Manga Review – Sakuran

Going off my kick from this article, I requested this the same time I got ‘In Clothes Called Fat’. Who doesn’t love reading about oiren from the Edo Era?


Story: The story follows Kiyoha, a famous courtesan or orian  in the red light district of Japan. She’s wild and free, which made her difficult in her younger years. Rather then breaking down and conforming to the expectations of courtesan’s, she gains a unique charm that takes her to the top. The story is somewhat retrospective and wraps up within 300 pages.

I’m pretty familiar with the idea of the Edo-Era red light distinct, but having a close third person perspective was refreshing. Having images to accompany the story always is a plus. Overall, the story was satisfactory but nothing ground breaking aside from the deeper emotion.

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She’s expressive to say the least.

Kiyoha cries, the ugly types of tears in private and with her guests. She’s not afraid to speak her mind to the other orian, her managers and even telling off her clients. In that respect, it’s great to see an orian character with spunk and sass but does not come off as lowly or trashy.

Her main fault is she has all these emotions and nothing to do with it. She has no goals as a courtesan, or aspirations to be wed. She doesn’t seem to want to buy her freedom, which just leaves us with a spunky character going… no where. Kinda a let down when all the elements of a good character were there.


Art: I love Moyoco Anno’s art style. The bound volume even has color spread pages were are gorgeous. She doesn’t hold back in making the red light district like the ukiyo prints. Very satisfied with the character design and overall image.

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Just… the color, detailing, designs and balancing out all these elements to come together. Doing it in black and white is hard enough, adding in all this color? A miracle.


Other Thoughts/Overall: It’s not a bad series. There’s nothing dramatically awful or off about it to make it ‘bad’ it just… doesn’t go any where. We have all these people, their motivations and some of their pasts and it builds up to… nothing in particular. 

I’m not touting it as subpar, but it’s not as impactful as her other work. If you need a soft start into Moyoco Anno’s works, I’d start here and build up to her other titles.

 

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