Developed from a series of light novels written by Akumi Agitogi and illustrated by Tsukiho Tsukioka, Netflix’s ‘My Happy Marriage’ or ‘Watashi no Shiawase na Kekkon’ is a historical fantasy romance TV anime. Set in an alternate version of the 19th century Meiji Restoration era Japan, the plot revolves around Miyo, the eldest daughter of the Saimori family. In a world where everyone is born with special abilities, she has none. Following her mother’s death when she was young, Miyo’s father remarried, and she grew up enduring his indifference and the constant cruelty of her stepmother and half-sister.
When Miyo learns that her marriage has been arranged with Kiyoka Kudo, the head of the Kudo family and a commander in the military, she doesn’t know how to react. On the one hand, this arrangement will get her out of her home. On the other hand, Kiyoka has a reputation for being cold and cruel, and all his previous would-be brides have ended things within a few days of the engagement. But the moment they meet, Miyo and Kiyoka realize there is more to the other person than what the rumors suggest. If you watched the anime and loved it, here is a list of recommendations that might fit your taste. You can catch most of these anime similar to ‘My Happy Marriage’ on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, or Funimation.
8. Ranma ½ (1989-1992)
As in ‘My Happy Marriage,’ the concept of arranged marriage serves as an important plot device in ‘Ranma ½.’ The titular protagonist is a gifted martial artist and a student of the Saotome School of martial arts. While visiting China, Ranma has an accident and ends up being cursed. As a result, he turns into a woman every time he is splashed with cold water.
Despite this, Ranma’s father is adamant about upholding the marriage pact made with Soun Tendou, the head of the Tendou dojo. The latter has three daughters, and it is ultimately decided that the youngest, Akane, will marry Ranma. The problem is that she hates men, and he isn’t thrilled about being caught in this situation, either.
7. My Bride is a Mermaid (2007)
‘My Bride is a Mermaid’ or ‘Seto no Hanayome’ tells the story of Nagasumi Michishio. While vacationing at the Seto Inland Sea, he goes out for a swim at Mio Sun Beach and suddenly suffers from a cramped leg. This is when a mermaid appears out of nowhere, saving Nagasumi. But now that he has seen the mermaid, whose name is Sun Seto, he discovers that he will be executed by her family, who are the leaders of a mermaid Yakuza clan.
Having no other choice, Nagasumi agrees to marry Sun. Like Kiyoka and Miyo, Nagasumi and Sun get together in questionable circumstances, but as the series progresses, something special begins to develop between the two.
6. Engaged to the Unidentified (2014)
‘Engaged to the Unidentified’ or ‘Mikakunin de Shinkoukei’ follows Kobeni Yonomori, a seemingly regular Japanese girl who discovers she has a fiancé and a sister-in-law on her 16th birthday. She has never met either of them before, but her grandfather apparently arranged everything. As Hakuya Mitsumine and Mashiro Mitsumine come to live with her, Kobeni starts to realize there is something extraordinary about them. Like the relationship between Kiyoka and Miyo, the one between Kobeni and Hakuya slowly develops through the series, and they genuinely come to care for each other.
5. Love and Lies (2017)
‘Love and Lies’ or ‘Koi to Uso’ adds an interesting spin to the arranged marriage trope, but it’s still part of the narrative, and the fans of ‘My Happy Marriage’ will like it. The plot is set in the near future when the government assigns people their life partners after they turn 16. Yukari Nejima, the protagonist of the series, loves Misaki Takasaki, and his feelings are reciprocated. But when the government assigns him Ririna Sanada, he faces a difficult conundrum. She is irritated about being assigned to someone, but she is fascinated with love and encourages Yukari to pursue a relationship with Misaki.
4. Bibliophile Princess (2022-)
‘Bibliophile Princess’ or ‘Mushikaburi-hime’ has quite a few things in common with ‘My Happy Marriage.’ Unlike several entries on this list, it celebrates romance between its two protagonists just as ‘My Happy Marriage’ does. The story follows Lady Elianna Bernstein, the eponymous “Bibliophile Princess,” who hails from a noble family. When His Highness Christopher Selkirk Ashelard, the prince of the Sauslind Kingdom, proposes to her, she accepts as it will give her access to the royal library. Meanwhile, Selkirk picks Elianna because her family is politically neutral. Their engagement of convenience gradually transforms into something more as the series progresses.
3. Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood (2021)
‘Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood’ or ‘Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood’ is not a romance anime, and arranged marriage is not a prevalent theme in its narrative. But if you are fascinated with the depiction of an alternate version of the Meiji Restoration era in ‘My Happy Marriage,’ this is the anime for you. Like the Netflix series, ‘Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood’ explores its alternate Meiji Era setting in detail.
In fact, this anime goes several steps further, underscoring various real-life issues that plagued Japan at the time. The story follows Sawa “Yuki” Yukimura, the last surviving member of the Karasumori clan, who uses the powers of their blue blood to transform into a changeling whenever she fights. She is a secret executioner for the government, though most of the world thinks she is a bookstore owner.
2. Nisekoi (2014-2016)
‘Nisekoi’ or ‘Nisekoi: False Love’ can be regarded as a more joyful and less magical version of ‘My Happy Marriage.’ It follows Raku Ichijou, a high-school student and the son of a Yakuza faction leader. As he heads to school, some girl jumps over a wall and knees him in the face. It is only later that Raku discovers that the girl in question is Chitoge Kirisaki, the daughter of a rival Yakuza faction. He also learns that the two factions have decided to settle their differences by proposing a romantic union between him and Chitoge. The problem is that neither can stand the other person, but for the sake of their families, they decide to go along with the act.
1. The World Is Still Beautiful (2014)
Like Kiyoka in ‘My Happy Marriage,’ Livius Orvinus Ifrikia (Livius I), the King of the Sun Kingdom, has a terrible reputation. After ascending the throne, he succeeded in establishing a worldwide empire within only three years. Just as Kiyoka is rumored to be cold and cruel, the speculations about Livius are that he is a monster, though physically, he is only a child. Nike Lemercier, the fourth and youngest princess of the Rain Dukedom, is sent to Livius’ castle to be his bride after she loses a game of rock-paper-scissors and is shocked to discover that the dreaded Sun King is a child. Later in the anime, she comes to embrace her position as the future Sun Queen.