Manga Review – Tangled

Tangled Manga

Tangled
Disney塔の上のラプンツェル (Disney Tou no Ue no Rapunzel)
KANAKI Shiori
Shoujo – Fantasy, romance
1 Volume (complete)
TOKYOPOP

Summary:

Rapunzel loves the strange stars she sees every year on her birthday. But due to the healing magic in her hair, her mother forbids her from going outside. So when a thief sneaks in, Rapunzel sees this as an opportunity to sneak out and fulfill her dream! But this adventure will turn out to be bigger than either of them realize.

Review:

Tangled‘s manga version clearly targets the beginning manga reader.

So years ago, a drop of sunlight transformed into a wondrous flower that could heal people. Somehow, one woman discovered it and kept it hidden so only she could use it to keep her young. When the kingdom’s queen falls ill while pregnant, the secret flower is discovered, and the queen recovers.

Gothel, the woman who had been hiding the flower, sees the baby princess’ bright golden hair and knows the magic lies in it. But cutting the hair means the lock loses its powers, so she kidnaps the princess and raises the baby as her own child while living in a tower far away from prying eyes. Gothel forbids her “daughter” from going outside under the guise the world is dangerous. So Rapunzel only knows the tower and the view from her window, including some mysterious annual lights.

Eventually, just before her 18th birthday, a thief who stole a tiara from the kingdom (and also tricked his accomplices into keeping it for himself) arrives at Rapunzel’s tower. Rapunzel clobbers the intruder with a frying pan, but although she was going to make a show of apprehending the criminal as proof she can handle herself in the real world, her mother angrily forbids her from ever leaving. Once Gothel leaves to get Rapunzel’s (backup idea) birthday present, Rapunzel blackmails the thief, Flynn, into escorting her to see these lights — which she learns from him are lanterns — and back home in exchange for the tiara. What seems like a simple mission turns out to be anything but.

Tangled Sample 1

Chances are, most of you have at least heard of Tangled, if not seen it entirely. While all films, including Disney’s takes on fairy tales, have blemishes, Tangled has some of the most obvious in my opinion:

  • Gothel keeps Rapunzel’s name.
  • Gothel doesn’t change Rapunzel’s birthday.
  • Rapunzel is clearly a young baby when kidnapped… but somehow she subconsciously remembers sun marks and eventually vague pictures of two certain people.

Rapunzel had to be taken when she was too young to remember or bond with her parents, and yet Gothel, I don’t know, couldn’t have moved her birthday around a few days? Even a few months? Heck, even a year? Not like a girl who has only ever met one other person would understand she was slightly taller or smaller, ahead or behind the curve or whatever. But yet the sun marks I guess is supposed to prove she’s a genius baby? Even the “let’s hide a flower under a basket” I can maybe excuse by Gothel being in a rush, but she surely has heard of wind storms, right??

Also, Rapunzel’s second secret hiding place for the crown is just as lame as the first. Brick by brick, give me a break…

Still, despite the whole secret princess aspect which wasn’t handled well, the movie is a lot of fun. There’s Maximus the dog horse, the “I’ve Got a Dream” sequence is a delight, and frying pans prove that swords are overhyped.

As for the manga, the story is broken up into six chapters, and the last couple seemed like they moved a little fast compared to the comparative slow-paced opening parts. Like most of those junior novelizations of kids/family movies, Tangled the manga is rather light on new content and not going to be a substitute for actually watching the film. It does a pretty good job of bringing the movie’s entertainment to this format, but in a way that doesn’t do much to reach outside of the film’s fanbase.

That being said, talk about not getting his nose right — Flynn looks awful! Honestly, he looks like a throwaway character like a door-to-door salesman or something, and a heck of a lot older than her. That’s not entirely his fault; Rapunzel is an unabashed shoujo protagonist here with the big eyes, and she sure doesn’t look 18. I’d give my vote to Gothel for looking the best, as her soulless, lightless eyes and large, thin smile on her thick lips gives her the perfect villain look without using horns and such. Still, her and Flynn’s noses give them such a flat, uninspiring face.

Tangled Sample 2

Most of dialogue is lifted from the movie (as would be expected), but there were some lines I missed. Gothel’s back-handed insult about Rapunzel when she looks in the mirror was one I felt was oddly not included. Unlike some other Disney manga-fied movies, no singing. Well, outside of the healing song, but that’s different. The song sections use the lines to capture most of the song’s highlights into the text and rewords a few more to avoid the song-like nature of the lyrics. So for readers just beginning chapter books who like Tangled, this may help develop their reading skills since most of the dialogue will be familiar.

I will add the Rapunzel realization scene is actually presented slightly better here, although it still makes no darn sense why a baby would remember getting a crown! But otherwise, the manga doesn’t dive deeper into any of the characters. I do think it would have been interesting to have a Rapunzel version and a Flynn version similar to the Western comic-manga based upon the live action Beauty and the Beast. Here, Rapunzel is clearly the star, made even more obvious by her shoujo protagonist appearance.

Tangled Sample 3

To me, Kanaki’s best in Tangled when the story is the most manga-like — Rapunzel wistfully wondering when will her life begins, and Rapunzel with > < eyes whacks Flynn so hard it gives him x x eyes. Flynn’s “give me break” look while Rapunzel’s swinging is also hilarious. There are cute little chibi drawings between each chapter, which I enjoyed. As I mentioned, the cold-stone expression of Gothel when she’s plotting is good. But the artist’s art is still lacking in many aspects. It felt like when it wasn’t a key panel, particularly if it’s a more comedic one but not going full SD, the visual quality dropped with odd body positions and half-inked eyes. Backgrounds also take a hit once Rapunzel leaves the tower, and it doesn’t pick back up until the festival. But the artist did capture the characters’ clothing as well as the comedic ugliness of the two brothers and the Snuggly Duckling crew. I just think Kanaki needs more experience, and this manga was a way to give her some.

Translation:

Much of the manga’s text is based directly upon the movie, starting right from Flynn’s narration. Sound effects are left with a translation.

Final Comments:

Tangled‘s manga is not one of the best Disney-to-manga adaptations in either art or story.

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4 Comments

  1. dreager1

    Sounds like a very barebones manga adaption to be sure. I feel like they should always try to add some new things just to keep the experience fresh. Looks like a fun enough manga and I’m sure I’d enjoy it well enough but it’s hard to pick reading this over just watching the movie for the full experience.

    I agree that the hiding spot for the flower was definitely not great. There’s a lot of ways things could have gone wrong for Gothel even without the whole emergency like a wild animal knocking the basket over and trampling the flower or something. She probably should have built a lemonade stand (Or the medieval equivalent of it) or even constructed some kind of monument over it. Would have been a lot of work but well worth it for immortality

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      The main thing, though, was why not change Rapunzel’s name and birthdate — like, she was a baby, she’d never know if you gave her fake info!

      But yeah, not the most interesting adaptation. Especially now that there’s a whole sequel series out to enjoy that likely will never be covered in manga form.

      Reply
      1. dreager1

        That’s definitely true, changing her info as a baby would have made sense. Depending on the border situation maybe just skipping town altogether instead of living in the forest and that way it would be even easier to run around. Although, the villainess definitely enjoyed flaunting herself so maybe she wouldn’t have as much fun in another city

        Reply
  2. tanteikid94

    Looks really nice

    Reply

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