Sunday, April 7, 2013

Manga Review: Stepping on Roses, Volume 9, by Rinko Ueda

Rating (Out of 5): 2
Publisher: VIZ Manga (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 9
Spoilers?: YES!

Goodreads Synopsis:
A rags-to-riches romance from the creator of Tail of the Moon!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 fool high society into thinking she's a proper lady? Moreover, is it worth giving up everything for this sham of a marriage?

Sumi tries to get Soichiro’s company back for him, but she doesn’t realize that he’s about to embark on a life-changing opportunity. Meanwhile, Nozomu is hellbent on marrying Sumi regardless of any consequences. Can anything stop Nozomu at this point? Or will Sumi and Soichiro find a way to be together?

Reads R to L (Japanese Style) for teen plus audiences.

What Am I Going To Miss?:
What am I going to miss about this series, now that it's come to an end?

  1. I will probably miss some of the drama, just because that was something I read this series for, even if it wasn't very good at points.
  2. I don't know what else I'll miss about this series. I would say the characters, but I didn't like the main ones, and I didn't very attached or get to know the few that I did actually like enough to miss them.


I’m not… I’m just not even sure with this series anymore. I will say, though, that I’m glad it’s over.
(There will be complete spoilers in this review. Full spoilers. This is the last volume, it upset me, there will be ranting, there will be spoilers. Okay? Okay.)
So in the last volume, I was hoping that Sumi would buck up, actually do something, stand up to Nozomu. That… didn’t really happen. First of all, Nozomu attacked Sumi in this volume, and, good for her, she actually hits him and runs away. And then has sex with Soichiro. Also, good for her. Nozomu, throughout all of this, though, is literally going psychotic. After attacking Sumi, he chases after her and axes his way into a room, only to find it empty. Then he almost/actually threatens to shoot Soichiro. Also, good for Soichiro, in that he plans to climb his way back up in society on his own.
Then Nozomu brings Sumi to meet his father and declares that they’re getting married soon, be damned the fact that he’s still supposed to be married to Miu. Sumi doesn’t like it, but apparently has no say in the matter, seeing as how no one listens to her. And then, ohmygod you guys, Nozomu’s father visits them to tell them that Sumi is Nozomu’s long lost sister (remember how Eisuke, Sumi’s brother, found her abandoned in a rose bush when she was younger? Yea, apparently that was important, even though I don’t remember it being mentioned aside from in an extra story).
And this is where everything goes downhill, rapidly (not that it was going all that well before this, really). Whereas most people think that would end a relationship, it doesn’t hinder Nozomu’s plans any. He’s still planning to marry her. And she still goes down the aisle with him! He even makes it so she doesn’t have to say “I do”, because the priest/pastor/whatever has been told that her silence is agreement. She doesn’t do anything to stop it but some mild protests before the big day. Everyone is freaking out, but Nozomu apparently doesn’t give a damn.
Throughout all this, Soichiro has been offered, by his very nice new boss, to go to England with him. Soichiro is seriously thinking about it, and it made me wonder for a moment (doubtfully, because it was barely even a possibility that he was leaving Sumi), but he shows up at the wedding, barging in and whisking her away (right before Sumi and Nozomu got to kiss, so I guess that’s the part that actually makes it official? Whatever). And that’s… that, I guess. He just steals her away at the wedding and Nozomu’s done fighting. He’s just given up, after everything he’s done. (Part of this seemed a bit rushed, so I'm not sure if this is what she had planned, or she had to draw it to a close early, or what. But still.)
One bright part about the ending: it’s super cheesy and not surprising, but Sumi ends up with Soichiro, Soichiro gets a good job, and Sumi gets to open up a school for children.
The bad part honestly, really, pisses me off. I thought, was hoping even as I doubted it, that Nozomu would get put away or something. I mean, he’s psychotic, okay? He tried to kill Sumi, almost raped her, was forcing her into marriage despite it being incestual and him already being married, threatened/almost killed Soichiro, got Soichiro out of his job and poor, and several other things, I’m sure. All of that happened, okay? He needs to be put away.
And yet, for some reason, he gets a happy ending. He ends up back with Miu, who happily takes him back despite everything he's done to her, is having a kid with her, and despite deciding to keep his distance from Sumi, still believes that they have some special bond. He writes Sumi a letter, and her and Soichiro seem very happy with the outcome, too.
I just don’t get it, you guys. How does that work? Why is it okay for Nozomu, the goddamn psychopath, to get a happy ending? Why… just why?
I don’t understand.
So, there were lots of things that I didn’t like about this series, but that really just pushes the limit. I liked the drama of this series at points, I wasn’t a big fan of Sumi or Nozomu, but I liked Soichiro enough; Eisuke was alright, I liked the kids, and my favorite was probably Komai (the original butler). At this point, I’m just glad this series is over and I can be done with it.

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