My Happy Marriage stars a heroine who is anything but happy. Miyo, in true Cinderella fashion, lives with her abusive stepmother and stepsister, and a father who doesn’t care about her. In a land where some families pass down giftedness, Miyo is the member of the family without a gift.
Much of the first volume concentrates on her unhappiness. There is one boy she likes, Koji. However, in this historical tale, the father arranges marriages for his daughters, and he sets up the wicked stepsister with the boy Miyo loves. This makes Miyo all the more heartbroken.
The father engages Miyo to Kiyoka Kudo, a handsome young man of 27 who has been engaged multiple times. The engagements are always broken off, so Miyo assumes that Kiyoka must be cruel.
When she’s with him, she finds him quiet and contemplative, but not cruel. In fact, he’s nice to her, and takes her out. He treats her better than she’s ever been treated, or at least since her mother died. Is it possible that she’ll finally find happiness?
The whole idea of the gift, which is central to the world this takes place in, isn’t explained very much in the first volume. However, toward the end, Kiyoka mulls over the gift that Miyo’s mother’s family is known for, and this picks up the intrigue. This gift, if you want to call it that, can obviously bring about a lot of damage to others, and may even be affecting Miyo.
Sometimes in manga romances the characters just get thrown together and fall in love immediately. That doesn’t happen here. The manga is described as being a “slow burn,” and that feels accurate. It is subtle and quiet and seriously minded, but it is gradually building itself up.
The first volume includes a short, brand-new prose story by original author Akumi Agitogi. Sweet natured, fairy tale-like and slowly paced, My Happy Marriage looks as if it could progress into a story full of magic and wonder. The manga is published by Square Enix Manga, while the original light novels are published by Yen Press, and the series is receiving an anime adaptation.
Original Concept: Akumi Agitogi
Art: Rito Kohsaka
Character Design: Tsukiho Tsukioka
Translator: Jasmine Bernhardt
Publisher: Square Enix Manga
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.