Enjouji Maki: Hapi Mari – A Manga Review
May 23, 2011 5 Comments
So the other day I was trawling the internet and found Hapi Mari on one of many manga reader websites. I would say that I am a fan of Enjouji Maki, I enjoy her stories and find the artwork to be really clean and enjoyable to look at. As an artist she specializes in Josei comics with a lot of emphasis placed upon Romance, comedy and drama.
The premise of Hapi Mari is that Takanashi Chiwa the female protagonist has a huge debt hanging over her from her dad, in order to pay this off she works both a full-time office job along with a hostess side job. We are then introduced the male protagonist Mamiya Hokuto who is the president of Chiwas company and he proposes that she marries him.
Hapi Mari follows the same path that her previous releases; we are introduced to the female protagonist and then the male protagonist. In this release along with a previous release Private Prince the main characters start off being entirely opposed to each other. This of course changes as the first volume progresses.
What I like about Enjouji Maki’s work in particular are the exaggerated angry faces she draws on her female characters, this adds to the comic elements of her manga. As readers our first glimpse of the interaction of Chiwa and Hokuto happens when Chiwa throws a drink over him after he insults her about the kind of work she is doing as a hostess. This sort of interaction continues throughout the first volume and into the second with Chiwa constantly getting angry at little all the little things Hokuto does. As the first volume progresses however we see both Chiwa and Hokuto mellowing slightly, they get closer and so the relationship starts to progress.
The artwork in Hapi Mari follows the same pattern as other Enjouji Maki series, the faces are beautifully drawn both make and female, the eyes, especially those of Chiwa are captivating and very large, and importantly the comic elements of the story are wonderfully exaggerated and exploited.
However while I do love the manga and others that the artist has drawn there are a few problems with it. Firstly there are times where I find the female protagonist to be slightly annoying, she crys too easily, and in later chapters and volumes starts to lose the strong element of her character that makes her so attractive in the beginning. As a character she starts to depend too much on Hokuto, to the point of being incapable of doing things of her own volition. Hokuto is far from perfect himself, being immensely arrogant and harsh. Secondly on the story front this manga suffers from the symptoms that many Josei and Romance manga suffer, and that is the female protagonist ends up being someone who looks for and then is supported by the male lead, rather than thinking for herself.
Having said that I do enjoy reading this manga, and also happen to enjoy the general josei and romance genres of manga. I do understand that Josei is mainly aimed at women and so has this element of finding the ‘prince on his white horse’ as part of the story, and while this can be annoying to me I still enjoy these types of manga from time to time. The story of Hapi Mari moves a long at a nice pace, the characters are well thought out and the comedic elements of the story really help to break up the drama. Add on to this gorgeous artwork with faces and in particular ways that I could stare at for ages and this manga is a wonderful read and thoroughly enjoyable.