The troubles that Emma and William faced in Kaoru Mori’s Emma volume one escalate in Emma Vol. Two. The romantic relationship between Emma and William comes to a screeching halt as status and class in 19th century London society becomes an obstacle in the couple’s path. In volume two, Emma and William both experienced heartbreak and loss as they attempted to move on with their own lives apart from each other.

A Change of Pace in Emma Vol. Two

Late nineteenth century England. A train departed from London and bound for the sea races through the countryside. Smoke billowing from its stack, seemingly intent on one thing only–pressing onward […] ever onward.

(Mori 7-8)
YenPress' cover art of Emma volume two.
Credit: Emma Vol. 02 by Kaoru Mori; YenPress

In Emma volume two, the art and the story get denser, and at times, I had to put the book down in order to get a good grasp on my emotions. Emma’s departure from London and William being too late to catch her was still fresh in my heart and mind.

Hired as a maid for the Molders family, Emma’s life does not come to a rest. As for William, he appears calm but the heartbreak of losing Emma eats at him. In volume one, Kaoru Mori’s artwork was a sight to behold but here, Mori has gone above and beyond. The artwork in each panel is more detailed; the panels with no speech are also more poignant.

William, aloof while on a picnic with his family and friends.
Credit: Kaoru Mori’s Emma; YenPress 2015

With a new change in the direction of William and Emma’s lives, William’s personality starts to change. Rather than the happy-go-lucky and carefree way he carried himself, William is now facing a judgmental Victorian society headstrong with purpose. In the first half of the volume, William seems an almost entirely different person. Kaoru Mori has drawn the interactions between William and his friends as distant by emphasizing the way he appears aloof and disinterested. In chapter 16, Beyond One’s Gaze, William seems detached; while his friends do not find anything odd about his attitude, his young sister is wary about this change in him.

An Engagement, Drama, and Tradition, Oh My!

There’s a lot going on in this volume, which is not a bad thing. Compared to the first volume, the pace in this volume has picked up. The plot has become more complex as the drama that comes with Victorian London society has come to the forefront. In this volume, we get a better look at the upper-class society, the marriage proposal, and the addition of an eccentric individual named Monica Campbell.

An untimely reunion of Emma and William at William's party to celebrate his engagement to Eleanor Campbell.
Credit: Kaoru Mori’s Emma; YenPress 2015

William appears to take this all in stride and, for a time, is calm despite the chaos going on around him. As such, with the announcement of a marriage proposal comes the celebration banquet of a rather joyous occasion for William and Eleanor’s union. At this event, William and Emma reunite in an untimely fashion; everything that William worked hard to build comes crashing down as soon as Emma comes back into the picture.

William’s Struggles

For the majority of volume one, William Jones is a happy-go-lucky individual who, at the same time, has this cute, clumsiness about him. The latter is mostly because of William being totally enamored by Emma’s beauty; which I am quite sure of. William knew that Emma’s social class would be an eye-sore in noble society, but he was unaware of how hard it would be to persuade noble society itself. The prime example of this would be William’s father, Richard Jones. William’s father is a staunch believer in keeping up with old tradition and is a prime example of how a majority in noble society would view Emma and William’s relationship.

In volume two, it seems there is an immediate change in William’s characterization. At first, William seemed detached and aloof. With Emma’s abrupt departure from his life, William adopts this persona of being a responsible individual in noble society; attending private parties, going on picnics, and whatnot. Underneath it all, William is still heartbroken and emotionally torn. Despite this, he grins and bears the pain until his untimely reunion with Emma at the end of this volume.

Thoughts & Comments

Distraught and heartbroken, William is grieving at the loss of Emma. Initially, William seemed to be an enigma in this volume. In the scene of William in his private study, I suddenly realized this was all a front. In this volume, we get to see the different sides of William’s personality progress throughout the chapters and also, where William as a character really shines.

Emma and William reunite.
Credit: Kaoru Mori’s Emma; YenPress 2015

I feel that this volume did a wonderful job of giving a better insight into the noble society that is portrayed by Kaoru Mori. Life goes on as normal for everyone despite the turmoil that William is in. Kaoru Mori is a talented mangaka artist and a wonderful writer. The major events in Emma Vol. two easily flow into each other pretty well without confusing the reader. Another thing that Kaoru Mori achieves at are scenes with no dialogue. The manner in which she sketches each scene in a dialogue-less panel is profound and definitely leaves me in awe of her work.

Read the previous analysis of Emma Vol. One.