Mangaka: Rinko Ueda
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Ongoing with 5 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 4/5
Living in the Meiji Era, Sumi Kitamura's life is quite difficult as she lives in poverty and has to take care of all the orphaned kids that her brother brings home. Racked up in major debt left by her careless, idiotic sibling, Sumi needs to find some cash to feed herself and the children. The only way to get some money is to sell her body.
Purchased by a wealthy young man, he is willing to pay off all her debts and buy food for her family if she agrees to marry him. The only rule to the marriage is for her to not fall in love with him. Why would she fall for a selfish guy like him anyway??
Manga fans may recognize Ueda's other work, Tail of the Moon. This is the first time I have read from this mangaka and there is one reason why I have avoided her mangas up till now: her art. Not that it is horrible, but the way she draws the male characters always made them seem retro. If you glance at the cover right now, you can sort of see what I am talking about if you are familiar with how manga art was a couple of decades ago. The only reason why I decided to pick up one of her series now is because I had nothing else to read at the bookstore.
I found myself enjoying this manga quite a bit as I was reading. There are quite a few series out with a similar plot. The girl ends up marrying some rich guy for money or being promised at a young age or something like that. I guess what makes this series a little different from the rest is that it is taken place in the Meiji Era (aka the Victorian Era of Japan). It was entertaining to see Sumi being shocked by the Western culture and customs since she is from a low class. She hasn't pushed any of my buttons yet but I hope she does not turn out to be an annoying character later on in the series.
I am looking forward to see what happens next. What plays a big factor in the beginning of this series compared to others is that Sumi already likes someone else, which is her husband's best friend. I can pretty much guess the ending since it likely won't stray away from the cliche plot but I want to see how everything unfolds for this one. Since it is an ongoing so far, I hope there aren't too many volumes in Stepping on Roses.
I recommend this manga to anyone who likes this sort of plot (girl marry guy for other than love) and who would like to read a series based on the Meiji Period.