“Bridal Boot Camp!”
There’s not a whole lot to be said about this very straightforward half-length of Otoyomegatari, because it pretty much speaks for itself. While things didn’t end up going in the direction I thought they might when Layla and Leyli’s mother announced her intentions (Mori-sensei, it seems, plans to play this G-rated right through) it was still a nice look at an aspect of the marriage ritual we haven’t seen covered in the first 21 chapters.
Since this is the twins, the bulk of the episode is comedy-driven – basically the two little hellions trying to get out of training for their marriage with their mother, by hook or by crook. Cooking, cleaning, child care – Mama is leaving no stone (except for that stone) unturned, and she’s not about to be denied. As expected the girls aren’t especially good as any aspect of this when the training starts and mostly look for short cuts, but it becomes obvious soon enough that the real reason Mama is doing this is to have one last chance to spend extended time with her daughters alone.
This isn’t Mori’s finest writing, certainly – it lacks the subtlety of some earlier chapters and feels a bit self-indulgent. But the emotions are honest and straightforward, and if this detour doesn’t feel especially necessary to the story, it’s a warm and pleasant diversion – and Mori is no slave to the linear narrative, anyway. I continue to be impressed by the way she’s able to write so matter-of-factly and with such restraint about topics that would normally make the modern reader uncomfortable – and 13-14 year old girls about to be married certainly qualifies. It’s Mori’s gift to be able to cover her characters and situations in a blanket of universality, and get us to focus on the feelings we all share rather than the cultural variables that divide us.