Tales of Wedding Rings, Vol. 1

By Maybe. Released in Japan as “Kekkon Yubiwa Monogatari” by Square Enix, serialization ongoing in the magazine Big Gangan. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

I can’t say I wasn’t warned. Read the title, Sean, I should have said to myself. Note the plural. And yet I still felt a little sucker-punched when we got to the plot “twist” in question, mostly as I was quite enjoying the first volume of this action romance. The lead is likeable and not a perv, the heroine really seems to have fallen for him (and thus wants to avoid getting him in danger), there’s cool monster fights. Heck, even the prince that she’s “supposed” to marry, who all previous fantasy series would tell you would be an obnoxious SOB, turns out to be quite nice and helpful to our heroes, glad to see that they have a passionate and true love. So yes, when it comes out at the end that he’s got to marry four other princesses, I was a bit grumpy. Polyamory has become a common trope in the last couple of years, particularly in isekai novels, but I’d like it to have a better setup than this, and usually it works best when all the heroines are OK with it.

But before the ending of the volume, we get a pretty good story. Satou is introduced to Hime as a child when she and her guardian arrive from a portal of light. That said, he’s mostly forgotten about this, and she’s become his cheerful, buxom childhood friend that he has a crush on but is too afraid of ruining their friendship to do anything about. Unfortunately, after spending a lovely festival day with him, she’s giving off “I am never going to see you again” vibes that he picks up on just in time. He rushes after her into a fantasy world where she’s a princess (the name may have given it away), about to be wed to a handsome prince. But the wedding is promptly crashes by a monster, as apparently the princess hanging out in our world was to prevent her being killed. Only a hero using her wedding ring power can help them… and she finally admits Satou is that hero, as she’s in love with him. What follows is a lot of monster battles combined with blushey romantic tropes.

The author is known for ecchi stuff, so I was surprised that this first volume kept it relatively tame. Oh sure, Hime’s got a voluptuous body, as the cover art clearly indicates. But the fanservice is mostly confined to one or two scenes and the ‘chapter art’ pages. Satou and Hime are also both nice kids who clearly are in love with each other but don’t quite now how to handle it now that they’ve admitted it. A scene near the end where they try to have a wedding night – then admit they aren’t ready to go that far yet – is really well done. My only objection is that I worry as we add more princesses that the serviced will increase… especially as Hime has admitted she doesn’t really want the multiple wives. She wants Satou and he wants her. I want that too. That said, there was wenough here I enjoyed to make me want to pick up a second volume to see what happens next.

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