Volume two of Hapi Mari gets a little deeper into the complicated emotions involved in marriage and self discovery. Mostly though, I think these four chapters focus mainly on the growing jealousy of both of them as their feelings for each other progress into love. We also get to see more background and characterization of Hokuto including a peak at the real reason he decided to marry Chiwa. However, what most interested me was the variety of contrasts in both characters and personalities in these chapters that bring more depth to the story overall. Unfortunately, it also means some hesitation on my part for how Hokuto’s character is starting to play out.
The theme of growing jealousy as Hokuto and Chiwa’s feelings for each other develop into love can be found throughout these chapters. It begins with Chiwa’s friendship with the new hire Yagami and continues into the rekindling friendship with her senpai from college, Sakaraba. But I also think this shows one of the other biggest themes: how both of them mature through their relationship with each other. I think we get to see the kind of immaturity in both characters that shows neither of them is experienced when it comes to relationships no matter how much Hokuto is touted as an “experienced” person. It was a little cute to see their inexperience butting up against the bounds of their marriage, but in some ways it was also a little annoying. For one, the more I read about Chiwa’s inexperience the more I get annoyed at just how much she has no idea of her feelings or anything to do with relationships. She has to go to Yagami almost all the time to sort out every detail of her relationship instead of thinking seriously for herself. It’s fine to get advice from friends, but the amount of times they had her running off to meet Yagami were too many.
I thought Hokuto’s character got a lot of development in these chapters and I can see more of the various facets that seem to control the things that he does. I think many of his actions can be traced back to his inexperience especially when it comes to dealing with someone like Chiwa. She’s a force of nature in and of herself, something that he can’t control after having comfortably controlled everything for most of his adult life. His position at the company in this respect is a detriment to him because he doesn’t know how to give in or look at anyone else as anything but an asset. In this way, we also get to see the darker side to Hokuto’s personality, his jealousy and his habit of controlling everyone around him.
This feeling of control plays a huge role in how Chiwa and Hokuto’s relationship plays out in these chapters and throughout the story in general. In the broadest sense, their marriage is a form of control for Chiwa. Whether she likes it or not, she’s stuck in a marriage where she has no idea where she stands with a man that likes to keep tabs on her and keep her where he can see her. This also means he stonewalls every move she makes to quit the company and gain back a sense of control from him. She has no one to rely on and seeks out comfort in the things that are familiar such as Sakaraba. Through this interaction, we see the contrast between Sakaraba and Hokuto that shows how immature Hokuto actually is. While Sakaraba supports Chiwa’s move to his company as a way to better her life, Hokuto does not because he’s insecure and doesn’t know what to do when he is devoid of that sense of control. I don’t think he means anything bad by what he’s doing, or even thinks its bad, but it’s just that this is the first time he has had to make a relationship work with a woman that seems to defy him at every turn.
I still think this a pretty great story even for its surfacing faults, and will continue to recommend it as a good manga for people who are looking for something other than highschool romances. We’ll see how Chiwa and Hokuto grow into their marriage in the next volume.
Keep an eye out for the review for Volume 3! Be sure to click that follow button or follow my Facebook page for updates!