First Impression: My Happy Marriage

“I didn’t even know what happiness was.” This sentence spoken by Miyo captures the very essence of this first episode. Miyo is the eldest daughter, yet she is treated worse than a servant by her stepmother and stepsister, who treat her horribly. While Miyo no longer expects good things to come her way, one day, when she overhears servants gossiping about a potential marriage offer for her or her step-sister, hope nevertheless worms its way into her heart–especially when her father tells her to be available the next day. Yet when she’s summoned, the marriage offer she was hoping for is all but shattered as she hears news that will change the course of her life.

Having recently read all the manga volumes that are available in English, I started this episode with high expectations. I also braced myself for the deep loathing I would have for Miyo’s family, which I instantly felt as soon as they came on screen. On a much brighter side, though, I was pleasantly surprised that while the manga has a heavier and darker tone to it, the anime doesn’t create the same dark and hopeless feeling that enshrouds Miyo on the page. Instead, we see her smile more often in the beginning with a young man named Koji, which I found lifted my heart because Miyo deserves all the kindness, especially since the first thing the anime shows is how dismal Miyo feels her life to be. The animation was very beautiful and I appreciated how it so well reflected different elements of the story. The hatred in Miyo’s family’s eyes when they look at her, the “blankness” in Miyo’s, and Koji’s cowardice when he apologizes to Miyo later on. However, if there is one thing I deeply miss in this strong adaptation, it is Miyo’s internal thoughts. Again, this is a well-done adaptation and I feel nothing is “missed” in conveying the same story, but it does remind me of the adaptation of A Silent Voice in the sense that I missed Shoya’s internal dialogue and how it took the story to a deeper level and gave him more nuance. I would say the same is reflected here in this first episode of My Happy Marriage. Overall, as someone who is fairly critical of anime being true to its source, I find myself looking forward to the next episode and seeing hope bloom once again in Miyo’s heart.

My Happy Marriage is available for streaming on Netflix.

Laura A. Grace

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