I got an email last week asking me what was up with Nanashi, a Japanese human, wearing an Indian sari. It wasn't a particularly polite email, but the question is still valid and I thought everyone else might like to know as well. So why is Nanashi wearing a sari then?
Well, it has to do with her life back on Earth. I've mentioned a few times in various bonus materials that while Nanashi is Japanese, she spent most of her life in India. I've never explained any further than that though, and certainly never in the comic itself, so I don't expect anyone to remember that. This backstory WAS supposed to be in the comic eventually, but as the comic progressed and I realised how long it would take me to do all the little side plots and character explanations that I wanted, I had to cut them back considerably. So Nanashi's backstory was probably never going to see the light of day in the comic, as much as I wanted to include it, barring perhaps in an epilogue. I still keep her character in line with that backstory though, and it shows in her behaviour and attire.
So you know what? Lemme tell you what Nanashi's pre-Earthsong life story is.
Nanashi's father was a trader, working for an important lord, and travelled primarily between Japan and India. One time, a deal went badly, forcing him to abandon the goods and return empty handed. The lord, not being a particularly reasonable individual, punished him by killing his wife in front of him and their young daughter. He fled with Nanashi to India, barely escaping. Nanashi grew up there and her father taught her how to fight as best he could. He hated knowing that his wife's murderer went unpunished, but was more worried about keeping Nanashi safe, and so they stayed away. When Nanashi became an adult, she told him that she was returning to Japan to get justice for her mother, and her father, though hesitant at first, was glad she wanted the same thing as he did.
They journeyed back to Japan and made their plans. They snuck into the lord's house at night and confronted him. Nanashi struck him down, but when she turned to rejoice with her father, she saw that one of the lord's guards had killed him. The anguish she felt then was what triggered her soulstone formation and sent her to Earthsong.
So there you have it! That's why Nanashi is wearing more typical Japanese clothing in the Genesis flashback - she had travelled back to Japan and was blending in. And that's also why she wears Indian-inspired clothing for most of the rest of the comic - that's what she grew up around and was used to wearing. Her red outfit is a modified salwar, btw.
As I said, none of this is ever explicitly mentioned in the comic, so I wouldn't blame anyone for being confused as to why she's wearing a sari. I'm not above criticism for the choices I make in the comic, but I'd like to think that I could be asked nicely about it and be shown the benefit of the doubt before anyone jumps to conclusions.