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A Bride’s Story Vol. #12 Hardcover Manga Review

3 min read
This volume gets off to a rather slow start with the theme "spare time."

A conversation between women from different regions of Central Asia!

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Kaoru Mori
Translation/Adaptation: William Flanagan

What They Say
Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori’s tale of life on the nineteenth-century Silk Road continues. Camera in tow, Smith retraces his journey to photograph the people and places that have come to mean so much to him. Though he has vast ground to cover, the inevitable delays of travel afford Smith an opportunity to rest and reflect. On Amir and Karluk, who have since sought the tutelage of Karluk’s hardy brother-in-law. On Pariya, struggling to complete the elaborate embroideries for her dowry. On the young, energetic twin brides, Laila and Leily. On the grand mansion that is to be the first stop on his return journey…

The Review:
A Bride’s Story is a slice of life manga, so some sections are slower than others. However, the opening of Volume 12 is a lot slower than typical. That probably has to do with the fact that the subject of the first two chapters is “Spare Time,” and for half the cast, “spare time” translates into “I’m bored time.” So aside from a scorpion blowing into the now-married twin sisters’ new home, there’s no excitement. However, the chapters do the trick of updating us on the lives of the brides we’ve met thus far.

Chapter 80, which focuses on the antics of Pariya’s kitten, and Chapter 81, an intimate yet humorous glimpse into Seleke’s marriage, are amusing but also fairly slow. It’s not until halfway through the volume that the pace picks up with the continuation of Mr. Smith’s venture to photograph the people he’s met on his travels. After joining in a village’s party to celebrate a pilgrim’s return home, Mr. Smith’s group arrives at the mansion of Anis and Sherine.

This leads to a fairly interesting encounter. Anis and Sherine lead segregated and secluded lives compared to Talas, so in addition to the excitement of hosting a guest in the women’ quarters, they are intensely curious about the things Talas has seen and experienced. Mr. Smith, of course, is curious about the women’s section, but he’s forbidden even to meet his host’s wives. However, Talas takes the initiative of offering to photograph those quarters, and having received permission from their host, the photographing session turns into a delightful time of sharing for the women. Not to mention, Mori-sensei showcases some lovely pieces of regional architecture.

Then Talas and Mr. Smith continue on, but the narrative lingers on Anis and Sherine a bit longer with another visit to the place they first met: the bathhouse. Whereas Anis was previously an outsider to this female community, she is firmly entrenched now. In doing so, she’s learned things from the other women (like how to find a good wife for her son), and she’s teaching them things in return (like how to write). Surrounded by these friends and her avowed sister Sherine, Anis’ story ends on a firmly positive note.

Extras include Mori-sensei’s manga style afterword.

In Summary
This volume gets off to a rather slow start with the theme “spare time.” However, after a few chapters of bored characters and frolicking cats, the narrative kicks back into gear with Mr. Smith retracing his journey. His first stop gives us an update on the lives of Anis and Sherine, and Talas’ visit to the mansion’s women’s quarters results in a delightfully lively interaction between three very different women.

Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: B

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: September 22nd, 2020
MSRP: $17.00