Discover more from The Urban Lily Talks Tropes
Shannai Marriage Honey (2020)
Whoever thought about putting the word “honey” in the title certainly wasn’t just doing it for marketing purposes. True to its sales pitch this show is almost nothing but three and a half hours of fluff of the candy floss (or cotton candy) variety. In fact it’s guaranteed to result cavities or insulin resistance of some description. It starts off being a fast tracked contract marriage which then turns into a secret office romance. There’s nothing new under the sun and the showrunners know this but they also fully aware that you can get away with an insubstantial and silly plot when you have a pair of attractive leads unafraid to jump through the hoops and even show a lot of skin when they get up close and very personal. In fact considering how young the male lead is and how much younger he was when this was made, methinks they got away with quite a lot. Of course that it helps that he raises the room temperature in a suit and out of one. It doesn’t take long for Ami to realise she stumbled onto the perfect man and even less time to find out that he is ready and willing to seal the deal when “I love yous” become part of the equation.
The times they are a’changing no doubt. But then I haven’t watched very many J dramas in the last few years to say definitively if this is a trend. I can’t help suspecting that this is a nice bit of propaganda to help reprioritize a reluctant ageing population considering the plummeting marriage and birth rates in that part of the world. The rest of the world will see this as a harmless bit of diversion that probably has one or two positive things to say about a healthy happy marriage… once the new husband stops trying to play mind games with his eager-to-please bride who is living the dream. After an unpleasant breakup. One important lesson to learn for Manatsu is that feigning indifference to your wife that you’re actually head-over-heels for at the office is not the wisest idea when there are love rivals hovering around her, not the least bit backwards in coming forwards. These are testing times for the newly minted couple but 99% of their “issues” are of their own making.
In every marriage there are problems and a lot of it can be resolved with honest communication and humility on both sides. This is perhaps the most realistic part of this sugar overloaded mini series. Nobody wants to be the loser in this game of love but when the two people in it are devoted to the cause it’s a win-win situation. The couple inevitably hit roadblocks but they are just that because they (literally) kiss and make up the next minute. For two individuals who barely knew each other when they tied the knot and moved in together, the waters they navigate aren’t much beyond the ordinary. Ami and Manatsu have hiccups rather than dramas and it helps that they like each other enough to make the effort to build bridges.
It is a fairytale in so far as they were strangers who met online and were lucky not to have ended up with axe murderers in the guise of fashion models. But there are enough doses of realism to make one feel that this isn’t just a suburban white collar working woman’s fantasy in the name of a public service announcement.