Flash Review: Shanai Marriage Honey [Japan]

I might be at risk of giving the impression that I have A Serious Thing for contract marriage J-dramas here, what with my deep affection for 2016’s We Married As A Job, and general fondness for 2020’s Marry Me!, but when I heard about this short little J-drama and what it was about, I couldn’t resist checking it out.

I.. do have a soft spot for the contract marriage trope, can’t lie. But I rationalize that the premises for the contract marriages in all 3 shows are different and distinct from one another, and therefore I’m not essentially watching the same show done 3 different ways. 😅

At just seven 25-minute episodes, Show is easy and low-risk, and perfect for squeezing into little pockets of time – or marathoning in one sitting, if you prefer.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Haruta (Matsui Airi) is desperate to change her life after breaking up with her cheating longtime boyfriend, and agrees to an instant marriage with Miura (Itagaki Mizuki), whom she meets through a dating app. Once married, though, she finds herself very curious to get to know her handsome husband for real. Cue complications, when they discover belatedly that they actually work for the same company, and now need to balance being professional, with keeping their secret marriage, well, secret.

STUFF I LIKED

1. Show is pretty fast-paced, and our story – and our lead couple’s relationship milestones – roll right along without wasting any time.

2. Our leads are both nice people, and they are very cute individually and together, and I looked forward to seeing their love story unfold, within the context of their instant marriage.

3. Show feels off-kilter and weird, because the relationship milestones are all out of regular order, but it’s fascinating and entertaining, for the most part.

4. There’s no one in this drama world that is bad, unpleasant or scheming. Everyone’s kind, understanding and supportive in their own way. I liked that.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

1. This show definitely needs a particular lens. I think an anime one works well.

2. Haruta’s cutesy behavior is par for the course in a J-drama I believe, but might throw off viewers who are new to this brand of J-dramas.

3. Because Show is designed to be fast and simple, a lot of the conflicts and resolutions lean simple too.

[SPOILER] I actually thought Miura’s reason for wanting to get married instantly – to set his ailing mother’s mind at ease – was a bit lame, considering that he didn’t even invite his mother to the wedding, [END SPOILER] but decided that this is just the way Show is built. On manga logic. 😉

4. Show is a little bold on the sexytimes front, [HIGH LEVEL SPOILER] with our couple quite quickly delving into the topic of consummating their instant marriage. [END SPOILER]

I just thought that would be good to mention, in case it’s an issue for some viewers.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

Of course our couple gets their happy ending; I’d say that that was a given from the very beginning of our show, even.

We get some small spots of angst because Haruta is anxious over misplacing her wedding ring and is afraid Miura would be disappointed in her, and Miura is jealous over thoughts of Haruta’s ex-boyfriend, because Mom keeps mentioning him.

Ultimately, though, everything’s smoothed over quite easily, with Haruta assuring Miura that her 5 years with her ex is nothing compared to the 50 or more years that she plans to spend with him. And, after Miura goes to get Haruta his mother’s ring (which had been his grandmother’s), Haruta’s wedding ring is found, yay.

I like the idea of them taking their wedding photos all over again, now that they’ve become a real couple that loves each other, and I am also nicely amused at seeing flashbacks of their wedding day, now from Miura’s perspective – because he’d actually fallen in love with Haruta at first sight.

It’s all pretty predictable, especially if you’ve seen other dramas use similar narrative devices, but Miura’s infatuated face is pretty great, and it’s just sweet and heartwarming to see our cute couple enjoying their happy lovey-dovey ending. ❤️

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Fluffy, easy and quirky-cute in a way that’s quintessentially Japanese.

FINAL GRADE: B+

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Kaye
Kaye
3 months ago

I loooooved this sooo much. It was my first jdrama and I’m quite happy it was very light and just a happy one. The chemistry between the leads is also amazing!

Table122000
Table122000
4 months ago

Thanks for your review of this J-Drama. I;m interested to check it out. Just FYI for anyone else interested, this drama is now coming soon to Viki, so there should be subs in multiple languages eventually.
https://www.viki.com/tv/37702c-in-house-marriage-honey

j3ffc
j3ffc
3 months ago
Reply to  Table122000

It is on Viki now, which is certainly nice for the reasons noted by Table122000 but also worth checking out for including the super-cute opening credit sequence, which is a fun little dance number. I didn’t know, prior to reading this review, that “contract marriage” shows were a thing – which just goes to show how dense I am, because I’ve been slow-watching “Delightful Girl Choon Hyang” forever. Sigh….

Gloglo
4 months ago

Ugh I loved this little show so much! It’s fluffy and simplistic and the characters’ reasoning and angst are quite silly at times, but the sexy times are everything… the contract marriage trope is also a favourite of mine. Thanks for recommending this, fangirl. I must check the other two J-dramas you recommended.

MC
MC
5 months ago

I wanted a short fluffy drama and got it in this. I love the contract marriage trope (it’s probably my favourite trope along with the cold guy haha) so it’s quite obvious that I really enjoyed this one. Someone described it as cotton candy and I think that’s a good analogy – it’s fluffy and light and sweet to the point of diabetes hahah. Both leads are cute, nice, their relationship is so sweet and they’ve got chemistry indeed. I was surprised by the boldness (sexy times) but not sure if that’s a Japanese drama thing? Well it was an enjoyable cute watch and I’m glad that you featured it – nice way to unwind after a stressful day at work 🙂

Fangirl Sy
Fangirl Sy
5 months ago

Have the years of kdrama watching made me unbelievably prudish? Haha i found myself pleasantly shocked with how open they talked about sexy times, just as how married couples should.

You are all right, this is a breezy, perfect for this short dosage, fun and sweet ride. I love how they resolved issues with communication and how it was revealed how ML actually fell in love with her earlier on. What a fantastical fairy tale. And a perfect drama to tide me over til the next longer series to grab my attention.

Ayan
5 months ago

I liked Shanai Marriage more that I thought I would. It was the perfect drama to watches after a drama slump. I definitely think we needed to hear more of Miura’s thoughts because at times it felt like he was hiding something more sinister. I could have done with less of the masseur scenes but I guess the finale did a good job of wrapping things up.

esha
esha
5 months ago

I watched this drama and loved it. Can you suggest me some more dramas like these? I have watched all the dramas present under the recommended series in mydramalist. Would love to see some more japenese dramas………

CarpControl
CarpControl
5 months ago

Hey KFG💕
I ended up watching this immediately after Marry Me!… and both are so fluffy and candy-cute! 😊 I am also pleasantly surprised how they managed to pack a punch in just under 25mins per episode! :😁
On a completely superficial note, Itagaki Mizuki reminds me SO much of Ryan Ding from certain angles (the lead actor from Tiger & Rose), it made me miss him instantly and I decided to watch Intense Love (why?) because I can’t wait for his new drama, Moonlight…. which ALSO has very manga-vibes…😍
Sitting at 30-ish episodes, I’ll definitely take a first plunge, and let you know if it’s worth your time…
I remember you mentioning how he resembles a Human Ken-Doll hehe! 😎

CarpControl
CarpControl
5 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Guess what, after watching both these shows, I have reserved one slot in my nightly before-bed binge sessions exclusively for fluff. I’m watching My Little Happiness (and it’s absolutely the kind of adorable as these two). Definitely, the sugar is giving me a toothache, but I look forward to it weekly. Hehe! ^^

carulhein
5 months ago

Thanx for the review Kfangurl. I also really liked this one. Just something cute to watch without any angst. And while some cutesy behaviour sometimes annoys me a bit 😁, I enjoyed Haruta’s cute behaviour which came across as a natural part of her character. The OTP also had great chemistry, so all in all a fun watch.

Asperugo
Asperugo
5 months ago

I found this one because a fan-made highlight reel appeared on my YouTube recommendations. So even my Google account knows that lately I’ve watched quite many contract marriage dramas 😀 I’ve also tried to rationalize why I’m so drawn to these dramas, because they are the opposite of what I believe in. I don’t think it is a good idea to get married to a complete stranger without any kind of background check. The female leads are so trusting and even if we as viewers know that the guy is good, she does not!

I could rant on, but I won’t because I take this all as a fantasy. It’s a modern fairy tale, where dating is effortless and a woman does not have to go through dozens of horrible dates to possibly find a decent man who is ready to commit. Social media platforms are full of stories about horrible dating experiences that women have encountered, so I need something uplifting even though I know it’s not a real possibility.

Anyways, this was a nice fluffy piece and the leads were really cute together. I can’t believe the male lead is only 20 in real life!

Webby
Webby
5 months ago

Agree that this is light, fluffy and akin to carnival cotton candy – delightful only in small doses! 7×25 min eps to be exact. There were a few logic leaps of course, but I could put up with it for those big melty eyes (from both parties!). Perfect viewing for say, a long weekend and feeling idle.

reaper525
reaper525
5 months ago

Contract marriage is one of the funniest troupes out there.
Bookmarked this one.
I am very intrigued by the fast pace and instant „sexy“ time 😂
Btw why do you recommend an anime lens? Especially the newer ones are very crazy, insane and way over the top.

reaper525
reaper525
5 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Ah okay
But tbh I wouldn’t mind a funny contract marriage to be real 😂

seankfletcher
5 months ago

I quite enjoyed Shanai Marriage Honey. In fact, it struck me how much happened in 25 minutes per episode and that the story moved in a nice, fluent way. So, in summary my comments are: cute, fluffy – the OTP have a great relationship and the FL’s concerns are portrayed well 😊