To preface this review, I need to explain a concept. Iyashikei describes a calming, almost therapeutic sort of anime. It brings the viewer into a relaxed state of mind. They’re very subtle in presentation and rarely, if ever, are heavy in any aspect, whether it’s comedy, drama, or action. This isn’t that kind of show, but it does have some of those qualities, and that’s significant to my impression of it.
Sixteen-year-old Kobeni Yonomori just found out that, due to an arrangement set in place by her late grandfather, she’s engaged to be married to Hakuya Mitsumine, a boy her age from the country. Her life gets flipped, turned upside-down when her new fiancé and his little sister come to live with her, her mother, and her older sister.
Engaged to the Unidentified is a 4-koma based romance comedy anime produced by studio Dogakobo (Love Lab, Yuruyuri). Being a romance comedy, it might be tempting for some to dismiss the show outright. Romance comedies are a dime a dozen, but Engaged to the Unidentified is far from the typical “will they or won’t they?” angle the genre often takes. The relationship is established, and the show revolves around the development of the relationship, as well as the interactions between the characters.
This isn’t like Kanokon or My Bride is a Mermaid, however. Rather than every episode focusing on something or someone trying to ruin or sabotage Kobeni and Hakuya’s relationship, the show focuses on the building of this relationship between two families: Kobeni, her older sister Benio, and their mother, and Hakuya, his sister Mashiro, and their mother. The show also has a somewhat heavier subplot that exists well with the surface plot and makes the story as a whole more compelling.
I love this show’s art style. It’s cute, soft, and colorful, and it’s not afraid to go off-the-wall when the situation calls for it. The character designs are all absolutely adorable, and each character has their own mannerisms that are portrayed masterfully in the show’s art style. I can’t help but smile when Mashiro attempts to act mature, but ends up returning to childishness immediately, or when aloof, distant Hakuya shows just how much he cares about Kobeni.
The show strikes a clever balance between laugh-out-loud comedy and relaxing iyashikei qualities. It’ll make you both laugh earnestly and smile earnestly. It’s just a happy show. The first twenty seconds of the opening animation perfectly exemplify the mood and style of the series: Cheerful, bouncy, and totally adorable.
If you’re the kind of anime fan who enjoys shows like Hidamari Sketch and other light, soothing anime, but are looking for something with more energy and a bit of an edge to it, Engaged to the Unidentified might just be the thing for you. It’s like iyashikei’s foray into the realm of comedy, and if it means more shows like this, I wouldn’t have a problem with that becoming a trend.
Engaged to the Unidentified is available on Crunchyroll.