Shounen Hanayome Series 01: Shounen Hanayome

Shounen Hanayome 01

Title: Shounen Hanayome Series 01: Shounen Hanayome (少年花嫁)
Original work by: Okano Maria (Novel)
Release date: 2007年01月30日
Length: 01:15:20
Cast: Toriumi Kousuke x Suzumura Kenichi (鳥海浩輔 × 鈴村健一)
Related drama(s): Shounen Hanayome Series
Shion’s enjoyment: ❤❤
Genres: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Magic, Slice of Life
Drama translation: None
Synopsis: Since young, Matsuura Shinobu has always been mistaken for a girl by everyone. One day, he was captured by a wandering spirit and saved by mysterious and handsome Mitsurugi Kouji. In exchange for having saved him, Kouji asked to borrow a few hours of Shinobu’s time and Shinobu found himself standing in as Kouji’s substitute fiancée?

 Navigation: Background | Characters | Plot | Conclusion


Background

A long time ago humans and spirits exist in different worlds peacefully. One day the spirit king tried to take over the human world and the ancestor of the Mitsurugi clan defeated him in a battle between the two worlds. From then on, the Mitsurugi clan has always been the one maintaining the balance between the worlds. Before his death, the spirit king predicted that he will be reborn and will invade the human world again when the Mitsurugi lineage weakens. Hence, to ensure that the lineage never weakens, it has been a Mitsurugi tradition that every member marries at the age of 18.


Characters & Seiyuu

Matsuura Shinobu is the main character who has been mistaken for a girl by almost everyone, spirits and humans alike. When he asked his mother about this sad fate of his, she said that he was cursed by a devil at birth. This was hardly a believable tale and Shinobu has always disregarded it. However, according to the Mitsurugi clan, he is indeed cursed by the devil. From then on, Shinobu had to live in the Mitsurugi clan pretending to be Kouji’s fiancée in exchange for his curse to be lifted. Through this “ordeal” that Shinobu had to go through, he started to learn more about himself and about the darkness surrounding the Mitsurugi clan. Although I don’t dislike Shinobu, I think that he’s a very typical main character in the more old-school type of anime/manga. There isn’t anything very special about him with the exception of his enormously high spiritual power, yet he is surrounded by friends (who are probably attracted to him because of his kindness) and attracts all sorts of “troubles”, and at the end, it was revealed that he’s the descendent of a long-lost clan which, along with the Mitsurugi clan and the Kagamino clan, which holds the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan. Everything is proceeding so predictably that I won’t be surprised if we find out later that he’s the holder to some massive power somehow and is the key to saving Japan. Mark my words, he will be. Perhaps he will become THE one who restrains Kouji, keeps him from destroying the world or something? Oh, just let me have my fun speculating.

I thought I was a fan of SuzuKen because I absolutely loved him in Kagi Series (which was my first BL series by the way) but after listening to this, I guess not? His voice came across as irritating on several occasions and one memorable one was when he screeched “I’ll come to hate you” at Kouji – my poor ears. Nevertheless, he does come across as cute during some bits, when he reacted to Kagamino Ayato’s introduction so honestly and so on… I hope I start to like him more in the following instalments to this series.

Although Mitsurugi Kouji appeared to be someone who has it all at first, we later find out that he is an illegitimate child who was brought in to succeed the family. According to Kouji, his previous fiancée’s attitude towards him changed after she found out that his birth details and for some reason, he thought that Shinobu might be the same as her. Before I forget, Kouji also works as a model somewhere and he’s basically your perfect prince with a unfortunate past/ treated unfairly in the family. It seems like he hasn’t experienced the love or the warmth of a normal family because the Mitsurugi clan is somewhat too uptight and rigid, like all well-established clans, and I feel that he’s actually envious of Shinobu, who got to grow up under the loving care of normal parents in a normal family. Although I thought Kouji was just a boy who felt left out in the clan because he has been ostracising himself based on his parentage, his mother’s attitude towards him changed that thinking quickly. It has got to be tough for him to grow up in an environment where his mother tells him things like “don’t embarrass me any further”. It’s no wonder that Kouji hates the Mitsurugi clan and has intentions to destroy the clan after obtaining it.

I’d like to think that I’m quite a fan of Toriumi Kousuke, but I couldn’t bring myself to like him in here, as his character just fitted too well into a typical mould of a gloomy princely character with a sad past. I don’t even know what to say anymore.

Kagamino Tsuguhiko is the younger brother of the head of the snake spirit clan and he was the culprit who arranged for the disappearance of Kouji’s previous fiancée. It’s obvious that he doesn’t wish well for the Mitsurugi clan, and that he was the one behind all the spirit attacks on Shinobu. It was then revealed that he wishes for the collapse of the Mitsurugi clan, so that the spirits can attack and take over the humans. He hasn’t been defeated at the end of this drama, so I guess he will be the main antagonist whom Kouji and Shinobu (and perhaps Ayato too) will be fighting against for the rest of the series.

Kagamino Ayato is successor of the clan of snake spirits, and I thought he would be as evil as his uncle. But this easy-going snake spirit is more righteous than we gave him credit for. I love hearing light-hearted and playful Konishi-san, quite different from what I’ve been hearing him as in my recent dramas (Thanatos no Futago, Seikanji-ke Series) and animes (Tokyo Ghoul) and this might or might not sound surprising, given that Konishi-san is one of my favourite seiyuus, but Ayato is my favourite character in Shounen Hanayome.


Plot

Shinobu was mistaken for a girl by a spirit and captured; he was then rescued by Kouji who asked to borrow him for a few hours in exchange for having rescued him. During that few hours, Shinobu was to be the substitute for Kouji’s escaped fiancée and had to dress as a woman to attend a ceremony.

Shortly after his stint, he was requested to act as Kouji’s fiancée for a period of 3 months, during which they will try to lift the curse on Shinobu in exchange for his huge sacrifice. Hey, giving up the rights to your life for a period of 3 months is no joke, especially when time is so precious. Although he was very unwilling, Shinobu was pressured into accepting the request and thus begins his crash course to become a worthy wife of Mitsurugi.

After he became known as Kouji’s fiancée, Shinobu started to get attacked by spirits frequently and we later find out that the ones who sent the spirits were from the Kagamino family and they seem interested in weakening the Mitsurugi house. What’s worse, they seemed to have found out about Shinobu’s real gender and rumours about the Mitsurugi fiancée being a male have been circulating.

Soon after, an unexpected night visit from Ayato prompted Kouji to force himself on Shinobu, and he nearly raped the poor boy until SuzuKen’s shrill “I’ll come to hate you”. That jolted Kouji back to his senses and he promised never to do that to Shinobu ever again. Uh oh, really? Things got awkward after them after that and before they could make up, Shinobu went out with his friends for ramen and got captured by Tsuguhiko’s underlings. Tsuguhiko then casted a spell over Shinobu and instructed him to assassinate Kouji with a hairpin. Kouji rescued Shinobu and while they were escaping to a safe place, Tsuguhiko’s hairpin appeared in Shinobu’s hand. Despite his attempts to overcome the spell and to warn Kouji, Shinobu stabbed Kouji. At the worst possible moment, they were attacked by a spirit. Just as it looked as though Kouji was about to be defeated, he asked for Shinobu to escape while he remained as the sacrifice. Out of frustration that Kouji still refuses to rely on others even in such desperate times, Shinobu cried and his tears took the form of a gem, which Kouji recognised as the Gem of Life. The gem gave Kouji and his summoned spirit a huge amount of power and with that, they defeated the wandering spirit.

After the close brush with death, Kouji decided to forcefully end their contract. But Shinobu won’t have any of that cowardly nonsense, he wasn’t about to give up the promise of having his curse lifted or abandoned Kouji after just what had happened. Well, that’s not what they actually said, but that’s what I think they are feeling in their hearts. Kouji made an excuse of wanting to end their contract because Shinobu doesn’t like him and Shinobu accidentally let slip from his mouth the phrase of “who said that I don’t like you”. With that, the previous awkwardness between them evaporated and we can say that they made up for the time being.

I suppose Ayato and his friend (whose name I forgot but I’m quite sure he’s voiced by Hatano Wataru) were watching the whole fight from somewhere high up, as they suddenly gave some commentary and explanation regarding the Gem of Life. It is the gem which governs life. Just like the double-edged blade from Mitsurugi house which brings death to all evil, the Gem of Life brings life to all creation and maintains the health of all beings. With the appearance of the gem, all three sacred treasures have been gathered; the blade from Mitsurugi house, the mirror from the Kagamino family, and the gem from the Tamagawa family which was thought to be lost for years. This seems to be a sign that something is about to occur, with all three treasures gathered at the same time.

Just some trivia, the Imperial Regalia of Japan is also known as the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan, consisting of the Kusanagi blade, the Yata mirror and the Yasakani gem. They represent three primary virtues: valour, benevolence and wisdom. Japanese like to make use of this idea in their stories and I think its usage is rather apt here, especially with the references to spirits and exorcists and whatnot.

During the engagement ceremony, an old woman predicted Shinobu will cause the downfall of the Mitsurugi clan and it wasn’t given much attention after that, but I feel that this will become something key in the future dramas. In some ways, we can already see how Shinobu will cause the downfall of the clan. With his help, Kouji will have more power and the Mitsurugi clan in his hands and there’s no telling what Kouji has in mind for the future of the clan. Being someone who hates the clan, he’s already said that he might want to destroy it (I have a feeling that he won’t) so we can only watch and see what he does in the future dramas.


Conclusion

It has been quite a while since I listened to such a classic fantasy-comedy, and while Shounen Hanayome isn’t too bad in this genre, I feel that it’s lacking in something. It goes without saying that this is a must-listen if you’re a fan of Tori-san or SuzuKen, otherwise, your time might be better spent on one of the many many dramas available out there.

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