MANGA REVIEW | "Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister" - Vol. 1
There are a lot of harem comedies in the manga realm. The ones with plenty of heart and imagination are the series that outshine the bland and uninspired harems. It’s why series like Love Hina, Tenchi Muyo!, and even Monster Musume have stood the tests of time, thanks to their memorable characters, strong sense of humor, and terrific narratives. Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister, the debut series from Marcey Naito, has some potential to be great. However, it needs to weather the same storms most harem comedies must sail through first.
Taking place in Kyoto, Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister follows Uryu Kamihate, an aspiring student who wants to get into medical school. He finds himself living at a shrine, with the three Amagami sisters Yae, Yuna, and Asahi also sharing a space with him. Despite living at a shrine, Uryu’s thoughts on spirituality are atheistic, which sometimes riles the middle sister Yuna. However, after coming an understanding regarding their backgrounds, the Amagami sisters welcome Uryu to their home…to a certain extent.
However, when head priest Chidori arrives, the truth behind why he’s allowed Uryu to live under his roof is revealed. As he’s getting old in age, Chidori brought Uryu to take over the shrine when the time comes. On top of that, he wants him to take one of his granddaughter’s hand in marriage. The situation takes Uryu and the sisters aback, but there’s little that they can do about it. After all, if Uryu wants to live at the shrine and study at Kyoto’s most prestigious high school, he’ll have to go with the flow.
The narrative of Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister begins with the same scenarios we’ve come to expect in harem comedies. A guy comes to live under the same roof as a bunch of beautiful women, finds himself in an accidentally promiscuous situation, and is now the scorn of the more smarter of the women. It’s a trope that almost every ecchi manga does, and it’s certainly hard for harem comedies to try to think of a different way to begin the story. Nevertheless, things get off to an uninspired start in Naito’s debut.
Thankfully, it’s when we get to know more about Uryu when the tale turns interesting. We see why he’s gone full-blown Atheist with his faith, what inspired him to want to become a doctor, and how he was raised since he was young. It gives way to a solid understanding of why Uryu has his current mentality, with his nose deep in the studies and his focus staring sharply towards his dream. The same can be said about the Amagami sisters, who actually share some things in common with Uryu.
When Uryu’s forced into doing some marriage interviews with the sisters, you get a very good idea on the kinds of characters these maidens really are. The ditzy Asahi is a competitive runner, with dreams of gold medals for her talents. Stoic Yuna only wants best for her siblings, as well as her desire to keep the shrine running. Messy Yae is an acclaimed artist, who sometimes takes her passions more seriously than her actual responsibilities. All three have their good sides, with their flaws helping to shape their personalities overall.
Visually, Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister is what you’d expect from an ecchi harem comedy. There’s plenty of detail placed in when the women aren’t wearing much clothing, as well as the facial expressions of embarrassment on everyone’s faces. But it’s in the quieter moments when Naito’s talents are showcased with great beauty. A great example of this comes near the end of the first chapter, with the mixture of floating cherry blossoms and the meteor shower in the sky bringing forth a truly mesmerizing moment!
Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister may have many similar harem rom-com tropes, but it at least has some genuinely sweet moments. The bonding between Uryu and the three siblings has plenty of chuckles, alongside some endearing moments. Perhaps Naito can do with shrine maidens what Taishu Tsutsui did with flunkies in We Never Learn, but one will have to wait awhile to see if this one will be just as memorable. Until then, consider the first volume of Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister a good start, albeit not a great one.
Promotional consideration provided by Tomo Tran of Kodansha Manga