So it’s a Sunday (yes I know it’s not a Friday as usual), and welcome back to another manga review! I’m going to review Hadashi de Bara wo Fume as you can see on the title of this post. This manga is 57 chapters long, considerably long for me but not the longest that I’d take on if it’s a really good story I’m into such as Kamisama Hajimemashita and Hana Yori Dango, which are both well over a hundred chapters.
I completed the manga within a day, something I consider a feat because I don’t usually speed through my mangas that quickly. I only don’t put down a story unless it has a huge drawing factor to it and you know that feeling on how it makes you want to know more and more after the end of a chapter? Yup, this manga had it. After the first two or three chapters, I was hooked and sped through the story, not even concerned about sleeping even though I was reading well into the “late-zone” for me, which was about 1am and beyond. But I did manage to put down my tablet and get to bed.
Hadashi de Bara wo Fume is written and illustrated by Ueda Rinko and its genres are Drama, Historical, Psychological, Romance and Shoujo. In my opinion, this story felt like a Hana Yori Dango-meets-Hapi Mari story with rich male protagonists who become the female protagonists’ husbands, businessmen male protagonists and a marriage between poor female protagonists and their rich male counterparts that occurs as a result of ulterior motives and not because of mutual love.
Kitamura Sumi is a young girl who lives in poverty. Sumi has an older brother who uses his attractiveness to entertain rich older women, thus earning money from them and resulting in multiple older girlfriends who lust after him. He has a strange compassionate habit of taking in young children left out on the street though and passing them to Sumi, who takes care of them all, albeit a little reluctant because of financial constraints and not because she hates children. She ends up being the “elder sister” to five young children, who all love and adore her as she tries her best to put them before herself and support them.
One day, Sumi and her siblings are unable to eat or drink anything due to her older brother’s terrible habit of spending his money on useless items, leaving them with nothing to survive on and she goes out onto the streets to beg for some money. Upon discovering that one of her siblings has come down with a fever, Sumi begins to tear up as the people around pay no attention to her and offer no help whatsoever. Boy, these people must be really incompassionate. She is helped up by a young man who is finely dressed and offers her a handkerchief, as well as some money. He tells her to smile and with that, he leaves. Sumi begins to see this young man as her saviour and her prince.
One day, upon witnessing her older brother grabbing his things and making a run for it from the landlord, she finds out that her brother had tried to pick up the landlord’s woman. In his rage, the landlord threatens Sumi to send away her adopted younger siblings to another country if she doesn’t pay up and Sumi vows to sell herself. She enters a district whereby older men go to and she gets hit on by one almost immediately. She is saved by a handsome young man who offers to pay her whatever amount she requests for in exchange for her body. In desperation and pulled by the money, Sumi agrees and goes away with the man.
This young man is Ashida Souichirou and after taking Sumi to his home, he gets her cleaned up, as well as dressed up and offers her a proposal: she becomes his wife, he pays for everything else to support her younger siblings as well as the housing rent. There is one condition though: she is not allowed to fall in love with him. So basically, Sumi is presented with a contract marriage in exchange for money. Now where have I seen this before? Oh yes, Voltage’s My Forged Wedding hahaha. Okay, not the money part, the contract marriage part. Also, cue Hapi Mari.
Sumi flashbacks to the times with her kids and thinks of their smiles. She comes to a conclusion and agrees to marry her proposer. At the wedding, Sumi will meet the prince again – Ijuuin Nozomu as we come to know him too. From that point onwards, her life surrounds adapting to her high-society life, dealing with her new cold husband, getting to know Ijuuin better and breaking the contract by eventually falling in love with her husband. Will Souichirou ever come to love her back? How will Sumi fare in high society as someone who came in completely knowing nothing, not even how to read or write? And as she gains the favour of a certain person, how will she face it and deal with the people who oppose her marriage? On top of all that, how will she and Souichirou deal with the uprising plans on taking over Souichirou’s company? Read this manga to find out.
After completing this manga, I found that even though I really liked its story, I agreed with some comments and remarks that I’ve read online about it. These comments and remarks are some issues that we (as readers of Hadashi de Bara wo Fume) have.
[ALERT: SPOILERS AHEAD]
Most of the readers, me included, had issues with the ending of the story. We felt that there were a bunch of loose ends that weren’t properly tied up. The ending felt rushed and abrupt, which was a sudden stopper on the pacing throughout the whole story. At the end, suddenly the antagonist changed his ways within a chapter and became normal again. What… in… the world…? Are you telling me that Ijuuin’s persistent nature was suddenly mellowed down just after that one setback? What happened to his psychotic nature? Was he even given treatment? How is it possible that he and Miu could still be together after what he had done to her? I don’t know, I just feel that the ending made Ijuuin seem like an inconsistent character and it doesn’t do him justice 😦
And what happened to Komai the butler? I know that he’s shown to have a happy ending but is that really the best ending that could’ve been possible for him? And I kind of want to know more about him, what is his back story like? Apparently he was not important enough for us to know that much about a fantastic supporting character like him *shrugs*
Also, couldn’t they have shown us a better ending story for our main characters? I know it’s brilliant that they managed to set up a school for children and even have a kid of their own but I feel that it was too quick. Couldn’t the mangaka have sent out one more issue of Hadashi de Bara wo Fume to show a longer, proper epilogue of the characters that we’ve followed for so long and kind of grown attached to? Hmm, apparently not.
As for the last issue about the manga that others have complained about: again, it’s about having a dumb female lead be the object of desire of two rich, desirable young men. People have said that with such an annoying and dumb female lead, they grew annoyed at her and dropped the manga entirely. Well I’ve read many manga stories featuring dumb female leads so I don’t have much of a problem with that unless they’re really, really dumb. An example would be that female lead from Heart by Takada Rie. But to me, Sumi is just genuinely sweet and simple-minded.
But in conclusion, I really enjoyed reading this manga. It’s just a pity that it could have done so much better to end off everything. Here’s a comedic scene between Sumi and Souichirou for you guys:
So to end off my review, I present to you guys once again, my evaluation score sheet:
Story line: 7/10 (Because majority of the story was pretty hooking. Only the ending was the crushing disappointing abrupt end)
Chapter length: 6/10 (Within a range of 26-33)
Leave a comment below on your views of this manga if you’ve read it before and if you haven’t, tell me what you think of it after reading this review of mine! I’d love to hear your views because we all have different preferences and it’d be fun to read and see what you guys think. I’ll see you guys in the next review 🙂