Sumi Kitamura is the second eldest in a parentless family of six. One day after her older brother leaves town, her younger brothers and sisters are taken away. The only way for her to get them back is to make a lot of money fast. On her quest to find money, a man offers to give her the money if she marries him...
At first, I wasn't very sure I'd enjoy this manga. It started very suddenly, giving the reader no chance what-so-ever to get used to the rapid storyline & threw the reader into the happenings right away. What I assumed to be a bad thing at first, soon developed to be one of the story's main strenghts: the sudden change of scenery, the rapid pacing of the Storyline & twists and turns that give it its special spice. The further you proceed in the Story, the deeper the characters and the main storylines get. What seemed to be a pretty usual and ordinary storyline full of stereotypical characters soon develops into a beautiful, slightly melancholic & sad touch and deep story that is able to make the reader cry, smile and excited. Especially the Art Work caught my Eye. It's simply magnificent. Everyone should at least take a Look at this great manga. I promise you won't be disappointed.read more
First, let me say my opinion of this manga when first seeing the cover and the plot summary.
I thought that, " Well, it's gonna be one of those marriage agreement thingy and one's gonna fall inlove w/ his/her partner... since this is shoujo might as well expect it. But, I'm gonna give it a try... just one try, ".
I WAS WRONG. SO WRONG IN SO MANY WAYS.
I never knew this manga had the PYSCHO thingy in it which was so beautifully expressed! The characters portrayed themselves very well. Especially, Nozumo and Soichirou.
At first I was like, " Yep, Nozumo's attitude's gonna be like this, " but NO! It was on a total different level! And personally, I didn't like Soichirou's predictable and overly used character at first, but THEN! It was like I was slowly falling inlove with him.
I couldn't even choose between the two of them! Both drawn maturely and professionally.
Sumi's character was very lovely as well. It couldn't go wrong in any way. She was so mature. I looked up to her in every chapter of the manga.
The manga started simple at the beginning and suddenly confusing but confusing in a GOOD way. At the end of the manga, I didn't even expect a plot twist!
My journey reading this manga was full of emotions. Some happy, some sad and some I just don't know how to express.
I was really sad that it ended at Chapter 57. I don't even care if it goes until 500!
I finished this manga in a day and regretted how I only read it until now. This manga is on par with Faster Than a Kiss for me.
I really love this manga and people should give it a try.
And of course, my overall review of this manga is a perfect 100. read more
First of all, I had pretty hard time getting the name 'Hadashi de Bara wo Fume' right. I don't know why. I'm sure I have been able to memorize even more complicated Japanese phrases. Anyway, let's get to the point.
This manga had initially been a decent read but right on from the fifth volume, it got downright annoying. The first two volumes were too fast paced. It took me some time to digest the happenings. On the contrary, the volumes that follow were equally slow paced. The story was getting kind of repetitive and the characters were getting on my nerve. Just when I thought something 'sensible' would happen, the author dragged the story back to where it was. And by the time I reached the 39th chapter, I have had it enough so I decided to drop it once and for all.
S T O R Y (7/10): The plot is nothing special in my opinion though it still has some potential but thanks to poor character development and fluctuating pace, it got ruined. The backdrop is Meiji 25. We have the female protagonist, Sumi, from an extremely poor background. Her elder brother is a womanizer and an epic fail at gambling. He keeps on getting owned by his fellow gamblers and loses whatever money he manages to get by seducing women with his pretty face. Moreover, he brings home abandoned kids to feed in an attempt to make Sumi happy so that she doesn't feel lonely (now this is what I call the limit of idiocy. How on earth did he figure out that something like that is going to make his sister happy when she herself is starving?). Sumi being an extremely kindhearted woman takes pity on the kids and adopts them as her siblings. When one of the kids falls ill and Sumi has no money for the treatment, a young man comes to her help, and Sumi immediately gets infatuated with the 'prince'. Later, her brother runs away from home to escape the rising debt. When Sumi gets threatened that her siblings would be sold off to a foreign country as slaves if she doesn't pay off her debts as soon as possible, she makes up her mind to sell herself to make quick money. When she almost gets raped by a man who had no intention of paying her, she is saved by Ashida Shouichirou, a wealthy young man, who offers to give her money in exchange for marrying him. Also, he places a condition before her: There will be no love between the two. Having no other way, Sumi agrees and realizes that she has 'stepped on roses barefoot'. While on the brighter side, she becomes rich overnight- expensive dresses, elegant parties and mouthwatering delicacies which she could have never imagined, she is also faced with odds- a cold husband who will never love her, an unfaithful society full of conspiracies where money and power matter, and above all, her 'prince' whom she never expected to meet again turns out to be her husband's best friend, Ijuuin Nozumu. The predicament begins when Nozumu falls in love with Sumi or I should say, gets obsessed with her, putting Sumi in a bind.
Pretty interesting story even though it is somewhat clichéd. However, one requires patience to continue. The story gets cheesy. If that's what you're looking for, you may like it. If not, you will get frustrated like me.
A R T (7/10): The art is the typical shoujo style but not that great in my opinion. The excessive blush hides the characters' facial expressions. On the other hand, the hair, the clothes, the architecture and other things are beautifully drawn.
C H A R A C T E R (6/10): The characters are clichéd and as the series progresses, they get annoying, especially the female protagonist, Sumi, and the male antagonist, Nozumu. Initially, Sumi had my pity but later on, she got on my nerves, to the point that I found myself cheering on Nozumu's jealous wife when she attacked Sumi. Speaking of Nozumu, he doesn't love Sumi; he is just plain obsessed with her. I don't know what the author wished to portray- obsession or love. If it's the latter one, I beg to differ, you don't kidnap your love and let them die in fire.
E N J O Y M E N T (6/10): How much you will enjoy this manga depends on what you expect from it. If you expect a cheesy plot in which the girl romances with two handsome guys and is unable to decide with whom she really wants to be, then you may enjoy this manga. However, if you're looking for a concrete plot with good character development and a strong female protagonist, you will end up losing your interest.
O V E R A L L (6/10): Not worth of recommending in my opinion. Enough said. read more
To start out with the positive aspects to this manga, what probably pulled me into the story was the way the fashion or clothes are drawn. This is as the story is set in the Meiji era and therefore it is interesting to see both very beautifully drawn traditional Japanese and Western clothing incorporated into the manga. Sumi (lead female character) also clearly comes over as very pretty through the drawing style. Yet sadly these few perks are unable to outweigh the problems which I have found with this manga.
Beginning with the pacing of the story, it truly throws the reader around, which does not help at all to try to create an emotional connection between Sumi and the reader, or for that case any other character either. Partially also the pacing's fault is that the character development appears as inconsistent. Characters seem to change, but only to revert back the next instant, something that is obviously confusing. Moreover each character does face their own traumas or radical changes in personality, however these seem poorly expressed, through the fact that it is used, but without great depth to it and just cast aside or ignored when of no use to the plot. This is also what makes the story so predictable from the very beginning, the plot is character driven, but the characters themselves are predictable! It should also be noted if one does make use of psychological profiling of the characters, it should be consistent and "reading in between the lines" should let the reader try to figure out how each character is influenced by an event and why they act in a certain way. The essence of ambiguity and uncertainty to how the antagonists in the story would act, is something that is completely lacking in this story.
These are just some of the spoiler free inconsistencies I would like to mention in the story, as there are many spoiler related things I could add, especially about how there are quite a few occurrences that are just plain out not fitting to the time period. There are many things that can stretch the boundaries of a manga in a good way, but for this manga which is supposed to be rather serious, there are just too many loose ends to be understood as charming.
The most disappointing thing about this manga is especially that it could have so much potential for a more enthralling and gripping plot, as well as characters. If you are looking for a manga that will grip your emotions and keep you internally screaming at the most important moments, then this is certainly not the one. I would not recommend to read this manga, as there are so many better shoujo romance mangas out there, that deserve so much more praise then this one, and have far better developed plots and characters that are able to take hold of the reader without letting go. read more