I'll come right out and say it, I'm a hopeless romantic so I love to read shojo romance stories. That said, this manga had been on my "To Read" list since 2008? I just never had time to get around to it. I enjoyed it, for the most part, but a lot of it just plain irritated me, as I will describe below.
-After writing this review, I realized that it sounds like I hated this manga more than I liked it. I liked it enough to finish it four days after starting it, but that does not excuse the quality of the story-
Story: Haine dedicates her life and love to a boy who drew a picture book that was given to her. This boy, presumably Shizumasa Touguu is the 'emperor' at the elite highschool they attend (meaning he is the student president). But the acting emperor at the school is [SPOILER] none other than Shizumasa's twin brother, Takanari. [/SPOILER].
I have several issues with the story, namely these:
1) Almost every side character is a straight up homosexual/cross-dresser. I have no problem with homosexuality, and I am not a homophobe, but I am reading a shoujo manga, not yaoi or yuri romance, so it irks me when that kind of stuff becomes the main focus of the story...mainly because I can't necessarily relate to it. Additionally, this it does nothing to further the romance of the main two characters, which is flimsy at best.
2) Much of Haine's self-esteem issues come from the fact that her father is just a straight up jerk. Sure, you find out later in the story that he put her up for foster care because he didn't want to "tie her down the same way he tied down her mother" but that's a really lame reason to give up your daughter, [SPOILER] even if she's not your kid. [/SPOILER]
2a) The story behind her mother losing her memory and therefore forgetting all about her? Don't buy it. Nothing was traumatic enough for that to happen, and it felt like it was forced.
3) Haine strikes the reader as your typical shoujo girl, strong and bullheaded. But breaks down into tears when someone calls her Platinum at the school dance with Shizumasa. There's a little too much focus on what everyone else thinks about everything. I.E. The Media club digs into her past, people call her Haine-sama and Platinum and treat her differently, worrying about her crappy fathers approval. You would think that after awhile she would just say "F*** it, I don't care what you think.", and grow a pair; especially since she used to be a gang member, but she doesn't.
4) The ending. The ending stank on ice. [SPOILER] She marries Takanari, and she and Takanari live in a house with Shizumasa so they can all be together [/SPOILER] ...WTF!?! Takanari and Shizumasa also patch up their relationship much to easily, especially for all the abuse that Shizumasa put Takanari through. The ending really was not very good.
5) The whole archaic mentality behind the twins and a shadow...did not feel that this was strong enough to be the underlying problem that the main couple would have to overcome...frankly, it was stupid.
Aside from these points, it was your average girl-meets-boy, girl is special/goofy/stubborn and boy falls in love with her. I just felt the plot was too rushed and the circumstances surrounding events that happen are just wayyy too unrealistic. Haine is in love with this guy from the get go, and you don't really get to watch their relationship grow at a normal pace.
ART: Tanemura is talented, but many of her characters in this manga looked the same and at times, it was hard to differentiate who's who. I like her art style, but I'm not particularly a fan of the super-huge anime eyes, they're a bit of a turn off.
All and all, I was looking for a nice cinderella story. But having read others like Imadoki!, Boys Over Flowers, Tail of the Moon, etc. it felt like this story was missing critical relationship development and that the ending resolved everything much too easily. I also didn't like that everyone, and I mean everyone, was totally enthralled and in love with the main character.