Serialized in Harta (2008-Present)
Published in the U.S. by YEN Press (2011-Present)
Story & Art by Kaoru Mori
Summary: A Bride’s Story 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. [YEN Press]
Review: From the exterior A Bride’s Story is stunning to look at, but good art can only get you so far if you don’t have the story to back it up and keep your readers interested. Thankfully Kaoru Mori’s Turkish epic is filled to the brim with absolutely gorgeous and details artwork, great slice-of-life storytelling, innocent humor, and extremely likeable characters.
All in all it’s the full package. To quickly get my few gripes out of the way what I feel the story could do better is maybe make Amir’s reactions to certain situations stand out more. There are times when she can come off as sort of simple, like she doesn’t fully understand the situation, when in fact she’s incredibly smart. I also don’t mind that the story is slice of life but I am curious to see how urgent certain things will become in later volumes or if the Mori will keep tonally with the current lax nature seen in these first 5 chapters that make up volume 1.
The chapters themselves are what one could consider lengthy coming in around 30+ pages however because of the nature of how Mori writes the script and uses a show don’t tell method with visuals leading the narrative the chapters then go by really quickly making a single reading session much shorter than you’d imagine. That being said however you’ll find yourself staring forever at the elaborate detail Mori puts into her panels because man, this book is a literal visual treat.
The story itself focuses on Amir, Karluk and their family who all feel like they get great page time and also have great personalities. As a unit everyone feels like a great big family and it is nice to see a family that actually gets along with one another and cares about it each other, where the kids are little snot nosed brats and the grown ups are more concerned with helping you get through your day rather than attempting to figure out how to screw you over.
I say that however and in chapter 4 Amir’s own family visits the village to take her back after already wedding her off in order to give her to someone else. Where as Karluk’s family is genuinely happy together Amir’s family has a lot of bonding to do. It’s wonder where Amir then gets her caring and respectable attitude then because she most certainly doesn’t get it from them.
The age dynamic between Amir and Karluk is interesting too because she truly loves him but at times her feelings come across almost big sister like rather than wife like. This makes sense though because while she’s 20 Karluk is only 12 or 13. The two never consummate but at one point they do share an innocent yet oddly romantic kiss.
If the series was about older man and a younger girl around these ages many people would call foul of the manga, but making it an older woman and a younger boy gives off the sense of a motherly or sisterly role for majority of the story. This doesn’t hinder it, it just means it will be far more interesting to watch these two actually grow into a husband and wife dynamic rather than making sure they feel like one right off the bat.
Time also feels like it flows naturally in this series as well, with most chapters taking up a whole day or a day after the previous chapter and so on. With no time skip too far but Mori chooses not drag the days out as well. I feel like I’m reading more of year in the life at times without also feeling like I missed anything at all.
Again, the story is pretty lax. It really is the day-to-day lives of these Turkish folk trying to make it in this wild world. I kind of hope these series doesn’t get more series from here because I think then it would lose some of its unique charm. A Bride’s Story is a ray of hope in a sea of manga and comics despair. And I will definitely be reading more.
Final Score: 4.5 Nomadic Tribes out of 5
Derrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.
You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net