"In the shadow of Japan's opening and cultural change, there are many women and children who are suffering. How long must this continue?"
Japan is one of the first countries in Asia to do open trading with the West, and a lot of cultural influences had gone both way. This is the story from Japan's point of view. Two girls growing up together, one being a daughter of a rich family, the other is the maid who was took in to be the daughter's companion. Mariko, the young lady, and Uno, the maid, had different personalities, but held the same dream. They both wanted to spread
their wings, travel to foreign lands, and stand equal with men. Throughout their journey, the readers can't help but rooting for both of them, even when their self-interest became conflicting.
What I love about Uno and Mariko was that they both yearned for knowledge, and were both ambitious women. If you are looking for a manga with strong female character, this is it.
The story carried on with a quick pace, going over the two girl's childhood and adolescence in about two volumes. This is a story that went beyond the domestic life of woman in the new Japan. In this story, we will see how brilliant women fend for themselves, and defense their place in the society.
If you are like me, and love the classic shoujo style in Glass Mask, Versailles no Bara, Ouke no Monshou, etc., you would ADORE this manga. This is one of the classic style at its finest. I really enjoyed seeing kimono and Western dresses portrayed by Yamato Waki. The composition is clear, and character design very pleasing.
Mariko is brought up to be a refined lady, while Uno is through and through a strong-willed girl. They spent their childhood happily going to school together. Later, they felt in love with the same guy (Shintaro). It was difficult to guess who each girl will end up with, as well as which girl was in Shintaro's heart.
As the story unfold, Mariko, being burdened with her responsibility with the family, had to marry Baron Kai (Ryuusuke). Yet, I wasn't disappointed because Ryuusuke had a brief history with Mariko, and I believed they would eventually be happy. Besides, Mariko -Ryuusuke reminded me a lot of Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. They were always fighting, and had misunderstandings. Mariko never really understood her feelings for Ryuusuke. However, I've only read half of the story, so I am hoping for the best.
Yokohama Monogateri follows an orphan (what a coincidence!) who became a maid for a rich family, her name is Uno (I know what you’re thinking, no, not the cards game). Basically, her family worked for the rich Kanou’s on their farmland but everyone on the farm died due to an epidemic (it seems that Mangaland is FULL of amnesia-related diseases and flash epidemics). However there was one sole and lonely survivor and (I know you’re expecting this because I sure was) and she goes by the name of Uno.
But let’s not get bogged down by the cliché and identical background story of dozens of
main characters everywhere.
So Uno unceremoniously gets to be a maid tending to Mr. Kanou’s spoiled, annoying, young daughter Mariko while getting paid zero wages (realistically speaking).
So time goes by and Mariko and Uno fall in love with guys and vice versa and then they become part of a love triangle and yada, yada ,yada.
This story is superficial.
This story is too sparkly to be read without the use of sunglasses.
This story is unrealistic and not enjoyable. At all.
Where do I start?
-At one point in the story, the slave/maid (Uno) suddenly starts going to school; and please remember dear reader that the story is set in 1875, when even rich girls in Japan DID NOT GO TO SCHOOL!!!!!!!!
How in the world would this make sense?!
-The rich heir to the Kanou business runs away with a geisha (the type of geisha’s otherwise known as: WHORES)
Very realistic Author, please keep that original flow going.
-Uno forgets to do her job in the house (I know how can the family forget to remind her?) and becomes a nurse while still living in the house
Just no comment.
-The main character gets to wear unimaginably expensive (in those days) western-style dresses while Mariko wears traditional Kimonos
I need SALVATION from this madness!
I could just continue forever but I think this is enough evidence for you to think: ‘what the Hell?!’
Yes, I thought that too.
While I could spend this entire review poking holes in the plot, I’d like to instead get down and dirty with some straight cold, hard facts.
There were NO twists. None. Nada. (Enter the equivalent of zero in another language). And as you know ‘no twists’ actually spells B-O-R-I-N-G.
The Manga does not push any stereotypical boundaries nor does it have any controversial content which makes you go ‘Woah! I’ve never thought of that!’ So yes, more boring-ness.
Lastly, there is no suspense to keep you reading the Manga; it’s not like anybody died without the reader not totally seeing it coming, thus all the scenes become rather unsurprising and dull. Nothing like a good Manga (which any of us want to read) should be.
The art was blindingly sparkly, and if Manga were in colour then this story would just be dipped in a tub of pink ink. You can feel the illustrations radiate love and Barbie dolls and… Some more love! The faces and bodies were totally disproportionate.
Look, you simply can’t have me believe that anyone can see through eyes which have approx. 5 cm worth of eyelashes acting like a hairy shield.
Other than the fact that everything was super-detailed (a major plus), the art was repetitive (basically, everyone looked the same). The illustrator didn’t infuse their style into the design of the art nor were the characters themselves unique looking. So the art was just a big could-be-improved-by-a-lot let-down.
In conclusion, the Manga was very 2D and pink and rosy and everything that would end in a Happily-Ever-After way. There is nothing eye-opening, soul-shattering or anything really about this story that makes you love it and it won’t make you appreciate anything new. It’s a very standard Manga that’s there to ‘entertain’ and ‘entertain’ only. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it since there’s nothing here that you haven’t read before or seen before in Cinderella. And unless you want to read about totally un-masculine guys proclaim their undying love to corpses (I’m not joking), I’d say spare yourself the torture to read something else.