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Hadashi de Bara wo Fume
by xfrommetoyou on November 8th, 2009, 1:16am

Rating - 9.6 / 10.0

User rating of this review - N/A out of 5
Story/Plot - 5 out of 5
Characters - 5 out of 5
Drawing Style - 4 out of 5
Enjoyment - 5 out of 5
Overall - 5 out of 5

Click here for series information

Plot/Story
Sumi Kitamura is a poor 15 year old girl who looks after a bunch of little children often picked up off the street by her brother - a well known womanizer who has the tendency to gamble and create loads of debts. Sumi, however, treats the children as her very own siblings and cares for them dearly. With one of the children sick and in dire need of a doctor, she begs for money on the street. A "prince charming" figure steps in and gives her money for the medicine, and becomes the object of her infatuation. But, her troubles don't stop there. Their bankruptcy reaches its peak, as her brother borrowed money in order to gamble under her name. Sumi has no choice but to resort to selling herself. A rich man offers to buy her, but in return she must marry him. How will the rest of her days turn out with this man?

The first few volumes give a completely wrong impression - starting out cliche and shoujo-esque with a weak heroine. However, after the next few volumes, it digs deeper into the main character's past, with his tragic family accident that caused them to perish, and to leave his remaining family members to resent him. This manga has wonderful character development, although still retaining some shoujo elements. It has many heart-warming scenes, as we can see the two main character's growing relationship. The character development is slow at first, but, it soon becomes clearly visible. It also throws away the usual "good guy prince charming" appearance for the supporting male character seen in most mangas, as he slowly becomes corrupt to the brink of obssession with the main heroine.

Characters

Sumi Kitamura - The main heroine. Generally a sweet, kindhearted girl who's skill lies in cooking rather than academics due to her poor upbringing. Because of her sweet demeanor, she slowly thaws away Souichirou's coldness - and we can see him slowly becoming accustomed to her presence and warming up to her. In the recent chapters, we can see her slowly falling for Souchirou, as she no longer detests his kisses, and only wishes the best for him. She throws away her infatuation with Nozumu for his sake, as she wishes to perform her role as his wife.

Souichirou - The main hero. Cold, and selfish at first, he marries Sumi only in order to acheive his goal of forming buisness with Nozumu's father's company. He claims that "she is not to fall in love with him, and he to her" in the first few chapters. However, he slowly becomes used to her efforts, antics and her presence within his life - as he soon acknowledges her importance - as seen in the chapter where he even goes to great lengths as facing his fear of fire (due to the tragic housefire that took away his family) in order to save her. He slowly warms up to Sumi, and often blushes because of close proximity - and is jealous when she interacts with other men.

Nozumu - The supporting male character / antagonist (?). He is first introduced as being the "prince charming" figure as he assists Sumi by giving her the money needed for medicine. He slowly falls prey to Souichirou's methods to make him fall for Sumi - in order for his father's company to fall. However, he slowly corrupts from his "prince charming" character to become darker, and more sinister. As his obssession grows for Sumi, the more wild his plans are to posess her.

Miu - The supporting female character. In the later chapters, she is married to Nozumu through an arranged marriage. He, however, does not love her, and dismisses all her attempts of showing affection. She, however, becomes distraught after he kisses her and murmurs Sumi's name.

Komai - Souichirou's loyal butler. He is completely loyal to Souichirou and is acknowledged as being very skillful in his duties. He helps carry out Souichirou's plans, and notices Sumi's and Souichirou's growing relationship.

Drawing Style
Although slightly childishly drawn at times, the expressions are drawn quite well. They are depicted accurately (sad, shocked, embarassed), but overall they are quite nice.

Enjoyment
One of the main things I enjoyed was the steady character development and the reactions. It's one of the things that I think shines from this manga - that we can actually see the characters changing.

Overall
Overall, I really like this story. It has its moments of humor, love, and adorable moments. It also has its mixture of dark moments, that help push the plot along. There are many events that occur, that will keep you reading on (although the first few volumes tell otherwise). I recommend this if you're looking for a mix of shoujo, humor, and romance.
 
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