Happy Marriage?! Volume 8 by Maki Enjoji

I guess I should have paid more attention when I reviewed Volume 4 of this series here, and said this:

Hokuto is still a little too controlling for my taste…

Unfortunately, I’ve gotten to a point where I have to give up on this series. I’ll explain why below.

HM8

Happy Marriage?! Vol 8 Front Cover (VIZ Media)

 

THE PLOT: In this volume, we learn that the couple have now been married for three years (seriously?) Hokuto suddenly decides to make a deal: He’ll give up being CEO and, if he can turn around one failing company in a year’s time, he’ll become the Mamiya heir. In the meantime, someone seems to be stalking Chiwa.

MY TWO CENTS: I should have listened to my instincts when I read Volume 7. There was a moment where the couple was fighting, Chiwa became hysterical, and…Hokuto slapped her. I should have realized right then that I wanted nothing more to do this series, but I thought, “Maybe it’s JUST because she’s hysterical, and that doesn’t come across so well via manga, and…” Yeah, I should know better. You should NEVER try to explain away a slap. Because then, in this volume, he hits her again.

Here’s how it goes down: Chiwa is being stalked, but she’s trying to keep it from Hokuto so she’s no bother to him. (Uh-huh.) But the stalker gets progressively gutsier, pushing her down, causing minor injuries, etc. Chiwa’s ex-boyfriend and coworker Asahina figures out what’s going on with Chiwa’s weird behavior and clues in Hokuto. In the nick of time, the two of them stop the stalker from attacking Chiwa. Hokuto confronts Chiwa, asking why she didn’t tell him, basically bullying her by cutting off her mumbling by screaming at her to “SPEAK LOUDER!” When she tells him she didn’t want to worry him for nothing, he hits her.

To repeat: A MAN HITS HIS WIFE BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T WANT TO WORRY HIM WITH HER SILLY STALKER PROBLEMS.

He follows up the slap by falling to his knees, burying his face in her stomach, and crying about how he wouldn’t want to live if something happened to her. People, this is domestic violence 101…the violent act followed by the honeymoon phase.

I just KNOW some readers are going to try to excuse this. Some might say it’s a cultural issue. I don’t care what cultural background you’re from, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS NOT OKAY. Others might point out that Hokuto is a hot alpha male and he was just so upset and lost control of his emotions and it’s so romantic. To anyone who would even think this, I say: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BY A HOT MAN IS STILL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE! No one, NO ONE, EVER, under ANY circumstances, should try to justify hitting. And it is NEVER ROMANTIC.

Finally, there will be those readers who say, “God, chill out, it’s only a book (or a manga).” I suggest those people think about the books that shape and influence people’s lives EVERY SINGLE DAY. It really only takes one impressionable young person to read this and decide it’s okay to be hit as long as it’s by someone young and hot and emotional.

BOTTOM LINE: I don’t recommend this volume or the series, because HITTING IS NEVER OKAY. The only way I’d recommend it is if somewhere in future volumes Hokuto sees a counselor for his control issues, or maybe Chiwa dumps him. But I really don’t see that happening.

TEACUP RATING: I’m going to go with zero teacups, because DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS NEVER ROMANTIC.

ON SALE DATE: October 7, 2014.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Marriage?! (Volume 4) by Maki Enjoji

Happy Marriage?! Volume 4 Front cover (VIZ Media)

Happy Marriage?! Volume 4 Front Cover (VIZ Media)

I enjoy manga, and I tend more toward shojo, like Fushigi Yugi and Fruits Basket, than shonen (although I do love Rurouni Kenshin). When I saw the first volume of Happy Marriage?!, I was drawn to the plot…a sort of rom-com setup where a young woman is asked to marry her company’s CEO in order for his grandfather to forgive her father’s debt. The young couple had never met, and they don’t exactly foresee a “happily ever after” scenario…but they may be surprised.

THE PLOT: In this volume, the couple is drawing closer, but an incident with one of Hokuto’s family members causes Chiwa to think Hokuto will be better off without her. Her departure causes Hokuto to, at long last, come to some firm decisions.

MY TWO CENTS: I enjoy this manga, and I’m glad things are finally moving along in the couple’s relationship. I didn’t want the misunderstandings and interruptions to go on too long. Hokuto is still a little too controlling for my taste, and Chiwa is still a bit of a basket case, but at least they’re starting to balance each other out. I don’t want to give away spoilers in my review, but readers looking for a payoff should be happy with this volume.

BOTTOM LINE: This is a really cute series if you don’t take it too seriously and try to analyze the characters too much. If you’re looking for a love story manga, check this out. WARNING: This subject matter is intended for mature audiences, and there is some nudity in this volume.

TEACUP RATING: Four out of five teacups. I want to see what’s covered in the last volume. Will the couple finally be truly happy?

ONE SALE DATE: This volume will be available on February 4th, 2014. Volumes 1 and 2 are available now; Volume 3 will be released on December 3rd.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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