tl;dr: A wholesome, cute manga about a young apprentice doctor in a Tibetan village, who finds out he is engaged. Hijinks does NOT ensue.
Blissful Land is an adorable story about 13 year old doctor-in-training Khang Zhipa, who lives in a small mountain community somewhere in Tibet. He is dedicated to his future vocation and is an absolute nerd for herbs. He returns home from foraging one day to find that his future foreign bride has arrived. It was an arranged marriage he knew nothing about, but Moshi Rati is not only super cute but has an agreeable personality. No conflict there.
Also, no sarcasm from my end. This manga felt like a relaxing holiday between the more “serious” books on my current reads.
This is probably the second book I’ve read that takes place in Tibet (the other was far more serious) and I enjoyed the detail that went into it. Blissful Land packed the herbs, medicine, food and culture into the story, and because Khang Zhipa and Moshi Rati were strangers to each other’s culture, we got to listen in as they explained it to each other without feeling like it’s an info dump.
Zhipa has a lot of heart and potential for his age. Rati is resourceful and hardworking. Parts of the story already hint how well they will complement each other. Both are young and learning to grasp the idea of being together. I keep expecting some nasty surprise to pop up, but it’s been wholesome.
Perhaps my only complaint is that I can’t tell the parents apart from the teenagers!
As far as art style goes, the cover is gorgeous. It’s B&W on the inside, starting out with tonal washes, but progressing into line art, shading, and more typical manga art such as exaggerated facial features. I wish they kept this more consistent, or better yet, make it full colour like the cover. But it does make you wanna take some colouring pencils to the page and do it yourself!
ARC courtesy of NetGalley.