Author: Maki Enjoji
Genre: Josei Manga
Series: Entire Happy Marriage Series (books 1 – 10)
The Happy Marriage?! series was my introduction to josei manga. Josei manga is primarily targeted toward women over the age of 18 and deals with “mature” themes. Honestly, if you like old school contemporary romance novels, you will love this series.
In Happy Marriage?!, Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with Hokuto Mamiya, a wealthy company president, in order to pay off her father’s debts. Hokuto agrees to the arranged marriage because he sees Chiwa as another step towards exacting revenge on his family for their role in the death of his mother.
I was annoyed with so many aspects of the Happy Marriage?! series but I could not put these books down. The story is highly over dramatized and riddled with so many misunderstandings that could’ve easily been worked out if Chiwa and Hokuto had talked to each other for just one second. Their characters refusal to communicate was so severe, that they typically used Hokuto’s secretary to relay information to each other. But there was something even more annoying than the multitude of misunderstandings, and that was Chiwa.
Chiwa was an extreme mary sue and a martyr. Every decision that she makes in the series is motivated by some other character’s problems or what she thinks will make someone else happy. She only has one moment where she tries to take some initiative for herself and it gets smacked down pretty quick. I probably could’ve tolerated this a little better if she wasn’t crying every other page. Chiwa cries at everything. At one point, I was actually rooting for Hokuto’s ex-lover because she not only had personality but wasn’t shown bawling over every little thing that goes wrong in her world.
As for Hokuto, he was a fairly standard romance hero, the distant “only your love can warm his cold heart” type. However, when I said that this reminded me of old school romance, I meant hardcore old school. Hokuto is the kind of hero who might backhand the heroine occasionally, but we’re supposed to let it roll off our backs because she’s fine and he’s sexy. Seriously, he smacks her twice throughout the course of these books and yet I still couldn’t stop reading these.
Despite my annoyance with a lot of elements in this series, I’ll give it credit for keeping me engaged. Also, the over-arching revenge storyline was pretty interesting. Even if, most of the time, it was only a tool to fuel Chiwa’s insecurity or as an excuse to get Hokuto to be a dick. All in all, this was an ok series. I would recommend it if you’re in the mood for some crazy drama in a series that you can whip through a few hours.