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a frog the size of texas

July 3rd, 2009

09:25 pm - MANGA REC

I know it's been, like, forever since I mentioned new manga around here, huh? Well, two or three of you on my f-list recced Otoyomegatari (Young Wife's Tale), and I finally got a chance to sit down and read the first four chapters that have been scanlated and OMG AWESOME.

It's set in the 19th century, in the central Asian steppes. Amira, the young wife of the title, is a 20-year-old woman who was married to a 12-year-old boy, Karluk, from a different tribe. The first four chapters set up the family dynamic, with Amira just starting to fit in and Karluk slightly embarrassed and nervous about the whole deal. The age difference is handled so far in a sensitive manner, with a few cute moments of sexual panic on Karluk's side when he thinks he might be called upon to do something he's not yet ready to do. What looks to be a main source of conflict for the future starts when Amira's original family decides that they want to marry her to someone else instead, and send her brothers to get her back. (Um, Azer? Her eldest brother? Kind of my type. Here's hoping he doesn't end up a total jerk.)

How much do I love that there's a random anthropologist staying with Karluk's extended family? Or that it's a story set in Asia with a young woman marrying into another family, and they LIKE HER? And she has NO CONFLICT with her mother-in-law? And that she's an awesome hunter and herder and her husband and new family LIKE HER FOR IT? There is also a kickass grandmother in chapter 4. And elaborate, detailed clothing!

And the artwork? GORGEOUS. GORGEOUS. GORGEOUS. GORGEOUS. Well, it's the mangaka of Emma, so you'd expect no less. :D You know how in Emma she'd spend many panels on a simple act like Emma putting on her glasses? She does the same here with hunting, woodcarving, herding, and other acts.

In conclusion: READ. READ NOW.
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