Content Warning: physical and emotional abuse.
What’s it about? Saimori Miyo is the eldest daughter in her noble family, but she wasn’t born with supernatural talent. As a result, she’s passed over for her younger sister and abused by her family. In the hopes of getting rid of Miyo, her family offers her in an arranged marriage to a cold-hearted commander named Kudou Kiyoka. Assuming she’d be thrown out by her fiancé, she prepares for the worst, but is surprised that Kiyoka offers her a place where she can learn to love herself.
I have a special place in my heart for stories like Natsume’s Book of Friends that are able to capture that quiet sense of sadness that afflicts the main characters. It really does take skilled creators to effortlessly depict characters going through internal struggles, which makes it so satisfying whenever good things happen to them. That’s why I have a good feeling about My Happy Marriage, since it did a good job exploring Miyo’s emotional pain and how she found different ways to cope with her family’s daily abuse. The animation is gorgeous and it helps create a melancholic atmosphere that enhances the depressing moments that Miyo is forced to endure.
The animation skillfully hones in on Miyo’s uncomfortable body language and allows us to see her mentally prepare herself before having to interact with her awful family. It’s unfortunate how physical violence is often the only thing anyone thinks about when it comes to abuse, which minimizes the long term effects of emotional abuse. That’s why it was a pleasant surprise that this premiere really seems to care about depicting the nuances of surviving abusive environments and examines the gradual steps of how Miyo’s abuse actually started. Abuse doesn’t happen overnight so seeing Miyo slowly isolated from her family and eventually being made to work as a servant in her own home was heartbreaking, but surprisingly realistic to the breakdown of someone’s spirit.
Overall, the quality of the writing is fantastic; we’re mostly stuck in Miyo’s head throughout the premiere, yet it only felt like a few minutes passed by while watching. I loved the tonal shift to brighter colors when Miyo finally leaves her shitty home and eventually meets her future fiancé. Kiyoka doesn’t have much screen time, but the premiere makes it clear his mere presence will add so much warmth to Miyo’s dreary life. Honestly, her entire family deserves the worst, and if the first couple of minutes are foreshadowing events to come, then I’m happy Kiyoka will burn their house to the ground.
I’m not usually a fan of melodramas because after having grown up watching so many telenovelas as a kid, my patience for the genre is next to nothing. If My Happy Marriage continues to maintain a quiet and warm tone then I think we finally have a good anime to brag about this season. I’m actually relieved this one turned out to be great –unfortunately, most stories aimed at women and girls haven’t had the best luck in terms of anime adaptations in recent years.
I strongly urge caution to anyone who’s sensitive to physical and emotional abuse because this premiere doesn’t hold back its punches and maybe triggering to survivors. Other than my content warning, I think it’s worth your time to give this show a chance.