Everyone’s Getting Married, Vol. 5

I still very much enjoy Everyone’s Getting Married, but this volume was a little bit of a letdown, mostly because I’m not terribly fond of the way the “suddenly a rival appears!” storyline is being executed.

At the end of the last volume Kamiya, a work colleague of Asuka’s decided that she would be his ideal wife. He was not put off by the fact that she’s dating Ryu, and Kamiya’s persistence was one of the most annoying things about this volume, even though he did bring up some good and rational points about Asuka and Ryu’s counterproductive relationship. Asuka is mostly reduced to a bargaining chip between the men, and her actions are a little bit too passive, although I suppose it is an accurate portrayal of where a woman might end up when she has been thoroughly socialized to be nice all the time. The volume opens with Ryu and Kamiya getting a drink together, and even though Ryu warns Kamiya to stop his pursuit of Asuka, Kamiya is undeterred, pointing out the futility of a relationship where one person wants to get married and the other is set against it. Kamiya is convinced that the couple will eventually break up, and when that happens he will be there, ready to scoop up Asuka and take advantage of her innate intelligence and competence to have the supportive live partner of his dreams.

Kamiya proceeds to both threaten and manipulate Asuka into spending time with him, and I started feeling very annoyed that Asuka was so passive that she got thrown into situations with Kamiya when she didn’t really want to spend time with him. Ryu and Asuka always do reaffirm their relationship, and a brief trip away with a break from work serves to smooth things over. One of the reasons why this manga is so interesting to read is the fact that either one of the main characters is going to have to fundamentally change, or they will have to break up, and that dramatic tension is intriguing. This volume felt like a bit more of a placeholder, and I hope there’s a more satisfying story in the next volume.

Everyone’s Getting Married Vol. 3

Everyone’s Getting Married, Volume 3 by Izumi Miyazono

Is everyone getting married? I see no evidence of it yet in this series where aspiring housewife Asuka and committed bachelor Ryu continue to fall in love with each other despite their utterly incompatible life goals. This manga manages to balance the twists and turns of a soap opera with some very touching moments as Ryu and Asuka continue to struggle with their feelings for each other, balance their demanding work schedules, and navigate their possibly doomed relationship.

One of the things I like about this series is how little it relies on conflict due to people not talking to each other. Sure it happens sometimes, but not talking about a problem isn’t stretched over multiple volumes as sometimes happens in romance manga. Even when some standard plot elements pop up in the form of Ryu’s Complicated Ex-Girlfriend and Asuka’s Flirty Co-Worker, this continues to lead the couple to reflect on their relationship.

Two events happen in fairly short succession that cause some strain. Yuko, a married actress who Ryu had a long-term affair with years ago is back in town. She’s touched by scandal due to her philandering husband, and Ryu is maneuvered by combative questions from the press into joking on tv that he’d dump his girlfriend for a chance to date her. In addition, Asuka gets news of a upcoming work transfer and is spending time with Kamiya, a colleague. They’re walking down the street together and they agree to do a “couple interview” as a joke, only Asuka is shocked when she sees that Ryu is interviewing her.

These additional people popping up near Asuka and Ryu cause them to confront some of the issues in their relationship. Asuka wonders if Yuko is the reason why Ryu is so set against marriage. Ryu is jealous of Kamiya, even though his relationship with Asuka is professional. But while the only person Asuka wants to marry is Ryu, she wonders what might happen if she takes Kamiya’s overtures seriously since it seems he does really want to get married.

As always the art is attractive and easy to follow, easily handling cute scenes of Ryu and Asuka supporting each other in addition to some tumultuous relationship drama. I wish Shojo Beat could bring out more series like this all at the same time, but I’ll be happy with what I can get.

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Everyone’s Getting Married, Vol. 2

Everyone’s Getting Married, Volume 2 by Izumi Miyazono

I’m always a happy camper when Viz is putting out a josei title, and with two volumes so far in the Everyone’s Getting Married series, I’m very much enjoying a periodic escape into adult romance trials and tribulations as a nice contrast from all the shoujo I usually read.

One of the things I liked very much about the first volume was that the main couple Asuka and Ryu are so clearly attracted to each other and yet their respective goals of becoming a housewife and never getting married are clearly going to come into conflict. Even when they might have attempted to avoid each other, they find themselves getting closer and closer and in a relationship that is going to have a sudden expiration date if neither of them are going to change.

While Asuka and Ryu are more emotionally connected than ever, they find that their hectic work schedules prevents them from seeing each other very often, causing a bit of tension. Ryu also finds himself enjoying some of the extra homemaker type things that Asuka does a little too much, as she’s able to whip up dinner at short notice and do some extra things to help him through an extra demanding time with his news anchor job.

They manage to navigate their first big fight and end up stronger than ever, but one of the things that I enjoy about this manga is that both characters are sympathetic, their points of view about life are intrinsically opposed, and I’m left rooting for a solution but I can’t picture how they’re going to pull it off. This ends up amping up my curiosity about what is going to happen in the story quite a bit, so I’m eager to see how everything progresses.

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Everyone’s Getting Married, Vol. 1

Everyone’s Getting Married Volume 1 by Izumi Miyazono

As far as I’m concerned, Shojo Beat’s recent practice of releasing the occasional josei title is one of the best things ever. Manga featuring non-highschoolers is still not so easy to find, so I was looking forward to Everyone’s Getting Married. At the same time, just based on the title I was a bit concerned that this would be a josei version of The Rules or something that would involve trapping a man into marriage. I was really happy to discover that I enjoyed the personalities and relationship dynamic between the main couple in this manga.

Asuka Takahashi is a successful real estate agent, but her main ambition in life is to get married and become a homemaker. Asuka takes the idea of being a housewife very seriously, mainly due to the fact that she has strong childhood memories of the type of home her mother provided for her as a child. She’s thwarted in her goal in the first chapter when her long term boyfriend breaks up with her. Asuka has a brief encounter with Ryu Nanami when she’s attending a wedding. He’s a newscaster who is determined to never settle down. Asuka and Ryu have an unusually frank exchange about their incompatible goals in life and then part, fully expecting to never see each other again. He tells her “You seem like a great woman, but it would never work out between us,” and she thinks “This man…is not at all what I am looking for.”

Of course, they get thrown together over and over again, because Ryu is the roommate of Asuka’s co-worker Ono. Ryu and Asuka start getting to know each other better, unconstrained by the possibility of a romantic relationship since they’ve mutually ruled each other out. Asuka sees that Ryu is much more of an ordinary person than he appears to be based on his TV persona. He sees that she’s genuinely kind, and he respects the work that goes into keeping a household running even though he has no desire for a wife. They both begin to fall a little in love with each other, but their goals in life for a family and future remain absolutely different. Miyazono’s art is pretty to look at and easy to follow, even though her style isn’t particularly unique.

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Asuka and Ryu end up both being sympathetic and quirky enough to make me wonder which way this story is going to go, even though I’m totally expecting a happy ending. They’re also balanced out a bit by secondary couple Ono and Rio, who have the opposite relationship dynamic where Ono wants to settle down and Rio is determined to keep dating. Overall, this first volume seems like a great addition to the under the radar josei titles coming out under the Shojo Beat line.