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Manga Reread: Hapi Mari [Chapters 21-30]

Other Names: Happy Marriage?!
Year: 2009-2012
Author/Artist: Maki Enjoji
Genre: Josei, Romance, Comedy, Drama

Reviewer’s Note: This review is based on the Aerandia English fan translation project. It contains non-explicit sex scenes and adult themes. Beware spoilers below.

Chapters 21-30, we see numerous revelations. Hokuto’s ex-girlfriend attempts to sow descent between Hokuto and Chiwa. Chiwa does her own investigation into how Hokuto’s mother died ahead of her own ex-boyfriend Asahina explaining what happened in college. And finally, Hokuto and his father talk for the first time in years after it was revealed earlier that his old man has a terminal disease.

Several of the story arcs that were introduced in chapters 11-20 are continued in this week’s reading. Whilst we see some resolution in that regard, there are still the ongoing hangups of Hokuto and Chiwa. The life-changing choice by Hokuto to take over Mamiya Tourism is one that will play out alongside the main arc regarding the death of his mother. Whilst I am well aware of how this plays from my previous reading of this story, the tension and foreshadowing remain.

For those that have been following along with the reading of this manga, what are your predictions for the remaining ten chapters? Feel free to post them in the comments section along with your reasoning. Note that if it involves an alien invasion or oni attacks, I will shake my head in shame. 😀

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Manga Reread: Hapi Mari [Chapters 11-20]

Other Names: Happy Marriage?!
Year: 2009-2012
Author/Artist: Maki Enjoji
Genre: Josei, Romance, Comedy, Drama

Reviewer’s Note: This is some nudity this time around. If you don’t like sex scenes… well, why the hell would you read a josei romance in the first place? Maybe watch Pingu instead or something. Hah! Take that! *frowns* Now I made myself sad. I like Pingu.

Warning: Spoiler alert.

During chapters 11-20, we see Chiwa meet Hokuto’s terrible family, and her get kidnapped by thugs paid by one of his assholes cousins. In the ensuing chaos, Hokuto and Chiwa finally get jiggy with it. Chiwa’s father gets into more financial difficulty and she takes it upon herself to get a job. There, she is reunited with one of her former boyfriends because… drama!!! Chiwa and Hokuto then vacation in Okinawa before yet another avoidable lover’s quarrel. After attending a family business-related meeting, Chiwa get into an argument over starting a family because… drama!!!

There were a lot of ups and downs during this week’s ten chapters. The introduction of the Mamiya family was a huge factor and we saw just how much Hokuto’s grandfather lets his family get away with. He comes off as a weak character in spite of being the head of an entire family and business conglomerate. The introduction of the other family members creates an interesting family dynamic, one that understandably pisses Chiwa off. Whilst these interactions with the Mamiyas provide some over-the-top drama, they do help progress the storyline and allow further character development for Chiwa and Hokuto.

However, we still see some of the following convenient elements:

  • Small World for Ex-Boyfriends: Chiwa seems to meet a lot of exes in her travels.
  • Mean In-Laws: We see this played out so often in manga series. Whether in Shoujo or otherwise, it seems that all rich in-laws are assholes.
  • Sexually Aggressive, Horny Husbands Club: It is self-explanatory. There is a lot of pushing onto beds.
  • Spouses that don’t talk to each other: Seriously, most of the drama in a lot of these mangas are because the couples aren’t open with each other. That being said, it is a cliche that most readers of shoujo and josei have grown used to because it would be boring if the couple could immediately work things out.

In conclusion, chapters 11-20 of this reread saw a lot of action in regards to moving the storyline on and in character development. It also saw Chiwa and Hokuto’s characters becoming more of a couple, a desirable trait for a mature romance story about a married couple. All in all, a memorable and action-packed ten chapters.


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Manga Reread: Hapi Mari [Chapters 1-10]

Other Names: Happy Marriage?!
Year: 2009-2012 (for completed series, not just the chapters reviewed in this post)
Author/Artist: Maki Enjoji
Version: Aerandia Scans (English translation)
Genre: Josei, Romance, Comedy, Drama

I remember reading this series many years ago over at Mangafox. As one of my first introductions to josei romance manga, it led to me searching for more series in the same vein over the preceding years. Since then, I have enjoyed a host of other manga, ranging from romance to horror. Yet, this series remains a personal favorite.

Chiwa Takanashi has spent most of her life in a constant state of work. She works multiple jobs in order to cover her father’s debt. It leaves no time for a social life and she doubts that she will ever have enough time to do regular stuff like dating.
When she is fired unjustly from a night position as a hostess, she soon learns that her boss at her day job needs to marry her in order to inherit the company. He is none other than the guy that had her fired, an arrogant man with little regard for those around him. She initially refuses, but when debt collectors come to the home that she occupies with her dad, Hokuto comes to the rescue. So begins the reluctant marriage of Chiwa to Hokuto Mamiya.

To begin with, the setup is a standard cliche for romance over the past few decades. However, I love the two main characters a lot more than several other series that I’ve read in recent years because their mindsets are relatable. We also see a good supporting character in the form of Taeko.

  • Chiwa is rather tolerant but inexperienced when it comes to relationships. She makes assumptions about Hokuto which create a lot of the drama in the first ten chapters. She also desires more control over her life for various reasons. She thinks that Hokuto desires a marriage in name alone in order to secure his inheritance down the track. She also thinks that Hokuto looks down on her.
  • Hokuto is also tight-lipped because of not only his family background but also out of necessity due to work. This unwillingness to reveal certain parts of his life also means that Chiwa often resorts to asking other people about him, such as Taeko. Learning to be more open with Chiwa is a big hurdle for somebody just as independent as she is.
  • Taeko Souma is Hokuto’s childhood friend and secretary. She is also an occasional cross-dresser. She is a standout because of how she helps Chiwa and Hokuto to get to know each other. She also has a bit of playful mischief to her.

To the artwork, whilst it was similar to a lot of josei that came out around the same time, the character designs are solid. Whilst it wasn’t special, the artwork did its job well. I could easily tell characters apart, the backgrounds had sufficient detail to convey locale and mood and it didn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out. This latter point is important if you want a person to continue reading your series.
To the plot, we saw a few things happening in the first ten chapters. However, the drama wasn’t drawn out for too long. This gave the story a feeling of progression rather than stagnation. The most important factor is how these elements allowed Chiwa and Hokuto to start trusting each other. Whilst the pair still have a long way to go in the story, they are beginning to see each other as a partner to lean on.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed returning back to Hapi Mari. Whilst I am some way from finishing this reread, I can see why I took a liking to it in the first place. I really look forward to rereading the rest of the series over the coming weeks.


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Manga Review: Hapi Mari

Genre: Josei / Romance / Drama / Comedy

An anime stylized eye.

An anime stylized eye. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Installments: 40 chapters in 10 volumes (English translation via MangaFox)

GIST

Working two jobs to pay off the huge debt of her economically-retarded father, Chiawa Takanashi has pretty much given up on all hope of finding a meaningful relationship. This all changes when a rather strange man requests her at the host club she’s recently started work at. Meet Hokuto Mamiya, grandson of a businessman that was in love with her grandmother during his youth. He makes a rude comment provoking her and has her fired. The next day she learns that he is her superior at her full time office job. She is quickly given the choice by his grandfather of marrying Hokuto in exchange for the paying off of her father’s debts. What’s in it for the rather egotistical potential husband? He inherits control of the entire corporation if he is married to Chiawa. So begins a rather bizarre love story about a extremely honest office girl and an egotistical but good-hearted alpha male.

CONCLUSION

I was actually surprised with this manga. I had read a chapter mid-way through more than a year ago, but had dismissed it out of hand because I was missing some important back-story. When I returned to it a few weeks back, I found myself drawn in because of the two protagonists. Chiawa is a brutally honest character that is forced to keep the marriage a secret for sometime to keep Hokuto’s reputation intact. He is a lady’s man that is determined to stay faithful to Chiawa even though the two didn’t marry for love. But over time the two grow attached to each other. The readers have to deal with Hokuto’s occasional sadism that is directly linked to his jealousy, but we can deal with these bouts because Chiawa is a rather outspoken and strong adversary. The plot regarding Hokuto’s bloodline and the death of his mother when he was a child also helps strengthen their bond. The dialogue between Hokuto and Chiawa adds to this dance.

If you enjoy a Harlequin-style romance with an occasional dark edge to it, then the Hapi Mari manga will probably appeal a lot. There is more than enough drama to keep soap opera fans something to gnaw on for days. The plot is easy to follow and the dialogue adds lots to the character interactions. The sex scenes are somewhat tasteful. The dialogue was quite amusing, adding a lot to the characters. The rare action sequences logically play out as well. Though there were a few moments where the story dragged out a bit, I really enjoyed reading Hapi Mari. Not a bad first experience with a Josei genre manga.

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