Marriage originated as one of those Japanese life-simulation games (for those otaku who have none of their own). Much like the attention-getting dating simulation "Tokimeki Memorial," the Marriage game involves the main character trying to get a date, and eventually, hitched. The only real difference is that the ages are older, so it's not a high school, it's an office.
The flaw in introducing any of these simulations in America (aside from a stark lack of audience) is that the dating scenario in Japan is much different than here (and in other Western societies as well, I'd imagine). There, in order to get anywhere, you have to get into a comfortable situation with the object of your affection (if at all possible), and "confess love". This is usually in the form of a stiff, nervous "I like you" (Suki da/sa/dayo/desu/etc...). If your confession is accepted, yay -- you get to meet your in-laws in a somewhat forced meeting and make plans for... well... whatever. And if you're shot down, you get to run away, leaving a trail of teardrops and flower petals behind you.
Of course, this seemingly business-like way of dating really cuts through the mixed messages of American dating, but when a scenario like that is presented here, there's only one real connection a love confession can be made to an American custom: the proposal. There's a ton of problems with that: First of all, the love confession is the beginning of a relationship, whereas the proposal is the turning point. So, here's this Japanese story of a guy proposing to a woman on their first date. Riiiiiight...
At any rate, the Marriage story is about the exploits of a group of five old high school friends, and as time progresses, they're all starting to get married. This marriage party ends up being really overzealous, with at least one member pushing the current unattached person into a relationship they really don't want. The first episode involves the obnoxious Maki trying to set up her quiet friend Shizuka, but is insisting on using the crap that never works: dating services, vending machines, blood types, and astrological signs. This, of course, results in disaster, and what ensues isn't even funny to watch. A painstakingly awkward date with a total loser -- it's just as insufferable to observe as it is to participate. But, of course, it all turns out nice-nice...
The second episode is the really painful one. It seems Kiyomi is the only one left who isn't married or engaged. Well, Mikimaro, a 25-year-old co-worker (who looks like he's 14), really really wants her. What follows is a walk-through of the game. How to successfully get hitched. Watch Mikimaro do all the right things to get her affection! What works in a video game does NOT work in an anime, and all of the characters come off as shallow and brain-dead, as they act as their every move has been chosen from a menu. Who cares what happens to them?!
To make a bad thing worse, all of the main goings on are accompanied by similar soap opera crap going on in the background. So many characters are introduced in such a short amount of time that it's impossible to keep them all straight. Really long super-deformed "classroom" sequences tell us how to win by showing us all these fun, informative charts on what men and women like in their partners. They don't seem to have anything to do with anything, and Mikimaro is used as comic relief, whining about how he'll never get his mits on Kiyomi. I don't think I cracked a smile the entire time.
On the upside, Media Blasters' post-production work is improving. The conspicuous text blocks that were such a problem in Shinesman are now well-integrated on-screen text. The half-field distortions aren't much of a problem anymore either.
The dubbing on this project is by a company called "Shine" (It says Coastal Carolina on the box, but that was changed at the last minute), and while they do a good job on the banter and comic interactions, they really screw up on anything that requires thought or a slightly different tone of voice. A conversation in a noisy restaurant sounds really bad, since the characters aren't talking over them at all. Gossip sounds pretty fake too, but the worst parts are the romantic interactions.
Overall, this is a really really weak title. Painfully boring doesn't even begin to describe it. Avoid avoid avoid!!
Overall : F
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