A Bride’s Story vol. 1 by Kaoru Mori
Original Title | Otoyomegatari (乙嫁語り)
First Published by Enterbrain in fellows!
Published in America on May 2011 by Yen Press
Genre | Seinen, Historical, Romance, Slice of Life
WARNING MILD NUDITY
Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori (Emma, Shirley) brings the nineteenth-century Silk Road to lavish life, chronicling the story of Amir Halgal, a young woman from a nomadic tribe betrothed to a twelve-year-old boy eight years her junior. Coping with cultural differences, blossoming feelings for her new husband, and expectations from both her adoptive and birth families, Amir strives to find her role as she settles into a new life and a new home in a society quick to define that role for her.
Crafted in painstaking detail, Ms. Mori’s pen breathes life into the scenery and architecture of the period in this heartwarming slice-of-life tale that is at once both wholly exotic, yet familiar and accessible through the everyday lives of the rich characters she has created. (Courtesy of Yen Press)
Review | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Before I go on talking about the actual story of A Bride’s Story I want to mention the amazing packaging Yen Press did for this manga series. Yen Press went all out and actually published this series in hardback, including a dustcover with Kaoru Mori’s amazing artwork. I’ve never seen a hardback manga before and this gorgeous, sturdy edition is a wonderful collection to my shelves.
In terms of plot there is at least one overarching story line, but that is not the main focus, rather each chapter can be read as a mini story of its own. In the first chapter of A Bride’s Story the new bride, Amir Hagal age 20, is first introduced to her new young husband, Karluk Eihon age 12, and his family. The story centralizes on a melding of culture as we are lead into the lives of Amir, Karluk and their families. Each chapter has its own endearing story. By just exploring the daily lives of the many different characters, I am constantly learning more and more of the kind of society that exists in 19th century Central Asia as well as the characters themselves.
To me every single character in A Bride’s Story is fascinating and enjoyable to read about. Amir is such an adorable character. Despite being the much-too-old bride in her culture, she is depicted as a very youthful, vibrant and maybe slightly naive young woman. Amir is very much a humble, caring, quiet spoken woman, but her cool side shows in her skills with hunting with a bow and arrow. In my opinion Amir as the very cool older sister type, but still childish at the same time.
Moving on to the young husband, Karluk is very mature for his age. It is very clear that he has settled into his role as a fully realized man, yet his boyish nature still comes out every now and then. His chemistry with Amir is very cute and they definitely give off the vibe of shy newly weds. They are such an adorable couple! I would love to see how their relationship progresses in further volumes.
In this volume we are also introduced to both Karluk’s family and Amir’s familiy. Both of different cultures and both with very distinct characteristics. Towards the end there is some drama between these two families, but what’s a historical manga without some good drama?
Kaoru Mori’s art style is absolutely stunning. She pays an enormous amount of attention to detail creating diverse characters, intricate clothing designs, patterns and breathtaking landscape. The moments in A Bride’s Story that standout for me are the pages without any text because they are are drawn in a way that is so expressive. These are the pages that to come to life without any use of words or sounds. In these instances, I can just look at the page and envision movement, imagine the sounds thumping of hooves on rough gravel or smell the incense right off the page. Kaoru Mori’s talent is just that great.
Since this manga is set in 19th century Central Asia, a lot of attention was given to the cultural influences. Embroidery and craftsmanship are a big part of Amir and Karluk’s heritage and culture and this is very evident in Kaoru’s drawings. The way she draws landscape, animals, architecture, textiles and facial expressions are breathtaking. Really my review of Kaoru Mori’s art style doesn’t do her any justice. You just have to see what I’m talking about by reading her manga. 😉
Would I recommend it?
Most definitely! Fans of Kaoru Mori’s previous work, Emma, might also enjoy this series. I recommend this to people who like reading about new cultures, history, and romance.