Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Manga Review: A Bride's Story (volume three)

Due to real life craziness (work, prepping for thanksgiving, my online class, studying for the JLPT, too much time spent on tumblr, wait is that even an IRL thing?) no emanga review this time but I was recently able to finally get a hold of the third volume of A Bride's Story. For some odd reason my local libraries before I moved had volume four but not three and, even though I read it, it was too long ago for me to do a proper review (plus, volumes four and five are the same "arc" so it would make more sense to review both of those at once) along with this one. But enough chit-chat, let me tell you why I still adore this series.

A Bride's Story by Kaoru Mori

Summary: Mr. Smith, the British researcher who had been staying with Karluk and Amir's family, has decided it's time that he go off and explore more of the region and meet even more people. But when trying to meet up with his guide some things go a little strange and he briefly becomes a houseguest of a widow and her lovely, welcoming daughter Talas.

The Good: I didn't see why so many people were saying this was a sad story until very late in the book and I was amazed at how easily Mori made the switch from a happy, hopeful mood to one that decidely wasn't. While I enjoyed Emma, her earlier work, I never quite connected with any of the characters or sympathized with their relationships (the trouble with having quiet characters, like Emma, is that it's a surprisingly thin line between having them be mostly internal characters and having them come off as rather flat) but here I feel like her storytelling skills have grown and that she is more successful in conveying more subtle and mature relationships.

The Bad: Well, while I did enjoy the chapter when the cast went "hey we're hungry, let's eat!", because it appears that Mori can also draw some beautiful food porn, it did feel a bit out of place in the story. Perhaps she wanted to have Mr Smith and Talas' story fill an entire volume and realized she would be a chapter short otherwise but I thought it was an odd place to put it regardless. 

The Art: I, and the rest of the internet, have made no secret about how much I adore the level of detail Mori puts into her art here and, while I certainly enjoy the story, it's the art I look forward to every time. In fact, normally when I read manga I'll get a hold of a few volumes in a series and either read one a day for a few days or read them all in one sitting, similar to how I read print novels in large chunks (which can end up being all at once when I lose track of time). But with this series that just doesn't quite feel right, instead I prefer to read it a chapter at a time, spending a long amount of time on each page, right before bed as I'm relaxing. I think that should tell you quite a bit about the art, I consider it to be so engrossing that it's the one time I change my habits.

So I'm still heartily recommending this series and hope that one of my new local libraries has the fourth volume so I can re-read and gets a copy of volume five soon (since that only came out two months ago I can almost guarantee that they don't already have a copy, plus even if they did the waiting list might be quite long).