Sunday, September 11, 2022

REVIEW: My Happy Marriage (manga, vol. 1) original concept by Akumi Agitogi, art by Rito Kohsaka, character design by Tsukiho Tsukioka

My Happy Marriage is a historical fantasy romance manga based on a light novel series. I bought my copy of the first volume brand new.


Miyo Saimori should have been raised as the beloved eldest daughter of the noble Saimori family. Instead, since she wasn't born with her mother's Gift, her father neglected her after her mother's death and allowed his new wife to treat her as though she were less than a servant. When Kaya, his daughter by his new wife, turned out to be Gifted, it sealed Miyo's fate. The best she could hope for was the possibility that her father might allow her to marry Koji, her childhood friend.

Unfortunately, he instead arranges for Kaya to marry Koji. Miyo is sent to Kiyoka Kudo to be his bride. The Kudo family is wealthy and powerful, so normally this would be good news, except Kiyoka is known for being so cold and harsh towards his prospective brides that they've all left within three days of arriving at his home. However, Miyo has nowhere else to go. Whatever Kiyoka says or does, she'll have to bear it. Luckily for her, he's not as horrible as the stories about him and made him seem.

I read the first light novel volume a few months ago, and my biggest complaint was that the writing and story were very, very spare. There was none of the usual light novel bloat, but the author also didn't spend much time on things that could have used more attention.

I had hopes that the manga would be better. In several ways, it was. The artwork was gorgeous, with more in the way of backgrounds than I'm used to seeing in manga based on light novels. The artist did a great job with characters' facial expressions, although for Miyo that mostly meant something in the range of either "sad" or "hopeless." My absolute favorite character was Yurie, Kiyoka's servant, who was adorable in this adaptation. She reminded me of Touko Fujiwara in Natsume's Book of Friends, a total sweetheart.

Unfortunately, it seems like the manga may have inherited some of the light novel's problems. There was barely any conflict, and what was there was generally dealt with quickly. Miyo's biggest concern was that Kiyoka would throw her out when he found out that she didn't have the power or education that one might expect a girl from a noble family to have. Instead of letting readers fret along with her, it was made clear by the end of the volume that Kiyoka found out about everything she was trying to hide from him and was fine with it all. It was obvious early on that Kiyoka was falling for Miyo, and every older woman in Kiyoka's acquaintance recognized it too and gleefully encouraged the match.

Koji's father has only made a brief appearance so far, and Miyo's father is already showing himself to be an idiot who assumes it's a given that Kiyoka will throw Miyo out. Here's hoping the manga can wring something interesting out of the whole "mysterious and powerful Usuba family" aspect.

As in the light novel, the fantasy aspects were very slight. Gifts were mentioned a few times, but we only saw them used on-page once, near the end of the volume.

There's a good chance this isn't worth continuing, but I'll probably do so anyway, because this has a few tropes I generally enjoy ("icy hero who turns into a softie for the heroine" is a big one). I really want to like this series, so I'm hoping one version or another (the anime maybe?) eventually makes that possible. I'll suppose foolishly keep trying until I don't have the willpower for it anymore. At least the manga (and eventually anime) version gives me pretty artwork.


A bonus short story by the original light novel author, in which we learn how Miyo got the comb she used prior to the one Kiyoka gave her.

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