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Reviews by Contributor: Mori, Kaoru (12)

Baking Bread

A Bride’s Story, volume 9

By Kaoru Mori  

25 May, 2022

Translation

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2016’s A Bride’s Story, Vol. 9 is the ninth tankōbon in Kaoru Mori’s historical manga, which is titled Otoyomegatari in the original Japanese. The English translation of this volume appeared in 2017. I seem to be catching up with publication faster than I’d like: there are only four more volumes….

Volume 9 wrestles with the same conundrum Volume 8 examined: is Umar so clearly well-matched with Pariya that even Pariya cannot somehow overthink the courtship into disaster?

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Made a Wrong Turn Once or Twice

A Bride’s Story, volume 8

By Kaoru Mori  

20 Apr, 2022

Translation

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2015’s A Bride’s Story, Volume 8 (retitled from the original Otoyomegatari) is the eighth tankōbon for Kaoru Mori’s historical manga series. The English translation lagged Japanese publication by almost a year.

Pausing only long enough to assure the reader that Anis, Sherine, and their doting husband are perfectly happy, the manga redirects its attention back to central Asia, where young Pariya is not only not perfectly happy, she is not happy at all.


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True Friends for Life

A Bride’s Story, volume 7

By Kaoru Mori  

16 Mar, 2022

Translation

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2015’s A Bride’s Story, Volume 7 (retitled from the original Otoyomegatari) is the seventh tankōbon for Kaoru Mori’s historical manga series. The English translation has lagged Japanese publication by only about half a year. 

Wandering British scholar Henry Smith and his long-suffering guide Ali make their way to Persia. There they are hosted by a fabulously wealthy Persian man who has a lovely bride, Anis, whose existence Smith will have to take on faith, as they will never meet. 

The focus of this volume is the story of Anis. 


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Art of War

A Bride’s Story, volume 6

By Kaoru Mori  

31 Jan, 2022

Translation

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2014’s A Bride’s Story, Volume 6, is the 6th tankōbonof Kaoru Mori’s Otoyomegatari 19th century Silk-Road historical-romance manga. 

Having married Amir off to the Karluk clan, Amir’s Halgal clan is experiencing buyer’s remorse. Another ally, the Numaji clan, feels entitled to possession of Amir (to replace Halgal wives abused and killed by their husband). Not having received the replacement bride, the Numaji retaliate by ejecting the Halgal from previously shared pasturage. This could mean the end of the Halgal. 

Halgal leader Belqat has a brilliant plan. 

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Where Wise Men Never Go

A Bride’s Story, volume 5

By Kaoru Mori  

22 Dec, 2021

Translation

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A Bride’s Story, Volume 5, is the fifth collection of Kaori Mori’s historical manga. Originally published as Otoyomegatari, Volume 5, this volume was first published in Japan in 2013. The English translation appeared in 2013.

This volume contains three episodes and some additional short pieces. Its primary focus is the culmination of a bold plan, plotted by twin sisters Laila and Leily, to find themselves wealthy, handsome husbands. 

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More Than Madness

A Bride’s Story, volume 4

By Kaoru Mori  

20 Oct, 2021

Translation

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A Bride’s Story, Volume 4, is the fourth installment of Kaoru Mori’s historical manga series. Originally published as Otoyomegatari, Volume 4, this volume was first published in Japan in 2012. The English translation appeared in 2013

Guide Ali delivers English scholar Henry Smith to Muynak, a small town at the edge of the Aral Sea, at which point Smith rewards Ali’s diligence by falling off his camel into the water. Smith is retrieved from the water by twin sisters Laila and Leily. It is on these two teens the narrative focuses.


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Kitchener Public Library is feeding my Kaoru Mori habit

A Bride’s Story, Volume Three  (A Bride’s Story, volume 3)

By Kaoru Mori  

10 Sep, 2015

Translation

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Until Kitchener Public Library’s supply of volumes of A Bride’s Story runs out, I am going to keep revisiting this series. 

Unlike the previous two volumes, the focus in Volume Three isn’t on Amir, but someone previously a supporting character and info-dump facilitator: wandering ethnologist and linguist Henry Smith. In this volume the inquisitive Mr. Smith gains the answer to a question he never asked: 

Just how much trouble can an Englishman traveling alone in Central Asia get into?

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Thank you, Kitchener Public Library

A Bride’s Story, Volume 1  (A Bride’s Story, volume 1)

By Kaoru Mori  

3 Sep, 2015

Translation

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I am in no way obsessive but having read volume two of Kaoru Mori’s ongoing A Bride’s Story series without having read volume one induces a mild disquiet, as though a million rats were trying to claw their way out of my brain. Luckily for my brain, my local library had volume one.

At twenty, Amir Halgal is considered very nearly a spinster by her nomadic tribe. When the chance to marry her off presented itself, Amir’s family didn’t look too closely at the deal, or at her spouse.

Which is how twenty-year-old Amir found herself in an unfamiliar town on the Silk Road, married to twelve-year-old Karluk.

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A small cornucopia

Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something

By Kaoru Mori  

5 Aug, 2015

Translation

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When Yen Press sent me Emma Volume One, they also sent me 2012’s Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something. Unlike A Bride’s Story and Emma, this isn’t an installment in an ongoing series. Rather, it is a collection of Mori’s short pieces, an interesting introduction to her work if you’ve not read her before.

This will be short.

Mori provides such number of short pieces that they exceed my willingness to take this chapter by chapter. The volume is just under 210 pages and there are forty-four items listed in the table of contents. I could take them one by one, but that would result in a very long review. It has been my experience that the longer my reviews, the less likely it is that people will respond to them. As someone once said, More Words, Deeper Hole.

Mori leads with a selection of longer pieces (although if you have not noticed that the collection is to be read right to left, you may think she’s ending with longer pieces inexplicably printed in reverse). These tend to be standalone pieces, essentially short stories. The second half of the book has a selection of shorter pieces, some single page and other, like the extensive study of corsets, somewhat longer.

Although this isn’t a long collection, the number of works included means that the author can cover a fair range in terms of subject matter and tone. There’s screwball comedy, what appears to be a melancholy lesbian romance (or whatever you call it when neither person admits that’s what’s going on), something that may be intended to be to Bunny fantasies what Hotel California” is to the American Dream, non-fiction, and more. Not bad for a book that’s not much over 200 pages.

The author also includes, where appropriate, commentary on the various pieces.

If you haven’t given Mori a try, this is a pretty good place to start. It’s not long, so you are not investing a lot of time, but the number and variety of pieces included means that a reader will get a pretty good idea of Mori’s range. 

Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something is available from Yen Press.

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