Given that it’s the start of the new year, I thought now might be a good time to try something a bit outside my typical manga comfort zone. Thus, I decided to pick up a title from Seven Seas Entertainment’s Ghost Ship line.
Mikoto Yamaguchi and Mario’s Who Wants to Marry a Billionaire? follows a down-on-her-luck young woman who signs up to participate on a trashy reality TV show, all in the hopes of marrying into money so she can kiss her debts goodbye. I anticipated plenty of humorous scheming and sexy escapades, as our heroine attempts to win the heart of a wealthy bachelor and get her hands on his attractive financial assets. However, it seems that I’ve once again been mislead by the description on the back of the book, as this turned out to have a darker story than I was anticipating.
Thankfully, in this instance, that turned out to be a good thing.
Yuuna has a massive amount of debt and one hope for eliminating it – marrying rich! She’s been religiously watching Who Wants to Marry a Billionaire?, a popular reality television program where a bevy of lovely ladies compete to become the bride of an extremely wealthy man, and she’s decided sign up. Yuuna knows the format of the show inside and out, and she’s confidant that, with the proper strategy, she could come out on top. Her application to participate in the next season of Who Wants to Marry a Billionaire? is accepted and everything seems to be going well for her. That is, until she and the other contestants are asked to strip completely naked on camera for the first challenge!
It turns out, Yuuna accidentally applied to the underground version of Who Wants to Marry a Billionaire? and she’s now participating in a vulgar spin-off show where anything goes and the content is too obscene to air to the general public. What’s more, anyone can participate on this program regardless of their background, and Yuuna soon discovers that several of her fellow contestants are hardened criminals. It looks like this little competition will be much more dangerous than she anticipated!
Who Wants to Marry a Billionaire? didn’t turn out to be the silly romp I was expecting, but the dramatic story full of sinister plotting, mysterious characters and dangerous intrigue turned out to be surprisingly griping. I wasn’t expecting this manga to have much of a plot, but I wound up getting pretty caught up in the story.
Including Yuuna, there are six women competing for the chance to marry Igarashi Masaki, a handsome rich guy who’s both arrogant and perverted. Despite this, he insists that he’s participating in this game show because he wants to find a wife who will love him with her whole heart – and that he’ll never divorce that woman once they’re married.
A racy reality TV show isn’t exactly the conventional route one would take to find true love, and Igarashi doesn’t appear to be an idiot – he knows these ladies are only after his fortune. So why use this method of finding a partner? I mean, besides the fact that he clearly enjoys having a bunch of women all fawn over him at once, of course.
With his suspicious motives and capricious nature, Igarashi winds up being a pretty frightening presence in the narrative. He’s more of an adversary for Yuuna to out-wit than a potential love interest, since he ultimately has the all of power on this show and decides who stays and who gets kicked off. I really have to wonder if Yuuna will be happy getting stuck with him if she achieves her goal and wins the game they’re all playing!
Poor Yuuna is quite out of her depth in this competition, as she’s a virgin and is the only contestant who had no idea about the true nature of the show when she signed up. Despite this, she’s determined not to quit and remains convinced that winning is her only hope for turning her life around.
Like many things in this manga, Yuuna’s backstory remains a mystery, but we do know that her life has taken an unfortunate turn that’s left her desperate for money. Despite entering the competition at a disadvantage, she remains tenacious and clear-headed, managing to hold her own against the other contestants and making several smart strategic decisions early on. I enjoyed how pragmatic she was, and that she retains her basic human decency in spite of the way the show pits her and the other contestants against each other. Yuuna even forms an alliance with one of the other ladies, which is good, as she’ll need all of the help she can get.
Yuuna soon learns that three of her fellow contestants have criminal records. One is guilty of fraud and is a pathological liar, while two others have committed murder – and she has no idea which of the competitors are the criminals! The tension ramps up as Yuuna tries to figure out who to trust and who’s a potential killer, all while trying to win over Igarashi and stay true to her own moral code. All of the danger and uncertainty made Who Wants to Marry a Billionaire? a very exciting read, and I enjoyed Yuuna’s efforts to out manipulate both the other ladies on the show and the man she supposedly wants to marry.
But I doubt many people are picking this book up for the plot.
No, we all came here for the smut. So, how sexy is this manga?
I suspect readers’ mileage will vary on that front. This manga certainly contains plenty of nudity and smutty scenes, but I personally found a lot of it to be too sleazy to be all that titillating. I’m not exactly the target demographic of this kind of book, however, so I’m sure there are plenty of people who will appreciate these parts more than I did. I will say that there is an erotic scene between Yuuna and one of the other women that I did find to be pretty hawt, so that’s something. I hope there will be more content like that in the series going forward!
Thanks to all of the mystery and suspense, Who Wants to Marry a Billionaire? wound up being a much more interesting manga than I was expecting. If you’re looking for a smutty read that also has a decent plot, give this manga a try. It might just surprise you.
Final Score: 7.5 out 10
For more information on this manga, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.
What did you think of this manga? Was anyone else surprised by the darker themes in this title? Let me know in the comments.
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