Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > Queen Emeraldas, Vol. 2

Queen Emeraldas, Vol. 2

Cover to Queen Emeraldas, Vol. 2Queen Emeraldas, Vol. 2
by Leiji Matsumoto, translation by Zack Davisson
Kodansha Comics, 432 pp.
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

Emeraldas’s journey through the endless expanse of space has seen her cross paths with numerous others who traverse the void. Only a few of those individuals have been allowed to set foot upon her ship, The Queen Emeraldas. What has driven her to make her lonely trek through the sea of stars has been a mystery, until now. From the legendary creator, Leiji Matsumoto, comes the final collection of his classic series, Queen Emeraldas, Vol. 2.

Matsumoto’s Queen Emeraldas is a gorgeous and wonderfully atmospheric read. It’s visually beautiful and peppered with full page spreads often depicting The Queen Emeraldas silently making its way through the blackness of space. It may not sound like much, but it’s a simple touch that does an amazing job at conveying the loneliness and isolation of space, something which highlights the loneliness and sadness that permeates Emeraldas’ being throughout the series. On more than one occasion he strings several of these pages together, a choice which encourages prolonged meditation on The Queen Emeraldas as it sails through the silent, black abyss of space; the exterior isolation mirrors the isolation of Emeraldas as the only living thing onboard the vessel. These images work in conjunction with Zack Davisson’s fantastic translation, which is full of lyrical rumination from Emeraldas on the beauty and emptiness of space, to create an elegiac atmosphere that permeates the book.

A page from Queen Emeraldas, Vol. 2

Davisson’s translation working in tandem with Matsuomoto’s artwork to create a forlorn scene.

Throughout her travels in this volume, Emeraldas encounters a wide array of doomed figures, each striving for a seemingly unattainable goal that will grant them the emotional fulfillment they so desperately desire. Their desperation and need is heavily romanticized, and highlights the sense of sadness and grim determination that marks Emeraldas and her own seemingly endless quest. The nature of what she seeks is finally revealed in this volume, though it may be a little underwhelming and not explained as thoroughly as one might hope. Her search is centered on a single individual, and finding that person seems increasingly impossible given the infinite reaches she’s searching. Indeed, by the the final page of the volume one can’t help but feel the utter futility of her journey.

While the atmosphere of the series is absolutely fantastic, those looking for clear resolutions in Queen Emeraldas, Vol. 2 will be sorely disappointed. The series is open ended, though there are suggestions of greater conflicts, relationships, and losses to come, that we never get to see. Oddly enough, the unresolved nature of these mysteries and Emeraldas’ quest seems right at home, and it lends the final pages of the series a sense of forlorn loss that is sure to linger with readers long after they’ve put the volume down.

While Queen Emeraldas may not be too everyone’s liking, thanks to the lack of a resolution, it absolutely is an engaging and enjoyable read. It also deserves another look, as more of Matsumoto’s works are due to be released in the coming months, including Captain Harlock, a character referenced several times throughout the two volumes of Queen Emeraldas. If you’re looking to whet your tongue and get a taste of things to come, or if you find yourself enjoying the upcoming releases but want more of Leiji Matsumoto’s classic works, then Queen Emeraldas is exactly the book for you.

Queen Emeralds, Vol. 2 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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