Morimoto, a young professional woman in Japan, is tired of fending off her parents’ questions about her being single. They want her to marry a man and settle down, and they’ll insist on nitpicking her choice of groom to death. In an unexpected move, another woman in the office—who has a crush on her—offers to be her wife in a sham marriage, which might make her parents back off. But this “fake” marriage could unearth something very real!
I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up is a pretty short story–the title and the synopsis feel longer!–by Kodama Naoko, who’s also the mangaka of NTR: Netsuzou Trap, which received an anime adaptation on 2017 that I admittedly decided to pass on. That last detail made a little apprehensive of this title, but my desire to see a well-known romantic trope applied to a lesbian romance was bigger.
“Marriage for convenience but they develop feelings for each other” is indeed a well-known trope–quite beloved according to meme wisdom. In fact, I did notice the story has multiple romantic tropes; at some point I felt like I could probably summarize it in an ao3 tagging style. (Pretending to be lovers but fall in love for real, friends to lovers, grumpy falls for sunny one, roommates, sharing a bed, sharing baths, misunderstandings, sexual tension, angst with a happy ending, etc.)
The women’s marriage is actually a certificate of partnership valid in the Shibuya district, which became the first in recognizing same-sex unions in Japan back in 2015 (and which does have its limitations). I would like to say that it’s enough to indeed shut the parents up, but the women’s union is unfortunately met with homophobia. Nevertheless, they persist. (There’s workplace misogyny as well, although is pretty brief.)
I Married My Best Friend has glimpses of exploring self-discovery, and awakening the desire to take control of your life and pursue your passions–the latter is notably connected to the lesbian romance. The idea of living your life repressing your emotions, your wants and needs to go with the flow and conform to expectations, only to start discovering yourself once you gain some freedom as an adult does feel like a relatable queer narrative, and one that’s fitting for women.
There’s a lot of interesting elements in the story–it could be argued that one of them is demisexual as well–but it’s unfortunately too short to truly flesh them out. The characters aren’t as developed as I would have liked either, and the falling in love part can feel too rushed. At its worst, it’s close to steer into Predatory Lesbian territory–it doesn’t cross the line, but it can still be momentarily uncomfortable. And at its best, it’s an entertaining romance featuring adult women adjusting to a life together, which is always welcomed.
This title is licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment with 1 volume available. You can find it on Seven Seas’ website.
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