Hana is a normal teenager who goes to school normally, that is until she gets ran over by a car... or did she? Suddenly she finds herself in a weird place, and finds herself in the Red Light District... in EDO PERIOD?! She just wants to get back to her own time. She gets mistaken for a Prostitute and has to escape. She was not expecting to be saved by a gentleman, but suddenly she ends up in a house for geshias but then ends up being bought by the same guy who helped her earlier?!
Yoshiwara Hana Oboro is one of those mangas that I just read for fun in the evenings before I fall asleep. This manga is really short so I was able to complete it. I have a few things to say about this manga...
[Some weird rant]
I know this manga is targeted towards young girls, and these type of romantic shoujos often have a similar thing in common: trust into shady people and they will end up being decent and loving. The love interest of our protagonist is an owner of a brothel, but he is a really good guy. Somehow.
I don't say that just because someone
is a brothel owner that they are bad, or a scenario like this couldn't happen, but I don't know if it's really smart that these shoujos often make characters that are often seen as bad, and then paint them with a romantic rose color. (some other examples kaichou wa maid-sama, love interest is basically a creep or Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji where the main character ends up into a fake relationship with a person who only exploits her and shames her.)
The problems that could rise from these could be that young girls trust into wrong kind of people and end up getting hurt. It's great that they teach girls not to judge, but you should inform a police if someone stalks you, you shouldn't start working in a brothel, bad people who exploit you and say they hate you won't magically start to love you if you cling on to them and you should be on your guard around a vampire. I'm just saying, being safe is not a bad. Life is not a shoujo-manga.
Maybe I'm over analyzing. I mean, bad boys obviously sell? And it's not the medias job to raise our children. I said what I had to say, don't shoot me down for it. There just seems to be so many people saying that this and that is bad for young girls, but I haven't heard anyone bringing this subject up. let's assume for the sake of this argument that young girls follow examples from fiction and media, IMO these things can do more harm for your children than some sexy video game characters, but what do I know.
Overall I liked this manga. It didn't seem to have too distinct art style, but at least it stayed consistent and there wasn't many drawing errors, at least I didn't notice them. Small details like tea ceremonies or historically accurate celebrations were an awesome plus.
The setting of the story is kinda rough. As you can tell, it's about Yoshiwara and it's brothels. It doesn't try to paint a beautiful picture, but it gives so much more insight what being a prostitute in Yoshiwara really was like, the good and the bad. There was pride even in being a lady of the evening in Yoshiwara. That part of the manga was probably the most well handled. Just like you would probably know, prostitute does not exactly describe a "working girl" in Yoshiwara that well. There was so much more than just, well, selling your body.
I liked the plot, even if it has kinda been done many many times before. I'm not going to spoil anything, but the last chapter felt really rushed. It made me go "Really? This happened?" and it was a small let down. It was weird that the main character forgot all about her goal and wasn't really bothered by it. You could argue that she came to terms with things, and that her goals changed but I think it should've been shown a little better.
The romance aspect of this manga was kind of a let down, there only some moderate amount of it. I wanted more.
And then there is the ending which was really rushed... I get the feeling that before the finale chapter, the artist got the news that the manga has to end and they had to rush everything and it really did hurt the story. That's a real shame, but I have to give credit where credit is due, when you compare this to other series that have to suddenly stop, it was handled surprisingly well. The story was finished and plot got sorted, even if some things felt a little bit too convenient and a bit out of place. You could see what kind of a direction the manga was supposed to take if it would've had more chapters.
This was a decent ride. It was nothing special, I wouldn't say this was a waste of time, but it was not a masterpiece either. It was short and sweet, and gave a different perspective in things. The historical setting was interesting and had great little details so it educates the reader. Those looking for something fun, but with serious matters and a fair amount of romance, this is a great read.