Apparently It’s My Fault That My Husband Has the Head of a Beast, Vol. 2

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

The second volume of this romance sees our heroine and her beast-headed husband traveling to a seaside religious community, hoping to find a way to cure both her condition and his. Unfortunately, there seems to be something very wrong in the Holy Land. There’s maids and princesses trying to take Rosemarie down, and she herself is seemingly possessed to leave the room late at night to try to return to the gods. That said, Rosemarie is made of sterner stuff in this book compared to the last one. Can she overcome mind control with the sheer power of being kind to people? Can she manage to tear herself away from her beloved bucket? And can she actually manage to have a direct conversation with Claudio where they both admit that they’re in love with each other? All the ingredients are here for a classic romantic potboiler. We may even discover what happened to her and Claudio as children!

The mystery is not really a good reason to read this (for a moment I thought we were going to meet a non-evil clergyman, but he was an undercover sorcerer, so…), but the romance holds up well, provided you’re OK with these two socially awkward kids doubting themselves and saying absolutely the wrong thing all the time. The reader will no doubt be sympathizing more with Heidi, Rosemarie’s maid who is somewhat desperate for her lady to realize that she is loved. That said, we do make some definite strides here. Rosemarie realizes that she’s actually jealous when Claudio is dealing with other women who have their eye on him, and that fixing his mana issue and leaving to go back home would devastate her. As for Claudio, he can still be a jerk when he’s trying to be kind (which leads to the funniest part of the novel, as his sorcerer friend literally kicks him in the ass for screwing up a romantic moment), but he too finds it in himself, albeit accidentally, to admit that he loves her.

The biggest problem with this book occurs at the end, when you finish it and realize that a lot of things are still up in the air. Rosemarie and Claudio’s problems have still not been solved, and they’ve still not consummated their marriage. They have admitted they love each other to their faces, but I was hoping for a bit more. Sadly, the second volume appears to be the final one, so this is all the closure that we’re going to get. I want to see more of these characters. I want Alto and Heidi to hook up (there’s zero evidence for this, but I want it to happen anyway). And there was almost no gardening! Am I going to be forced to turn to Bakarina for all my gardening heroine needs? Oh well. Despite a “you’re cancelled” feeling, only for light novels rather than manga, this has bee a fun and romantic little series. I recommend it for those tired of isekai.

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.