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"Marriage Toxin" Vol. 1 Review

Updated: Jan 7


Marriage Toxin volume 1 cover. Lead characters Hikarru Gero and Mei Kinosaki are present

Publisher Summary


As a deadly assassin from the poison clan, Gero swears he’ll never settle down—that is, until the family orders his sister to produce the poison clan’s next heir. Refusing to let his sister abandon her chance at true love with her girlfriend, Gero desperately turns to marriage swindler Mei Kinosaki for relationship advice. Can Kinosaki turn this trained killer into a charming husband-to-be?


I received Marriage Toxin volume 1 as an early review copy from Viz Media in exchange for an honest review




Background

 

Viz Media's new series, Marriage Toxin, comes from the mangakas Joumyaku (story) and Mizuki Yoda (art). Serialized in Shueisha's digital manga reading platform Jump+ in Japan, this series has been receiving critical acclaim with the most notable being nominated under the Best Web Manga category in the Next Manga Awards (a prestigious manga awards event in Japan. Past winners include Oshi no Ko, and Spy X Family).


This is not North America's first experience with the series. Shueisha's digital manga reading platform MangaPlus has been publishing the series in English since October 2022.


Review

 

General Thoughts


Do not let the first chapter fool you! This series is an action rom-com. The dating portions have the humorous elements from a rom-com while the fight scenes have the elements of a typical action series.



Gero assassinating guards. This shows that the series is an action rom-com
Gero assassinating guards. This shows that the series is an action rom-com


The art is pretty cool. I really like how the author did the shading in certain panels.


It seems like a story of learning not to get a partner or spouse alongside some fight scenes, but a story of learning how to be confident, to understand one's best qualities and traits along with what it takes to maintain a relationship. All of this through the interactions between an assassin and a seducer.


Gero and Kinosaki on a practice date.

Characters


Hikaru Gero isnt anything you haven't seen in an action manga series lead. He comes off as cold and distant but actually cares about people like his sister. You also see he has friends like Bug Master and hangs out with him when both are free.


When his Grandmother issues the ultimatum on either he or his sister getting married to continue the bloodline of the poison masters, he takes up the responsibility. He doesn't want to get married, but will so his sister can experience some happiness.



Gero stating that he will take the responsibility of getting pestered by his grandmother in getting married so his sister can move in and live with her girlfrriend.


Mei Kinosaki is fine as the dual protagonist. They're the fun, outgoing type counter to Gero's reserve personality. Mei truly wants to help Gero out with his predicament and is a good wingman for him.


Mei Kinosaki's response being proposed to by Gero

What I Liked


I really liked the twist and how it shapes the series moving forward. While Mei is helping Gero out, if Gero can't find someone, they're bound to end up with each other. While this might not seem like a big deal, there will be major problems for Gero and his family if this occurs. I'm very interested in seeing how things will play out moving forward. Will Gero find someone or will he and Mei have to marry each other?


I enjoyed the dynamic between Gero and Kinosaki. Their banter was pretty fun. The author has their dynamic set to be the reserve/outgoing pair trope and while it sticks by the book (i.e., nothing too unique about it), the author uses it well.


Kinosaki and Gero looking at a painting on their art date


You can't help but root for Gero as he learns how to interact with women to attempt to get a date. There are actual lessons for some people to understand what NOT to do when asking a partner out. One such example is the speed dating event Kinosaki signs Gero up for. Gero walks up to his first date and just gives his income like it's supposed to be an automatic swoon for the woman.


The woman leaves (moreso runs away) and Kinosaki scolds Gero about the situation. Gero states he got the idea from a men's dating advice website. While the scene is funny, this is a situation that often happens in real life. I think it was a good move on the author to include scenes like this not just for the humor but to help teach people how not to act on dates.



Kinosaki scolding Gero on trying to use his income to get a girl on a speed date. Stating that woman perceive guys who do that as jerks

What I Disliked


I'm not a fan of the tone shift after the first chapter. While the first chapter is serious, the subsequent chapters just jump straight into being a rom-com or a mix of the two tones. Comparing to a series such as Spy X Family or Kaiju No 8, where both series blend the tone of seriousness with humor from the first chapter.


With Marriage Toxin, the shift is too sudden and will likely give the reader whiplash. The subsequent chapters (i.e., 2 through 6) better represents how the series will be in terms of tone. That being said, I do enjoy the humor. The comedic elements are funny, but it's just a whiplash compared to the first chapter.


Final Thoughts

 

If you like rom-coms with a little bit of action, Marriage Toxin will be right up your alley! The two leads become somewhat endearing and their banter will make you laugh. The action scenes are done well, but do not seem to be the focus of the series as of this volume.


As mentioned before, the first chapter is misleading in the reader's perception on the story moving forward when compared to other series that blended tones well. The tonal shift could turn people off from the work, which I wouldn't blame them. If they decide to continue, they will discover a fun story with characters they can root for.


Verdict: Pick it up on sale



Marriage Toxin volume 1 from Viz Media is now available at all retailers

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