Cinderella-type stories are a staple of shojo manga, and an ongoing rags-to-riches series is Ueda-sensei’s Stepping on Roses. Set in Meiji Era Japan, it does get ridiculously melodramatic with two uber-handsome, uber-rich young men going after the pure-hearted heroine, but readers will get to enjoy seeing the characters work out their angst in fancy European gowns and in Japanese-style outfits. (For those interested in my review of Volume 6, click here.)
Back Cover Blurb
Soichiro’s reputation becomes tainted when Sumi’s true background is exposed, and even his position as president of his company is threatened! Sumi feels terrible for the trouble she’s caused Soichiro, so she decides to leave him. Will Soichiro choose to let her go, or will he forsake everything for her instead?
Soichiro and Sumi haven’t gotten to the point where they’re saying “I love you,” but actions can speak louder than words. With the resolution of the Eisuke embezzlement scandal, it’s clear Sumi and Soichiro’s marriage is more than a contract of convenience to both spouses, and all the romantics should be satisfied by the result. (By the way, Komai’s reaction to Soichiro’s declaration is quite cute!)
The way Chapter 41 concludes, the series looks as if it could end right there, but the story continues with the couple’s new life among the city’s poor. Of course, we have the comedy of Soichiro adjusting to pauper lifestyle, but the main driver to the plot is Nozomu’s continued obsession with Sumi. Kujo finds himself at the top of Ashida Products – just so Nozomu can pull the rug out from under him. Nozomu seemed cold when he announced his divorce in Volume 6, but Ueda-sensei makes him even more ruthless–and gives him a slick new hairstyle to match.
Amid Soichiro’s struggles and Nozomu’s scheming, Ueda-sensei chooses this point in the story to sprinkle in pieces of Sumi’s past. The way those bits of information get revealed practically scream “reunion with long-lost relative.” Still, it remains to be seen how all the concerned parties will become aware of and piece together that information. By the way, the flashbacks (and the bonus manga) reveal a side of Eisuke that readers who are exasperated with the irresponsible sweet talker will find entirely unexpected.
Soichiro finally embraces his feelings for Sumi, but it’s not happily ever after yet. He’s now the one adjusting to a completely different life as the couple winds up in the tenement houses. Rich-boy-going-to-rags is the stuff of comedy, but Nozomu’s continued obsession for Sumi and his ruthless efforts to force her into his possession keep the melodrama going.
First published at the Fandom Post.