Otoyomegatari tells the tale of a beautiful young bride in nineteenth-century Asia. At the age of twenty, Amir is sent to a neighboring town to be wed. But her surprise at learning her new husband, Karluk, is eight years younger than her is quickly replaced by a deep affection for the boy and his family. Though she hails from just beyond the mountains, Amir's clan had very different customs, foods, and clothes from what Karluk is used to. As the two of them learn more about each other through their day-to-day lives, the bond of respect and love grows stronger.
Otoyomegatari won the 7th Manga Taishou Award in 2014 and the intergénérations prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2012.
The series has been published in English as A Bride's Story by Yen Press since May 31, 2011; in Polish as Opowieść panny młodej by Studio JG since June 20, 2013; and in Spanish as Brides Stories by Norma Editorial since October 31, 2013.
The synopsis might be a bit misleading, so ill start telling you that the story is not really only about a relationship between a 20 years old woman with a 12 year old boy, in my opinion, this manga has multiple stories about brides that connect with each other.
I cant really judge the art, but for sure it has rich details and all look so beautiful, not in a common way, its more like.. noble ish, cant really describe it, beyond outstanding, for me thats 10/10.
The characters are other very strong point, they live in the central asia, and are adept of many customs and
a very strict culture, but isnt like thats a problem for them, for example, girls fully accept arranged marriage, they do it happily, they live happily, you cant look at them with your modern mind, you must go back and accept their cultural formation of that time, the manga itself sort of make you do that, in general, theyre all prideful and very honest, and that is what can maybe be the only fault, even when each character have its own uniqueness, theyre all equal in pride for their families and righteousness, you really cant tell who is the main character, the development is amazing for each one, even the small part such as a kid making her sewing jobs for marriage shows so much about her mind, personality and culture, or a brother trying to raid a village to get his sister home, the author put their actions in a way that you can see their souls and minds! I can write about them all night long! so detailed and interesting, 9/10!
I could be misunderstanding but the story does not focus on the initial couple like the synopsis says, it tells their story at first, but as the time goes, they start talking about the surrounding characters, always centering in the marriage subject, its just as the title says, "stories of brides", one story lead to another and it keep going like that, while romance is kind of weak here, the slice of life part is wonderful, it gives the same chill feeling i got reading spice and wolf, definitely a great read if you like to observe things, actions, and if you like to think about human mind affected by culture, idealism, and ideology, 10/10.
For enjoyment, ill say it again, if youre an observer type person, this was made for you, i enjoyed every part of it! 10/10
This is my first review, and i have just read this manga, but i had such a great time doing it, that i want more people to do the same!
There is magic all around us, you may find it in an isolated nomadic town, in a traditional ceremony, in the patterns of an embroidery or in the dancing of the natives.
This manga is all about simplicity conveyed in a subtle, mesmerizing way. It tells the stories of everyday people in Central Asia in the 19th century, focusing primarly on an unusual newlyweds couple and their families. The manga begins with a 20 year old girl that marries a younger groom through an arranged engagement. At first their interaction is a little awkward since there is a 8 year difference in age, but quite soon,
Amira and Karluk become fond of each other, forming a strong bond. Amira is soon accepted in Karluk's warm-hearted family. The plot of Otoyomegatari is episodic, showing different aspects from different angles of the towns folk way of living.
There are also a few larger story lines, such as the arrival of Amira's nomadic family that want her to marry another for political reasons, as well as Henry Smith's (the foreign guest of Karluk's family) departure and journey back home, and his encounter with a mysterious, beautiful woman (which in my opinion is the most compelling and heart-breaking story until now).
The degree of knowledge and historical accuracy is as impressive as ever, coming from the mangaka of Emma, Kaoru Mori-sensei. Her portrayal of the culture, the tradition and cuisine is remarkable. The dedication she puts in every detail, such as a complex turkic embroidery, that is passed from generation to generation, in order to accumulate more knowledge of the patterns and make it in your own style. As well as the depiction of a carving master at work, producing real wonders from wood, passing down his wisdom to an interested kid. All those little gems do not drag the story, but enhances its beauty.
Simple things such as a woman singing in a field, the threads of a woman's hair caught by mistake, a gentle hand removing the tangled hair, the making of an embroidery, covering someone up with a blanket or the carving of wood, they are all gestures of kindness and affection towards nature, towards art or the person you love. They are gracefully portrayed by the skillful hands of the mangaka. They all seem like verses from a poem taking lives of their own in sensei's drawings.
In my opinion, the character of Amira is one of the most vibrant, charismatic female characters in recent years. Her mesmerizing, strong-willed personality left a powerful impression on me. Amira may seem the perfect wife, she is talented at embroidery and cooking, she is also caring and loving, but at times out of concern for Karluk she worries too much. Uncommon for women in that period of time, she is independent and self-sufficient, showing talent for hunting, as well as understanding the equilibrium in nature, feeling at home among the wildlife, and connecting with it on a deeper level.
Karluk's character is very mature for his age, showing an adult's wisdom and determination, as well as courage when Amira is taken back by her family. There is also the intriguing character of Henry Smith, who is a traveler and researcher of distant cultures. He is often the comic relief in this manga, but at times he shows another side of himself, a more serious, melancholic side, which makes him more mysterious. His story after his departure showed that he is a profound person. There are also charming supporting characters, such as Pariya, who has a tsundere personlity, which is also the cause of her not finding suitors, since in that period they were very important for becoming a respectable woman in the society. Her reactions are also a comic relief, especially her outspokeness and her embarrassment that follows soon after, which are lovely.
I highly enjoyed this manga, and after reading it for almost 2 years I still can't get enough. It is my type of manga, so I recommend to those who like slice of life and historical mangas, for the action-loving readers it may not be for you, but the quality of the writing may just fascinate you enough not to let the manga out of your hand.
When it comes to either anime or manga art, the fact is that most of it simply is not really very good. Unwillingness to challenge industry standards, either the need to rush works out or just plain laziness, and sometimes a lack of talent. There are also always going to be exceptions to this rule, both of the absurdly detailed kind, such as Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind (manga version), or sometimes a simpler yet extremely well crafted attempt at cuddly charm, such as Dragonball. This manga is indisputably in the spirit of the former, erring at all times toward ridiculous levels of detail.
its focus on intricately ornamental clothing, shades of say Paradise Kiss, you can tell right away that this work will have some obsession with detail, but with Otoyomegatari it permeates every part of the work, not just some singular aspects. The patterns and shading displayed on ch. 2, p. 6-7 show early on how seriously the creator enjoys creating patterns everywhere she can, architecture, food, et cetera.
The settings are often very intricate, in everything from architectural ornamentation, foliage, or the houses of a city. They are not clearly drawn in every frame, especially if they were already just clearly drawn, but it is not skimped on enough to really bother. Often inside the houses the angle is very rectangular and maybe a little boring, but it is always set to show off new details, so it is not really boring.
The character art is fairly typical in basic style (triangular faces, super huge glassy eyes), but the details in the hair and clothing are phenomenal. Even throwaway, ordinary characters can look splendid due to how crisp and clean the shading is, with the contrast making the characters stand out from settings so well.
As to the story, I may as well come out right away and say I despise slice of life, I really do. I would say that this gets a good deal into that, and it still manages to be charming and convincing. It is not really my thing, which is why I rated the story and character aspects down to an 8, but like Victorian Romance Emma, everything is gentle, unassuming, and never especially trying to thrust in one's face how charming it is. It simply is charming and that is enough. Most of the romance and banter are interesting and fun to entertain. The action parts are not exactly a strong suit for this work, but I think that they are perfectly acceptable as a vehicle to move plot along.
All in all, this is a work with incredible art, a little bit of whimsy, and a pretty clear sense of what it is trying to accomplish by existing. It is kind of hard for me to communicate what I see in the art, but if I have any point I feel I can slam clearly home, it is that the detail is incredible, clear, and at the very least looking at for a bit.
There are a lot of mangas that focus on romance, being the path to a relationship the most common; yet these never really expand on developing it, let alone arrive to the point engaging in a marriage. In the case of Otoyomegatari, or in its english title "A bride's story", it presents readers with couples that either are or will be engaged, whilst developing their relationships and the hardships of these. This historical manga is a magnificent slice of life bundled with dramatic and romantic elements, as well as lightly expanding on its setting; even though readers may not care about its premise, the art
alone makes it a must read.
Being set in the 19th century in Asia, the story of Otoyomegatari revolves mainly around the beautiful young bride Amir and her husband Karluk, who is 8 years younger. Naturally uncertainty is a given, yet this is soon replaced by deep affection, even considering both cultural differences between the two. The synopsis of this manga is a tiny bit misleading, meaning it does not essentially focus on the previously mentioned couple: other brides are presented as well, in addition to developing side characters. The problem with this is that readers will find themselves longing to see how these develop more, meaning a bit more expansion on its story would be desired, instead of focusing on the afore-mentioned couple. Nevertheless, this was a small drawback.
The strength of the manga lies in its presentation and its execution: it settles the reader in an unknown location, with unknown people, as well as the unknown culture. It does a magnificent job by slowly revealing the people's interactions, the customs and its setting through the art and characters. These interactions are very well relayed to the reader, being very realistic, meaning it is not overly dramatized or having over the top action scenes. These are soothing and heartwarming; humor was found throughout the story, which was masterfully done, without any need of having gags in it. Rather, it uses its characters behaviour and their situations to its benefit to accomplish this.
Speaking of human interactions, these portray the life style of the civilization of the 19th century magnificently, while at the same time displaying how tough life was at that time, as opposed as current developed society. This was done through daily events such as fishing for food, herding of the sheep; intense house labour is no exception either, displaying the time-consuming embroidery engrained in the culture for instance. Historical accuracy is certainly a thing that can be mentioned about the manga: being the period that it is, traditions and society are well presented, including occasional conflicts, which naturally brings in some action. The fact that modern tools and science such glasses, doctors or fire weapons are introduced, creates a fascinating contrast of the old technology and its limitations.
The cast of characters in Otoyomegatari is small, yet all are of interest, which could be considered rare in the medium. What makes these characters alluring is the fact that all have a unique personality, each to whom reader may relate to; a positive aspect to this is that these can't be classified in archetypes, to maybe the exception of a tsundere girl. The characters display a great variety of emotions such as anger, fear, embarrassment, indifference which is conveyed very well to the reader. The people presented are not strictly from that area: it also displays foreigner such as british or russians.
Character development could be considered scarce in the story, yet for some of these they undergo certain changes because of events that affected them or their surroundings. This was never really an issue, as its strengths lay in portraying human relationships and developing them. Speaking of which, readers may wonder how the relationship is between couples, in particular that of Arim and Kaluk due to its age gap. This is maternal, rather than sexual. Other to point out is the fact that woman are strong and independent which is a pleasant sight.
As mentioned earlier, the art style of Otoyomegatari is outstanding at the very least: the amount of detail and time put into each individual panel is astounding. Taking as example the embroidery, readers clearly observe how detailed and varied its designs are; backgrounds are fantastically drawn as well, matching with the amount of work put onto the whole manga, in addition to having good shading techniques. The character's design is certainly a sight to behold as well: these are beautiful and varied, applying to the male demographic as well. Emotions and character movements are well done as well, easily conveying the emotional state of the people.
Otoyomegatari came certainly as a very pleasant surprise with its magnificent presentation, its characters and the art style: this lead to a very enjoyable reading experience. Its setting was also very alluring personally, as I enjoy the historical genre a lot. The manga had its drawbacks as well, such as the expansion on the story of the different brides, in addition to having no clear goal apparent, which was nevertheless a very small issue. So do I recommend this manga? I wholeheartedly do to anyone with a slight interest in either the historical or slice of life genre, as these were well presented to the reader. Even for those who don't, just reading a few pages for the sake of viewing the art would be commendable as well; you never know, you may begin to like it.
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