A Bride’s Story Volume 2 Manga Review

乙嫁語り/Otoyome-Gatari
 A Bride’s Story Volume 02

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SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

A Bride's Story Volume 2Amir befriends a single, outspoken, young woman named Pariya at the bread baking ovens and learns to craft beautiful flat breads as a result. Pariya has yet to be married off due to her independent nature. When she gives Amir a flat bread she baked, Amir returns the favor by shooting a large fowl down and giving it to Pariya.

The two, along with Karluk and Mr. Smith, make a pilgrimage to the Holkia Mausoleum when Amir’s uncles and brothers show up to take her home. Amir learns that all of the females sent to the Numaji (her kin) died. Mr. Smith causes a sheep stampede, allowing Karluk to rescue his wife. At Karluk’s village, Amir’s family is denied entry, forcing them to take more drastic actions. They stage a night raid, but the villagers were prepared for this and hold them off. Amir’s two brothers make it deeper inside, but are stopped as well. The leader, one of Amir’s uncles, makes it to her place, but Karluk stabs him in the leg, knocking him off the ledge. Thus, the attempt to retrieve Amir fails.

After the fight, Amir becomes distant with Karluk, but in the end, patriarch Balkirsh says Amir has gained a bride’s heart. Karluk becomes concerned, but in the end, Amir goes and gathers ingredients for a massive feast, including a doe, which she serves her husband. That night, she dances for Karluk which turns into a tickling episode for the two of them.

Mr. Smith asks about the cloth preparations going on, and learns of their importance. Pariya reveals to Amir that she’s not good with embroidery. Tileke’s mother is frustrated that her daughter, who is very skilled at embroidery, only wants to do hawk patterns rather than the numerous patterns she’s been taught. However, her mother’s attempts to encourage Tileke lead to the women in the family going through chests of old cloth to show Tileke the patterns. Tileke hears Balkrish speak on embroidery and sees one elaborate cloth Balkrish made and decides she wants to learn to do that one.

As Mr. Smith writes about the family’s sewing, a female, British courier arrives with letters for him. The letter says the item he wanted has been procured and so Mr. Smith has to leave. He packs up and lets Karluk know what originally brought him from England — the stories her heard of this land as a lad. The family gets a strong horse for him and Karkuk and Amir escort him to the nearest road, which is over a day’s ride away. After they leave him, Mr. Smith travels the road to the town, rereading one of the letters which warns of the declining relations between Britain and Russia and that some researchers in the area have been captured by Russians as spies and apparently executed.

Thoughts/Review:

This manga continues to surprise me at some level since it is at heart, a slice-of-life tale centering on the older wife Amir, her very young husband Karluk, and the people and family attached to them. As such, there’s no great overarching plot other than to establish things that will come up later, such as Amir’s family attempting to force her return. Granted, at only two volumes being published in the U.S. (three in Japan), the slow publication rate would seem to preclude any really big story arc other than Amir and Karluk eventually consummating their marriage.

Speaking of Amir’s family, they have now attempted to get Amir and failed. In the light of this humiliation, do they make another attempt to kidnap her?  If sending Amir to be married to this other clan that has basically murdered previous women sent to them is so important to Amir’s clan (and if they’ve sent two other women, what makes them think a third one will do the trick?), then in my mind, their setback would call for even more drastic actions to be taken by them to get Amir and send her potentially to her death.  Thus, I’m surprised that more precautions weren’t taken (and remember, this was the second time they’ve come for her) unless Amir’s brother’s message about her horse was one that said, “we give and won’t attempt to take you again.”

Still, as I thought in my review of volume 1, Mori-sensei did set up Karluk to be Amir’s knight.  While Mr. Smith may have caused the sheep stampede, it was Karluk that rode in and got his wife out of danger. Then, during the raid on their village, it was Karluk who stabbed Amir’s uncle and thwarted his nearly successful attempt to kidnap Amir.  So, the romantic angle of Karluk saving his wife was presented.  Her gratitude was also shown, though I am not clear on why she felt she needed to be distant from Karluk until she’d made her feast.

I like Amir’s friendship with Pariya, who’s probably several years younger than Amir.  Considering how old Amir was before she was given away as a wife (20), and considering how good she is at hunting and other outdoor activities, I wonder if this is an indication that Amir was possibly more like Pariya, though perhaps without some of the attitude and outspoken nature. In the end, Paria may be given to a very young teen boy too.

Speaking of young weddings, there is the ongoing preparations that have started for Tileke’s own eventual wedding with the embroidery work being done. Well, they do marry them young in order to insure the survival of humanity.  I liked Tileke’s dealing with having to go beyond embroidering hawk patterns on her cloth.

Finally, there’s this whole thing with Mr. Smith. It will be interesting to see how or if his tale ties in with Karluk and Amir. I wonder if World War I will come into play for this manga before all is said and done.  However, Mori-sensei seems to indicate things could be completely changed by following Mr. Smith.  We’ll see.

On the Yen Press side of things, Japanese honorifics are not included and there were no translator notes. The hardbound book is still a plus considering the extraordinary nature of the artwork in question here.

So, another interesting manga volume that I look forward to reading more of come March 2012.

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3 Responses to “A Bride’s Story Volume 2 Manga Review”

  1. cxt217 says:

    I have Volume 2 sitting on my shelf but have not had a chance to do more than skim through it. But it seems to fit my impression of Volume 1, that the series is an interesting read, if not the most exciting one. Most slice of life stories are not suppose to be the latter, so the former is a good quality to have.

    I was under the impression that the story took place in the late 1800s.

    Oddly enough, at the same time I got Volume 1, I was reading one of the papers published by the US Army’s Command and General Staff College, which had a chapter devoted to the Russian conquest of Central Asia. It was an interesting contrast reading the series while also reading the paper.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I was under the impression that the story took place in the late 1800s.

    Well, I think you are right. Now that I think about it, the Russians were on the side of the British during World War I. The friction between Russia and Britain prior to WWI was the “Great Game.” So yeah, that does appear to be when this takes place — late 1800’s.

  3. […] interesting characters, and beautiful artwork.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be purchasing volume 2 when it comes out in late October from Yen Press.  […]

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