Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Otoyomegatari - 23

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“A Day in the Life”


It says something about what a skilled writer Kaoru Mori is that she could write a chapter like this one, and have it be one of the best of the series.  I doubt many authors would have even tried.

To call this chapter a simple one is an understatement.   Prefaced with the apology “We weren’t prepared for the twins’ wedding”, Mori-sensei gives us 23 panels from a typical day for Amira and Karluk.  Mori-sensei, please don’t apologize – it was absolutely wonderful.  I’m biased because I unreservedly love this couple – scenes like this one just turn me into a puddle of happy ectoplasm – but the sheer beauty of her art combined with the piercing honesty of her writing makes simple stuff like this truly profound.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating – Mori deserves some kind of award for the way she’s taken what’s a potentially awkward premise and turned it into something sweet, heartwarming and oddly romantic.  She doesn’t ignore the age difference between her protagonists, but she strikes an absolutely perfect balance in the way she addresses it.  You can really tell when a mangaka feels affection for her characters and it’s an attractive quality, but it needs to be tempered with the human frailty she imbues them with. 

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I like all the directions that Mori has taken the series, but this chapter was a very special treat for me, as we’ve been away from the main storyline a little too long for my tastes.  The plot-driven chapters have their own charm, but watching Karluk and Amira go about their daily lives is Otoyomegatari at its very best for me.  There are very few words in this chapter, but Mori chooses them well – and manages to tell a complete and involving story mostly with her memorable pictures.  There are manga artists, bur Mori is truly a manga artist.

I’m excited to see what the future holds – starting with the twins, then for Mr. Smith, but most especially for Amira and Karluk.  I wonder how Mori-sensei will present the moment when their relationship changes as it inevitably will – with taste and consummate style, do doubt.  I think about the future of Otoyomegatari itself, too.  This would make a wonderful entry for NoitaminA, wouldn’t it? 

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14 comments:

  1. last panel quite funny if you have dirty mind.

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    1. Do you read the manga? I think that panel is a perfect example of the balance I refer to in the post.

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  2. I'm melting here. Melting in a puddle of delight. As much as I'm enjoying the twins' storyline, this is still the bride and couple-in-progress I enjoy the most.

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  3. P.S.: if this, Kaze Hikaru and Oooku were to be turned into NoitaminA anime you could probably hear my squeals from Europe XD.

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  4. I was waiting till I get the 3rd volume before making a post on AS, but this post of yours made me cave and just read this chapter.

    What amazes me when it comes to Mori-sensei is how far she had come from the end of Emma to now, hell even from back when she had first done Shirley to the last two specials she had done for the short series. She had taken her amazing artwork onto an all new level of beauty, that I honestly I'm astounded that she could make what I thought was great even better.

    The first volume where Amira was on her first hunting trip was the perfect example I would point out for a seamless ''action'' scene in this manga, and where I usually point it out to anyone wanting to know why I hold Mori-San on such a high pedestal. It's quick, fast, gets to the point and there is not a wasted panel anywhere. And most importantly, it draws you in by focusing on the targets when they are on the run, hiding them when they are waiting. There is no need for words, for everything is conveyed by the still action. And most importantly, there is no loss of details in the characters design and their cloth, but at the same time there was no point where the pages felt stuffed, but on the contrary they felt relaxed. It's victory is in it's simplicity.

    This chapter was on that level of masterful simplicity, but rather than make it a usual chapter with the typical panel layout, Mori-San had decided to go for a more direct approach here. Even page is a story, everything you need to know is can be described with a single sentence or two, with the art showing you the details. Amira thinking how the Hawks are the servants of the sky, how her horse is drinking from a lake, how she thinks about the colour of the pillow cover ... smashing stuff, this is usually things that would take lesser mangaka a chapter each to describe fully.

    But of course, the most amazing thing is how much of the feelings between our two love birds ended up getting across without a single word involving love was mentioned. From the first page where she covered him with the additional blanket to the last, you could tell these two are without a doubt care for each other, and that there is so much beauty in this simple life.

    ''NoitaminA''

    This + Silver Spoon, NoitaminA '13.

    Do it Japan!

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    1. Gosh, mighty early for Silver Spoon even for NoitaminA, isn't it? I haven't gotten around to it - you like it, eh?

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    2. Well, with only 3 volumes, I'd agree ... but talks about doing an anime adaption had already been floating around for a while, and the latest volume had mentioned that the subject is being seriously considered at this point (of course, we are talking about a big hit mangaka with a manga that is selling a million a copy in tank sales, why wouldn't it get an anime ...)

      As for my personal feelings, so far I love the manga. It helps greatly that I had read Hyakusho Kizoku beforehand to really appreciate and understand where was this manga coming from and what sort of feelings were being put into it. This work is the realization of Arakawa-san's dreams and view on her previous life as a farmer, and it's that personal touch that makes it hit home so much in a way I think that even FMA, a series with so much hard hitting moments, couldn't match.

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  5. Oh right, that one page where she is hoping the Winter will be light due to her worries over her birth family was a really great touch, but then again so was the rest of the chapter.

    Amira is really awesome. Princess Awesome indeed.

    Damn you Karluk ...

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    1. Amira isn't doing so badly herself in the spouse department. Both of them are lucky.

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  6. The biggest agony I have about this manga is to wait about a month for another chapter.
    FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
    To think it´s one of my favorite Seinen mangas, alongside Bokurano ;____;
    PD: BTW, I have deemed you as my second favorite blogguer long time ago ;)

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    1. Thank you! Who do I have to eliminate to get to #1?

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    2. If it´s about the Aniblog Tourney, I don´t think you have to concern about that: the 1# is an argentinian blog, and I like it mainly because the blogger point mistakes in an anime, and would use screenshots to commonly make jokes or explain and question something.
      Though his writing is usually quite messy, while yours is more formal and professional looking.

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    3. Heh I was more talking about sending a hit squad after them. In a joking way, of course!

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  7. Cuteness overload *_*

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