Well this one is kind of a no-brainer. A Bride's Story is a manga by Kaoru Mori, most famously known for her Victorian Maid series "Emma". Anybody who's read Emma should probably know one of her signatures is historical costume porn... which is pretty much A Bride's Story in a nutshell.
Manga-recommending time. Honestly surprised that this series wasn't posted here before.  While it isn't my favorite manga series, it is quite good.

Ooku takes place in a world in feudal Japan, where a virus called the Red-face Pox has killed off most of the male population.

There are two problems I have with this series that keeps it from being one of my favorites. The first problem has to do with the faux-shakespearean dialogue in the english translation.

The second problem is the male characters. In kind of a reversal of normal series, they aren't that interesting.

The true star of the series is the world.
I have to admit I pretty much had the same reaction Helena had to Kachua's death.

While there was gore and violence before, this was the first real "shocking" death of the series. A character who we've spent the past two volumes getting to know and a character who've we've spent this volume following people trying to save her. In a just narrative her death would've never happened. It was hideously unfair, nothing she and Wycliffe had done has earned them that kind of fate.

And that's largely the point.

You can argue that Kachua's death was mainly for shock value. There's a nice article by a critic called Filmcrithulk critiquing Game of Thrones storytelling. How George RR Martin keeps trying to recreate the shocking ending of book one to diminishing returns. One of the weaknesses of Eden is that the same thing happens hers. Characters who are introduced get killed in collateral to our protagonist's actions, over and over again. There was moment which really annoyed me, where they introduced a child character in such a way that telegraphed her death a chapter later.

But at the same time, it has to happen that way. One of the themes of Eden is the nature of violence, and how violence doesn't protect anyone. There's a child later on in the series who encounters Nomad, and upon the end of it decides that he wants nothing to do with them, calling them angels of death. In the real world if you hit a man on the head hard enough to knock him unconscious, there's a good chance that he'll go in a coma. When USA invaded Iraq, they thought they were going to quickly dispose a tyrant and liberate a country. What they got was over 100, 000 civilian deaths in a prolonged conflict. This is the world our characters inhabit, and they're damned by it.
We meet Thorkell. Thorkell is a dane, a viking, but he defected well because.

Thorfinn's and Askeladd's relationship is one of the best things about the first arc of Vinland Saga. Thorfinn wants revenge on Askeladd (And I'll leave it to the manga to tell you why), but his honor as a viking is too strong for him to do so in a way other then honorable combat.

Despite Thorfinn being Askeladd's mortal enemy, his desire to kill him honestly makes him extremely loyal and trustworthy. Askeladd can always expect him to do the most dangerous missions. And since Thorfinn spent alot of his life following Askeladd, Thorfinn is dependent on Askeladd, and he's almost a mentor to him.

Ah... crap.

And the other reason Askeladd keeps Thorfinn around, he's expendable.
Kodansha is publishing Vinland Saga in the US. And well... Vinland Saga is pretty awesome, and you should read it. The storyline is great and the art is gorgeous, particularly in the later chapters. So I wanted to share a short vignette from the series, taking place near the end of the second volume.

Vikings under the cut )
Fuck yeah, Kachua!

Ok, I admit it. I loved that part, loovvveed it. I'm a sucker for normal people up against impossible odds and rising up to meet those challenges. It's one thing to be Superman and Batman, fighting crime with superpowers or martial arts training. It's another thing to be a normal woman and have the stones to do what she did. It's real courage, a celebration of human will. It's always a joy to read.

And if this was a normal story, it would end here. With this moment of triumph. Kachua took control of her life and realized that if she was going to die, she was going to die fighting. It would end with Wycliffe achieving redemption for his past actions as a soldier getting innocents killed.

But this is Eden, and it's not over yet.
Time to shill more manga. I feel like a bit of a jerk for making this post because as of now Witches is impossible to get legally in the USA. My only argument is that Witches is a comic that really really should make it's way here.

Witches is an anthology of stories about well... witches. Each arc is a stand-alone story about a different witch in a different time and culture. This is from the first story "Spindle".

Long ago there were witches... )
After the last Attack on Titan post I wanted to post some scans that'll give people a good idea of what the series is about without giving away major plot-twists (in which there are many).

Warning: Gore, Read right to left )
Planetes I think is a really under-rated comic. Not in that it isn't well-regarded, but it has been mostly forgotten or overshadowed by it's anime adaptation. I first read it as a teenager and liked it, but reading it in my mid-twenties really made me appreciate it a lot more.

2 pages of a 47 page chapter and 10 pages of a 33 page chapter )
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