May Contain Spoilers
Now that I have a nifty second-hand treadmill, I find myself reading more digital manga. It’s just so easy to march along on the track, flipping pages every few seconds. The workouts go by much faster, I’m getting caught up on some of the series I’ve been neglecting, and I’m getting healthier while I’m multi-tasking. Who could ask for more?
Stepping on Roses has been my manga crack for a while, but the final volume has been moldering on my iPad for far too long. I booted it up, clicked Start on the treadmill, and had the most entertaining 20 minutes in a while. All of my gasping, eeewwwws, and ahhhhhs kept Poppy pretty entertained, too. Every time something unexpected happened in the story, I couldn’t help but make some weird sound, which kept disturbing her as she snoozed on the sofa. Bumble couldn’t have cared less, but I don’t think Poppy enjoyed the last volume quite so much.
Sumi has been fending off Nozomu, telling him that they can’t be married until he’s legally divorced from Miu (I mean DUH!). Soichiro is performing manual labor in his efforts to work his way back up the ladder so he can take back control of the family business again. His luck is finally starting to take a turn for the better when he helps a foreign businessman by translating for him when he can’t make himself understood in a business negotiation. With a new job interpreting for the foreigner, Soichiro and Sumi are pleasantly surprised that they are able to see each other again when Nozomu has business dealings with the man. Nozomu, not so happy. In fact, evil Nozomu makes a reappearance, and he tries, yet again, to force himself on Sumi. You’d think this guy would learn, but no. Instead, he chases Sumi away, straight into Soichiro’s waiting arms.
While I was happy that Sumi and Soichiro were finally able to be together for a passionate interlude, I wasn’t quite so happy with how rushed the story felt shortly after. In a fit of jealousy, Nozomu confines Sumi to his house, and arranges to have their wedding in just two weeks. That’s when things got really weird. A trip to visit Nozomu’s father yields very unwelcome news for Nozomu, which would have made his marriage to Sumi socially unacceptable. (I’m trying not to spoil this!) He disregards the revelation, determined to finally make Sumi his. Ugh and eek! Soichiro zooms in at the last second to save her, and Nozomu, from this disastrous union, and tra-la-la! The story’s OVER!
While I was disappointed with the last two raced through chapters, overall, I loved Stepping on Roses. It is a soap opera at it’s best, with one misfortune after another befalling the sweet, likeable Sumi. The melodrama has been epic, and I have enjoyed both loving and hating on the characters, especially Nozomu and Eisuke. Soichiro finally got a clue, but he almost got it too late to save his relationship with Sumi, and considering how messed up that was at the beginning, it’s a wonder that everyone managed to score a happily ever after, and I do mean everyone. That at least was fun, but the big reveal of Sumi’s real family? Not so much.
B+ for series overall
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?