A collection of historic short stories, each associated with a karuta card. The stories revolve around the red-light district of Yoshiwara, in Edo.
Okuma is a good-natured, sweet girl, but she is unable to find a husband due to her weight. One day, a samurai defends her from being publicly mocked. Is this samurai her chance to find happiness?
After her father ritually commits suicide, Asagi finds herself in much reduced circumstances. Some of the girls who work with Asagi bully her, and the high-class airs she puts on don't help the situation. All she wants is a way to get back to the lifestyle to which she was accustomed, but all she has is mistreatment and the company of a strange man trapped under a barrel...
Tama is a lost child, and she's taken in temporarily by a family who already has a son, Shirou. Tama can't wait to find her beloved father again. However, finding the place where she belongs may not be so simple for little Tama.
Seiichi is the only one left to protect his princess, Miya. He wants what's best for her, regardless of their feelings for one another. But can he really tell what that might be?
One shots are hard to judge because they are stories condensed into 15-50 or so pages. That said, I think these are four excellent one shots that deserve some recognition if not a review (and my first)
Story: There are four different stories, each one with different stories that stand on their own yet are still connected not just by the world and time, but by towns and other characters. They are short, simple stories but each contains a range of action, romance, family, and just enough to feel satisfied while still wishing you could read more.
Art: The kimono's are gorgeous. Nothing super amazing, but
nothing bad either. (Art is not my strong suit, unless it's particularly awful, I don't notice it)
Characters: The characters were each different enough, especially the girls. I didn't dislike any of them (though I didn't fall absolutely in love with them either). It's difficult to get full backgrounds and fall in love in one shots, but I felt the author did very well considering the time constraints. I still felt like I grew to get some connection with the characters.
Enjoyment: It's an easy read. Each one shot is between 40-50 pages and they stories were all very sweet and cute. I was worried they would all be the same, but each one had a different focus, whether it be a lost child, a larger woman finding a husband, or a girl trying to hold onto her pride after her parents die. I could easily read these again. (On a side note: My favorite was the one with the lost child followed closely by the girl with the geisha story).
Overall: To be sure, this is a bit of a niche category, but the stories to vary. They stories use many historical references, but it isn't a gritty realistic interpretation of historic tales (It is a shoujo, after all). (Spoiler: My biggest complaint comes from the first story in which I was a bit disappointed by the girls change at the end. But that's Japanese society and didn't dictate the man's choice, so there is something to be said for that.)
It's simply a collection of cute stories that are easily worth the short time.
We’re back with another one-volume shoujo review! This time it’s the little-known Edo Karuta by Arare Ame. It’s a collection of four romantic one-shots that take place in Japan’s Edo period. Each chapter opens with the description of a karuta card (Japanese playing cards) associated with the story.
The first chapter “Kimori” is about an overweight girl falling in love with a samurai; the second “Kanrobai” is about a girl who, after being sold into sex work and being mistreated, falls in love with a prisoner; “Maigoishi” is about a lost child being adopted by a high-class family; “Akaishinyo”, the final chapter, is the love
story between a bodyguard and his princess.
Genre and setting aside, these four stories seem significantly different, but upon completion I realized how similar the themes were. And that should be a given, with packaged one-shots like these, but I’ve read so many volumes like this to the point where I forget what they’re supposed to be when done right.
The common theme in Edo Karuta is...
read my full review here: