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File:Amiru.jpg

Otoyomegatari (literally "Young Bride's Story") is a Seinen Manga and yet another period romance from Kaoru Mori. This time the setting is Central Asia during the 19th century.

Set on the Silk Road that connected Asia with Europe before the modern times, it is the story of Amir, a woman skilled in archery and horsemanship, who is sent to marry Karluk, a boy from another village who is 8 years younger than her. But all is not well, as her village decides to take her back...

As with all of Mori's works, the art and attention to detail is extensive although Mori can put more effort with less pressure in this particular work, since it is a bimonthly publication.

Published in English by Yen Press as "A Bride's Story" in extra-large hardcover volumes to show off Mori's artwork.

Tropes used in Otoyomegatari include:
  • Acceptable Breaks From Reality: A minor one, lampshaded in the afterword of the second tankoubon; Getting a lot of bricks dumped over your head will still kill you, even if the bricks are only made from mud and sun-dried (not kilned).
  • Accidental Marriage: trouble twins Leyla and Leyli try their damnedest to invoke this by running into chosen people, wearing their headscarves loose. (Because baring a woman's hair would be scandalous unless you're her husband... or marry her right away.)
  • Action Girl: Amir. It's actually implied that this was part of a normal education for girls where she's from.
  • Accidental Hero: As part of his cover to avoid being accosted on his travels, Smith pretends to be a doctor and helps a man with his dislocated shoulder. Come morning, and everyone is convinced he's a miraculous doctor and have formed a huge crowd outside his door.
  • Adult Child: Amir, though it's more that she's innocent (and occasionally oblivious) rather than immature.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Azel to Amir. And like her, he's a Badass archer to boot.
  • The Archer: Amir, as well as Great Grandmother. Amir even starts teaching the village children (and others) how to shoot a bow.
  • Arranged Marriage: The story begins with one between Amir and Karluk. They get along pretty well despite the fact she's from another culture and the eight year age gap. By setting default, you can safely assume every couple you see are in an Arranged Marriage.
  • Author Appeal: Obscure setting? Check. Gorgeous detailed clothing? Check. Obsessive attention to historical detail? Check. Intelligent, beautiful, and unusual female lead? Check. This is very much a Kaoru Mori manga.
    • It's been stated that Mori has had a fascination with the period subject since high school.
  • Author Avatar: She portrays herself as messy haired caricature with bad manners in every afterword. She's also always eating something.
  • Badass: Azel does NOT give up without a fight.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Karluk in Chapter 8. Arguably his Crowning Moment of Awesome as well.
  • Bishonen: Azel and Joruk, Amir's elder brother and cousin respectively.
  • Black Widow: Subverted. Talas is a serial widow for five brothers, but she did love some of them and had no part in their deaths. Also she or her family gained no extra dowries for the "bonus" marriages.
  • Buxom Is Better: Sahmi has developed a reputation for preferring women with large boobs, which embarrasses him every time one of the twins brings it up.
  • Can't Have Sex Ever: Inverted with Amir and Karluk. In their case, it's Must Have Sex And The Sooner The Better, since Amir's relatives want her back to marry her off into a powerful family, and are going as far as attacking Amir's new tribe in order to steal her back. Conceiving would fix that problem, because before that happens, the marriage isn't considered to be consummated.
  • Cheerful Child: Again, most of Karluk's nieces and nephews.
  • Christmas Cake: A few people in-story mention Amir as being a tad old for marriage.
    • A bit of Truth in Manga as well, since girls get married very young (sometimes even around their first few periods) in many Asian cultures.
  • Completely Missing the Point: After Amir hunts down a fox, Karluk admits he worries she may one day run into a wolf. Her response?

 Amir: Oh, for wolves you need more people, to get all of them at a shot! You can't hunt them alone!

Karluk: .....

  • Cool Big Sis: Amir to Pariya and Karluk's niece and nephews.
  • Costume Porn: Especially the embroidery. Dear goodness, the embroidery.
  • Courtly Love: Amir and Karluk out of the very simple necessity of Karluk only being 12.
  • Cute Shotaro Boy: Karluk and his three nephews are all oh so adorable. Karluk especially with his poofy traditional robes makes him look like the most huggable kid EVER.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Talas' step father-in-law won't allow Smith to even see her.
  • Death by Despair: Talas' father-in-law after all his sons died without offspring.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: It's Central Asia a couple of centuries back. Of course it doesn't have modern first world values.
  • Determinator: several, but especially Azel.
  • Doing It for the Art: Aside from the aforementioned Costume Porn, many things are also incredibly detailed. Chapter 2 is mostly devoted to showcasing Kaoru Mori's painstakingly drawn rendition of traditional carvings.
  • Food Porn: In Chapter 16, Mori applies her prodigious talents to all manner of food in the market, and the characters literally spend the entire chapter looking for the best food and then finally eating it in an impromptu feast. You probably should not read it while hungry.
    • Chapter four gives us verbal Food Porn, when Amir's brother gets carried away, describing what kind of meal he wants to be greeted with:

  I want some mutton. Slices fresh off the grill, piled high on a plate. The really juicy kind! Some fried rice might work, too...pour soup all over it and shovel it in! Oh, that stuff's good!

  • Gorgeous Period Dress
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Karluk's mother already has a few grandchildren, but still looks moderately hot. She's probably still young by grandmotherly standards, though.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Amir, who has no qualms about occasionally going about the house in her underwear.
  • Intimate Healing: Amir does this with her young husband during a cold night in a yurt.
    • Hey, he's got to do his husbandry duties sooner or later...
  • The Jailbait Wait: A variant. By his culture's standards, Karluk is a full adult at 12, being married. Chapter 23 still has Amir wishing that he'd grow up faster as it's strongly implied that she wants to get a lot more intimate with him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mr. Smith's guide Ali, who is very blunt to the point of rudeness, but is a hard-working young man nonetheless.
  • Kick the Dog: Amir's family wants to marry her to a man who is so violent that, due to brutal treatment, he pretty much killed the two women the family previously married to him! One of which may have been Amir's YOUNGER sister.
    • Further, they do this by trying to forcibly break Amir's already done (even if yet unconsummated) marriage and one of them was ready to kill Karluk even if she went with them, simply so there would be no loose ends.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: As is very fitting for the setting, it's said that most females never once cut their hair in their lifetime.
  • May-December Romance: Nowadays, the marriage of Amir (20) and Karluk (12) would likely be considered this. For the setting, though, it's rather fitting... gender-flipped only though.
  • Meddling Parents-In-Law: Talas' mother-in-law does everything she can to convince her to remarry even though she's already accepted as her fate to live alone. Later also the man Talas' mother-in-law marries in order to try and assure Talas a man who can find her a bridegroom. He's even more meddlesome, being absolutely against hearing anything about Talas' own arrangements. Of course this is all Justified seeing how going against your parents and especially the male head of your family was unthinkable for women in that age and place.
  • Meet Cute: The twins Layla and Leyli planned to do this on would-be suitors with their head coverings loosened. In their culture, touching a woman's uncovered head is seen as very intimate and was only allowed for those intending to marry, though it never goes right.
  • The Messiah: Basically, everyone who Amir meets ends up loving her... but really, who could blame them?
  • Never Mess with Granny: Karluk's grandmother Balkirsh fires an arrow at Azel as a warning shot when he comes to retrieve Amir and successfully bluffs him out of the village; do not threaten anyone who she considers part of her family.
  • Nice Hat: A lot of the adults have hats and headdresses, many ornate and detailed. Balkirsh's is the largest.
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: Smith has them about 90% of the time in the first two books, fittingly as he then only plays the part of a foreigner expo-magnet as a nerdy researcher. Dropped for some select scenes in the third book when he gets a more emotional plot of his own.
  • Our Nudity Is Different - When Mr. Smith sees Talas with her headscarf off, she blushes and tries to cover herself and apologizes for the 'shocking display'
  • The Patriarch: Karluk's grandfather Mahatbek, who spends a lot of his time carving wood into elaborately designed charms and furnishings. Karluk's father Akunbek serves as one of the village elders.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: this far there seem to be nothing but these, although one could argue that the culture norm probably encourages unhappily arranged couples to "learn to like it" or at least keep it to themselves. However, some couples are happier than others, and Amir and Karluk are one of those.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Mr. Smith and the English woman sent to deliver him letters in Chapter 10 are both blond. The fact that they were both English as well led some to believe they at least knew each other.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Karluk's niece and nephews, Smith and Joruk.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Amir.
  • Reality Ensues: In book three, Smith and Talas' engagement seems to be going along the usual romantic rails, until Chapter 17. The entire chapter makes it abundantly clear how unrealistic it actually was due to the cultural differences and family ties.
  • Relationship Upgrade: While Karluk and Amir are already married at the start of the story, it isn't until Karluk's Big Damn Heroes moment in chapter 8 that Amir moves away from being more of a Cool Big Sis to Karluk and starts to see him romantically and act like a newly smitten young woman (and awkwardly so).
  • Rescue Romance: Layla and Leyli's mother apparently met and fell for their father after he rescued her from stormy waters by lifting her and her boat and carrying it all the way to land.
  • Rotating Protagonist: After the second volume, the story switches from Karluk and Amir to Mr. Smith on his journey to Ankara to receive an item prepared for him.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Fitting for the period. At one point when a messenger delivers letters to Smith, many of the villagers fight over who he gets to stay with until Akunbek declares him as his guest.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Shotacon: One of the few instances in Manga where it's not fetishy.
  • Shown Their Work: Mori takes this to much extremes and her work is that much better for it.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Layla and Leyli.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Amira or Amir? The official English translation went with Amir.
  • Tomboy: a number:
    • Amir comes from a nomad tribe and is used to riding horses, hunting, and using a bow and arrows. Especially shooting game while horseback. This makes her quite a tomboy when compared to the culture of her new home tribe, which has lived in the village for a few generations already. Otherwise, she's not that tomboyish, unlike...
    • Pariya, who's not interested in needlework or marriage, and has a rougher personality than most other women shown. She loves hawks and wants to learn and use a bow and arrow much like her adored sister-in-law Amir. She speaks her mind without rounding the corners and is considered too "cheeky" for most groom candidates.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Amir is absolutely beautiful. It's safe to say that many male readers became very jealous of a 12-year old boy.
    • Talas is a certain contender as well, although her beauty is more grown-up in quality.
  • Training From Hell: Layla and Leyli get put through rigorous training by their mother so that they can be prepared for their wifely (and later motherly duties) in less than a month. This includes teaching them how to cook and clean with efficiency, medicine and health, strength training, sewing and berating them with chickens when they mess up.
  • Trickster Twins: Layla and Leyli.
  • Tsundere: Pariya.
  • Twin Banter: Layla and Leyli again.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Averted HARD. Not only does the author draw the patterns on their dresses, she draws it slightly differently between different panels[1].
  • The Un-Smile: Well, Pariya does try her best.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Layla and Leyli end up engaged to their childhood friends Shaman and Farsahmi, respectively. Played with in that both pairs of siblings are at first unenthusiastic about it as they feel like they're just settling for each other at the behest of their parents. After they go on dates to get to know their respective fiances, however, both sisters come to like what charm the boys hide behind their usual bored expressions and each becomes convinced that they got the better catch.
  • Wife Husbandry: Or more accurately, Husband Husbandry. Karluk is 12 when he marries Amir, and she does guide him a bit into the more romantic aspects of marriage, although most of the time it seems she is willing to wait until he grows up.
  • Wise Beyond His Years: To modern sensibilities, 12-year-old Karluk comes off as surprisingly mature for his age. In the setting, though, he's considered an adult and expected to act as such.
  • You ALL Share My Story: The "Young Bride" differs with every story arc. It started with Amir, then Talas, and now the twins Layla and Leyli.

Notes

  1. she redraws it every single time a pattern is used. Even when the pattern reappear three panels under the first instance.
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