A Bride's Story
|A Bride's Story|
A Bride's Story volume one cover.
|Genre||Drama, Historical, Romance|
|Written by||Kaoru Mori|
|Original run||14 October 2008 – present|
A Bride's Story (Japanese: 乙嫁語り Hepburn: Otoyomegatari?) is a historical romance manga by Kaoru Mori. It is published by Enterbrain in the magazine Harta (previously called Fellows!), and is so far collected in 8 tankōbon volumes. The manga is licensed in English in North America by Yen Press and was first released in May 2011, with volumes in a hardcover format.
Set in Turkic Central Asia in a rural town near the Caspian Sea during the late 19th century, the story revolves around a young woman, Amir, who arrives from a distant village across the mountains to marry Karluk, a boy eight years younger than her. The story unfolds among details of every-day family and community life, with wonderful visuals and excellent portrayals of life during the 19th century in Central Asia.
Descended from nomads, but for several generations have lived in a village. But they still follow their culture of a patrilocal society, which mean when a man marries, his wife joins him in his father's home or compound, where they raise their children.
- Amir Halgal (アミル・ハルガラ Amiru Harugaru?)
- The main protagonist of the story, a twenty-year-old woman and Karluk's bride. She stems from a different (semi-nomadic) tribe. She is skilled in archery, horse-riding and hunting. A free-spirited, adventurous woman, she is more open and outgoing in her day-to-day activities compared with the rest of the women in the family, who are noticeably more reserved. Despite the large age gap between her and Karluk, she genuinely loves him. Unknown to Amira, many of the men she encounters look down on her because she is considered old for a new bride, and long past the traditional age when women in the society have started having children.
- Karluk Eihon (カルルク・エイホン Karuruku Eihon?)
- The male protagonist of the story, Amira's twelve-year-old husband. He is the youngest son of Akunbek and Sanira. He works very hard to be a good traditional husband to Amir, but because of his young age, he struggles to form a closer relationship with her. Karluk is considered an oddity in that he is younger than his bride; traditionally the bride is usually many years younger than the groom. Men often treat Karluk with pity, since they fear that his wife will be too old when he is mature enough to have children with her.
- Mahatbek (マハトベク Mahatobeku?)
- Karluk's grandfather.
- Balkirsh (バルキルシュ Barukirushu?)
- Karluk's grandmother, descended from the same clan as Amir. Reserved and sensible, she serves as a confidante to Amir, because of their shared background. In spite of her advanced age, she is still a skillful archer and rider.
- Akunbek (アクンベク Akunbeku?)
- Karluk's father. Serves as one of the village elders due to his wealth and status. While he is a traditional man, he is also very understanding and very supportive of Karluk and Amir's marriage.
- Sanira (サニラ Sanira?)
- Karluk's mother.
- Seleke (セイレケ Seireke?)
- Yusuf's wife, and Karluk's sister. She is often surprised by Amira's carefree and spontaneous personality. She patiently explains to Amira when their tribal customs differ.
- Yusuf (ユスフ Yusufu?)
- Karluk's brother-in-law. Seleke's husband. Married into the family.
- Tileke (ティレケ Tireke?)
- Daughter of Seleke and Yusuf, and Karluk's niece. Loves falcons (hawks in the English version), and according to Amir, is very good at sewing.
- Tokcan (トルカン Torukan?)
- Eldest son of Seleke and Yusuf, and Karluk's nephew.
- Chalg (チャルグ Charugu?)
- Middle son of Seleke and Yusuf, and Karluk's nephew.
- Rostem (ロステム Rosutemu?)
- Youngest son of Seleke and Yusuf, and Karluk's nephew.
- Henry Smith (ヘンリー・スミス Henrii Sumisu?)
- An English traveler and researcher living with the Eihon family. He has been researching the customs, language, and culture of the tribes and peoples. Left the Eihon family to return to England after being warned of rising tensions in the region with the Russians. After leaving the Eihon family, he was captured by local military under suspicion of spying for the British, but was later released with the help of Amira and Karluk.
Eihon Family Relatives
They continue to live a nomadic lifestyle.
- Uncle Umak (ウマクおじさん Umaku ojisan?)
- Commissioned an ornate scabbard in the city, which Karluk and Amir deliver to him.
Residents of the Town
- Pariya (パリヤ Pariya?)
- A young woman who is introduced in chapter 6; attracted to Amir's free-spirited nature, the two become good friends. Pariya has always struggled to be a traditional woman in the society, but her habit of speaking her mind regardless of situation creates a lot of uncomfortable situations. As a result, she tends to become anxious in social situations, which results in embarrassing outbursts. She is very good at baking and skilled at creating extremely elaborate designs in her bread, which she teaches to Amir. Her father is Togo, a potter, who feels rather resigned at trying to find a suitable husband for his daughter because her outspoken nature tends to scare off potential suitors. This changes when she is betrothed to Umar, much to her joy, but she becomes anxious trying to act more mature and reliable in order to please him, which sometimes leads to unexpected results.
- Pariya also appears in a short-comic spin-off of the series called "Pariya-san wa Otoshigoro"
- Chagap (チャガップ Chagappu?)
- An old man who raises sheep, and told of wolves living around Soma Lake. Introduced in chapter 1.
- Kamola (カモーラ Kamoura?)
- A lovely young woman in the village, who is well-regarded because she is skillful at domestic tasks and is well-mannered and good-natured, as well as known to have many suitors. Pariya aspires to more like as she perceives Kamola to be a ideal young woman and tries to discreetly to observe her. When Kamola believes that she has inadvertently angered Pariya due to Pariya's behavior, Pariya admits that she looks up to Kamola, who in turn confesses that she admires Pariya's ability to speak her mind as Kamola often finds she keeps her true thoughts to herself. Through Amir's encouragement, Pariya and Kamola become friends.
The family Amir was born into. They are nomadic during the summer. Introduced in chapter 4.
- Azel (アゼル Azeru?)
- Amir's eldest brother, a serious and stoic man. While he seems cold, he is implied to care for the well-being of his sisters but is bound by what he has been ordered to do by his clan. Though he does not openly oppose his clan's orders, he has indirectly expressed frustration over the decisions of his elders. He becomes the leader of the Halgal clan after his father's death in the battle against Amira's village.
- Joruk (ジョルク Joruku?)
- A cousin of Amir and Azel. Often speaks about food. He tends to be thoughtless and short-sighted about the future. Though he secretly disagrees with the elders of the clan, he does not express the sentiments because he feels that it is pointless.
- Baimat (バイマト Baimato?)
- Also a cousin of Amir and Azel. Unlike Joruk, Baimato is reserved, stoic and dependable.
- Aterui (アテルイ Aterui?)
- Amir's younger sister. Killed by Numaji.
- Karahiga (カラヒガ Karahiga?)
- Also Amir's younger sister, and died after marrying Numaji.
- Numaji (ヌマジ Numaji?)
- A clan notorious for their wealth and brutality.
- Talas (タラス Tarasu?)
- A young nomadic woman living with her mother-in-law. Introduced in chapter 12. Married into her current family at age sixteen, but in a few years became a widow of all its five sons as per tradition, which dictates that a widow with no children marries one of her husband's brothers. Since her father-in-law also died, she helps and keeps company to her mother-in-law instead of going back to her own family. She becomes romantically involved with Mr. Smith.
- Talas's mother-in-law (タラスの義母?)
- An old nomadic woman. She wishes for Talas to have a future with a loving husband and won't accept any marriage offers that would make her daughter-in-law unhappy, including the one from her uncle. She tries to convince Smith to marry Talas, but fails. Later marries Talas's uncle in order to secure a good match for her.
- Talas's uncle (タラスの叔父?)
- The brother of Talas's father-in-law. A wealthy, aggressive man that wants Talas to be a second wife for his son. He reports Smith to the town's authorities which leads to Smith's arrest and later marries Talas's mother-in-law.
- Ali (アリ?)
- Smith's guide to Ankara. Introduced in chapter 15. He is associated with the local military, and unabashedly greedy and resourceful, taking advantage of a situation as he sees fit. He is unmarried, but expresses interest in finding a wife when he feels he has obtained sufficient financial stability.
- Laila and Leyli (ライラ & レイリ Raira and Reiri?)
- Twin sisters from a thriving fishing village and are of marriageable age. They are very mischievous and are always together, sharing the same ideas about nearly everything. When Mr. Smith and Ali arrive in their village, Laila and Leyli have been causing trouble trying to find wealthy grooms for themselves who will also bend to their will. Their father later betrothes the two sisters to the first and second sons of one of his friends.
- Laila and Leyli's family (ライラとレイリの家?)
- Laila and Leyli's father is a fisherman who is strict with his children. He allows Mr. Smith to remain at his house, feeling that Mr. Smith had nearly drowned because of Laila and Leyli's plans to find husbands for themselves. Though he wants to find good husbands for his daughters, he is reluctant to do so because he worries about the expense of dowries for both of them. The twins' mother, Minah (ミナー?), is also very strict with them, often having little patience for their antics and not hesitating to resort to severe methods to ensure they will be good wives some day. However, she cares for them deeply and it is implied she was very much like her daughters when she was young. The girls' family also include several younger siblings, their maternal aunt, their grandfather, and their grandmother, who proves to be very adept at tricking the twins to do household tasks.
- Sarmaan and Farsami (サマーン & ファルサーミ?)
- Sarmaan and Farsami are the eldest and second sons, respectively, of a fisherman, and both happen to be fishermen themselves. Their father is an old friend of Laila and Leyli's father and the brothers are childhood friends of the twins. When their father suggests having the twins marry the brothers, they are mostly indifferent and admit to have expected it. When their fathers are too caught up with arguing about dowries, the brothers are arbitrarily matched to the twins so they will get to know each other better. Both brothers express a mature attitude towards marriage and with both pairs satisfied with the matches, Sarm is paired with Laila and Sami with Leyli.
- Anis (アニス?)
- The young wife of a wealthy and kindhearted man living in Persia. She is the mother of a young son, Hasan. Smith and Ali are briefly guests in the home of Anis' husband, though Smith never sees Anis herself. Though Anis has everything she could have, she is isolated and lonely until her maid Maarfe encourages her to join her at the public baths. Anis forms an immediate connection with Shirin, with whom she hopes to form a bond of sisterhood with.
- Shirin (シーリーン?)
- A taciturn woman married to a poor man and the mother of a son a little older than Hasan. Shirin becomes fond of Anis, finding her endearing. Shortly after she and Anis commit themselves as sisters, Shirin's husband dies in an accident. Anis persuades her husband to take Shirin on as a second wife and her family joins the household.
- Umar (ウマル?)
- Pariya's suitor, a young man close to her age whose father raises sheep and runs a traveler's inn. A thoughtful and observant youth, he is skillful at a number of tasks, including calculating figures on an abacus. His father has been searching for a suitable bride for his son for some time and took notice of Pariya when she accompanied the Eihons to find Mr. Smith during his brief engagement to Talas. In contrast to Pariya's other suitors, Umar seems to like Pariya's outspokenness, though she is constantly flustered around him and becomes even more conscientious of her lack of gentle qualities, and Umar's father considers her liveliness to be a positive trait. When her town is severely damaged by the attack from the Halgals, Pariya and Umar's engagement is delayed.
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A Bride's Story placed second in the annual Japanese manga award "Manga Taishō" 2011. It was surpassed by Chika Umino's 3 Gatsu no Lion by only 20 points. YALSA nominated the first volume for its 2012 "Great Graphic Novels For Teens" list. It also won the intergénérations prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2012.
- Fellows! 2008-OCTOBER volume 1. Enterbrain (in Japanese). Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Emma's Kaoru Mori Launches Otoyome-Gatari Manga (Updated)". Anime News Network. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Umino's March comes in like a lion Wins Manga Taisho". Anime News Network. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
- "Great Graphic Novels 2012". ala.org. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
- Nicolas Penedo (30 January 2011). "Angoulême 2012 : le palmarès". Animeland.com (in French). Retrieved 31 January 2011.