At some point, whether it was while watching a reality television show, seeing some kind of scandal online or in the press, or hearing just from other people, we’ve all heard about some kind of fake marriage. Some have gone into fake marriages with complete strangers in order to gain citizenship in certain counties. There was even news circulating about fake public marriages in order to hide some kind of secret publicity stunt. And even in some media, we’ll see a plot of a movie or novel where two people got drunk and married in Las Vegas.
But have you heard about people who married their best friend so that their parents would leave them alone? In case you didn’t pay attention to the title of the manga, that’s actually the main plot of this new story.
Published by Seven Seas Entertainment and written by the author of NTR Netsuzou Trap, Kodama Naoko released a new standalone manga that hits the heartstrings of yuri romance fans. I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up follows the story of Morimoto, a young female professional who’s parents won’t leave her alone about settling down and marrying a man. After her meeting up with her best friend,Hana,Morimoto is given a solution to her issue: they should enter a “fake” marriage with each other. Hesitant about the idea, but still going through with it, Morimoto soon realizes that this “fake” marriage may actually create new problems for her, ones that will make her question if she wants to stay living the life of a single woman. That, and if the new feelings bubbling inside her are genuine or “fake” just like her marriage.
Now, if you’ve read Kodama’s previous work, NTR Netsuzou Trap, don’t go into this new manga expecting the same intense level of drama as before. I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up is on the softer side of what Kodama’s usually known for, but still kept me drawn to the entire story from beginning to end. Spanning across three chapters, plus two bonus chapters at the end, Morimoto’s predicament is quickly brought into light. Along side with Hana, who’s taking this “fake” marriage more seriously than her best friend, Morimoto has to learn about her own true feelings after only making decisions to please her parents. This realization even trickles down and affects her outlook on her personal and work life.
They way Kodama portrays the relationship between the two women is done in a tasteful way while still keeping effects of marriage intact, even if this one is fake. Morimoto and Hana’s personalities compliment each other; Morimoto is the more focused, work-oriented one while Hana is the cheerful, playful one who’s honest about her emotions. Throughout the story the two have their back-and-forth chats and moments about their relationship, sometimes leading to comedic situations, while others are a more serious look into what they’re both hoping to gain from it. There are times when the two women reflect on their moments and relationships back when they were in school, and just what kind of emotions they were going through during their high school days. This actually helps make the story feel more realistic and adds a sense of tension and character development, especially with Morimoto. As the events unfold, Morimoto soon has to come with the realization that perhaps her old way of thinking may not have been what she truly wanted and that it’s time to make a change.
Alongside the well done story, Kodama’s art style shines through on every page, keeping the detailing simple without having over-the-top effects. When the extra detail in character’s eyes or facial expression are added in, it helps bring emphasis on the moment at hand and the character’s emotions. Each page is well done so that each one fits together like a puzzle—if you skip a page, you’re going to miss something important to the story. As noted before, the main story is only three chapters long within the entire manga. At the end are two bonus chapters, one focusing on a different set of characters unrelated to the manga, and the final one being a quick short bringing back Morimoto and Hana for a few more pages. Although the first bonus chapter isn’t related to the rest of the manga, the same amount of attention to story and detail are still present, almost making me wish this story had its own standalone as well.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading about how two best friends make up a marriage just to help each other out. By the end of it, I was left wanting to read more about the characters, hoping to see them return in later works whether it was for a full manga volume or just a chapter. And it was a nice change of pace seeing Kodama put their spin on the light-hearted version of a yuri romance.
Want to read it for yourself? I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up is available in print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Right Stuf Anime, and other major book retailers, and digitally on Amazon Kindle, Google Play, iBooks, and other digital services.