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Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga - Bride's Story


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zensunni



Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 1266
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:54 pm Reply with quote
I am so happy to see one of my favorite authors and stories featured here. I recently featured A Bride's Story in the first installment of a new editorial series I started titled Show, Don't Tell - Emphasizing the Visual Aspect of the Medium. Mori's ability to tell a story without words is absolutely amazing to me, and her painstakingly researched, exquisitely detailed art is truly a sight to behold. I look forward to each new volume of this gem as they are released, and have also had my 12 year-old daughter read them, as I consider Amir to be one of the most amazing role models in any type of modern fiction. Her strength of character is really amazing. Though I think my daughter may have liked the twins better, as they were so full of life and humor.
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Brainchild129



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 257
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:10 pm Reply with quote
Oh c'mon - there have to be more people around here with opinions (gushing or otherwise) about this series!

This was my introduction to Mori, and right away her artwork just blew me away. Somewhere out there on the internets there's a video of Mori sketching a picture of Amir on a horse and it's just mind-boggling how quickly she does it and yet how beautiful and well-detailed it looks, and the whole freaking manga is like that!

This series is also one of the very few manga series I've gotten my boyfriend to read. Early on in our relationship, he asked for recommendations, and I brought by the first volumes of 3 series: Fullmetal Alchemist, Magic Knight Rayearth, and A Bride's Story. Of those, it was Bride's Story that he had finished by the next day and requested I bring the rest with me next time. Even now, when I get a new volume he's just as eager to read it as I am.
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st_owly
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Joined: 20 May 2008
Posts: 5189
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:43 am Reply with quote
I love this series as well. I just wish Yen would rerelease Emma (hint, hint) The artwork is on another level from most manga, and the story is absolutely captivating.
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Parsifal24



Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 950
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:32 am Reply with quote
I didn't like this series it looks great but some parts of it are slow and plodding and (for me) prove the criticism of slice of life Manga being inane and slow with nothing happening. I found it boring and hard to like because of the author's over interest in pain staking minutia of Eurasian culture.

It had (I only got as far as volume two). This annoying "stop start" narrative, where something would happen than the characters would stop and talk about the history of a family rug or how to make bread which I'm sure is fascinating to the author but to me it's just soporific
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zensunni



Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 1266
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:41 am Reply with quote
st_owly wrote:
I love this series as well. I just wish Yen would rerelease Emma (hint, hint) The artwork is on another level from most manga, and the story is absolutely captivating.

I know what you mean! My local library was missing a few of the volumes of Emma, so I had to scrounge for them and didn't have the cash to buy them at the time. I ended up getting a couple through inter-library loan. (When the same thing happened with Twin Spica my inter-library loan request turned into the library picking up the last couple of volumes. No such luck with Emma.)
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machetecat



Joined: 06 Jan 2010
Posts: 396
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:33 am Reply with quote
I'm so shocked that so few people are responding to this one!

I absolutely adore this series! Mori's stories are always on my favorites list. The only one available in English that I don't have yet is vol 6 of Emma (it was out of print by the time I started looking for it). I love her art, and this series is FASCINATING! Even the slower stories, such as the wood carving tale, have such details and character in the images, that I can't help but be invested. I've also show this series to a friend of mine from Turkey, who doesn't usually read manga, and she was totally blown away by the accuracy of the clothes and culture referenced.

One of my favorite manga series, for sure.
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Alan45
Village ElderVillage Elder


Joined: 25 Aug 2010
Posts: 8617
Location: Virginia
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:06 am Reply with quote
@machetecat
Don't be shocked. I'll comment though I didn't intend to. The problem is what to say. As the review noted it is beautiful and the cultural aspects are fascinating. It is definitely one of my favorite series also. It just doesn't come out often enough.

@Parsifal24
I can see where it would not be for everyone. If you don't like slice of life and a slow story line this is not for you. Not everything will appeal to everyone.
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faintsmile1992



Joined: 18 Mar 2011
Posts: 295
Location: England
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:57 pm Reply with quote
I love this one, as I love the nomadic steppe and central Asian peoples (Scythians, Alans, Huns, Uyghurs, Mongols). However though this is an anthropologically accurate series, I wish the characters not be described as 'Turks' when they are more accurately 'Turkomen', living near the Caspian Sea.

Although I don't read as much ongoing manga as I used to, this is one of my favourites.
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Sly05



Joined: 13 Sep 2008
Posts: 24
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:08 pm Reply with quote
A favourite series of mine. Yen Press really did a fantastic job with the release. The volumes are easily some of the best looking books on my shelf.
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Animerican14



Joined: 19 Aug 2006
Posts: 957
Location: Saint Louis, MO
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:10 pm Reply with quote
Quite pleasantly surprised to see a column on A Bride’s Story. (Or at least, I was surprised—I had neglected responding to the article ‘till now, having already read it yesterday before it got any comments.) I keep forgetting that your column doesn’t just cover manga that ended or maybe-almost-over-but-is-quite-long-anyway. But I guess if you were to only write about this manga once Mori finished it up, it’d only be after reading all the 1000 manga that are “required” before stopping the column! Laughing

Though honestly, I don’t think I mind the waits too much—definitely some, but not too much—if so much of that wait has to do with artistry and research on top of an actually good story. I don’t really buy or read much manga nowadays, usually deferring to the library if I want to check something I haven’t read before, but Mori’s art is too exquisite and charming to not own reproductions of. My copies—those beautiful, hardbound copies—also sit on my shelf proudly. Can’t wait to get Volume 5 when it ships later this year, even if it’s there’s only another long wait for the next volume after it. (Hope to see the bride from Volume 3 make a return in some capacity as well… I liked her. Sad)
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Surrender Artist



Joined: 01 May 2011
Posts: 3254
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:35 pm Reply with quote
So, in the past five months, House of 1000 Manga has run columns on Wandering Son, Twin Spica and now A Bride's Story. That is to say, now Jason's written about all three of my absolute favorite manga... I guess that I'd better get some more.

Oh, and I was inspired to buy Monokoro Kinderbook. I haven't read it yet, but I look forward to it.

I adore A Bride's Story. I love Kaoru Mori's incredibly intricate art, her excellent women and her impressive, enthusiastic attention to anthropological detail. Reading her books has been a very rewarding experience for me.

I though that Amir was terrific and I was uneasy when Mr. Smith took to the fore, but he proved a lot more likeable and effective than I'd hoped. Besides, I appreciate a linguist getting to be the hero (other than in Disney's Atlantis) and in a way, that's very appropriate given how interested the mangaka is in social and cultural detail. I'm normally indifferent to romance, but I have to admit that part of me almost desperately wanted Mr. Smith to become romantically entangled with Talas.

I was encouraged to read A Bride's Story by Rebecca Silverman's review of the first volume. I had very little manga up until then, so this was among my first. I really loved it and I've actually enjoyed the slow delivery of new volumes because it makes the series feel more special and endearing.

I'm as enamored of the, "Superwoman/superwife/supermaid," as Kaoru Mori is. I suppose that there might be an inherent novelty to it that makes it appealing, but also that it might work for me because a woman is less likely to be preening and ostentation about being awesome and badass. It might also be more innately impressive because of the limitations, impositions and proscriptions that women have to overcome to be awescome. Amir was really good exemplar of that, but there have been hints of it in the other brides. The energetic tomboys now in focus have been a lot of fun. Despite that, some of her less overtly impressive characters have been my favorites. I would have liked to have seen more of Pariya.

If Kaoru Mori is ever a guest at convention that I can attend (Get her, Sayo Yamamoto and Takako Shimura and you'd have to pay me to not go), I'd like to ask her about her research process. She very clearly puts enormous effort into studying the places and people she builds her stories with. What's more, she clearly enjoys it immensely. At least half of the anthology Anything and Something consists of pages detailing subjects as obscure as fireplaces in loving, thoroughly annotated detail. As somebody who appreciates learning the deails of other cultures and languages (and once entertained delusions of creating his own fictional ones, à la Tolkien), all of that care and fidelity adds a lot to the work. When I bought the first volume, I was wary that the story and characters might be subsumed into the anthropological detail, which I can't say doesn't sometimes happen, but I find that detail interesting enough that I don't mind.

Above all, the artwork is amazing. I honestly can't believe that a human being draws it sometimes. Whenever I try to conceive of how she manages to keep the fine, elaborate details of the women's clothing consistent across scenes, my head explodes. It adds more to the sense of passion and care that pervades the series. She has a great eye for beauty in general. I agree with Jason's assessment of how she draws women. Amir is beautiful and, although it feels a touch awkward for me to say, Kaoru Mori draws the best nudes.

Jason omitted mentioning one of my favorite parts of the book: The silly strips at the end of the volumes. In every volume, after the main story, there're a number of simply drawn strips featuring Kaoru Mori herself. Each begins with the authoress saying, "Hello, I'm Mori," which sort of sets the tone. They mostly just show how much of a cheerful dork Kaoru Mori is about her work, which she clearly loves. It's dangerous to become invested too much in a creator, but these strips certainly endear the mangaka to the reader.

It's a great series, I look forward to reading the soon to be released volume five and I appreciated seeing this column.
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faintsmile1992



Joined: 18 Mar 2011
Posts: 295
Location: England
PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:57 am Reply with quote
I would be surprised if Kaoru Mori hasn't studied anthropology before becoming an artist.

Anyone in Japanese looking to anthropology to understand their own people would naturally find out about Turkic culture, though it seems obscure to us, because Japanese anthropologists have a long interest in Central Asians because Japanese is an Altaic language and the first Turkic peoples were close to the Japanese. It would explain both her interest in the culture and the ability to provide the level of detail.
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Brainchild129



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 257
PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:07 am Reply with quote
Surrender Artist wrote:
I though that Amir was terrific and I was uneasy when Mr. Smith took to the fore, but he proved a lot more likeable and effective than I'd hoped. Besides, I appreciate a linguist getting to be the hero (other than in Disney's Atlantis) and in a way, that's very appropriate given how interested the mangaka is in social and cultural detail.


Is he supposed to be a linguist? I thought he was just a plain old cultural anthropologist, although considering the time period there did tend to be a bit of overlap in the fields. Still, I agree that it's really neat to see such a prominent and positive portrayal of an anthropologist.

Surrender Artist wrote:
If Kaoru Mori is ever a guest at convention that I can attend (Get her, Sayo Yamamoto and Takako Shimura and you'd have to pay me to not go), I'd like to ask her about her research process. She very clearly puts enormous effort into studying the places and people she builds her stories with. What's more, she clearly enjoys it immensely.


I'd like to know that myself. In the omakes for Emma, she actually does specify some of the books she used for research for that series, but I'm incredibly curious as to the sources she uses for this series. I also agree that her love of history is palpable, practically infectious (especially in those omakes), and as a fellow history nut I can understand her joy and absorption in her subjects of study.

Surrender Artist wrote:
Above all, the artwork is amazing. I honestly can't believe that a human being draws it sometimes. Whenever I try to conceive of how she manages to keep the fine, elaborate details of the women's clothing consistent across scenes, my head explodes. It adds more to the sense of passion and care that pervades the series. She has a great eye for beauty in general. I agree with Jason's assessment of how she draws women. Amir is beautiful and, although it feels a touch awkward for me to say, Kaoru Mori draws the best nudes.


Dude, even as a straight woman I would say she draws the best nudes as well. At once they are beautiful, voluptuous, and realistically proportioned (and that last one is a true rarity in manga). If you want to be really impressed with her technique, then watch this 6 part video of her drawing and inking a picture of Amir.

Surrender Artist wrote:
Jason omitted mentioning one of my favorite parts of the book: The silly strips at the end of the volumes. In every volume, after the main story, there're a number of simply drawn strips featuring Kaoru Mori herself. Each begins with the authoress saying, "Hello, I'm Mori," which sort of sets the tone. They mostly just show how much of a cheerful dork Kaoru Mori is about her work, which she clearly loves. It's dangerous to become invested too much in a creator, but these strips certainly endear the mangaka to the reader.


Oh my god, her omakes are the best, right up there with Hiromu Arakawa's. "Cheerful dork" beautifully sums up her portrayal of herself in them, and they're so funny and lively. Also I also like all the random facts she slips into the ones for Bride's Story, including the incredibly helpful family tree for the Eihons.

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Surrender Artist



Joined: 01 May 2011
Posts: 3254
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:13 pm Reply with quote
Brainchild129 wrote:
Is he supposed to be a linguist? I thought he was just a plain old cultural anthropologist, although considering the time period there did tend to be a bit of overlap in the fields. Still, I agree that it's really neat to see such a prominent and positive portrayal of an anthropologist.


I'm not quite sure where I got the idea that he's a linguist. The review of the third volume refers to him as an, "linguist/anthropologist." I was an undergraduate linguistics major (mediocre at it, don't remember much, but I was), so perhaps my biases were at work. Even so, good field linguistics requires a lot of attention to and care about culture, especially if you're a Whorfian. Either way, it complements Mori's interest in exploring the culture as she tells the stories. It's also neat to have a male protagonist who isn't some action hero.

Brainchild129 wrote:
Surrender Artist wrote:
...I'd like to ask her about her research process...


I'd like to know that myself. In the omakes for Emma, she actually does specify some of the books she used for research for that series, but I'm incredibly curious as to the sources she uses for this series. I also agree that her love of history is palpable, practically infectious (especially in those omakes), and as a fellow history nut I can understand her joy and absorption in her subjects of study.


Omake! That's the word! I knew that there was a particular term for those strips at the end, but I couldn't remember it.

Parts of Anything and Something list books on some of her subjects of gleeful interest, although I don't believe there any for A Bride's Story. I don't know how she found them all, I know from experience how a fascination can supply the motivation needed to successfully search for things.

Brainchild129 wrote:
Dude, even as a straight woman I would say she draws the best nudes as well. At once they are beautiful, voluptuous, and realistically proportioned (and that last one is a true rarity in manga).


It takes a woman to make women sexy. I really love the way she draws faces too. They're beautiful and memorable. She also manages to wring a lot of distinctiveness and expressiveness out of a few lines and some shading.

Brainchild129 wrote:
If you want to be really impressed with her technique, then watch this 6 part video of her drawing and inking a picture of Amir...


Oh, wow. Thank you for that. I suspect that we won't be seeing anything like that out of Christopher Hart's how-to-draw manga series. She uses some awfully fine instruments. I'm really struck by how a flurry of small strokes can create an important detail or feature without my realizing it until she's already moved on. What's more astounding is thinking of the sense of composition and planning it must take to draw things so that there's appropriate space for everything, to say nothing of dashing from detail to detail while keeping it all straight.
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tsutsugamushi



Joined: 28 Aug 2011
Posts: 11
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:26 am Reply with quote
I have also been loving this manga and wondering if there's anything else out there quite like it. I don't mind ho-hum art if the story is good, but I'd rather have both, especially art this beautiful.

I think there is a lot of sensuality in her stories without being overtly sexy or prurient. I appreciate that a lot more than panty shots.
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