By Maki Enjoji
ISBN: 978-1421559346 & 978-1421559353
Chiwa Takanashi’s father has screwed her over. She’s stuck with paying off his debts and is forced to work not one, but two jobs. Her first job as an office lady isn’t that bad, but she moonlights at a hostess club. She never has time for a boyfriend, but she’s determined to pay off the debts. One evening a man requests her at the hostess club and tells her to quit. Taking him as rude, Chiwa tells him off. The man happens to be Hokuto Mamiya, the president of the Mamiya Company where Chiwa works during the day, and Chiwa’s fiancé. Due to a connection in their families’ pasts, Chiwa and Hokuto have an arranged marriage. Chiwa accepts only to get her father out of debt and Hokuto does it to remain in charge of the company. The pair move in together, but they realize they have more problems with each other than basic newlywed issues.
Romantic comedies are fraught with arranged marriages, because they are prime territory for humorous hijinks. Maki Enjoji’s manga is a cute Cinderella-type story, except the heroine has more tenacity and drive. The situation is cute, but the characters are more than a little confusing. Chiwa spends as much time deciding whether she likes Hokuto as she does seeing if the relationship is worth continuing. It could be chalked up to her young age and inexperience with men, making her more empathic with readers. Usually men are just as much to blame for communication issues in romantic comedies, but Hokuto is a pretty straightforward character and is just as confounded by Chiwa. In volume two, he does get possessive and reveals he might have a double motive in marrying her.
The art is light and airy without the wild kawaii embellishments in joisei’s little shojo sister. While the art is not dripping cute, it is average for manga. It is suitable for the story’s lighthearted plot and moves the story forward.
Volumes one and two set up the characters’ personalities and dramatic tension for future chapters. Happy Marriage?! will make any romantic comedy fans happy.