA novel Lost Stars by LINE

As an art form, manga gives us another view into the Star Wars Saga that we know and love. I do hope that there are more Star Wars stories adapted into this format and translated into the English speaking markets.

So were you aware that these adaptations existed?

Do you have any of these in your collection?

What do you think of Star Wars in this art form?

Patty Hammond is the Everyday Fangirl from Michigan. You can find her on Twitter @PattyBones2 or blogging at everydayfangirl.com, TheFutureofTheForce.com, TheCantinaCast.com, TheBeardedTrio.com or StarWars.com talking about Star Wars and much more!


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