England, late 19th century. The Victorian era is widely known as a period of great innovation and progress in technology, transportation system and industry. Nevertheless, society at that time was still regulated by strict class division, rigid morality, unchanging and codified rules of conduct and the most treasured virtue for a man or a woman was "to know one's place."
In this scenario, William, the heir of a gentry family, meets by accident the beautiful maid Emma. They immediately fall in love with each other, but of course their feelings are opposed by William's severe father, who seems unable to see people beyond their social position. Emma is graceful and refined, but she still belongs to a lower class. After a series of events, the two are forced to break up. Will their relationship ever grow? Or will their affection succumb to the burden of conformity?
One of the finest manga to ever grace our world, Emma was created by Kaoru Mori, a young mangaka nicknamed "the maid person" :-D. It spans 7 volumes which were first serialized on Monthly Comic Beam, a magazine published by Enterbrain, Inc. After the main storyline ended, Mori-sensei started drawing a series of extra chapters known as Emma Bangaihen (Emma Further Tales), still ongoing on Comic Beam (chapter 15 was released in October 2007 issue). The first twelve chapters were later collected in two tankoubon, making them Emma Volume 8 and Volume 9.
From the original medium the renowned animation group Studio Pierrot produced a great TV version, Eikoku Koi Monogatari Emma (British Romance Emma). Like many shows made by this studio, the anime version is characterized by a simple, yet lovely, character design, smooth animation (just look at the opening theme, you will be immediately carried in 19th century London!), delicate atmosphere and fantastic music.
The first anime season counts 12 episodes and covers the events narrated in the first two volumes, while Emma Second Act (still made up of 12 episodes) takes a new plot twist, introducing other characters and situations while following Emma's adventures at the Molders estate.
Alongside the anime seasons, the two Original Soundtracks are the ideal complement to this project. In the first cd, called Silhouette of a Breeze, strings, recorders and harpsichord play a major role while the second OST, named Memories, is characterised by Celtic harp and flute, reminding the listener of the British countryside. Both albums are composed and arranged by Kunihiko Ryo and released under Pony Canyon Music label.