The Trueness of Acceptance
Well, it’s only my second manga review and it’s already about to get weird. So let’s delve into a manga of lust, impulsion, desperation, and hopefully love. Happy Negative Marriage (or HNM) is a romance/smut novel addressing some issues that I hardly see explored. Now because I believe many non-regulars may come to like this one I’ll try to avoid spoilers. I haven’t been able to find the books in English so the only way to support the guy is by buying books you cant read. Moving on!
A few things that need to be said, is this is an adult manga, so it does not shy away from sexiness. The author, Amazume Ryuta, has previously written the popular Nana Ai Karou, which is essentially 50 Shades of Gray except the male protagonist is not handsome. He prefers his men to look either bland or unattractive as he has a thing for the “Beauty and the Beast” type stories.
Now, the male protagonist, Keitaro Satou is a timid, unsocial type of guy. He withdrew himself from ever finding a woman due to his lack of self-esteem. We see him interact with a woman regularly purely on a physical level as they both know they could never be anything more. With this, he maintains his order, and rarely deviates from said path. When the female protagonist, Akio enters into his life we slowly get to see the cracks behind his way of living. Akio, while being beautiful and adored, has her own set of issues. Her personality can be summed up as “too agreeable”. Both are used to working on the behalf of a higher force whether that be work or family. Their attempt at becoming lovers is so abstract from their routines that both must sacrifice so much in order to do so. As far as the story goes I will leave it there.
The characters will often make the worst possible choice. This may drive readers to lose interest in their story and I get that. I read this as two people not knowing what to do, and just doing something! It fails, then the choice they make after their failure fails. The lessons they learned from their failures are wrong so they continue failing until they get it. I find them endearing in some ways but the manga makes sure to remind us at times that this woman is not the most thoughtful person and this man is not the gentleman he pretends to be (most won’t like him).
The Theme of Love’s Fantasization
NM is memorable to me personally due to the relatable nature of the main character. His odd relationship with Akio exposes him to all the contradictions about himself. There is a moment in the manga where it all comes to an enlightening moment and it couldn’t be more real. It challenges everything they knew about love. It forces them to question their lust, passion, and peace of mind when they’re together. We’ve all seen that couple that gets married in a month, pitying their foolish naivety, while secretly admiring their absolute certainty.
So Far, It’s Positive
The manga shows you the poison of passive emotions and feelings. It warns you to not handle them lightly. Are you a strong man or a weak one? Are you a faithful woman or an easy one? What decides love and who dictates if it’s fake. Is it okay to just keep going like this? When does your positive and sincere feelings become… Negative?