Mongolian Manga - or - Surprise! Your Spouse Is Nothing Like You Expected!
What I love about manga is the research put into many of the stories. Kaoru Mori has had a long love of historic Central Asia and it really comes through in A Bride's Story. Amir is twenty years old and she has just entered an arranged marriage with Karluk, who is twelve years old. Both of them are surprised by the age difference. As the newlyweds slowly adjust to life together, their day to day lives are illustrated in gorgeous detail.
Karluk's family features prominently in the story, since Amir has left her nomadic tribe to live with them. They range from grandparents to young children and all of them are well-developed characters that you come to care about. Amir's tribe has several cultural differences from Karluk's town-dwelling family and she must adapt and learn as she encounters new situations. The artwork is absolutely amazing, with delicate accuracy and evocative lines. The woodcarvings, carpets, and jewelry are all portrayed in breathtaking detail, giving you a true sense of what life was like in 19th century Central Asia. I can't tell you much more about the story without giving away parts of the plot, but I will say that the chapter with the woodcarver is my absolute favorite. I love the interaction between the little boy and the old man.
Consider yourself warned: there is a page of mild nudity - apparently the best way to keep warm in a yurt is to sleep naked. Yeah, I didn't know that either. Educational nudity, who'd have thought?