Yen Press Announces Digital Releases for Kaoru Mori’s Manga Releases

Yen Press has announced that that Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story, Emma, and Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something will be receiving a digital release.

A Bride’s Story Volumes 1-5 and Anything and Something will officially be available on September 25, 2018. Pre-orders are also available for A Bride’s Story Volumes 6-9 on October 30, 2018. The entire series of Emma will release digitally on November 27, 2018.

Source: Yen Press

Manga Review: A Bride’s Story Volume Seven

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

A Bride’s Story Volume 7 is set in the Caucasus region of central Asia during the 19th century. The main focus of the series is Amir Halgal, a 20-year-old who marries her betrothed husband who’s eight years younger than her. But sometimes, the series will also have stories focusing on other young women who are brides or who want to become brides.

A Bride’s Story Volume 7
Written by: Kaoru Mori
Publisher: Enterbrain, Inc.
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: November 17, 2015

Volume 7 has a focus on Henry Smith, a traveler and researcher learning about the customs, language, and culture of the people in this region. After leaving the hospitality of Amir and her family, he travels and meets people from other villages. His travels have brought him to Persia, where he is the guest of wealthy man.

While we see Henry interacting with his host, this volume actually has a strong focus on Anis, the wife of the rich man. Henry never gets to interact with her, though, because the women in the region don’t show their faces to anyone outside of the family.

Anis is an intriguing character from the moment the reader first meets her. She’s seen in a water garden, interacting with birds. It’s also shown that she’ll interact with the family cat, and that she is the mother of a young son. But through the art, Mori is able to convey that Anis may not be entirely happy with her life before she even says anything to her maid. The maid tells her about avowed sisters, and that Anis might be able to make friends by going to the public bath.

There are quite a few scenes that take place at the public women’s bath, and Mori doesn’t shy away from showing the characters in the state of undress they would be in at such a location. It comes across as natural and really doesn’t feel like gratuitous nudity.

But it’s at the bath where Anis, along with the reader, meets the other major character introduced in A Bride’s Story Volume 7. Sherine is the wife of a poor man and the mother of a son who is a little older than Anis’ boy. Even though the two women come from situations that are as different as night and day, they find they still have commonalities, such as being wives and mothers. But the friendship these two characters forge is very touching, and their unconventional way of going about a couple of traditions makes the two women even more endearing than they already are.

When it comes to the art, it doesn’t include much of the ornate style that Mori is usually known for in A Bride’s Story. But considering the story she was telling in this volume, as well as the particular characters featured in it, that’s actually rather understandable. Also, with the public bath serving as a major setting in Volume 7, there are more characters in a state of undress than in a typical volume of the series. Mori herself even comments on the difference in the art during the author’s note at the end of the volume. According to the author’s note, it sounds like we’ll be seeing more of the ornate art again in Volume 8. But even without the normal art style, there are still some close-up panels of Anis and Sherine in this volume that look very impressive.

A Bride’s Story Volume 7 introduces two compelling new characters who help to make it a compelling read. As I read through it, I didn’t want to put it down until I was finished. Readers who have been following and enjoying A Bride’s Story will enjoy meeting Anis and Sherine and find that they become engrossed in the story of these two women.

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Manga Review: A Bride’s Story Volume Six

A Bride’s Story Volume Six is a manga by Kaoru Mori, and it was published in North America by Yen Press in 2014. I don’t see a rating printed anywhere on this volume, but I would personally recommend A Bride’s Story to manga readers who are 14 or 15 years of age and older.

A Bride’s Story Volume 6
Written by: Kaoru Mori
Publisher: Enterbrain
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: October 28, 2014

A Bride’s Story is set in the Caucasus region of central Asia in the 19th century. The series originally started focusing on the character of Amir and her arranged marriage. Over the course of the series up to this point, Amir is still one of the main characters; however, the series also covers the stories of other brides and potential brides.

Volume Six has a strong focus on Karluk and Amir. Throughout this volume, Karluk makes it clear that he’s tired of being treated like a child; he’s almost 13, so he wants to be seen as a man. Many of Karluk’s actions in this volume can be traced back to his desire to be seen as a man. There’s an incredibly sweet and touching scene between Karluk and Amir where he’s trying to prove to her just how much of a man he is. Seeing Karluk successfully pick up Amir and her shocked face when he does, along with the hug at the end, make this scene have quite an impact on the reader.

We also get to see Amir’s clan making an alliance with the Badan; the plan is for them to combine forces and attack Karluk’s village in order to get the land they need to graze their horses. But we see that Azel, Amir’s brother, doesn’t trust the Badan; Joruk and Baimat agree with him. It was refreshing to see that some of Amir’s clan doesn’t think with the same hive mentality as Amir’s father and the others.

Quite a bit of Volume Six shows the battle that takes place, and I would have to say that this would have to be the most action-packed volumes of A Bride’s Story that I’ve read. And it turns out Azel was right not to trust the Badan, as we see that the Badan betray them during the battle. Azel, Joruk, and Baimat do some surprising things by the end of the battle, and this volume really changed my perception on those three characters. Hopefully the character progression for Azel and the others will continue in future volumes of the series.

But I have to give some serious props to Karluk’s grandmother. Early on in the volume, she displays her wisdom, and at the end, she shows that she knows how to use a weapon and come up to her prey without being noticed. Even though we may not see her much in the series, this volume showed me just how good of a character she is.

Mori’s art style still grabs me whenever I read a volume of A Bride’s Story. Not only did she maintain the same level of detail and quality that she’s shown in previous volumes, she also had to draw a lot of horses for Volume Six as well. Can I say how beautiful her horse drawings look? Whenever I see her art, I can only imagine just how long she has to spend drawing it in order to get it to look as stunning as it does.

Volume Six was a good read, as it was able to successfully combine the tone and storytelling that readers already know with the action scenes that were necessary to tell the story that’s presented here. I also appreciated seeing the focus of the story back on Amir and Karluk.

If you’ve been reading A Bride’s Story and enjoyed the previous five volumes, I believe you’ll like what you read in Volume Six.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of A Bride’s Story Volume Six that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: A Bride’s Story Volume Five

A Bride’s Story Volume Five is a manga by Kaoru Mori, and it was published in North America by Yen Press in 2013. I don’t see a rating printed anywhere on this volume, but I would personally recommend A Bride’s Story to manga readers who are 14 or 15 years of age and older.

A Bride’s Story Volume 5
Written by: Kaoru Mori
Publisher: Enterbrain
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: September 24, 2013

A Bride’s Story is set in the Caucasus region of central Asia in the 19th century. The series originally started focusing on the character of Amir and her arranged marriage. Over the course of the series up to this point, Amir is still one of the main characters; however, the series also covers the stories of other brides and potential brides.

This volume continues the story of the twins, Laila and Leily, who were introduced in Volume Four.  At the end of Volume Four, the two of them found husbands who are brothers and arrangements were made for them to be married.

Volume Five opens with the preparations for the upcoming nuptials. However, Laila and Leily are having a hard time with the preparations and when the ceremony itself starts to get going, because it requires them to be quiet and still. Considering how wild and rambunctious these twins are, this is extremely hard for them to do. Once their future husbands arrive, they have them fetch them food and take them out without anyone noticing.

Fortunately, the ceremony happens and the girls leave their family with their new husbands. However, the girls have a hard time adjusting to married life right at first, but something happens that makes the transition a little easier for them.

Amir returns to the story, when she finds an injured hawk and tends to it to try to help it recover enough to be able to fly and return to the wild. Karluk becomes jealous of how much time Amir is spending with the hawk instead of him, and this is an issue that the two of them have to work out.

There’s also a side story featuring the grandmother, where she gets on a goat and rescues a little boy who’s trapped on a cliff. By the time I finished reading this side story, I was thinking, “Go, Granny! You rock!”

Overall, this volume has a rather light-hearted feel to it. However, by the end of the volume, there is a mention of things becoming unsettled recently due to the Russians in the area, and that some people have taken to thievery to survive. I’m suspecting that this volume may be a “calm before the storm,” in that the story may start picking up in intensity before too much longer as the Russians may gain more influence in the region as the series continues.

I’m still amazed and blown away by Mori’s art style, especially by how ornate some of the clothing and backgrounds are. I think it’s quite wonderful to look at, but sometimes I shudder at the thought of how much time she must spend drawing these panels in order to make them look that good.

I really enjoyed reading Volume Five, especially the sections that focused on Laila and Leily’s wedding.  And for the series as a whole, I appreciate how Mori is able to make me believe I’m truly in this time period with her writing and her art. Not only that, I also enjoy the glimpse that the series gives me into the history of the time period in the region that this story is set in.

If you’ve been reading A Bride’s Story and enjoyed the previous four volumes, I believe you’ll really like what you read in Volume Five.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of A Bride’s Story Volume Five that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about A Bride’s Story:

Manga Review: A Bride’s Story Volume Four

Article first published as Manga Review: A Bride’s Story Volume Four by Kaoru Mori on Blogcritics.

A Bride’s Story Volume Four is a manga by Kaoru Mori, and it was published in North America by Yen Press in 2013. I don’t see a rating printed anywhere on this volume, but I would personally recommend A Bride’s Story to manga readers who are 14 or 15 years of age and older.

A Bride’s Story Volume 4
Written by: Kaoru Mori
Publisher: Enterbrain
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: January 22, 2013

A Bride’s Story is set in the Caucasus region of central Asia in the 19th century. The series originally started out focusing on the character of Amir and her arranged marriage. Over the course of the series up to this point, Amir is still one of the main characters; however, the series also covers the stories of other brides and potential brides.

Amir appears in the very first chapter of Volume Four, and is part of the action in the storyline of Pariya, her friend who is getting a visit from a prospective groom and his father. However, the rest of Volume Four focuses on new characters who are introduced into the story.

Mr. Smith, the Englishman who has been traveling through the area and taking notes on the people and their customs, has continued on his journey. He accidentally falls off of his camel and into the sea, but he is rescued by a pair of twin girls. When they learn that he is a doctor, the twins take Mr. Smith and his traveling companion to their village.

The twins, Laila and Leily, turn out to be a handful; they’re very loud, demanding, and independent. They decide they want to take finding husbands into their own hands, and try several different things to nab a husband. Much of Volume Four focuses on these attempts.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this storyline with the twins. I found myself laughing and chuckling as their attempts to get husbands kept failing. The most humorous part, though, is when their mother gives them a crash course in bridehood and child rearing.

Another thing that really stood out to me happens early on in Volume Four. Amir’s clan is going through some political strife, and there are images of wolves in a wolf pack fighting amongst themselves. I thought this was a really clever use of juxtaposition to emphasize just how tumultuous things are for Amir’s kin at this point in the story.

Mori’s art continues to be stunning and exquisite. She puts so much detail into her artwork that it makes the reader feel as if they’re actually observing these people who live in 19th century Asia. One of the standout panels in this volume appears on page 46, when Mr. Smith sees the twins for the first time. This particular panel really jumps out at the reader.

I really enjoyed reading Volume Four of A Bride’s Story, and I can’t wait to be able to read Volume Five so I can see what happens to the characters as the story continues to progress.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of A Bride’s Story Volume Four that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: A Bride’s Story Volume Three

Article first published as Manga Review: A Bride’s Story Volume Three by Kaoru Mori on Blogcritics.

A Bride’s Story Volume Three is a manga by Kaoru Mori, and it was published in North America by Yen Press in 2012. I don’t see a rating printed anywhere on this volume, but I would personally recommend A Bride’s Story to manga readers who are 14 or 15 years of age and older.

A Bride’s Story Volume 3
Written by: Kaoru Mori
Publisher: Enterbrain
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: March 27, 2012

While Amir does appear in this volume, the main focus of the story is actually on Mr. Smith, the Englishman who has been traveling through the area, taking notes on the people and their customs for his research. After leaving the village at the end of Volume Two, Mr. Smith comes to another village to try to meet up with his guide in order to continue his research journey.

After arriving at the new village, Mr. Smith’s horse and possessions are stolen. He meets a young woman named Talas, whose horse was also stolen. After their horses and items are recovered, Talas invites Mr. Smith to stay with her and her mother-in-law while he waits for his guide. Mr. Smith accepts the offer.

While staying with Talas, he learns why Talas and her mother-in-law are alone. He also takes some notes as he watches the two women living their daily lives. The story climaxes when a member of the village is out for revenge, and has Mr. Smith arrested as a spy. Luckily, word reaches Amir and her husband, and they are able to come to his rescue. The rest of the volume deals with Mr. Smith and some things he has to wrestle with before he continues on his journey.

At first glance, it seems strange that this volume of A Bride’s Story would focus heavily on Mr. Smith, who is obviously not a bride. However, the title is appropriate for the character of Talas, the young woman Mr. Smith meets. Talas was married to all five sons in her mother-in-law’s family, and each of her husbands were killed in some fashion. And with an element of the plot has to do with marriage, this makes the manga’s title very appropriate for this volume of the series.

Mori’s art style is just as strong in this volume as it was in the previous two volumes, and it’s a major defining feature of the series. One of the standout panels to me is early on in the volume, when Talas is first introduced to the reader. There’s a close-up of her that seems to almost literally leap from the page and grabs the reader’s attention.

A Bride’s Story continues to be a satisfying read, and I can’t wait until I can read the fourth volume of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of A Bride’s Story Volume Three that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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Manga Review: A Bride’s Story Volume Two

Article first published as Manga Review: A Bride’s Story Volume Two by Kaoru Mori on Blogcritics.

A Bride’s Story Volume Two is a manga by Kaoru Mori, and it was published in North America by Yen Press in 2011. I don’t see a rating printed anywhere on this volume, but I would personally recommend A Bride’s Story to manga readers who are 14 or 15 years of age and older.

A Bride’s Story Volume 2
Written by: Kaoru Mori
Publisher: Enterbrain
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: October 25, 2011

This volume of A Bride’s Story introduces a new character named Pariya. She’s a young woman who is of marrying age and is having a hard time finding a husband; she has met several prospects and has been refused by all of them. Amir and Pariya strike up a friendship, and Pariya begins to spend time at the household of Amir’s new family.

This volume also sees Amir’s family make a second attempt at taking Amir back home and marrying her off instead to a powerful clan to forge an alliance; unfortunately, this clan is known for its violent tendencies. Quite a bit of the volume focuses on this storyline, and how the people in the village come together in order to keep Amir’s clan from trampling on their village.

This portion of the manga was very exciting, and I had a hard time putting the book down as I read it. There’s a lot more action in this portion of the volume than there had been previously. For this portion of the story, Mori also made sure that dialogue was rather minimal during the action sequences, and I think this worked very well. By not having to slow down to read as much dialogue, the reader could feel the immediacy of the situation as it was playing out in the manga.

The story slows back down again after this, and there’s a couple more characters who get some attention in this volume. Tileke, the younger sister of Amir’s husband, is beginning to work on her cloth preparations. By focusing on this detail, Mori is able to give some more explanation to the reader about the time period and culture that is being depicted in A Bride’s Story. Mr. Smith, the British researcher who has been living with the family, is also focused on near the end of this volume.

Mori’s art in this volume is just as ornate and detailed in Volume Two as it was in Volume One. This art style really makes A Bride’s Story stand out, and it also enhances the reading experience for the reader. Whenever I look at the art in these volumes, it makes me feel as if I’ve been transported to the central Asia in the nineteenth century.

I was just as impressed with the second volume of A Bride’s Story as I was with the first volume, and I’m looking forward to being able to read the next volume in the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of A Bride’s Story Volume Two that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about A Bride’s Story:

Manga Review: A Bride’s Story Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: A Bride’s Story Volume One by Kaoru Mori on Blogcritics.

A Bride’s Story Volume One is a manga by Kaoru Mori, and it was published in North America by Yen Press in 2011. I don’t see a rating printed anywhere on this volume, but I would personally recommend A Bride’s Story to manga readers who are 14 or 15 years of age and older.

A Bride’s Story Volume 1
Written by: Kaoru Mori
Publisher: Enterbrain
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: May 31, 2011

A Bride’s Story is set in the Caucasus region of central Asia during the nineteenth century. At the beginning of the series, 20-year-old Amir Halgal has come to join the family of her betrothed husband, Karluk Wihon. Karluk is eight years Amir’s junior. In the society that Amir and Karluk come from, betrothal is a common practice; however, girls were usually married off by the time they were fifteen or sixteen. Even with this wide age gap, Amir is welcomed into and becomes a member of Karluk’s family. This volume focuses heavily on Amir and Karluk adjusting to their new married life, as well as the obstacles that are placed in their way.

While Amir may be a betrothed bride, she is still a very strong character in her own right. She proves early on that she has acquired skills from her nomadic people, when she takes a bow and arrow and goes out hunting for rabbits in order to make rabbit soup for her new family. However, she also shows that she has a caring side, especially in the section of the story when Karluk comes down with a major cold.

There’s one word I can use to describe Mori’s artwork in this series: ornate. She went into quite a bit of painstaking detail in the art, especially in regards to the characters’ clothing and in some of the backgrounds. In an afterword at the end of the volume, Mori talks about having a strong love for the Silk Road and the Caucasus region of Asia back when she was in middle and high school; her interest in this subject really shines through in both the writing and art for A Bride’s Story.

My 14-year-old daughter, who normally doesn’t like history or historical fiction, decided to give this volume of A Bride’s Story a try. After she finished reading it, she said that she really enjoyed it, which surprised her because of her lack of interest in historical fiction. She told me that she’d like to read more volumes of the series.

Mori has created a historical fiction story that is easily accessible to both people who enjoy historical fiction and to people who don’t. There’s a very strong start to A Bride’s Story, and I believe that it’s a manga series worth checking out.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of A Bride’s Story Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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