Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Happy Marriage Volume Two by Maki Enjoji

Rating: WARTY!

This was volume two in a series. I noticed it in the excellent local library and decided to give it a try even though it's not my usual fare, so I picked up the first two volumes (it looks like it runs to maybe half a dozen volumes, but the volumes were not all there, so it was hard to tell. It's a Josei (mature romance) manga about an arranged marriage, but it's not quite what you might think at first glance. Normally I wouldn't go in for this because I'm not a big romance reader. Unless it's done expertly, which tragically few are, it's boring to me. Also I am not a fan of this style of manga, where every character, male and female looks exactly the same and the only way you can distinguish one form another is by clothes and hairstyle. They all have insanely large eyes and ridiculously pointy chins. This one also had issues with assigning the speech balloons - sometimes it was entirely unclear about who was saying what.

Those problems aside, I enjoyed this first volume. The girl, Chiwa Takanashi is far too much of a wuss for my taste, and both of the characters seemed to be as simplistic in their behavior as they were in their art work. over the course of volume one, they seemed to be growing more complex, but over volume two, it was obvious they had not grown at all. They were just as incompetent and stupid in relationships as they had been before they married. Their attitude is juvenile and rigid, especially Hakuto's, and worse, he evolved into a complete jerk and a monstrous control freak, and Chiwa became a passive, compliant lamb. This came to a head in the last chapter of the volume, where she finally decides to get out from under Hakuto's thumb and take a job at a start-up run by an old friend from college. Hakuto refuses to accept her resignation, and then browbeats her college friend into withdrawing his job offer (some friend), and Chiwa completely falls into line with this scheme of imprisonment and control. I'm sorry, but I don't want to read about a slave girl - a woman who is nothing more than a toy doll for a man. I sincerely hope that Japanese women are not like this!

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