Engaged to the Unidentified, or Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, is a show I avoided at first because it’s seemingly another generic romcom or worse, a harem. The show’s description only helps push that. I did notice one thing strange though, none of the promotional artwork, none of the images around on sites, and all the promo videos featured nothing but three girls and no man. I knew it wasn’t a yuri show because the description clearly said she was engaged to a man. After having this gif sent to me a few times, I ended up trying the show out, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome.
Only contains a few vague MARKED spoilers, so no worries if you haven’t seen it.
Turns out, this show is just a really fun slice of life comedy with some romance elements peppered in, and both the fun comedy and romance stuff is handled extremely well. The romance is a very lightly treated element but it is also pretty unique in many aspects and it works well as a sub story, the same can be said for the slice of life stuff – there are things about this show that make everything just different enough from the norm that they are extra fun and very fresh feeling.
The basic story is that Kobeni finds out she’s engaged to a boy named Hakuya, and with him comes a new nine-year-old sister-in-law. The point of the show is their interactions and the way they go about creating family ties between them as well as seeing how Kobeni and Hakuya cope with their situation and hopefully grow to love each other. However, the main focus is primarily on Mashiro, the “loli sister-in-law” as they put it, and her relationship with Kobeni and Benio (Kobeni’s older biological sister). There are parts that deal with Kobeni and Hakuya, but the majority of the show feels centered around little Mashiro, and even during scenes focused on the romance or other characters she’s very prominent but never annoying.
The ED sums up the show pretty well, actually. Mashiro is the main focus, Kobeni and Benio support her pretty heavily, and Hakuya is just sort of there, and this is not a “special” ending or a one time thing, it’s the legitimate ending of every episode. Hell, it’s literally called MASHIRO’S WORLD.
However, I know that will make people think it’s vapid “moeshit pandering” or something along those lines, and that’s just not true. Yes, there’s loads of moe to be found here, but the show doesn’t feel like what those types of people usually refer to as moeshit – like K-ON or something (which is quite a good show, honestly). This is more of a comedy than something like K-ON or Hidamari Sketch, and has the feel of a full on comedy series rather than a slice of life above all else. Everything about it is well written, smart, and makes you end up going back and rewatching parts even after just having watched them. It’s hilarious, it’s cute as all hell, and it also has a sweet romance to boot – but because of being mostly a comedy I can’t say too much about the story without spoiling far too much.
The series has EXTREMELY fluid animation and very good and consistent art throughout. Actually it’s one of the nicer shows I’ve seen in awhile and for the most part never dips below that – but the few times it does, it manages to maintain it’s charm regardless. Along with that the art has a few styles it uses, the normal one, slightly deformed, and then super deformed – all of which are great, done with care, and are perfectly fit into the show at the right moments.
Other things worth mentioning; great music – easily one of the best OPs I can think of off the top of my head in general, and the same applies to the ED. They are definitely in my top favorites ever without question. Along with that the general OST is very well made and placed skillfully throughout the show.
My biggest complaints about Mikakunin are entirely based around two characters: The long haired blonde lesbian who is in the school council with Benio and the green haired newspaper club girl. Both are just obnoxious as all hell, have no redeeming features, and do nothing for the show but drop it’s quality and watchability any time they are around. They take an easy 10/10 and make it questionable just remembering they exist, and definitely would make that score drop at least to an 8 if they were around even a tiny bit more than they already are. They seem to have been shoehorned in just to fill some more cliches that were missing – it’s a bit jarring, given everything aside them feels so perfectly balanced and thought out.
On the good side of the cast though – literally everyone else – my favorite would be easy to guess: Mashiro. She is by far one of the cutest girls to ever exist and is pretty much what anyone would dream of having for a daughter or little sister, at least anyone without shitty incest fetishes (don’t you even think about thinking about lewding the mashiro). She has an extremely unique and beyond adorable voice that fits her perfectly, her personality is always cheery or cute, and she has a lot of cute and sweet quirks to her that never stop surprising you with how moe they are. The biggest of those quirks being her love for UMA (Unidentified Mysterious Animal – like Nessie, aliens, etc) which is something she obsesses over very often along with her huge love of sweets. *Spoiler*For the record, she’s the same as her brother – there are way too many examples throughout the show that back it up for her to be anything but the same in the aspect I’m clearly talking about! Deal with it! That being the case, eating all those sweets is dangerous.*Spoiler End*
After her, I’d say it’s a tie between Kobeni (especially her body WOO WOOOOO) and Hakuya. Both of them not only have very solid and fun personalities, but they are far from archetypal. Actually, Hakuya deserves some focus because he’s something very special in romcoms: he looks like a total cliche and acts like one at first, yet he’s the type of male lead in a romcom (and most romances) you will never find, and he’s also got a shit ton more to his character than he first lets on (and especially more than his looks would make you assume). Something I really love about his character and everything about him from his looks to his personality is that they are all fully explained in one big reveal later on in the show that explained all of it. It doesn’t just explain it, but it makes you realize like “Ohhhhh that’s why ______” and such, and you’ll even find you go back to see scenes again because knowing this makes them all the more enjoyable in hindsight. It’s the perfect explanation that makes you realize why he felt so different and likable compared to those you’d assume he’s similar to. *Spoiler*The reveal was really too perfect and made this show jump from around a 9.8 to a for-sure full 10. Not that I rate in scales like that or that my ratings really mean shit even to me, but it really made me love this show even more and TOTALLY solidified his character for me as well as really making Mashiro all the damn cuter knowing that she’s the same way. Oh, and it’ll make you really worried when Kobeni gives him chocolate on Valentines day, he could die!*Spoiler End*
Oh, and I think them teasing Kobeni about having child-bearing hips…and really, an anime character having them done so well, is really not something you see every day – so I enjoyed that as well. They do it tastefully too – the show might have jokes about things like her hips or breasts, but there’s no fanservice outside of promotional art in things like Megami magazine and such.
The finale also just feels perfect and is the most fully satisfying ending to a show I’ve seen in awhile, though I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t say more. That’s a short thing to throw in, but it really was a very well done finisher for the series. I truly hope for more of this, but as far as I know there are currently no signs of a season 2 – maybe once the manga is a bit more along though, it’s pretty goddamn popular in both Japan and the west, I can’t imagine this will be over permanently right now. Oddly – this is based on a 4koma, you’d never guess that watching it, which also means that there has to be a lot of new content for them to have enough to be able to animate it into a new season, so I’ll wait with high hopes for more.
This is a show I wholeheartedly recommend for anyone and everyone to try. It’s incredibly fun, endearing, charming, truly heartwarmingly cute without feeling like it’s pandering at all, and plenty hilarious – all while mixing in the bonds of the whole cast and relationship building between Hakuya and Kobeni in the perfect amounts at exactly the right times. The focus on Mashiro and her becoming part of this new family really gives it a lot of fresh material too, as creating family bonds isn’t really something you normally see in anime. This is a show that’s got a lot to it that you do not want to miss out on and is something that, at least as of June, can say has been and stayed my anime of the year and a very easily given 10/10.
One last thing! ＵＭＡ・ＭＡ ＵＭＡ・ＭＡ ＵＭＡ・ＭＡ ╭( ・ㅂ・)و ̑̑.