"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.