Asuka badly wants to get married. Ryu would rather die than get married. Should these two really get involved when their hearts say one thing and their heads say another?
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24 year-old Asuka Takanashi has built a pretty great career for herself in becoming a successful real estate broker with a high status in her company, and is now the envy of many of her coworkers. Asuka’s dream is to one day get married and become a housewife to recreate the warm feelings of her youth, but after her long-term boyfriend breaks up with her this dream doesn’t seem like it’ll be in the cards for a while. However, Asuka ends up crossing paths with popular and rising newscaster Ryu Nanami who would rather die than get married. Though the two get along well, it’ll be a battle to see whose mind will ultimately change in the end!
I’ve found that the romantic series which have truly captured my attention tend to all have the ability to create a strong sense of romantic tension between two characters who have excellent romantic chemistry, making for a particularly tantalizing read because of this personal investment in seeing the main characters succeed in the end. There’s a special pleasure in reading a series that balances continually building this tension with portraying well-rounded and genuinely likable characters, and I was extremely happy to have Everyone’s Getting Married succeed in using differing views of marriage to create a battle of love full of sparks. The premise is simple yet clearly in focus here: Asuka wants to get married, and Ryu doesn’t, and the central conflict here is the way that this difference in ideals affects their time together in the context of their busy lives. Don’t let the josei genre designation scare you off if you’re a fan of romantic stories - Everyone’s Getting Married is about as strong a start to a romantic series that I’ve seen, and it was really cool to see a more mature romance story than the high-school settings that typically get the most attention.
Everyone’s Getting Married’s first volume drew me in right away with the way that Asuka and Ryu’s backstories were laid out to ground the context of their meetings going forward in way that strongly justified the premise of their diverging views on marriage. When I’m reading a romantic series, I want to be cheering for the main characters to get together in reading onward, and I definitely got this feeling in a strong way over the course of these first two volumes. It really helped that the two of them are eminently likable - Asuka and Ryu both happen to be kind people who are firm in their internal views but are willing to try to make things work as they navigate their personal and professional lives. I enjoyed that both of these characters were fully established in the sense that their lives don’t merely revolve around falling in love - they each have jobs and dreams in general that they weigh against their relationships, and I thought this fleshed out and balanced their personalities in a meaningful way. We also see very early on the reasons for their respective viewpoints in a several flashback scenes that ground their feelings well, but what I really liked was the way that a lot of this development resulted from the two of them just being upfront and talking about their feelings as they began to get to know each other.
The first two volumes of Everyone’s Getting Married absolutely succeeded in capturing my attention through how well Asuka and Ryu were established as fleshed-out and likeable characters, but what really makes this series impressive is the way that it uses its premise to pit two against each other in a nuanced way to continually create this tension as the story proceeds. The first volume follows the two as they meet and get to know each other as the romantic tension ratchets up between them through their chance meetings. This primarily done through Asuka’s perspective, and I thought the slow but steady development of her feelings for Ryu was thoroughly satisfying to watch. We see her feelings slowly creeping up on each her despite knowing his views on marriage, and I thought that the way her inner monologue displayed her conflicting feelings was excellently done. As I noted above, it helped tremendously that the two are wonderfully upfront with each other about their feelings in general, and this allowed the progression in their relationship to feel natural. It also never gets overly serious, and I thought that their playful chemistry in their conversations succeeded in selling their relationship as a realistic one in the sense of two people actually liking each other despite their differences. I felt genuinely invested in the process of them getting together based on the way that their conflict and chemistry was developed, making for a hugely satisfying volume on the whole.
The second volume follows Asuka and Ryu as they trying to navigate their newfound relationship in the context of their individually busy lives, and I thought this volume did a great job nailing the portrayal of the two trying to find some balance between their relationship and their work. This plays out in the context of Ryu trying to advance as a TV announcer, and the result is that he and Asuka aren’t able to see each other as often as they’d like. I’m always thrilled when a manga is able to take a mature theme and do it justice with a nuanced portrayal, and I thought the portrayal of this accidental distance between the two was spot on. We see how Ryu inadvertently begins to neglect Asuka despite being disappointed in himself and wanting to see her interspersed with scenes showing Asuka looking forward to seeing him, and I thought this did a great job showing the difficult emotions in play. This created a new type of romantic tension between the two, but this was still strongly compelling because we always get the sense that the two really like each other even as they get caught up in their own lives as opposed to being completely in orbit around one another. This led to a wonderfully satisfying conclusion as the two work through these problems, and I strongly enjoyed this portrayal of a couple actually communicating and working through their issues even at this early stage of their relationship.
While this series does a great job dealing with the nuances in Asuka and Ryu’s rather fraught relationship, I really enjoyed that this was balanced out effectively with the sweet moments expected out of a romantic series. As noted above, we get a strong sense of the tension between the two because of their conflicting viewpoints on marriage, but what made this so tantalizingly readable was the way that this tension was layered on their obvious attraction for each other. This created a delicious back-and-forth which got across the battle between “a relationship probably wouldn’t be a good idea” and “but I want to be with them” that centres the entire series. The art also helped create that effect with a number of more detailed scenes that complemented the more romantic moments really well. The character designs (particularly Ryu and the rest of the guys) are on the familiar side but have just enough flair to them to make for clean yet suitably dramatic read when combined with the detail shown, and this was especially apparent in the portrayal of Asuka’s facial expressions as she went through the various emotions involved. These volumes are definitely a strong effort emotionally, and I really enjoyed the way that the dialogue and the art came together to tell this story.
Everyone’s Getting Married is a success because of the way that it leverages Asuka and Ryu’s clash of views to create this romantic tension as they navigate their respective feelings in these first two volumes. This clash allows us to see a whole wide range of emotions relating to Asuka and Ryu’s romantic experience as they go from acquaintances to lovers, and I really appreciated the way that this series doesn’t shy away from portraying their struggles balancing their professional lives with their need for one another. Overall, Everyone’s Getting Married should absolutely be on the radar of anyone looking for a romantic story and should be of special interest to anyone looking for a more mature story.
Everyone’s Getting Married Vol. 1 & 2 were translated by Katherine Schilling and published by Viz Media on June 7th, 2016, and September 6th, 2016. Authored by Izumi Miyazono, the series currently runs in Shogakukan’s Petit Comic magazine.
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