For some reason, after reading this chapter of Otoyomegatari I have a hankerin’ for some Doublemint gum…
The story returns to the saga of Henry Smith this time, he having parted ways with the lovely young widow and her Mother-in-Law to continue his journey to Ankara with his guide. There’s more to Smith than meets the eye – in many ways he’s a pretty clichéd Japanese take on the British explorer trope, but despite his academic looks and clumsiness he’s quick and good in a crisis – it was his snap decision to roust the sheep that saved Amira from being taken back by her family.
A fall of his camel leads to a rescue by a pair of twins, Leyla and Leyli. They look about 14, they’re kawaii as heck and beautiful in the way only Kaoru Mori’s art can be. They’re also a pair of tomboyish scamps. In gratitude for his rescue – and that of his glasses – Smith agrees to return to their village as a “Doctor” to look at their sick Grandpa. Turns out he’s just got a dislocated shoulder, but Smith’s miracle cure raises the whole village to his doorstep the next morning looking for medical help.
As I feared, we’re going to be on this track for a while – the next ep begins Leyla and Leyli’s “Bride’s Story”. This is one of the frustrations with monthly manga – when the plot leaves your favorite characters behind, it can feel like forever before you see them again. I like Smith and the girls seem interesting, and the more humorous tone that generally attaches itself to Smith’s arcs is pleasant. I really do miss Amira and Karluk, though, and I hope this detour isn’t a terribly long one.