In this story set in the Taisho period (the 1910s-1920s), Tamahiko is the second son of the well-off Shima family, but when a car accident makes him unable to use his dominant hand, he is deemed useless to the family and is exiled to a villa in the mountains. Brought into a deep depression from being thrown out like this, Tamahiko goes through the motions of living, with no sense of purpose or hope… but then, a young girl named Yuzuki arrives at his house and announces that she will be his bride. Despite having been sold off by her parents to cover a debt, she nevertheless cheerfully goes about serving Tamahiko and trying to cheer him up, and maybe even falling in love with him.
So let’s get this out of the way: This series features some cultural realities of the Taisho period that modern viewers may find uncomfortable. This isn’t a show trying to criticize or overturn child marriage; the characters involved are just trying to make the best of the situation they are in. And while the subject of nightly activities are brought up comedically, Yuzuki does make it clear that she intends to remain chaste until she is old enough to officially marry Tamahiko. With that said, this was a really sweet and adorable episode about a girl who is slowly starting to heal a boy who has been broken hard by his terrible family. The show makes it very clear how traumatized Tamahiko is from all the hurtful words they’ve said to him after his injury, and likewise how worthless he feels himself to be, which will just make it all the more satisfying to see Yuzuki slowly get through to him. I also like what we see from Yuzuki’s side, how she tries to approach her situation as optimistically as possible, and once she decides she can trust Tamahiko, how she decides to treasure him in return. It highlights why I love arranged marriage stories like this: the focus on love built up through commitment and a growing friendship reflects what makes a relationship really work.
Taisho Otome Fairy Tale is streaming on Funimation.