By Akumi Agitogi and Tsukiho Tsukioka. Released in Japan as “Watashi no Shiawase na Kekkon” by Fujimi L Bunko. Released in North America Yen On. Translated by David Musto.
Good news! After two trauma-inducingly depressing volumes of this series, we finally get a volume of My Happy Marriage that is working towards the title. That’s not to say that this volume is all sweetness and light – honestly, this series is never going to be that, I expect, until the final 5 pages of the last volume. But compared to the first two books, this is a pleasant walk in the park. Indeed, I wonder if the author thought the same thing, given that the entire subplot that is being investigated by Kiyoka seems like something invented to give the book a bit more drama and heft. Miyo is still suffering, of course, but this time it’s straightforward, normal abuse that we’ve seen in many, many series like this – the abuse of a mother-in-law who hates her son’s choice of wife. And while she and Kiyoka are not quite on the same page yet, they do at least now understand how the other person thinks.
Kiyoka and Miyo are invited by his father back to the Kudou mansion, as there needs to be a “meet the parents” event. The only trouble is that Kiyoka and Hazuki seem to have minimal respect for their father, and they both absolutely despise their mother. Neither one wants Miyo to be anywhere near her. Unfortunately, Kiyoka also gets an investigation that’s in the same town that his family home is, so and and Miyo (Hazuki can’t make it) have to go and meet Mommie Dearest anyway. It goes about as well as you’d expect, especially since Kiyoka has to be away from the mansion for the investigation much of the time, leaving Miyo to deal with her all on her own. And while this is going on, there’s a huge horned monster terrifying people near an out-of-the-way shack…
How much the reader enjoys this probably depends on how much they can tolerate Fuyu, Kiyoka’s mother and a thoroughly unpleasant woman. Her verbal abuse towards Miyo is loathsome, and the novel’s resolution appears to be a combination of “I have seen that you can be useful so I will allow the marriage” and “I am a 50-year-old tsundere, the worst kind”. Miyo still has horrible self-hatred issues, which don’t help when Fuyu is belittling her (she simply agrees with everything Fuyu says), but she rapidly realizes that the reason Fuyu’s abuse actually hurts her is that she’s now experienced what it’s like to be loved. The joy of being accepted makes the pain of rejection harder to bear. That said, Miyo still tends to ignore her own emotional despair, something literally pointed out to her by Kiyoka… who, to be fair, does the same thing.
I can see people disliking this book, mostly as Fuyu does not really suffer any consequences for her abusive behavior. That said, it honestly felt like a lighter, softer volume? Which probably says more about the first two in the series than it does about this one. Still valiantly hoping for the title to be accurate one day.