“A Garden For Two”
The story of Anis and Shirin (let’s be honest – it’s really the story of the cat) finally draws to a close, and while it finishes with a strong and beautifully-drawn chapter I can’t say I’m going to miss it. I’m ready for Otoyomegatari to move on, and hopefully Mori-sensei will follow her usual pattern of returning to Amir and Karluk after taking a detour.
If I’m honest, I think this was pretty lazy storytelling by Mori’s standards. Anis was shown as a bird in a gilded cage; she fell in love with a woman at the baths. Their situation was inconvenient – she randomly killed Shirin’s husband to make way for a neat and tidy ending. Anis loves everybody – there’s no hard feelings with her husband, who now all of a sudden she appreciates and adores for the super-nice guy he is (in addition to marrying Shirin, he builds her parents a new house). And Mr. Smith is never really given anything to do – he’s the pretext for the narrative to visit, but he’s strictly wallpaper once it arrives. If indeed this is done, I’ll shed no tears.
Still, as always with Mori-sensei it was a sheer joy to simply drink in the art. There were a few jaw-dropping panels this time (this shot of the moon took my breath away). And the Persian cat consistently made me smile, especially in this chapter. I’ve had cats that zeroed in on the one person in the room who didn’t like cats and did exactly what this one did to Mr. Smith’s guide – it’s just a talent they have, and that they enjoy exploiting it is why cats are so much more interesting than dogs.
And now, (hopefully) back to Karluk and Amir. And their families, too – I’m curious to see what’s next for her clan, especially her eldest brother. But if we stopped for a quick pop-in with the twin brides and their brother husbands, I wouldn’t mind too much.