Engaged to the Unidentified is one of those shows that people who haven't seen much anime will really enjoy, but if you've been watching the stuff for more than 5 years you've already seen the plot, characters, and situations many times over by now.
Not that it's a godawful, terrible, terrible show, just that I knew exactly what was going to happen, I knew how everybody was going to act, and I knew where it was going and how it would end from the very first episode. I was honestly so disinterested in it because of these trappings that I fell asleep at the beginning of the final episode and had to watch it over again the next day. Hmmmm, so I take that back — If something is so stale that it literally puts you to sleep I suppose it actually is kind of bad.
Engaged is essentially a remake of Ranma 1/2, only without the fun. A high school girl (one Kobeni Yonomori) with only one parent and a selfish and lazy older sister (who's for some reason super popular in school), finds out that she's to be married off to a complete stranger (because a family elder made the arrangement, and you don't want to disappoint the elders, do you...) who just so happens to be arriving to live with them that very day, accompanied by a family member of his own who is annoying and kind of a douche. In this case the fiancé is the expressionless and dull Hakuya Mitsumine, and the annoying family member who totes along is his younger sister Mashiro (a nosy busybody who hates spicy things), though Hakuya does have a parent who pops up now and then, dropping important big bombshells of information that causes everybody to do double-takes as if they should have known these bits of knowledge all along. Oh, and Hakuya can shapeshift into an animal too. And did I mention that there's a female shapeshifter who thinks that she should marry Hakuya instead of Kobeni? Meow.
Honestly, the rivalries, the misunderstandings, and the silliness of everything hit me on the head like a Ranma-mallet right away with their
similarities, rip offs, homages, but despite really fun and catchy opening and ending theme songs ("fuufuu rattatta rattattatta fuufuu, rattattarappa yeah yeah",) Engaged to the Unidentified was a bland, and mostly lifeless corpse of a series. I was very disappointed that they never tried to do anything new with it. Kobeni, Hakuya, Mashiro, and Kobeni's older imouto-loving sister do boring silly things at home, then they do clichéd boring things at school, then there's that big dramatic ending where we learn Hakuya's deep, dark secret (which we figured out by episode 2), which was so exciting I fell asleep during it.
And.... Shit. That's pretty much all I can say about this show. And even this made me want to take a nap.
Goddamn it, Japan. You so lazy. What does it take to throw some random story lines at a wall and come up with some fresh shit! Just pull out a mothafuckin' Mad Libs and try to make somethin', anythin', different! I don't give a shit if you piss on a sacred cow like mothafuckin' Ranma or any old school shit. I'm just pissed the fuck off that you're so damn lazy about it!
Here, let me try this... I'ma just gonna freebase here and throw some stuff out there, then we'll see:
sea monster... cake... computers... hermaphrodite... Betty White... flying car... Mr. Rogers-like character... Putin-like character... kangaroos... daughter who rebels against Putin-like character, but is secretly and ashamedly a commie...
My god... I'd watch a show with those elements, my sweet mothafuckas. I'd watch the shit out of it, buy the Blu-rays, build the flying car models, and collect all the UFO catcher dolls based on every last mothafuckin' character. I just came up with this shit in 10 seconds, but those fuckas in Japan spend years just crankin' out the same old shit. Sheee-it, man. It's bullshit. I want to see my Putin/sea monster/hermaphrodite/cake/Betty White show...
So this show is very "cute." No other way to put it. The main character, Kobeni, is adorable, and her new sister-in-law, Mashiro, is too, though a bit grating at times (as anime children tend to be). Hakuya, the main boy, is very likable, though a bit dense... Like really dense. Brick wall dense.
Kobeni is oddly fragile in her role as the lead character, but at least they give her a good reason to be so (which actually gets explained in the story, which usually isn't the case — meaning usually the writers will just say "This character is tough... That one is a crybaby... Why? Why not?"). Oh, and I really, really like the art style in this show! They do a great job of making everybody look different and feel like their own person.
All in all, the plot is fairly typical: there's your rom-com-necessary Valentine's Day/White Day struggles for Japanese teens who think that a kiss is the greatest thing ever, and of course the two leads "suffer" from an arranged marriage that actually doesn't seem to bother either of them all that much.
If anyone had told 16 year-old me that my mom or dad (or grandma or anyone) was picking out my husband for me I'd have laughed and said that the last century called and said they'd like their non-progressive views on a woman's place in society back... Then I'd kick anybody that tried to ship me off to my "fiance's" house and yell "later, losers!" as I ran out the door, probably towards the highway to hitchhike my way to Canada or someplace.
The thing that I REALLY liked — no, that I LOVED — about this show was that damn opening song. So cute! Baba ba bah da da ya dah!...