Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Oooku chronicles an alternate 80 year period in Edo Japan, where a deadly plague has reduced the male population such that women are made to take up the duties of men, while men are kept as precious commodities for the propagation of their lineage. More specifically, the title refers to the inner Chamber of the Shogun, the Emperor, or in this case the Empress, where all her concubines are kept. The Inner chambers are a big mystery and has hundreds of handsome samurai, collected for the Shogun only. The first volume tells the story of a young man who enters at the time of the reign of the 8th shogun.
Ooku has a brilliant plotline, I must say. For a historical manga, it makes the whole AU Edo totally realistic. If you didn’t know, you would totally believe that power went to the women, but men still had their place of importance. You see, even with the change in gender roles, the gender divide doesn’t go, more so because the accession of women to power is out of necessity. It’s a brilliant start.