Volume three of Hapi Mari has a lot of great stuff going on, especially when it comes to looking deeper into Hokuto’s past and family troubles. I think the big theme that really ties this volume together is the family you choose can be a better family than the one you were born into. We see this contrast in the way Hokuto and Chiwa’s sense of family develops through meals and holiday interactions versus the hostility that is found at the Mamiya house during New Years.
Their sense of family starts to develop when Hokuto collapses from overwork and Chiwa must take care of him. I find that fact that she has never cooked before a little unbelievable considering how much she takes care of her father already, but I can easily overlook that. Taking care of someone while they’re sick is a common trope in romance anime and manga. It serves as a way for two people to strengthen their relationship by seeing each other at their most vulnerable. For prideful and closed-off characters it can be a great way to break down their walls and see a little bit of their true character. This is very true of this instance with Hokuto. Seeing a vulnerable Hokuto makes him more endearing after all of his stuck-up and sometimes cold behavior.
The biggest contrast we see is how Hokuto and Chiwa’s sense of family is shown through meals and their interactions over the holidays versus how meals at the Mamiya household are during New Years. Throughout human relationships, meals have been a way to come together and build a sense of family or connection. By Chiwa and Hokuto beginning to take meals together, they are slowly coming closer as a family, and that is even more clear when you compare their meals to meals at the Mamiya household. As Chiwa meets the Mamiya’s for the first time over New Years, she is forced into one of the coldest dinners she has ever seen. Instead of allowing the Mamiya’s to become closer as a family, it only seems to divide them more especially with the presence of Hokuto. In creating that divide and the introduction of a common enemy, we see the strengthening of their own relationship and Chiwa’s confession of her true feelings.
Other than this major development in their relationship, we see a lot more drama and major plot points introduced in this volume. One of which is the big reveal about his mother’s death and the suspicion that his father may have been involved in it. This is also revealed as the main driving reason for Hokuto’s quest for the top of Mamiya. The sense of mystery and suspense is almost doubled here especially when a stalker is added into the mix. The manga seems to be ramping up the drama fairly slowly, so I’m predicting we’ll get to see more unfold as it progresses. I’m very much looking forward to volume four!
Keep a look out for the review of Hapi Mari Volume 4 coming soon! Be sure to hit that follow button or follow me on Facebook for updates!