The World’s Best Marriage Proposal
世界一素敵なプロポーズ (Sekaiichi Suteki na Propose)
ISHIKAWA Tomy (art), AIMI Rui (original creator)
Josei – Romance, smut
3 Chapters (complete)
As a favor to her father, Yukino reluctantly agrees to take her twin sister’s place on a blind date. Hikari has fallen in love at first sight with Marino and asks “Marino” to marry him! Yukino is bewildered, but she can’t help but be drawn to Hikari’s pure and honest feelings as she continues to keep up the charade…
Warning: this review is of a series that is recommended for ages 18+ and is not safe for work!
This may surprise you but… I actually liked The World’s Best Marriage Proposal!
First, an aside: there seems to be a very big error on the credit pages of the manga.
Take a look at the artist’s name, and then take a look at the copyright names.
Manga Reborn has released a BL story from Hakoishi. All other sources (including the Kindle listing) show that Ishikawa is the actual artist. Even though they get it right in the copyright section, that’s still a big error. If I wasn’t checking on whether this was Ishikawa’s first manga, I myself would have listed the author as Hakoishi. I first thought maybe Ishikawa changed her name either before or after publication, but this does not seem to be the case.
The World’s Best Marriage Proposal originated as a novel, so it reads a bit like a Harlequin novel or a Hallmark Channel movie with smut. Well, part of the reason why is that this manga is based on a light novel.
Now, if you look a the cover, Yukino has a bit of a wanton look on her face and a low-cut dress. While most of the titles I’ve been reviewing the sex scenes are common and often essential to the plot (or “plot”), the smut is pretty unnecessary here. To give you an idea, take a look at the cover for the original story. Definitely has a sweet shoujo feel to it, and I wonder how much was changed between the novel and the manga versions. Even Hikari’s hair color is different, but details like that are unimportant. What did change that is important? At the very least, the two versions feel like they’re targeting different audiences.
Well, since I can’t compare the two, let’s move on.
Most stories involving twins showcase the two as complete opposites: one an outgoing, selfish, and/or beautiful lady while the other tends to be gentle and lurk in the shadows. Of course, these characteristics tend to be even more pronounced in a twin swapping or impersonating tale. The World’s Best Marriage Proposal doesn’t do anything to break this mold. Marino goes on a date the day their father’s boss’ son is flying in to meet her, so Yukino pretends to be Marino to save Dad’s job. Hikari was smitten with Marino instantly, and upon officially meeting “her”, he proposes. Yukino continues to fill in, and, of course, she finds herself falling in love with Hikari.
Again, in many ways, The World’s Best Marriage seems to be a generic story involving twins. Well, first off, since Hikari is filthy rich, it’s his butler/assistant who knows right from the start that “Marino” isn’t who she says she is. So really, her identity could have been revealed at any time. In a longer serialization, this probably would have led to some love triangle drama, or at least Hikari being suspicious and jealous. But at least readers don’t have to pretend some rich heir somehow can’t find out his love interest has a twin.
What makes me really like this manga is Hikari. He’s a bit of a typical Japanese portrayal of an American love interest, a confident, overly affectionate, handsome gentleman. (More like a European love interest to us Americans.) But he is just so gosh darn excited to learn new things about his beloved, and while many rich guys just want a trophy wife to drag around (at least in the beginning), Hikari wants a close-knit, loving family. Sure, the whole story is a bit corny and cheesy, but when some of the competition has the men treating the women like dogs or slaves, I’ll take corn and cheese any day! Yukino calls him forceful, but just about the only force he uses is to hug “Marino” and ask for a homemade lunch. Really, Yukino is technically the problematic one here considering she keeps her true identity a secret.
I’ve discussed the art a bit already. Marino is definitely a flirtatious woman, but even when Yukino is impersonating her, she doesn’t dress showy. The cover gives the impression that Yukino (as Marino) wears low-cut outfits, but she wears normal office-appropriate suits. Even when Hikari takes “Marino” clothes shopping, the dresses are not revealing.
However, from what I’ve read, this was Ishikawa’s first work, and it shows. There’s one image of Hikari laughing that made me laugh because his mouth takes up half his face and makes him look more like a joke character than the male lead. Yukino’s pupils also look like two laser beams causing an explosion. Almost no manga artist is considered great upon their debut, and I’m sure Ishikawa grew as she gained more experience. But be aware that this manga has a lot of unbalanced or inconsistent drawings, typical of a newbie.
Hikari is going to be hard to top as the best male lead of these smutty josei titles. The plot isn’t groundbreaking and the art is a little weak, but I enjoyed The World’s Best Marriage Proposal.
Manga Reborn has also released two other collaborations between Ishikawa and Aimi: Sadistic President’s Pet and A Crossed Borderline.
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Gasp! A nice love interest? I was starting to think that such a thing doesn’t exist in these smutty manga. Ishikawa probably asked for a different artist to be credited for the book as she is embarrassed about that laughing panel.
I know, nice guys in these manga are harder to find than Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman.