I did a quick double take when I spotted this title on Jmanga. I thought, surely this isn’t a manga adaptation of the Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck movie from the 1950s? But then I read the plot summary and it was! Roman Holiday is deservedly known as a classic movie, so I figured a manga adaptation would either be worth reading just for the possibility of a terrific train wreck, or it might actually be fun to see an interpretation of the movie in manga form. Fortunately due to a very faithful adaptation and some nice art from Hanabusa (who also adapted the Harlequin title To Woo A Wife) this ended up being quite enjoyable to read, but not as great as watching Roman Holiday all over again.
The plot of Roman Holiday (which if you haven’t seen, you should) centers around a wayward princess named Ann (Audrey Hepburn) who escapes the drudgery of her princessy duties for a day when she meets a newspaper reporter named Joe (Gregory Peck). Joe immediately sees the potential for a scoop in idea of escorting an escaped princess around Rome during her one day of freedom, so he gets his photographer friend to document the day as they run around Rome and do all the things that tourists do. Along the way they fall in love, but Princess Ann has to return to her duties and Joe is left to decide if he’s going to sell her story or keep the memory of the day as a precious secret. Let’s take a minute to bask in an image from the movie:
Wasn’t that refreshing?
As a fan of the movie, I was happy to see that the manga captured all of my favorite moments. There’s the near-diplomatic incident when Ann loses her shoe during a state function, the drudgery of Ann’s schedule, and the simple delight that she takes in things like wearing pajamas, wandering around a market, and getting her hair cut. Hanabusa’s art does a great job capturing both the settings and the costumes in the original movie, so the reader does feel like they’ve been briefly transported to Italy. Joe gradually becomes more and more reluctant to write his story as he sees Ann’s delight in her brief holiday, and there’s a definite wistful tone to the story as it shows a love affair that could never happen. While there is no way that a manga can really capture the charisma of Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, I enjoyed being able to revisit the story of Roman Holiday in a different way. I’m not sure how much crossover there is between classic movie fans and manga fans, but if you happen to be both you will likely enjoy this manga.
Access to electronic copy provided by the publisher.