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! :)
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.