The Poe Clan

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The Poe Clan
Poe no Ichizoku Vol 1.JPG
Cover of the first Japanese volume of The Poe Clan, published by Shogakukan
ポーの一族
(Pō no Ichizoku)
GenreFantasy[1], gothic horror[2]
Manga
Written byMoto Hagio
Published byShogakukan
English publisher
ImprintFlower Comics
MagazineBessatsu Shōjo Comic
DemographicShōjo
Original runMarch 1972 (1972-03)June 1976 (1976-06)
Volumes5 (List of volumes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

The Poe Clan (Japanese: ポーの一族, Hepburn: Pō no Ichizoku) is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Moto Hagio. The story follows the lives of a family of vampires from the 18th to the 20th century, exploring the nature of life and death, growth and aging, joy and grief. Hagio was inspired to write "a beautiful vampire story" after reading Shotaro Ishimori's one-shot, "Mist, Roses, and Stars".[3] Poe's two main characters, Edgar Portsnell and Alan Twilight, as well as the rest of the Poe family, are named after American writer Edgar Allan Poe.

The manga was serialized in Shogakukan's Bessatsu Shōjo Comic magazine from 1972 to 1976 and collected in five tankōbon volumes under the Flower Comics imprint. Poe was the first shōjo manga from Shogakukan to be released in this format. The manga won the 21st Shogakukan Manga Award in the combined shōjo and shōnen category in 1976. Fantagraphics Books licensed the manga for an English-language release in North America, to be published in two omnibus volumes in 2019 and 2020.

Plot[edit]

Edgar is born as an illegitimate child to Earl Evans. In 1744, four years later, after the birth of Edgar's sister, Marybell, his stepmother orders the nurse to kill Edgar and Marybell. The nurse does not kill them but abandons Marybell and Edgar in the woods, expecting them to die of starvation, where they are discovered by Hannah Poe. She takes them to her mansion near the village of Scotty. Hannah looks after the siblings. When Edgar is 11-years-old, he learns the secret that Hannah and people within the mansion are vampanellas (vampires). He is forced to promise that he will mutate into a vampanella, a member of the Poe family, when he becomes an adult. Afterward, Marybell is adopted by Baron Art per Edgar's request. In 1754, when Edgar is 14-years-old, Hannah is killed by a villager, and the other villagers learn the secret of the mansion. Edgar is mutated into a vampire by King Poe, effectively forcing him to join the Poe family, before the family escapes from the villagers.

Three years later, Earl Evans' eldest son, Oswald, meets Marybell and Edgar. Marybell attempts to kill Edgar because he is a vampire. However, Edgar's love and kindness cause her to change her mind. Edgar takes her into the Poe family. Edgar is adopted by a baron, Frank Portsnell, and his wife, Sheila Portsnell, who is also a vampiress. However, Edgar and Marybell cannot stay under the care of the baron for long as they remain the ages of 14 and 13, respectively.

In 1879 in the city of London, Edgar and Marybell meet Alan Twilight. Edgar subsequently joins the same school that Alan attends. Edgar and Alan become close friends, and Alan falls in love with Marybell. One day, Sheila is fatally injured by a doctor named John Clifford after he discovers the family is composed of vampires. Clifford also kills Marybell. After the deaths of Baron Portsnell, Sheila, and Marybell all on the same day, a grieving Edgar searches for Alan. Meanwhile, Alan has a serious argument with his family about an unwanted proposed marriage to his cousin Margot and falls into deep despair. Upon hearing of the death of Marybell, Alan accepts the invitation to join the Poe family and is mutated into a vampire by Edgar. The two of them run away from London and start their eternal journey.

Characters[edit]

  • Edgar Portsnell (エドガー・ポーツネル, Edogā Pōtsuneru) is the protagonist. He is born on May 12, 1740, as the illegitimate first child to an aristocrat, Earl Evans, and his mistress, Maryweather. He mutates into a vampire at the age of 14.
  • Marybell Portsnell (メリーベル・ポーツネル, Merīberu Pōtsuneru) is Edgar's sister. She is also the illegitimate child of Earl Evans. She mutates into a vampiress at the age of 13.
  • Alan Twilight (アラン・トワイライト, Aran Towairaito) is Edgar’s close friend. He is the only child of Rachel Twilight. He mutates into a vampire at the age of 14.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

The Poe Clan was written and illustrated by Moto Hagio. It was serialized by Shogakukan in the monthly manga magazine Bessatsu Shōjo Comic from March 1972 to June 1976.[4][5][6] The individual chapters were collected into five tankōbon volumes under the Flower Comics imprint, with the first volume released on March 28, 1974, and the last volume released on August 11, 1976.[7][8] The Poe Clan was the first shōjo manga Shogakukan ever published in trade paperback format.[3][9] Shogakukan later re-released the entire series in three bunkoban volumes on July 17, 1998,[10][11][12] and then again in two wide-ban volumes on November 26, 2007, and December 21, 2007, respectively.[13][14]

Fantagraphics Books licensed the manga for an English-language release in North America, to be published in two hardcover omnibus volumes translated by Rachel Thorn.[15] The first volume was released on August 20, 2019.[16][17] The manga is also licensed by Ronin Manga in Italy,[18] by Ediciones Tomodomo in Spain,[19] and by Japonica Polonica Fantastica in Poland.[20]

List of volumes[edit]

No.Japanese release dateJapanese ISBN
1 March 28, 1974[21]ISBN 4-09-130001-4
2 June 24, 1974[22]ISBN 4-09-130002-2
3 July 20, 1974[23]ISBN 4-09-130003-0
4 January 17, 1976[24]ISBN 4-09-130004-9
5 August 11, 1976[25]ISBN 4-09-130005-7

Sequel series[edit]

In April 2016, to commemorate The Poe Clan's 40th anniversary, it was announced that Moto Hagio would publish two new chapters of the manga under the title Pō no Ichizoku: Haru no Yume (ポーの一族 春の夢, lit. "The Poe Clan: Spring's Dream") in the josei manga magazine Monthly Flowers.[26] The first chapter was published in the July 2016 issue, released on May 28.[27] The second chapter was delayed and eventually published a year later in the July 2017 issue, released on May 27.[28][29] Shogakukan collected the chapters into a single tankōbon volume under the Flower Comics Special imprint on July 10, 2017.[30]

After the end of Haru no Yume, Hagio announced that a new manga series titled Pō no Ichizoku: Yunikōn (ポーの一族 ユニコーン, lit. "The Poe Clan: Unicorn") would begin serialization in Monthly Flowers in spring 2018.[1] The first chapter of the manga premiered in the magazine's July 2018 issue, released on May 28.[31] The series went on hiatus in the September issue, released on July 27, and returned the following year in the May 2019 issue, released on March 28.[32][33] Shogakukan collected the chapters into a single tankōbon volume under the Flower Comics Special imprint on July 10, 2019.[34]

A new arc of the manga titled Pō no Ichizoku: Himitsu no Hanazono (ポーの一族 秘密の花園, lit. "The Poe Clan: The Secret Garden") began serialization in Monthly Flowers' July 2019 issue, released on May 28. The magazine revealed at the end of the first chapter that the manga is going on hiatus and will return in spring 2020.[35]

Radio drama[edit]

The Poe Clan was adapted into a radio drama broadcast by NHK-FM in Japan from January 1 to January 6, 1980. It was directed by Tokio Ōtani from a script written by Jun Takada, with sound effects by Shōichi Haraguchi and Tadashi Iwai. It starred Takarazuka Revue's Anna Jun [ja] in various male roles and Haruka Kurara [ja] as Edgar and in various female roles.[36]

Drama CDs[edit]

The Poe Clan was adapted into a series of six drama CDs from scripts written by Kazuhiko Soma. They were released monthly by Shogakukan between December 2007 and May 2008. Each volume covered a different generation of the Poe family and starred Romi Park as Edgar, Mitsuki Saiga as Alan, and Yuka Inokuchi as Marybell. The first four volumes also starred Kōji Ishitobi as Baron Portsnell and Yōko Sasaki as Sheila.

Another drama CD was produced by the drama CD label E-Star and released in Japan on March 22, 2013. It starred Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Edgar, Takuya Eguchi as Alan, Daisuke Hirakawa as Mathias, Takaya Hashi [ja] as Aubin, Toshihiko Seki as Clifford, Kazuma Horie as Robin, and Takurou Nakakuni [ja] as a thief.[43][44]

Television drama[edit]

In February 2016, TV Asahi announced they would produce a television drama adaptation of the manga along with Production I.G and Atmovie. Featuring an original story scripted by Katsuhide Suzuki and directed by Katsuyuki Motohiro, Stranger ~Bakemono ga Jiken wo Abaku~ (ストレンジャー〜バケモノが事件を暴く〜, lit. "Stranger: Disclosing the Monster Incident") shares the same worldview of Hagio's manga. Its single episode was broadcast on March 27, 2016,[45] and follows Akira Misugi (Shingo Katori), a Taishō era doctor who is mutated into a vampanella by Maria (Ayami Nakajō), a child descendant of a vampanella, when he attempts to commit suicide because of the death of his wife and child.[46]

Theater[edit]

The all-female theater troupe Takarazuka Revue announced an adaptation of The Poe Clan by its Flower Troupe to premiere in 2018. Written and directed by Shūichirō Koike, it starred Rio Asumi and Ayase Senna and ran between January 1 to February 5 at the Takarazuka Grand Theater, and from February 16 to March 25 at the Tokyo Takarazuka Theater.[47]

Reception[edit]

The Poe Clan won the 21st Shogakukan Manga Award in the combined shōjo and shōnen category, along with Hagio's They Were Eleven.[48] In 1974, the first print run of the first volume (30,000 copies) sold out in one day, which permitted Hagio to continue with more stories set in the Poe universe.[9] When a new chapter was published for the first time in forty years in the July 2016 issue of Monthly Flowers, the publisher, Shogakukan, printed 50,000 copies (1.5 times the magazine's usual run), yet it still sold out within days.[27][49][50] This chapter and others were collected into a bound volume under the title The Poe Clan: Spring's Dream and the success was repeated; it entered the top 10 of Oricon's weekly chart of best-selling manga, selling over 60,000 copies in just one week.[51] The new manga ranked number two on the top 20 list of manga for female readers in the 2018 edition of Takarajimasha's Kono Manga ga Sugoi! guidebook.[52] Its sequel, The Poe Clan: Unicorn, ranked number six on the same list in the 2019 edition of the guidebook.[53] Unicorn also ranked number 19 on the 2019 Book of the Year list in Kadokawa Media Factory's Da Vinci magazine.[54]

References[edit]

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  54. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (December 6, 2019). "Kingdom Manga Tops Da Vinci Ranking". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 17, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kan, Satoko (2010). "Everlasting Life, Everlasting Loneliness: The Genealogy of 'The Poe Clan'". U.S.-Japan Women's Journal (38): 43–58. doi:10.2307/42772009. JSTOR 42772009.

External links[edit]