Can Someone Please Explain What’s Going On?! ~The Contract Couple’s Happily Ever After~, Vol. 7

By Tsuredurebana and Rin Hagiwara. Released in Japan as “Dareka Kono Joukyou wo Setsumei Shite Kudasai! ~Keiyaku Kara Hajimaru Wedding~” by ArianRose. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Tara Quinn.

It’s all change for this 7th volume of Can Someone Please Explain What’s Going On?!. As you can see, there’s a new subtitle (sorry that I can’t find the Japanese romanji equivalent) that basically is the equivalent of “After Story” – the main story has ended, our couple are living happily ever after, now what? There’s a new translator (the series’ third). And, most importantly there’s a new narrative focus, which means that sadly we don’t get much at all of Viola as the narrator here. Given that at the end of my last review, which kind of tore the series apart, I said that I would keep reading because I loved Viola’s narrative charm, that’s quite a blow. Thankfully, the series also seem s to have backed off on most of the other things that I disliked in the last volume. It’s a lot fluffier and sillier than previous volumes, but that’s not a bad thing in this case. These are “extra” stories, they don’t have to try hard.

Don’t let the cover fool you, our happy main couple and their child are definitely supporting players in this – indeed, the child only shows up in a side story, as most of this takes place only a short time after the previous volume. The actual protagonists are the couple behind them – this is the story of Corydalis, Cercis’ best friend and adjutant, and Stellaria, Viola’s replacement chief maid after her regular maid takes maternity leave. They fall in love. It’s really quite cute… mostly. (I’ll get to that.) Despite the occasional seeming obstacle, everyone approves of the two of them. Both are very mature. There is no need to worry about contract marriages or mistresses here. It would be somewhat dull were it not for the back half, which features a hostage situation and the World’s Dumbest Bandits.

There’s always a ‘but’ with this series. This time there’s no fat jokes, Viola is not kept in the dark, and we don’t have “yay, another victory for white rich people!’. But we do have the book’s running gag, which is that Cercis starts a rumor that Corydalis is avoiding getting married as he’s gay, and the rest of the book has, every 4-5 pages, Cory having to say “I’M NOT GAY!’ in anger as everyone around him laughs. It’s meant to be funny and teasing, but it just reads poorly in this day and age. Other than that, this was a good return to form. As I said, this couple can be defined by their down to earth feel, and we also get some nice observations from the two of them of the events in this book, particularly the first volume where Cercis is still very much all contract, no marriage.

So yes, I’ll read the next bunch of After Stories, which looks like they’ll do what I thought this one would – tell the story of how Lettie Cercis and Viola’s daughter, came to pass. Nice save, though I’m still watching you with a weathered eye.

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