I’m always looking for more josei manga to read, and this one has also been popping up on my Twitter feed. I think the last volume of the manga just came out in the US, but this series hasn’t been on my radar until now. I decided to give this one a try and picked up the first volume at Anime Boston a few months ago, and I have to say I will probably be picking up more volumes sometime in the future. So far, it seems like a fairly straight forward story of two people trying to reconcile their relationship goals in the face of their feelings for each other. I wouldn’t say that it’s an amazing story, but I am liking the art and the characters enough to keep reading. There are a lot of times where I feel like I get too cynical of shoujo romances, so it’s nice to take a break from them and experience some stories about people closer to my age and current experiences.
Everyone’s Getting Married follows the successful career woman Asuka Takanashi who has the old-fashioned dream of getting married and becoming a housewife. After her long-time boyfriend breaks up with her to pursue his own career, she meets the handsome newscaster Ryu Nanami. They both seem to get along well enough, but the last thing Nanami wants is to get married. So the challenge becomes, who will give in first or will they find a way to be together even with their conflicting values? Written and created by Izumi Miyazono, the manga was picked up for US release by Viz Media and imprint Shoujo Beat.
I get a lot of Hapi Mari vibes from this series, and not just because the plot revolves around marriage, but also because of the art style. I feel like it’s a fairly standard style for shoujo and josei romances, and I don’t really have a problem with that. Miyazono makes her art and pages fairly light and breathable, pacing out her panels in such a way that they’re easy to follow and make just the right amount of impact at the right moment. I also love the moments when she seems to take inspiration from classic shoujo manga, making a characters face fade into the background of the panel, showing only their expression. It’s a technique I fell in love with when I was reading Mars, and I’m pretty happy I get to see it used here as well. The technique itself can really help highlight a scene, bringing more attention to just the character’s expression in that moment.
I really also like how expressive the characters are, especially when it comes for Nanami. His character looks and acts a lot like a standard aloof, tall-dark-and-handsome, but the way Miyazono adds expressions to his design has the effect of softening this impression. Nanami winds up feeling like a fun person to be around, if only when he’s not being his charming, playboy self. We really do get a good range of emotions from him and Asuka, creating pretty visually interesting pages that draw you right into the characters and the things they are feeling in that moment. I will say that one thing lacking about the art in this manga though is the backgrounds. I don’t think it’s a huge issue, as it doesn’t necessarily take away from the feel of the whole of the experience, but it is something I’ve noticed. Miyazono tends to use a lot of limited backgrounds or a mix of stark white or effects-filled. It does put more emphasis on her characters and character designs, but as a whole makes her pages feel lacking sometimes.
The story is where I start to have some questions, but the characters of Nanami and Asuka are well-written enough to keep me coming back despite some hesitation. Asuka is herself a pretty interesting character to examine. She’s a successful business woman who, according to her coworkers, is number three in sales at her real estate company. She genuinely cares about her job, but she’s still hoping to one day get married and quite to become a full-time homemaker. I think it’s a pretty interesting view on the character of a modern woman to look at, especially in this day and age. You can definitely a reflection of modern Japanese culture in her character. This kind of in-between conflict that comes from shifting values of what a wife and a mother should be. Many of the men she encounters see her vision of being a full-time homemaker as outdated, and generally express that they would prefer a wife who would continue working full-time. I don’t know if I would have liked her character as much if Miyazono hasn’t displayed her the way she did. The kind of message that she’s trying to convey through Asuka comes off as endearing rather than grating. I can see it as being a very tight-rope to walk for many women readers.
Where the problems come in is with some inconsistencies with the story. Take Nanami’s work and their view of his personal life. We’re told in the beginning by one of his managers to find some sort of girlfriend because his personal life is also newsworthy for the network. Then, later on, he is told to never be seen going out with someone that fans can’t see as marriage worthy. But then, they tell him to never even contemplate marriage because it could spell a drop in ratings for their show. I think this kind of inconsistency can get pretty confusing especially if you’re trying to establish some sort of driving force that may get in between any relationship he makes. Other than that, I thought that the scene at the first mixer was a little confusing. I had to reread it a couple times to figure out who exactly Asuka was pouring her drink on. Not to mention Nanami’s weird habit of trying to kiss people when he gets woken up. I’m not sure whether the purpose of adding that was to just create that first kiss scene with Asuka or not, and I’m not sure that it’s needed exactly.
However, despite all my hesitations, I think I will be picking up more volumes in the future. It could end up being a nice story of trying to reconcile differences in the face of love. So far, it seems like it will be a pretty easy love story to follow with maybe minimal drama, but Nanami is a TV star with a history of fooling around with married women so that very well could change. Let me know in the comments below what you thought of the manga if you’ve read it at all, or if my review here made it sound interested (or not interesting) to you. I’m on a manga review kick right now while the new Spring season of anime is still ongoing, so you can expect more single volume reviews or series reviews coming out in the coming weeks.
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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