by Maki Enjoji; adapted by Nancy Thistlethwaite
published by Viz; $9.99 US
The family interaction introduced in Book 3 that I was excited to see returns here, as I hoped — but ramped up to ridiculous degree. I should accept that emotional exaggeration is the natural state of this title and quit expecting anything else. I’d be happier with it if I accepted what it was instead of what I thought it might be. Much like young bride Chiwa in her relationship needs to learn what a real-life love is like, instead of getting caught up in her expectations.
Anyway, the pair reaches a new level of openness with each other after a kidnapping. Because there’s nothing like a couple of thugs, a crime, and bodily harm to bring a couple closer together. But hey, given that they don’t talk to each other unless something life-threatening happens, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised it took the risk of grievous injury to get them to open up about their feelings. For a while — then there’s another “I will leave for honor because I am not worthy without explaining anything” segment.
At least Maki Enjoji draws attractive exasperated people. Chiwa and Hokuto are alternately embarrassed, frustrated, fearful, demanding, confused, and blissful. Their gamut of emotions make sense for the potential audience of young women unsure of their romantic lives — although few of them will find themselves in a forced marriage with a handsome, seductive, rich, and powerful man like this.
There’s one panel, relatively early on, that sums up the series well for me. Chiwa stands, by herself, in front of a floor-to-ceiling window looking out at the night. “Why can’t he just be forthright?” she thinks. The reader knows — if they actually talked to each other, there wouldn’t be 16 chapters and counting of story so far. And all the sexy fun of reconciling. (The publisher provided a review copy.)