It’s been a pretty good stretch for anime announcements for manga I want to see adapted, most of which I mentioned in this article a few months back. One of them, Boku no Hero Academia, was a lock to happen of course, and there’s still no word on whether the Hi Score Girl anime was saved when the manga was restarted. But we had Boku Dake ga Inai Machi and Sangatsu no Lion announcements too , so it’s been a good stretch.
Given all that, it’s hard not to get greedy about the possibility of an Otoyomegatari anime, given that that’s one I want as much as any. There are times when the drift in storytelling has been frustrating, but when Mori Kaoru returns to what most makes this a magnificent series – Karluk and Amir – all that goes away and you’re once again transported into a world of exotic beauty and tender emotion few manga present or past can match (and, it must be pointed out, that’s the part of the story a one-cour anime would almost surely focus on).
There’s dialogue in this chapter, but it very much reminds one of the nearly wordless one Mori penned a while back, featuring a day in Amir’s life. It’s so remarkable to simply see she and Karluk together, especially when Mori-sensei adds in the wondrous nature and animal drawings that are her trademark.
But there was definitely a little something extra in this chapter. Karluk and Amir have been together for a while now, and their relationship has grown more complex. I think my favorite moment here came when Amir playfully told Karluk “Don’t you start running wild on me, too” after bemoaning having neglected her horse. There’s a world of subtext there, tied into this unusual bond – one which finds Amir sometimes playing the role of older sister, sometimes confidante and mother figure, and sometimes something else. Karluk is a responsible child, but he’s still a coltish boy on the cusp of adolescence – he needs to give outlet to his restlessness and exuberance just as the horses do. And of course, there’s the elephant in the room. In that one line of dialogue, Mori slyly observes Amir in all the roles she plays in this relationship.
I’d forgive you if you wondered whether Karluk’s prize for winning the race might have been something other than archery lessons, because I certainly did. There was a definite electricity in the air this time, a lot more blushing than usual. Karluk is all too aware of his imperative to grow into the role of Amir’s husband, with all that implies. I think Mori-sensei’s perpetual discretion will always win the day where that’s concerned, but this is a part of the story she creeps ever closer to exploring.