Hello everyone! Today we’re reviewing a cute little shojo series! Stepping on Roses is a charming little gem of a series that I found while perusing the shelves of the library last week. It’s a charming little shojo series that takes place in the twenty-fifth year of the Meiji era in 1892. It’s written by Rinko Ueda and began in 2007. It recently finished last year in April and consists of nine full volumes.
This series has all the elements of an old traditional love story. When I first ranted to my mom about it, she told me the plot reminded me of her old black and white classic romance films. It’s about a poor girl who marries a rich boy. End of story right? Well, it’s not that simple and the characters don’t fit as stereotypically into the shojo tropes as I thought.
Our bright and shining protagonist is Sumi Kitamura. At the start of the series, she’s only fifteen and already living with a little group of brothers and sisters consisting of orphans that her gambling good-for-nothing brother picks up on the streets. Sumi’s role is to take care of them while her brother goes out to “make money.” After being caught up in some really bad debt, she’s crestfallen.
Enter Sumi’s prince, Nozomu Iujin, who hands her a handkerchief and some money on the streets, begging for money to buy medicine for her younger sister. However, Nozomu isn’t actually our hero and his presence is only a glimpse of what Sumi dreams… At Sumi’s most precarious moment, Soichiro Ashida appears and offers her a deal. Sumi is to marry him, and he to become her husband, but she is never to love him and he tells her he will never love her. In desperation, Sumi agrees, but being the wife of a rich man isn’t as easy as she thought it would be.
The overarching plot of the series focuses on a lot on the power struggles between rich families and the business relationships they tentatively hold in secret alliance with or against one another. A lot of romance and drama revolves around Sumi, Soichiro, Nozomu and Nozomu’s future wife Miu. Sumi first fell in love with Nozomu but grew to love Soichiro. Miu married Nozomu through an arranged marriage, but she is deeply devoted to her husband. And despite Soichiro’s cold and callous exterior, he can be really sweet and caring to Sumi whose kindness and generosity touches him as the series progresses.
If you’re looking for a classic shojo manga to read for a little while, this one is worth looking into. The art style and layout leans to an older design but Ueda’s manga style is just so flawless. I especially love the way she draws close-up shots of the characters, the detail is gorgeous. Some manga artists have an apt for drawing one gender over another but Ueda’s character designs are really well done making the characters easily distinguishable and significantly memorable. The art is really captivating.The first half of the series consists of Sumi settling into the world of aristocrats, learning etiquette as well as the roles that come with being Soichiro’s wife. A lot of comedy is thrown in there with Sumi’s lessons as well as her interactions with Soichiro. The plot builds up to some intense drama once you pass about volume four and the story twists towards the end but the series is really so as a whole.
I hope you shojo fans enjoyed this. Totally give this series a chance, it’s really worth it!
What are you pondering today?