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 an 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 outspokenness 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.
I have only read the first two volumes of "A Bride's Story", but at this point, I have to say that it is one of the finest manga I have read. I'll go straight to the details:
Art: This is the true strong point of this manga! The art is rich in detail, stunning in scope, breathtaking in beauty, and astonishing in the amount of research that is behind the images. Many portions of the story are told completely with images alone, with the astounding backgrounds and exquisite attention to detail in the character's facial expressions and body language telling the story in ways that exposition
could never manage!
The character designs are truly a delight. They are drawn with such fantastic detail and such stunning realism that it boggles the mind. Yes, the eyes are still over-sized for the faces, but other than that one conceit, they are so realistic they practically jump off the page! The one minor quibble I have with the character designs is that the women are a bit too similar looking, making it a bit difficult to tell who's who in some panels. However, the more I read, the better I can tell them apart, and to be perfectly fair, many of the women are related to each other, so they should look alike! Amir's mother-in-law and sister-in-law look so much alike they could be sisters, but closer inspection reveals the fine touches of facial lines and hair highlights on the mother that indicate her more advanced age...
The details in the fabrics of the clothes the characters wear and the wall hangings, rugs, and other cultural artifacts are incredible. There is even a full chapter devoted to the art of embroidery, with one of the young girls learning why she must strive to learn all of the family patterns that have been handed down from one generation to the next, as opposed to just her favorites. It also stresses the importance of embroidery skills for women in this 19th century Central Asian setting.
Amir, in particular, is a wonder of modern manga! She is, without a doubt, one of the most stunningly beautiful ~WOMEN~ in manga! Note the word emphasized in that last sentence! Amir is all woman! There is no trace of girl in her character design! Kaoru Mori-sensei has a penchant for drawing Amir naked, which she admits in the very funny author's notes sections, which pretty much qualify as Omake for these volumes. Don't be concerned with these being eechi in any way, however. They are very much non-sexual. One, in volume 2, is in a bath house, where Amir is bathing alone. The other, in volume 1, occurs when she and Karluk are getting ready for bed, but is entirely non-sexual, and part of one of the best sequences in the volume. The images, however, are some of the most realistic, and beautiful, depictions of the female form I have ever seen in manga! Amir is amazing! Full figured with ample hips and a firm and slim, but not emaciated, waist line. She is so unlike any other woman in manga it is startling at first. It is really art on a totally different level than most manga!
Character: Another strong point of the manga are the characters. Amir is an amazing young woman, with tremendous strength of character and confidence, but also a great deal of vulnerability and a need to prove herself as she finds her way in her new husband's family and home village. Being skilled with a bow and very athletic, she stands out from the other women in her new family, whose lives have been focused on different skills, since they are no longer nomads. The male characters are a bit less defined, but Karluk, her young husband, gets his fair share of development along the way. Many of the other characters have their own moments to shine, particularly Karluk's mother and grandmother, as well as Pariya, a young girl of marriageable age who befriends Amir and struggles with the tendency to be a bit more outspoken than women are expected to be in their culture, leading to some personal problems.
Story: Before I get into the detailed review of the story, let me state that the age difference, and extreme youth of the male lead, Karluk, is not a perversion or some sort of fetish. The average age of marriage in the Silk Road region in the 19th century was 14 or 15, frequently with the bride being even younger. The 12 year-old groom is a bit on the young side, but for their culture, the truly odd one is Amir, who is 20 years-old, far older than most brides of that time period and culture. One of the ironies of the story is that the only thing about their age gap that is remotely scandalous is that she is so old, while our culture would look at it the other way.
The story is probably the weakest aspect of "A Bride's Story", but that does not mean it is not excellent! Where it falters is in the flow and pacing departments, with some portions seeming a bit out of place and others seeming to drag a bit too much. The second volume has fewer problems with this than the first, as it has a more action oriented storyline. However, if one follows the main sequence of the story surrounding our young bride learning to be a wife; live in a village with her husband's family; adjust to the customs of said family; and grow in her relationship with her very young husband, it is a fine story with a strong emotional impact. The relationship between Amir and Karluk and how it progresses from shy acceptance; to curious admiration; to growing attachment; to genuine affection; and finally to blossoming warm, tender, and oh-so-sweet love, is particularly well done! The culmination of the arc, which takes place near the end of volume 2 in the chapter "Heart of a Bride" is really a masterpiece of storytelling, with tremendous character growth for Amir and Karluk.
There are portions of the story that seem to drag, like the intricate details about embroidery, a story of a young boy enthralled by wood working arts, or the tale of a brash, outspoken young girl whose bread is like a work of art, but who is unable to embroider cloth to save her life. These seem to detract from the story and interrupt the pacing of the main narrative, but they also provide a rich and colorful base of cultural background that help the reader to understand the rest of the story. While they might be better placed, so as to not interfere so much with the main plot, they should not be left out, as they really do make Amir and Karluk's world a much more real and understandable place.
And a wonderful, beautiful, and adorably sweet place it is! I recommend it without reserve and, despite the few nude scenes, found it appropriate for pre-teens with a high level of reading ability and an interest in historical fiction.
'A Bride's Story' is an interesting manga series for me in that while I cannot deny its high level of quality, I also have relatively little drive to keep going- partially due to personal preferences and partially due to how it's being released here in the US. So with that out of the way, let's dive into the first two volumes of Mori Karou's latest historical romance.
'A Bride's Story' is licensed by Yen Press, who have this annoying habit of doing a lot of more expensive hardcover-only releases. As of this writing single volumes sell for $20 apiece- the same price as the double-sized hardcover
'Vinland Saga' volumes Kodansha Comics USA is currently releasing, so getting into this series is an investment. Not necessarily a bad investment, but the higher buy-in cost might scare off people who aren't completely hooked.
One thing to know about Mori Kaoru is that she's never in my experience been in a hurry to get to some big, flashy plot point. 'A Bride's Story' works as a 'Slice-Of-Life' series so far, the big twist being that we're being shown a slice of a lifestyle, time, and place radically different from the 21st century First World. Heavy focus is given to developing and describing just how people lived and acted in this time- whole chapters can be devoted to carpentry, bread baking, or embroidery. And this can be both fascinating and even at times emotional. But you definitely have to be in this manga for the journey, not the destination as the central plot moves at the pace of a Silk Road caravan. It's a very good 'Slice of Life', but you need to come into 'A Bride's Story' knowing that- those expecting an epic, heroic quest will likely be unsatisfied.
As a side note, despite Japanese pop-culture's reputation for a love of unsettling 'squick' in almost anything involving sex, 'A Bride's Story' actually manages to pull off an arranged marriage between a 20-year-old woman and a 12-year-old boy rather innocently. It's helped by the fact that for most of the first 2 volumes Amira's feelings for her husband Karluk are clearly more maternal than sexual- her realization that's she has a budding romantic attraction for him is a major development that even shakes HER up. So yeah, Japan doesn't have to be completely gross.
Mori Kaoru is an exceptionally talented artist with a knack for creating images that can only be described as absolutely lovely. A high level of detail is everywhere in this series- but it goes into full-scale Costume Porn when one looks at how intricately drawn each character's outfit is. The character designs are highly realistic, with only the slightly-too-large-for-complete-realism eyes being a clear giveaway that this is still a manga. Lastly, I want to talk about the occasional bits of nudity in 'A Bride's Story'. I'm normally strongly against fan-service in general, but Mori somehow makes it work here without seeming like the manga is going for lowest-common-denominator titillation. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that it only shows up in scenes where it actually makes sense that Amira would be naked (the bath house for example), partly because it's shown 'seriously' (she's not in some ridiculous pose clearly designed just to give the reader an erection), partly because it's still fairly rare, and partly because Mori is such a skilled artist that sometimes all you can say is "Wow, that is one magnificent woman." I won't say it was necessary, but this is one the best examples I've ever seen done.
The main characters are made fairly distinguishable for the relatively short time they have to develop. English scholar and researcher Henry Smith is the highlight of the cast as he struggles to fit into a society he deeply loves but only partially understands (to my knowledge he even gets center stage in certain later volumes, which sounds good to me). That being said, in a slice-of-life series there's relatively little impetus for large scale developments and the lesser cast members can be a bit difficult to keep track of from time to time.
As a fan of history, getting so much detail and time period exploration is a definite positive. However, I also prefer plots with momentum and clear goals- more sedate 'relax and enjoy the ride' stories are harder for me to emotionally invest in. I can't necessarily bash a story for taking a more relaxed approach, but I can say it didn't appeal to my preferences. I'll still keep reading 'A Bride's Story' for sure due to its numerous positives, but it's relatively low on my personal priority list.
The purpose of this review is to make sure anyone interested in 'A Bride's Story' knows what they're getting into. Until a more economical print release is published the up-front cost of this series is pretty high (for example: I can get a 2-volume hardcover release of 'Vinland Saga' or a 3-volume paperback release of 'Rurouni Kenshin' for the same price as a single one of Yen Press' 'A Bride's Story' volumes). It will definitely appeal to fans of historical fiction and romance, but the relatively large financial investment one needs to make in this series might cause less-than-fully-devoted fans to have second thoughts. In Short: Very Good = yes, Expensive = also yes.
Story - The story kind of jumps from place to place, but it's what you'd expect from a SoL. It all felt very real and I learned a lot along the way, so I can't really fault it for not having lots of action. It is set in Central Asia (or that's where it's been for the first 17 chapters) around what I can only assume the time of the Great Game. The manga takes a break from the main story at times to focus on wood carving, sewing patterns and various cuisines. The story of the English traveller is very interesting, as he goes
around and collects various information, and he provided great help in saving the bride from her would-be captors.
Art - The art is excellent, going into great detail on wood carvings, patterns on fabric and the like. The character design is beautiful and expressive.
Character - Ah the characters. I don't exactly know what nomadic people are like, but the manga characters felt quite realistic to me. They feel human. The dialogue gave a sense of warmth at times and tension at others, and just felt realistic. The main characters are all quite likeable, especially the bride and her husband as well as the English traveller/researcher.
Enjoyment - I very much enjoyed reading this.
Overall - Outstanding manga, I would recommend it to anyone who likes reading slice of life with a realistic feel to it.
First off, let me tell you not to be scared off by the idea of a marriage between a 12 year old and a 20 year old. There's nothing explicit, and they have a non-sexual relationship. It was kind of odd at first, but you get used to it really quickly.
Anyway, on to the main review. Otoyemegatari is a historical manga, that takes place in the 19th century in midland Asia. The historical aspects of this manga are great. Almost each chapter or arc has a focus, whether it be street food, wedding rituals, or friendship, that is well researched and portrayed. The manga doesn't
shy away from showing the more troubling aspects of the time, like the treatment of women or the threat of Russian imperalism, but unlike many portrayals, the manga focuses on the positive aspects of the era, and on the love and friendship. Not only do we get to see the everyday life of the titular bride, but we get to see many other brides, and their stories.
The art is amazing when it comes to details like the linens and wall hangings, but I find it hard to tell apart a lot of the women, since there is very little difference between faces, and they're mostly seen with their hair covered.
Overall, I'd definitely recommend this manga to anyone who enjoys history, or even just well-written stories.
Note : I'm not native speaker so bear with the sentence which grammatically incorrect.
Bored with mediocre love story? Need a new atmosphere? Then it is quite advisable to taste Kaoru Mori's works. She's the one who can give a new wind with a pretty interesting perspective.
One of the first big problems I encountered was, some people argue, including my friends when I suggested this, they judge only from the very first try because the age gap between them. To clarify the distance between Karluk and Amira, I think it is normal. In Asia which the traditional culture works more like a norm, get married at
a certain age (in this case, each culture has its own reasons, such as: belief or other related matters). I do not feel strange because it exists, and it is at once a prominent characteristic of this manga, it shouldn’t be a big problem. If you want to talk about a culture with beliefs, you can’t use common sense. It won’t work.
Will seinen always be with a heavy plot? No. This one is unique, thanks for all the interesting characters are able to build the story more lively. You often see seinen characters get a sharper psychological shift than any other category? That's how they work. How about this one? Yes. The development characters are good, nervous at time, and wisely without need imposing themselves because they think and grow from the problems they face together. Their relationship is very simple, they think deep through it, they put many considerations to it. That’s how people back then think.
Also, the atmosphere is very heart-warming. In addition to many problems that will arise, I love how this manga has a 'fresh' side that makes me recommend it more than Emma which much heavier. Trust me. There was a time when I was touched by the upcoming emotional things, but there were times when we would be smiling with lots of bitter and sweet moments that certainly add new colors besides the identical seinen in it.
This manga carries the eastern theme in it as I see Turkish documentation. This aspect related to the art, which is very stunning, detailed, and wonderful.
Imagine yourself exploring foreign lands and being in awe from experiencing breathtaking scenery and immersing yourself in a new culture. This is exactly what Mori Karou’s story, Otoyomegatari, does to you. Through her exceptional art and recounting of ‘bride’s stories’, she transports you to 19th century Central Asia and you embark on a journey into new lands.
Just as a point of warning, as much of a romance manga, it is also a manga which wants to introduce the reader to the culture and lifestyle of Central Asia during the 19th century. But by no means does this mean that the romance is weak. To give
it its full duty, it is a romance which incorporates its surrounding environment of culture, religion, family and community. Hence, life in its entirety. This results in a more encompassing romance and story which is not simply about love. Consequently, it won’t be a soap opera but a relationship which could have occurred during that period in that place. Even though it borders on realism, it is infused with Mori’s ideal Central Asia which blends perfectly and becomes such a fascinating and cute story of lovers and their relationship.
The use of love stories as a medium and focus is masterful. While it is inherent that Mori’s overarching narrative is to enthrall and introduce the lifestyle of Central Asia, the focus on the ‘bridal stories’ of the region captures the reader to want to know more and more. It is fascinating in its portrayal of ‘love’. Due to it taking place in Central Asia, it carefully adheres to the cultural and religious traits of the region and time. Several being, arranged marriage, living with relatives, familial hierarchies and sense of community.
As a point of warning, though there is one main couple that the story line focuses on, Amir and Karluk, as the manga progresses, we are introduced to other brides which do not always connect or interact with the main couple. For those wanting a linear progression with just the main characters, the manga can get quite off focus. But for the others, the other brides are all very unique as they are of different regions and hence have a very different culture and way of finding love. Each ‘bride’s story’ is carefully fleshed out and hence does not act as a filler but is a great story in itself. The sub stories is written with as much passion as the main story line and which makes it enduring and enjoyable to read. The plethora of couples introduced does increase the experience as each are very different from each other and keeps the story very novel.
The story progression itself is contentious. On one hand, there is not much progression to be said of. The different ‘arcs’ of the story are usually separated from each other especially when introducing a new relationship. It is slow moving and takes its time to establish the characters and situation. But on the other hand, it can be said that this is the strength of the manga. It is very character based and is written to show the lifestyle of the brides in Central Asia. Because of this, the themes of relationships are very adult, (I refrain from using mature as that implies more of explicit content) expounding of realism through its portrayal of family responsibility, and culture. Because of the slow pace, there is intricate detail in portraying characters and lifestyles. Time does not pass quickly and changes that do happen are slow yet steady just like it is in real life.
This slow progression also builds the characters in familiarity. The characters are cute, enduring and quickly grow on you. The interactions, and dialogue between the characters are portrayed in a way which make you feel like you are there and are a part of the family. Each character has a distinct personality which differentiates them from each other and makes them feel alive. The character designs are done well, with no standardized characters. Everyone feels unique and different. The one problem is that because the story can jump from one couple to another, the longing to see a previously introduced character, while knowing they probably will not appear again, can be frustrating.
Conflict in the story which will develop the characters happen slowly and are hardly dramatic. It is also distinct as the conflicts are very culturally driven which means that if the reader is not versed in the culture of Central Asia during the 19th century (which I’m sure is pretty much most people), it presents the usual romantic conflicts in a novel fashion.
Above the characters, and plot, the very best of Mori Kaoru is her art. It is simply breathtakingly beautiful. Her aesthetic art form is not only spectacular but also entrancing. Every panel is drawn with purpose and intricate detail to always be immersing/entrancing for the reader. From the embroidery and design in the clothes, to the mouth-watering food and the decoration of the houses, just spending time enjoying the art is a pleasure. Mori’s passion for the culture and lifestyle of the region radiates from the panels and in turn mesmerizes the reader. She has thoroughly researched and even been to Central Asia to further her understanding of the region. This is especially the case with her drawings of the clothing. The clothes on the characters constantly change, each time with intricate detail and clarity. The quality of the art does not fall but only improves throughout the story. Oh and don’t forget to admire the cover page for each chapter. There are simply gorgeous.
As a point of criticism, Mori’s use of panel structure can be called mediocre at best. The panels are simple layout that are acceptable but do not stand out. It does not take away from the reading experience but does not add anything either. The only time when the panels are notable, is when Mori does character drawings which spans the entire length of the page and about half the width of the page. These drawings overlap the panel structure adding a fresh page to its usual panel layout. Sadly, they are rare but when they are drawn, be prepared to appreciate it for a long time.
Overall, Mori Kaoru’s blending of realism and idealism creates a world which you want to experience. You come to love her art with every single page. Otoyomegatari is a fun experience learning something new about the culture with every consecutive chapter. The pages ooze with her passion and enjoyment of showing the reader Central Asia. I would recommend Otoyomegatari for everyone, if not for experiencing and reading about romance from a different culture, but for the gorgeous art work which is just a joy to see.
This isn't really a review i want to commemorate the amount of research the artist put into this .
the detail on the clothing are historically correct .(did a little research here !)
I might as well mack a review since i came this far ...
In A Bride's Story Mori deposits the reader leagues away from the British romance of manners she crafted in Emma , instead exploring rural and nomadic life along the Western track of the Silk Road during the Great Game era. Mori has so far focused her attention specifically in what is probably northern Kazakhstan, near the expanding Russian border. The culture she
describes is rich in a heritage and practice that will be largely unfamiliar to the average American reader. This is a land of yurts, shepherds, big families, khanates, delicate carvings, intricate weavings, and ornate embroideries. Much of A Bride's Story serves as educational documentary, explaining carefully the importance of these facets of the peoples the story concerns—and it's a mark of Mori's talents that these lessons are never dull. The story, while pausing its plot elements for a description of tribal politics or the importance of rug-hanging, is built and embellished and given life through these brief excursions.
A Bride's Story offers contemporary readers a delightful opportunity to exercise the skill of reading and enjoying a text without finding moral agreement with the circumstances, actions, or particulars of its protagonists. For this reason, A Bride's Story may even be desirable to get into the hands of younger readers (despite some occasional nudity) if for no other purpose than to promote this critical ability at an early age. Mori makes this an elementary text for this kind of exercise. Almost no American reader will approach the text thinking it good or appropriate that a grown woman should marry a boy who is only straddling the boundary between childhood and puberty—yet that is the circumstance this culture forces on its two very winning protagonists. Further, the reversal of the autumn-spring relationship trope presents opportunities to consider the contemporary sexual politic. As well, it's interesting to see a situation in which a clearly competent, intelligent, and mature woman should still be ultimately under the authority of a child (a kind child who evidently cares deeply for his new charge, but nonetheless...)
Kaoru Mori is my guide in the foreign world of the 19th century Caspian region. My ignorance of the region and its history is complete. I know less about the 19th century Silk Road than I know about other place and time period . I am, in other words, a complete foreigner. Mori has my whole trust and I have no idea how deeply she is embellishing or romanticizing the culture. She could actually be lying outright and I wouldn't know.
10/10 truly out standing work
I really enjoyed the historical/cultural setting of ancient central asia, the beautiful drawings of the buildings and costumes, the cuteness of the central female character, the riding and hunting scenes.
The plot of the story is a bit weak though. There are multiple stories, loosely following some of the characters. It's a bit disconnected as well. But it really does not matter, this allows us to discover more people and places.
The art is absolutely amazing and in my opinion this is the best part of this manga. The drawings are very detailed and clear. In particular the dresses and the buildings.