Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Manga Review: Stepping on Roses (1&2) by Rinko Ueda

Stepping on Roses Vol. 01 & 02 by Rinko Ueda

Series: Stepping on Roses Volumes 1 & 2 [Manga]
Genre: Historical Romance
Age Group:Young Adult +
Publisher: Madman
Release Date: 10/05/2010
Format: Manga, 200 pages
ISBN-13: 9781421531823
RRP: $14.95 AUD
Cover love? I swoon at this cover, because the art is absolutely GORGEOUS. So delicate and beautiful.

From Rags to Riches
Poor Sumi Kitamura. Her irresponsible older brother Eisuke keeps bringing home orphans for her to take care of even though they can barely afford their own basic needs! Just when Sumi's financial problems become dire, wealthy Soichiro Ashida enters her life with a bizarre proposition: he'll provide her with the money she so desperately needs if she agrees to marry him. But can Sumi fool high society into thinking she's a proper lady? Moreover, is it worth giving up everything for this sham of a marriage?


This is my first manga review on the blog, and I hope it will be the first of many to come. I’ve loved manga ever since I was introduced to it five years ago. Sometimes silly, and sometimes serious, but always enjoyable, manga is a form of Japanese art that is appreciated by comic lovers all over the world. 

Manga is usually found in black-and-white volumes, with beautiful art that depicts captivating stories read right to left. I’ll share a secret: I love the fresh smell of new manga volumes, and the feel of the jacket art, the special paper. It brings back fond memories of my early manga-reading days, which have unfortunately become sparser as I’ve grown older.

Stepping on Roses is a historical manga, with the traditional characteristics of an Asian drama: Sumi is a beautiful but poor 15 year old girl who takes care of young orphans that her wayward brother brings home. In a moment of desperation, drawn through poverty and her brother’s affinity for gambling, she consents to selling herself to a rich young man, Soichiro. But Soichiro has different plans for her. He forces her to marry him in order to come into the inheritance of his dying grandfather’s wealth. Sumi is forbidden to love her husband, but she begins to fall for her husband’s friend, Nozomu, who is the handsome young man who helped her once before. Meanwhile, Soichiro is secretly trying to set Sumi up with Nozomu to tarnish Nozomu’s name, but finds himself starting to fall for her. Sumi soon finds herself in a whirlwind love triangle….

Rinko Ueda’s artwork is beautiful. Stunning. Gorgeous. S-e-x-y, in some parts (as with most manga). I admire the way Rinko Ueda brings her 2D characters to life, with elegant costumes that evoke the Meiji Era setting. Sumi, of course, is innocently perfect in every way, the typical Japanese heroine, and the two boys are drawn very very well. Soichiro is tall, dark and handsome, with good looks that contrast Nozomu’s blond pretty boy features. Here’s a look at the two awesome volumes I read:
Sumi and Soichiro (husband)
Sumi & Nozomu (NOT husband)
The colouring has changed for Sumi's hair and eyes, and I don't like that she looks like Nozomu's sister, but how pretty are the cast? Anyway...

The storyline is a little cliché, with a plotline typical of many Asian dramas I’ve watched in the past. If you’ve watched any Taiwanese/Korean/Japanese/Chinese drama, you’ll know what I mean. Poor, sweet girl marries rich, cold guy for his inheritance, a third guy is thrown into the picture, and both being to fight for the girl. Although a little predictable, I found myself chuckling my way through the manga volumes, because some of the heroine-hero interactions are so awkward (for the characters) and some of the lines were lost in translation. A lot of blushing, awkward accidental touches and meaningful eye lockage is scattered throughout the two volumes that I read, along with the roses, sparkles and hair ribbons.

Albeit very stereotypical (in the way that makes you go face-palm, head-desk, OMG-must-keep-on-reading), Stepping on Roses is addictive. If you’re looking for a shojo, period romance, manga filled with gorgeous leads, Stepping on Roses is perfect, and highly recommended! Swoon...I really really need the next two volumes!


Stepping on Roses Vol. 01 at Madman