Dengeki Love Stories: Marriage Wanted – Debbie Macomber and Eve Takigawa

I’ve dragged my toes about it, but I’ve finally decided to join the digital crowd and try out some electronic media. I’ve started with some free checkouts from my local library. I’ve decided to call this series of posts Dengeki Love Stories, since most of them will be electronically formatted stories about my preferred subject – romance!

My inaugural post will start out with the electronic Harlequin Romance series. These are stories written by well known romance authors and have been adapted and drawn in comic format. First off is Marriage Wanted, a short story written by romance author Debbie Macomber. The comic format has been adapted and drawn by Eve Takigawa.

The Gist: Savannah Charles owns a bridal boutique and is a wedding planner. One of her clients admits that she can’t get her brother to accept her upcoming nuptials. Said brother Dashel Davenport visits the boutique in order to convince Savannah to help him change his sister’s mind. Dash is a divorce lawyer with no belief in the covenant of marriage anymore. He and Savannah make a bet that one can convince the other that their outlook on marriage is the right one. Circumstances lead Dash and Savannah to tie the knot for their own personal benefits, an agreement that is to last for one year. However, Savannah and Dash both realize that a marriage of convenience was not what either really wants.

Dashel and Savannah

Dashel and Savannah

The Characters/Romance: First of all, this is a lame Harlequin romance. The characters are shallow and the romance cliché. That’s to be expected with Harlequin. No offense to Ms. Macomber, I’m sure the textual version of the story is somewhat better. (maybe?) However, trying to condense it into manga format brought out the glaring faults of the story.

The heroine has her own business, yet because of a disability with her leg she has a huge chip on her shoulder. She is so bitter about being alone and single, and being a burden on her parents, that she enters into a marriage with Dash that defies what she believes to be important in the covenant of marriage.

The love interest, Dashel has a bit more of a believable story. He became a divorce lawyer because of how he was jerked around by his first wife. He doesn’t believed in the marriage ceremony anymore. Amazingly, one date with Savannah changes his mind. He goes from being bitter to being interested in love with a few page turns.

What I said earlier about the comic format exposing the extremes is true. Condensing the story to this format made events occur suddenly with very little foreshadowing. Dash and Savannah’s emotions evolve severely from one scene to the next. Trying to tell this story in such a short format leaves a lot to be desired. I feel this story was created for the novelty of the format. “Let’s take an American author’s story and make it into a manga!” Just like The Exile graphic novel I reviewed earlier this year.  In the digital format the pages turn from left to right, but the panels read from right to left, which I found confusing. I kept turning the pages the wrong direction. The ability to have the story on my device and pick it up anywhere is one of the pluses of digital media.

Paneling, toning, and lettering

Paneling, toning, and lettering

The Art: The character designs are quite fitting for this story and would be the best aspect of the art. Takigawa does a fair job with expressions and body language. The toning looks like it would be straight out of a josei manga. The paneling is very simple. I thought the lettering was poorly done. In some places the fonts for “thoughts” and “speech” got mixed up.

The Audience: Marriage Wanted is intended for an older female audience. The characters are in their late twenties to early thirties. The relationship does become intimate, so the romance rating would be lustful. This story might be a way for comic readers to get traditional romance fans to try reading something in a comic format. A gateway story, if you will.

The Media: Marriage Wanted is available from Harlequin K.K./SOFTBANK Creative Corporation. It can be purchased from several sources online. I was able to check it out at my local library.

Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥

If you’re looking for a cheesy romance, this is it. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you just want some mindless reading at the beach. 

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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