Stepping on Roses Vol. 1 by Rinko Ueda (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

April 2, 2010 by  


“Stepping on Roses” is a manga series that is a lot of fun and like previous Rinko Ueda mangas, is as delightful, well-written but also drawn beautifully.  The dramatic elements plus the humor is well-captured in this manga series and I can’t wait for volume 2!  “Stepping on Roses” vol. 1 is recommended!

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© 2007 Rinko Ueda. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Stepping on Roses Vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Junko Ueda (上田 倫子)


PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: April 6, 2010

Poor Sumi Kitamura… Her irresponsible older brother Eisuke keeps bringing home orphans for her to take care of even though they can barely afford their own basic needs! Just when Sumi’s financial problems become dire, wealthy Soichiro Ashida enters her life with a bizarre proposition – he’ll provide her with the money she so desperately needs if she agrees to marry him. But can Sumi pull off fooling high society into thinking she’s a proper lady? Moreover, is it worth it to give everything up for this sham of a marriage?

From Rinko Ueda, the creator of “Ryou”, “Pump Up!” and “Tsuki no Shippo” (Tail of the Moon), comes her latest manga series “Hadashi de Bara wo Fume” (which translates to “Stepping on Roses Barefoot”).

Serialized in Margaret Magazine back in 2007, the series is currently ongoing in Japan.

And now, the manga series titled “Stepping on Roses” will be released in the  U.S. courtesy of Viz Media’s “Shojo Beat”!

“Stepping on Roses” is set during the Meiji era (1890’s) and revolves around a poor family.

Sumi Kitamura is a person who tries to take care of her orphans while her brother Eisuke, a well-known womanizer and gambler, tries to earn money but instead causes more debt for Sumi and the others.

With people wanting their rent money or money owed and Eisuke gone, things become more difficult for the family when her adopted younger sister Tomi becomes sick.

But because she has no money, not one doctor wants to see her.

And as she becomes more desperate, she is helped by a wealthy man who gives her money and giving Sumi a chance to purchase medicine for Tomi.  And from that moment, Sumi can only dream of the man who helped her and realizes she has become smitten with him.

But before she can have this dream of this man she had met, a furious man comes to her home and saying that her brother Eisuke has taken his woman and now he will take the kids away and sell them to a foreign country, Sumi begs for him to let the children go.  But the man wants his payment.

When Sumi tells the man that she will get the money, she decides that she will need to sell herself in order to make money.

But when she goes to town and one drunken man tells her that he will buy her but he will pay her later, she starts to realize the man is up to no good.  As he goes to strike her, a wealthy man named Soichiro Ashida ends up buying her.

But the reason for Soichiro to buy Sumi is that his father is dying and in order to get the inheritance, he needs Sumi to do her best and pretend that she is his wife.  But it’s going to be tough as Sumi can not read, she is uneducated and is not sure how to be among the wealthy.

But with the help of Soichiro’s butler, Gengoro Komai helps to train Sumi and prepare her to look good in front of the wealthy.

But it’s a tough life for Sumi.  Soichiro often treats her as scum but as an agreement, he will take care of her family, as long as she lives up to her deal of pretending to be his wife.  And for the children’s sake, Sumi will do all she can to make sure they are taken care of.

But can this poor teenager pretend to be among the wealthy and pretend to be Soichiro Ashida’s wife?  And what happens when she meets the guy who helped her when Tomi was sick… Nozomu Ijuin, Soichiro’s childhood friend?

As a big fan of Rinko Ueda’s work, “Stepping on Roses” is a fascinating series that may have a banal storyline of a poor girl trying to be among the rich.  Yes, it may have the feel of the film “Pretty Woman”, but in the case of the manga series, the setting is during the Meiji Era, a period of excellence and this is not a short term ruse, Sumi must do all she can to pretend to be a perfect wife for Soichiro Ashida.

And the series has its humorous elements, primarily because Sumi is unrefined.  She is illiterate, she is really not so aware of the practices of being among the wealthy and this is where Gengoro Komai comes in to help train her.

Eventually, Sumi can look the part but can she learn how to be among the wealthy and not disappoint Soichiro, especially knowing that if she fails, her young orphan siblings will not receive the care they need?

And what happens when she finds out that the “knight in shining armor” that came to her rescue was Nozomu Ijuin, the childhood friend of Soichiro?

Suffice to say, “Stepping on Roses” is a manga series that is a lot of fun and like previous Rinko Ueda mangas, is as delightful, well-written but also drawn beautifully.  The dramatic elements plus the humor is well-captured in this manga series and I can’t wait for volume 2!

“Stepping on Roses” vol. 1 is recommended!

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