In Maria-sama ga Miteru: Margaret ni Ribon, White Day is approaching and Yoshino, Shimako and Yumi have all gathered at the Rose Mansion to plan a way to return the chocolates that they received on Valentine’s Day. They decide to buy candies and make small bags that they will decorate. As they decide on the forms, materials and decorations of the bags, each conversation leads into a short story.
The first story picks up with the current life of former Rosa Chinensis, Mizuno Youko, first-year law student, but forever meddler and onee-sama to everyone around her. Youko’s determination to be a completely different person – say, someone like Sei – fails utterly.
Then we take a moment to look at former Rosa Foetida, Torii Eriko’s, relationship with Yamanobe. This story was the best in the book, as she meets, befriends and ultimately agrees to be rivals with, Yamanobe’s daughter. It was a short story, but very touching and beautiful. We get to see a side of Eriko we’ve never seen before. Great story.
Sean will be happy with the next story, as we follow former Rosa Gigantea, Satou Sei’s, side of the trip to Italy with Kei, her decision to not see or be seen by Shimako, and her immense satisfaction with the parakeet joke. ^_^
Then comes a very short, but absolutely excruciatingly adorable vignette as the three Rosas (and yes, although Rei and Sachiko have not yet graduated, they are acting Rosas) consider dropping the “-san” from each other’s names. While they do manage to call each other by their first names only, they mutually decided that it’s pretty much too embarrassing, so they scrap the idea. It was brutally cute. ^_^
In the course of their conversation, Shimako offhandedly refers to her personal situation that I never told you when I reviewed Kira Kira Mawaru, because it was a spoiler. I am going to continue to not tell you, because it continues to be a spoiler.
The next two stories follow Yumi after she leaves the school. In the first, she runs into Shizuka, who has returned home for a funeral, and in the second she makes her hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year) to an Inari shrine with Touko.
The last story follows the adventures of Yumi’s blue umbrella after she loses it in Rainy Blue. In ten days it is witness to several lives in transition. ^_^ We learn that the person who sewed it up was a guy – he chose pink because it was a cheerful color and he didn’t have blue. ^_^
In the Afterword, Konno Oyuki comments that she didn’t actually set out to name the book after two Shueisha comic magazines (Margaret and Ribon), really. But she realizes that no one will believe her anyway. ^_^Also, she addresses the issue of Sachiko’s graduation and whether this series will end. Do I tell you what she said or not? Do you really want to know? Let me know!
Art – 7
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 2
Overall – 9
This was probably my favorite of all the short story collections. The stories were fun, touching and we got to see the former Rosas just a bit. A wonderful book to sit and read on a beautiful spring afternoon. ^_^