The story follows Kiyoha, sold into a brothel as a child and forced to work as a maid and her rise to prominence as one of the top-ranking courtesans in Yoshiwara. The allure of the "flower and willow world" as it was called by artists in the day is underscored by the very real tragedy, heartbreak and difficult lives led by those seemingly glamorous courtesans. Will Kiyoha's fox-like wiles give her a chance to break free of her gilded cage? Or will her fighting spirit ruin her chances of ever escaping the brothel?
Sakuran seemed to be an interesting series from what I read in the summaries. I have to say, or a 13 chapter-long story, this really towered over my expectations.
The story is simple and almost a slice of life about a prostitute in Feudal Japan. It depicts the struggles of the main character and shows the process as to how she became a prostitute and how she learned the "techniques". Very simple, yet very enjoyable. Very interesting, especially, for people interested in history :)
Not a big fan of the art. Most of the time the drawings looked awkward to me, though there were a
few times where the artwork simply was stunning. I have to admit, while the faces and bodies aren't the best, Moyoko Anno sure knows how to draw kimonos and hair. Those parts really made up for some of the lower-quality faces drawn every once in a while.
Most characters were pretty harsh and weren't very likeable. But this was also very appropriate characteristic for everyone, since the only one that lives in luxury is the one that gets to the top. Everyone has to compete for everything, and if you make on mistake they are bound to spread it about. It's really showing how desperate these women are, not only for the money but to escape from their life as a prostitute. Some characters showed sweet sides and were very likeable. Kyouha, our main character, is very tough yet still has a very soft side inside of her. Although I was frustated with how fast she opened up, it also kind of showed how desperate she was to be LOVED. Really loved the characters, even if a few were mean.
I, personally, ADORE history and found this series to be awesome! It depicted the life of a prostitute in Japan and shows a little bit of the darker side of the feudal age. I was honestly upset when I finished the series, since I wanted MORE, but it's already completed... Darn. I wished the series would have explained a few details of their daily lives, but since it's so short I can understand that.
Surprising little Jewel that I found! Something I think people who like history will definitely like! I'm very glad I decided to read this manga and will tell you right now that the time was worth it! Great short series, so if you're looking for some short nice manga this is it! :)
Sakuran: Blossoms Wild is a tale from the Edo Period of Japanese history. It focuses on the pleasure quarter, Yoshiwara, with our female protagonist named Kiyoha. As a child, Kiyoha was sold to a brothel, where she worked as a maid until she could rise to a prominent position of a courtesan.
This book was a re-read for me. I originally purchased it many years ago. Initially, I loved everything about the manga. But after eight years of reading and evolving, I can safely say that I don’t feel the same way about it. While I still enjoyed it, I no longer feel it’s the greatest
stand-alone manga ever.
The facets that make this manga very good consists of the story. It’s presented very honestly and doesn’t shy away from exhibiting the more candid and less romanticised existence of a prostitute, even high-ranking ones. We get to see the roles that these prostitutes played in society, particularly where men are concerned. Most of the men were turning to these women as a means of retaining some air of relevancy during an era of great change. The purchased affections they received brought them more meaning and self-worth than they would find elsewhere.
Kiyoha is brilliantly flawed. She’s unrelenting in her stubborn behaviour and she never ceases harbouring her secret desire of running away. Growing up surrounded by women who were sensationally popular and wanted by all men, near and far, taught Kiyoha that loneliness and sadness will find you. There is no way to truly escape the internal agony that comes with being a courtesan. While you may appear to be draped in luxury and pleasure to everyone outside of the brothel walls, inside you were nothing more than a prisoner of circumstance and fate; you led a miserable existence filled with such severe hopelessness.
The examinations of brothel life and the significant role that women played, even as piece of property, were fascinating to me. It makes for a contemplative and riveting read, to an extent. The inconsistent illustrations and overall lacklustre execution ends up detracting a lot from the story.
Some panels are exquisitely drawn, particularly the coloured pages. Yet any scenes involving sex or nudity, take on an artisitc change to be more cartoony in nature. This undermines the serious subject matter. But I can also see this as a way to present how silly the women believed sex to be, especially in the ways that it manipulates the feelings of men. Nonetheless, it’s a bit jarring and unpleasant. The differences in character designs are also capricious. Some of the women are very easy to tell apart, but then a new chapter begins, and depending on the scenario, it’s almost impossible to tell one woman apart from the next. This occurs with young men as well.
Other minor flaws includes the romance that Kiyoha has. It is blatant insta-love induced via a sexual response by being with a guy who actually knows what the hell he’s doing. It was so unbelievable and ridiculous. There is very little plot progression outside of watching Kiyoha grow up and deal with her “love,” even that doesn’t sprout up until you’re about fifty-percent of the way finished.
Sakuran is a good manga if you are interested in a realistic depiction of the Yoshiwara pleasure district and what life was like for these women during a tumultuous time of change, but in reality, you can find books with much more flesh and merit somewhere else.
There are two types of people in the world: ones who accept their fate and others who deny it. Through their denial, there are attempts to escape and sometimes it can lead to an unyielding willpower or withering to death. At first our main character, Kyoha, has unyielding willpower, but by the end readers can see that her fiery personality is slowly dying for she has been entrapped in the brothel.
In the first few chapters, readers are introduced into her childhood and how she insisted on finding love and eventually leaving this place. She did not want to sell herself and sleep
with men who she did not know; it was only natural she wanted to leave. As she grew older and saw the fate of some of the prostitutes who gave into the idea of love, she saw that instead of it giving happiness to them it only worsened them and in the worse case scenario: they were murdered (metaphorically and physically). At first, her love was good too; she knew her limits and boundaries, but in the end she still suffered from it.
Readers may make an assumption she will remain in the brothel forever as she states something along the lines of "I have nowhere to go, therefore I came back." She escaped briefly to get some finality on her love if he abandoned her. That was when she knew her fate was clear from the beginning; she would never be able to escape and her youthful dream of finding her love was never going to turn into anything with fruition.
I am one of those people who mainly read shoujo, so it always ends up happily. I mean, I like happy endings. In reality, I know that is not often the case. Sakuran is one of those stories which depicts the reality of the prostitutes. There aren't any flowery details; the story is straightforward and flows well. For thirteen chapters, it was interesting to see Kyoha's development into a prostitute, as she learned tips and how she attempted to rebel. In fact one, if not the only, redeeming quality in reading this manga is Kyoha's character. The other characters basically acted as enforcers; none of them were memorable. They were like cardboard pieces to make Kyoha's character more likable. It is rare to find such a strong heroine. The art wasn't hard, but sometimes the females except for Kyoha looked so similar that it was difficult to remember their names.
I would recommend this manga for people who are interested in getting a glimpse of what the lives of past prostitutes in Japan were and who dislike unrealistic endings. I am giving this a six overall, because as I have mentioned before I like happy endings. The realism and hopelessness made me give this a six. The reason I read manga so much is to escape such sad realities after all. One thing I learned for sure through reading this is that I am very glad I was not born in that era.