Or let’s just leave this to Kaoru Mori, because she’ll do it better. Especially with her manga series, A Bride’s Story / Otoyomegatari.
First time I’ve found it, it was several years ago, just a random picture on the Internet, lacking source or caption. Hunting it down took me a while, as the Google Image Search wasn’t implemented yet. I’ve found it on some shady pirate manga site, and, well, instantly fell in love. And then I kind of forgot about me being in love, which probably says volumes about me.
Two months ago I’ve rediscovered it, and felt bad about my piracy; so, long story short, I now have seven volumes on my bookshelf. And they’re all magnificent.
The story begins with Amir, twenty-year- old woman from a nomadic clan, being married to Karluk, twelve-year-old boy, and the heir to his prominent family. The union is somewhat odd, with bride being that much older than the groom, but it’s political, and the Amir and Karluk like each other, so there’s not much uneasiness. Well, for the characters; the reader sometimes feel a bit weird.
It all takes place in 19th century Central Asia, near the Caspian Sea, and later in the story, in India. Amir is the main hero: nice and friendly, a bit childish, and sometimes over-emotional wife. She’s also a good archer and hunter who feels confident on the horseback. But she’s not the only hero: we’ll follow the lives of several other people. The focal points are mostly women, even if seen through male eyes; all of them diverse and facing different problems. Or just being awesome.
The plot of the series isn’t extremely complicated; I’d say it’s rather a collections of – if not true events – then very probable, historically accurate events and scenes from the domestic life. The main theme of marriage is developed in several other ways, other angles. It’s not repetitive in any matter. And as the story progresses, the plot thickens somewhat, with the Russian expansion and inter-clan disputes.
But, if not the story, something else must have made me love this comic; and that’s the art. I’m a big fan of black and white linear art, and even though my fascination with manga is now long gone, I just cannot look at those pictures and think them less than fantastic. So many details! So much research into clothing, jewelry, ornaments and interior designs! And so many unnecessary but painstakingly intricate images!
The story is not complete yet, but should you wish to posses it all, it won’t make a huge gap in your budget. So far there are only seven volumes released in English, and not many more in Japanese (there are some new chapters but they haven’t been released in a book format yet). However, the author also have a series called Emma, about Victorian maid falling in love with gentry, so…
If someone wish to find me, I’ll be over there, reading.