The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton and Jun Asuga: C

When first I spotted this slim volume in the manga section of a chain bookstore in town, I assumed it was an OEL media tie-in from TOKYOPOP, like Legends of the Dark Crystal or Return to Labyrinth. Closer inspection, however, reveals that it actually is Japanese, published by Kodansha in 2004.

I’m a little surprised to see that Disney Press did not flip the art or translate sound effects, since I assume they were marketing this title at least in part to fans of the movie who might not ordinarily be manga readers. The art is admirably accurate, with some characters (Dr. Finkelstein and Lock, Shock, and Barrel in particular) looking exactly like their movie counterparts. The only slight difference is Sally who, because of the limitations of the medium, has lost her light blue tint.

The storyline is preserved without much modification, and some scenes quote dialogue from the film verbatim. Unfortunately, song lyrics are not included, and the text inserted in their place often fails to achieve the same impact. Here’s a comparison of the scene at the end of the film where Jack joins Sally in the graveyard.


Jack: My dearest friend, if you don’t mind,
I’d like to join you by your side.
Where we can gaze into the stars
Together: And sit together,
Now and forever.
For it is plain, as anyone can see,
We’re simply meant to be.


Jack: Sally. I hope you don’t mind the company.
Sally: Jack…
Jack: Sally…
Sally: Jack…

And that, in a nutshell, is the whole reason this earns a C. It doesn’t do anything that would annoy a hard-core fan, but it’s just not as good as the original. For the ultimate experience, one should really just watch the film instead.

Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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