Today, I will review manga titled Otoyomegatari (The Bride’s Stories) by Mori Keru. The story set in Central Asia or Asia minor in 19th Century about life of a young bride named Amira and her bridegroom Karluk. Amira is a devoted wife like other woman at the time where their position is to serve their husband. She had been educated and training to married for political issue of her tribe.
Her bridegroom named Karluk was a teenager boy who still shy to her. Although they had long different age they still tried to behave like husband and wife at that time with help of Amira. She greatly assist and help Karluk how to become a man.
Keru-sensei made different approach from her previous works which usually influenced by maid and butler theme which became popular culture in Japan today. This time, she introduced Middle East or Central Asia traditional styles with great drawing. Its amazing result.
This manga is interesting because its a door to learn Central Asia traditional culture, particularly Kazakhstan, Iran and Southern Russia. I also suspected Moslem culture influenced in this manga too. It’s describe people daily life and woman position in family culture with some fun in here and there.
The point sale of this manga is the drawing style which has a superb detail in character’s garment and background (see picture above) enrich the manga further. In addition consistent story arch and culture education have made this manga so great to read.
Its interesting to read an art work by Eastern Asia (Japanese people) about Central Asia cultures. It almost like the manga is drawing by middle east artist who has extended knowledge about Kazakhstan’s culture. Mori-sensei probably had done an extensive research before she drew this manga or had some competent sources related to the culture. It wasn’t an easy task for Japanese mangaka to wrote a manga about different culture and era too. Well done.
Nevertheless, this manga showed culture exploration limited to family of main characters and their community. There are no single description or hint about the government or rule at the time. The marriage dispute between Amira and Karluk families in the plot only solve internally without any interference from local government or court. It looks like the villagers living in their own space.
According to my knowledge about middle east or Moslem culture usually any marriage dispute will bring before the court or higher level of government. So, its little bit weird to read it.
One interesting idea in this manga is the introduction or present of a Japanese scholar who look like studying in Karluk family. This character seems represent as the author. Mori-sensei tried to create third person perspective in this manga. So far I don’t know if this Japanese scholar will has crucial position in plot as the story progress.
In conclusion, I recommended anyone to read this manga because it has some similarity to Indonesia culture. Some reader probably already familiar to the culture. However, this manga categorize as seinen so there some part in the manga which not suitable for underage reader. But, with some censorship in publication this manga can be read by every reader without losing it’s story.