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Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 1

(Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥 #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,520 ratings  ·  285 reviews
In Edo period Japan, a strange new disease called the Red Pox has begun to prey on the country's men. Within eighty years of the first outbreak, the male population has fallen by seventy-five percent. Women have taken on all the roles traditionally granted to men, even that of the Shogun. The men, precious providers of life, are carefully protected. And the most beautiful ...more
Paperback, 203 pages
Published August 18th 2009 by VIZ Media LLC (first published September 29th 2005)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  2,520 ratings  ·  285 reviews

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Start your review of Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 1 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #1)
Dave Schaafsma
I read this because Faith Hicks said it was great and because I thought the idea of it bore some resemblance to Brian Vaughn's Y: The Last Man. It's not a unique subject, I Am Legend also deals with this topic (and adds zombies…). In this story, set in the Edo period in Japan, a plague has destroyed something like 75% of the male population. Some of those (elite) males continue to be housed in Ooku, a special, highly secret set of chambers which is essentially a male harem… so there's gender rev ...more
Seth T.
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ōoku: The Inner Chamberss by Fumi Yoshinaga

It all began in seventh grade, as I perused my Nintendo newsletter and discovered that in Japan they had an NES called the Famicon and that the Japanese were able to enjoy new releases sometimes years before we were able to in America. Then, in tenth grade, I discovered Marvel's publication of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira. And then Akira, the cinematic adaptation. And then I saw pretty much every film Akira Kurosawa ever made. Then I read Shogun. Then I saw Princess Mononoke in theaters. Then everyth
Aisyah ♡
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars-wohoo
The best political, edo, (reverse) harem manga (complete with beautiful graphics) I've ever read! Currently I'm up to speed until the 7th volume and still waiting for the good people of internet to update the later chapters of the 8th volume.

The story is intricate and have a lot of twists and turns with various people plotting their way to gain powerful alliances, governmental position and ultimately control the (current) shogun who's occupying the throne. My fav character is most definitely th
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comix, feminist
I've taken a couple stabs at reading Y: The Last Man since I have a few friends who are really into it and I think it is based on an interesting concept, but I feel like the writing in it is not that great and kind of borders on weird sexism, so I've never been able to buckle down and plow through the series. Ooku deals with a similar concept, a severe plague kills off the majority of men in feudal Japan, but is so, so brilliantly written and amazing. This is one of the best written comic series ...more
Zen Cho
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Akemi G.
I have read the Japanese original down to Vol. 11, and also read the English translations that are out so far. Although I don't usually rate/review manga/comics/graphic novels, I'm making this an exception -- it's worth to be an exception.

* The premise of the story: 5 stars
It's a kind of SF set in Edo period (early 1600s ~) Japan. A fatal infectious disease that affects only young men sweeps the country, reducing the male population to a quarter of the female's. How can this affect the society,
Elizabeth A
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphix, 2015
Book blurb: In Edo period Japan, a strange new disease called the Red Pox has begun to prey on the country's men. Within eighty years of the first outbreak, the male population has fallen by seventy-five percent. Women have taken on all the roles traditionally granted to men, even that of the Shogun. The men, precious providers of life, are carefully protected. And the most beautiful of the men are sent to serve in the Shogun's Inner Chamber...

Holy smokes, but how have I not heard about this man
Bleh. This sounded like a cool idea at first, but it wasn't my thing at all. Very boring, the "formal" writing quickly became tiring and I didn't care for any of the characters. I gave up on it somewhere halfway through it. ...more
Amy Thorne
Oct 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
You don't need my review. There are tons of very competent and well written reviews raving about this comic. And with good reason. It is extraordinarly fascinating. For those unfamiliar: a plague has wiped out something like 80% of the male population in Japan; all positions of authority, from heads of household right up to the shogun are now filled by women. A whole new spin on sexual politics, now. Men are obviously valuable--first and foremost, at a mechanical level, for reproduction. But als ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: awesome-read, mangas
This is one of these mangas which are very much a niche mangas. You have to like history and historical novels. But you also have to have a bit of a understanding of Japanese history and especially the era it's set in. Even though everything is explained well.

This manga is set in a Edo period, or at least it starts off there, and the majority of men (as in male) are killed by a disease. Now all positions formerly held by men are now taken over by women, even the one of the Shogun.

The first manga
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-reads
I really liked the artwork but the story was really boring and hard to fallow.
Carla Speed
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is so much better than you think it will be. Don't just read this one-- the dexterity of the author's alternate-history becomes more apparent as time goes on. She is not creating a random even in Japanese feudal history and then allowing things to take their narrative course, she is keeping her story within the bounds of historical fact.

Gender-swapping seems all shiny and new in this treatment, rather than the scraggly, white-bearded trope that it is. OOKU is a genuine attempt to create a
130811: very interesting series, very japanese take on the loss of men in historical era, due to some disease striking only young men. makes me think of last man, but i like more the manga art of this series…

by now i have read seven volumes of this series gradually less and less interesting…
Jillian -always aspiring-
Very, very interesting.
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
At first glance this is very similar to Y: The Last Man and while I did enjoy those, Ōoku is telling a story much more intriguing to me. I think maybe because it is written by a female we're missing those moments of annoying sexism that were pretty prevalent in Y: The Last Man. Also, in Y the decimation of the male population is much more present. Here, we're 80 years past the first case in a time when some people don't even remember when there were just as many men as women. So we're focused le ...more
Sue Moro
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: manga
Written as an alternate history, Ooku tells the story of Japan during the Edo period after a plague has wiped out 75% of the male population. Woman, who outnumber males five to one, have now assumed the roles of power once held by their male counterparts including that of shogun. Men, who are highly valued for their seed are protected and considered the more fragile of the species.

As the story opens, eighty years have passed since the initial outbreak which appears to have been isolated to Japa
Sep 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Excellent alternate-history of Japan as a country where the male population has been cut down to 1/2 of the female population. Women do all the work and hold nearly all the significant roles...except for the powerful men of the Ooku, or inner chamber (think 'male harem').

This is not 'just another gender-reversal story'--it's thoroughly set in early 1800s Japan (with plenty of historical and cultural detail) and the intrigue has some originality to it (though one can't escape the 'jealous rival'
Jun 16, 2010 rated it liked it
hmmm, well, i liked the premise and thought the way that things developed was intriguing.but i had a really hard time visually telling the characters apart. also the "Old English" used as a translation for Edo period Japanese was a real irritant to me. it didn't fit and at times was hard to understand. also, i wish there was more character development (might have made the similar looking characters easier to tell apart) and that the plot, i dunno, DID more. it stayed really domestic, which i gue ...more
Steffi ~mereadingbooks~
I'm slowly entering the manga mindset again and this was pretty cool. An interesting take on speculative fiction and gender roles. Although it took me some time to get into, I'm completely in love with how it turned out. Four stars because I want there to be the possibility of improvement for the next in the series. ...more
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I. Loved. This.

It was so fun and fast and the characters were all interesting to get to know and how would a society function if almost all the men died but it was isolated to that one particular country? Surprisingly politically complicated while also being funny and thought provoking.
"Well, that's the news from Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are heirs of the Shogun." ...more
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
I don't remember why I decided to pick this up after I shelved it on my Goodreads TBR in December 2018. However, after a highly successful read of A Bride's Story, Vol. 1 (see: I figured another historical based manga was probably a good idea.

And it was, mostly, a successful experiment.

The artwork seems detailed and accurate to the period (based on my, admittedly, amateur google searching - which was fun enough to recommend this manga). When our POV her
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
The concept of this manga is so fascinating, and the execution doesn't disappoint. There was a small look into the beginnings of the epidemic, and the subsequent world building was fantastic. It didn't take me long to be absorbed into the world, and to really start to understand what was going on, not only with Japanese society at the time, but with the inner workings of the Ooku.

I was engrossed in the journey that the main character of this volume went on... and now I'm so desperate to find ou
Cw: attempted sexual assault

Because I love this series so much, I find it difficult to write a review for it. Ōoku is an alternate history of Japan where 3/4 of the male population were wiped out due to a pox-like plague. Despite the shortage of men, hundreds of men live in the inner chambers of the palace, to please the shogun. Traditionally male and female roles of the 1700s in Japan are now flipped in society, leaving this place with female shoguns, tradesmen, and heads of family.
There's a
Lisa Pett
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, manga
Similar in plot theme to Y The Last Man, a virulent virus has killed off 75% of the male population of feudal Japan. Women inherit all the leadership and administrative roles, including the Shogun. Healthy, fertile males are valued as precious commodities, with poor women lacking access while the Shogun fills her inner chambers with the most beautiful male concubines.

The English translation of formal Japanese seems a bit stilted but the story is strong. This does make me want to pick up the next
I clearly only read enough of the description of this book to see "a disease kills 75% of men, so now women are in charge" because I was very surprised/disappointed/annoyed at how dude-centric this was. And then! The main dude that the first few issues are about just up and disappears two thirds of the way through! I actually started liking it a lot more then, because the focus switched more to the new female emperor. If the book had been about that from the start, I probably would read more of ...more
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adore the way Yoshinaga's gender reversals in Ooku shine a spotlight not only on historical gender, social, and political issues, but on contemporary issues as well. The translation was masterfully done: the use of quasi-Elizabethan language created the necessary formality of the era. One caveat: Ooku is probably more accessible if you have some grasp of Tokugawa Era Japanese history. ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This author/illustrator's sensitivity and skill are beyond anything I've come to expect from court intrigue and romance stories.

Smart, tasteful, quiet but not without tension --this book surprised me because I saw it compared to Brian K. Vaughn's 'Y the Last Man' series but this book is very, very different. Personally, I struggle to connect to Vaughn's characters, which I think stems from his tendency to treat them as vehicles for story as opposed to the story emanating from character. Convers
Fumi Yoshinanga’s Ooku, the first installment of a Magna series is an interesting variation; a Japanese Samurai era, post-apocalyptic world where most, but not all of the male population has died off. It is beautiful to look at but the characters are stiff and the dialogue too formal. The emphasis is on the manners and styles of court life but no one ever seems to unbend. The response of the Japanese Empire to the sudden loss of males for leadership position creates some interesting role reversa ...more
In an alternate Japan, everything is run entirely by women, after many of the men succumb to a disease that affects only males. Men have become highly prized commodities and only the highest-ranking women hope to find husbands. Other women must bargain for a man’s “seed” so that they can continue their family lines. Time passes and soon few people remember what things were like before the epidemic. The only clues are some curious practices that persist – hinting that gender roles were once rever ...more
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Josei and Seinen ...: Ōoku: The Inner Chambers Discussion 1 8 Jun 01, 2013 10:09AM  

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Japanese: よしなが ふみ

Fumi Yoshinaga (よしなが ふみ Yoshinaga Fumi, born 1971) is a Japanese manga artist known for her shōjo and shōnen-ai works.

Fumi Yoshinaga was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1971. She attended the prestigious Keio University in Tokyo.

In an interview, she said that "I want to show the people who didn't win, whose dreams didn't come true. It is not possible for everybody to get first prize. I wa

Other books in the series

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥 (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 2 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #2)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 3 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #3)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 4 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #4)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 5 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #5)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 6 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #6)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 7 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #7)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 8 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #8)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 9 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #9)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 10 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #10)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 11 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #11)

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