The OVA anime release Marriage consists of two 30-minute pieces by Miki Kasamatsu on the topics of love and looking for that special someone. The first deals with a group of young women who, after being out of school for a few years, are beginning to think about settling down. However, there is one member of the group who has no prospects, and Shizuka's friends are worried that her shyness will keep Mr. Right from noticing her beauty and character.
They persuade her to join a dating service called The Wedding Club, but when her first match seems to be quite a dud, Shizuka wonders if a trip down the isle just isn't in her future. The second episode is about five sisters, only one of whom isn't married. What's more, the cool Kiyomi seems to have no interest whatsoever in finding a husband. Her sisters have other ideas, though, and when a co-worker asks her out on a date, the women convince the suitor to propose marriage that very night.This is easier said than done, however, as Kiyomi's attitude can be quite intimidating.
The young man may not end up following through with the plan, but even if he does there is no guarantee that the headstrong lady in question will say yes.
I bought this DVD on a whim, because I had a chance to get it cheaply, and I thought it looked like it might be a cute romance. This disk contains two short romantic comedies using characters borrowed from previous works. My understanding is that you don't have to have viewed any of the related anime to watch these, and, in fact, the two episodes are really not connected plot-wise. They merely share characters who have the same names and personalities, but not the same situations. (In the first episode, the five friends are coworkers; in the second episode, they are sisters. But
they are essentially the same characters.)
With those details out of the way, let's talk about the pros and cons of this DVD. First, the art is old-fashioned, so if you are not willing to put up with 90s-style art, give it a pass. Second, because each episode is so short (about 30 minutes), it is not able to do the kind of complicated character development one might like to see. This means that the romances in each episode may seem rushed. The first episode in particular is about the process of finding one's match; we don't actually get to see much interaction between the couple when they do get together.
Those are the cons. What about the pros? Well, the episodes do deliver entertaining romantic comedies. The first one is more sweet; the second is more funny. (Personally, I liked the second episode quite a bit more, but the ending of the first one WAS cute.) Both could provide a quick fix for someone longing for a simple rom-com. Plus, the two works have a quirky sense of humor that I wasn't expecting. In the middle of each episode, there is a bizarre interlude that is essentially like an educational film, complete with "research" and "statistics" (I have to wonder if the numbers are real; they might well be.) The first interlude is all about dating services; the second one is about where to go on dates and what to do for a proposal. These are strange segments, but I found them amusing. It made me wonder if the two works were seriously trying to teach the viewers something about courtship/dating. Interesting idea, even if it seems a bit foreign.
My verdict? At first I was going to give this release a 6, but I liked the second episode enough to bump it up into 7. I'd say this is one to rent or borrow rather than buy, but if you can buy it cheaply somewhere, it might be worth a purchase. It's the sort of thing you might watch once and then pass on to a friend. Or, rent it and watch in on a girls' movie night. In any case, "Marriage" deserves a little more love from anime fans!
This is the middle instalment of a trilogy of three features, all focusing around a group of five girl friends. The first, GRADUATION, was about the girls leaving school and balancing the end of their childhood with the beginning of their adulthood. The second, MARRIAGE, was about the girls searching for a soulmate to spend their lives with. The third, SAILOR VICTORY, was an outright adventure in the line of giant robots and magical girls.
This feature is divided into two tales, both of which deal with finding a good husband to marry and settle down with. The first is about an introverted office worker who
is dragged into dating by her friends; the second is about an aloof executive who goes on an arranged date. The stories, to be honest, are painfully bland and standard; there's very little character/plot development and everything just works itself out at the end with no issues at all. The first story is better than the second, but only marginally and that's because it has more likable characters.
The artwork and music are pretty and above average, but they can't help with the stories; it's bizarre that the female characters look like grown women, while the male characters look like teenagers. What does help, interestingly, are a series of vignettes that explain Japanese dating protocols. They add an interesting documentary-like feel to the feature; the average Japanese viewer is somewhat prepared for future marriage, and average the non-Japanese viewer gets an interesting insight into Japanese dating culture.
Do not expect anything too amazing or revolutionary from this, and you will probably enjoy it for a once-in-a-while watch. I enjoyed the first tale, anyway.