I must say that narratively speaking I found this new chapter to be a bit of a snoozer, though I suppose it’s only natural since I have no connection with this new bride. But the art was so beautiful you can’t help but think that if any mangaka should be allowed to write a boring chapter once in a while, Mori Kaoru is the one. That cat… What a cat.
Indeed, we’re returning to the pattern of introducing new brides, using Mr. Smith’s travels as a pretext. This time it’s a gorgeous young bride and mother, Anis, whose wealthy husband is putting up Mr. Smith and his guide (courtesy of a connection to a friend back in Blighty). Anis is beautiful, her house is a palace, she has a perfect and healthy baby son and a husband who, despite being rich enough to afford “two or three” wives at least, adores Anis so much that he lavishes his affection on her. It’s no wonder she’s always smiling.
So where’s the story here, exactly? I suppose Mori could be taking the unorthodox step of showing us the life of a bride who’s already got everything she needs and wants, but much more likely is that Anis is smiling through unhappiness (there are subtle hints if dissatisfaction in her demeanor). Honestly, that could be pretty trite if it’s not handled well – I have limited patience for poor little rich girls and those who don’t appreciate how lucky they are. But it’s way too early to say for sure just where Otoyomegatari is going with Anis’ story, so I’ll withhold judgment until we get some clarity on that. Of course I’d rather be spending time with Amir and Karluk, that’s a given – but with this series, changes of narrative venue are part of the deal.