Apparently It’s My Fault That My Husband Has the Head of a Beast, Vol. 1

By Eri Shiduki and Kasumi Nagi. Released in Japan by Ichijinsha. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by David Evelyn.

I worry that the title of this 2-volume series may actually be putting readers off. Let’s face it, it sounds exactly like the sort of oververbose light novel title you’d see written by any other author, and makes people think that it will be of a similar character. It’s not. Technically Bakarina was also a romance novel, but it’s overly dense heroine and otome game mechanics made it appeal to a larger male audience too. This, though, is pure romance novel, written by a woman for other women. This is not to say that I don’t think male readers will like this title – it’s a great read. But it lacks the trappings of light novelness that everyone is used to, and that means it’s a title that can be read by women without having to worry about harems, or wacky chases in the nude, or any number of other anime tropes that you’d commonly see. This has romance novel tropes. A young, terminally shy and introverted princess. A prince with a curse who is blunt and melancholy. And a bucket. Yes, really.

Rosemarie is the second princess of a small agricultural nation, and has spent most of her life either indoors or in her garden due to one simple fact: when anyone shows negative emotions around her, their heads transform into that of beasts. This has led her to be terrified of most human contact, and when she’s incited to a ball in one of the larger, far more prosperous countries to the north, she sees it as something she will have to endure. But then she sees the country’s prince, Claudio, who over the course of the entire party does not have his head transform. Clearly he is the man of her dreams! They marry a few months later, and she learns the truth: everyone ELSE sees Claudio’s head as that of a beast – except her. Moreover, he says this is her fault because he rescued her as a child and she stole his mana (something she does not recall doing at all). And the marriage is a sham, as he regards her more like a thing than a wife. Fortunately, she has her maid. And her large metal bucket, which she wears on her head in times of great stress.

There is a fair bit of magic and fantasy involved in this, but that’s hardly uncommon in today’s romance novels, where the heroes can be vampires or werewolves. The main reason to read it is the growing relationship between Rosemarie and Claudio, who are both terminally bad at communicating with each other. He seems always angry, she seems always terrified, and there’s very little common ground to find. But find it they do, because Rosemarie has a determination to fix whatever she did wrong and make Claudio whole again, and Claudio realizes that he’s being a major jerk and that Rosemarie actually is looking out for his best interests. Which is good, as there’s an evil archbishop who would like Claudio to be out of the succession for the throne. That said, the plot is merely OK, and the humor mostly stems from Rosemarie’s desire to hide (the bucket reminds me a little bit of Akari’s House from Battle Athletes). You should read this for the excellent character work and sweet, if slow-going romance between the two leads. And one bucket.

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