In a sense, this is another ‘move-in’ show, but it takes a slightly different tack for it. “Engaged to the Unidentified” (“Mikakunin de Shinkōkei”, “Unconfirmed & In-Progress”) tells the tale of Kobeni Yonomori (far left). She is a high school girl who lives with her mother and older sister Benio (next to her). Upon turning sixteen, Kobeni is shocked to learn that, due to an arrangement by her late grandfather, she is engaged to a boy named Hakuya Mitsumine (far right) who, along with his little sister Mashiro, (next to him) come to live with Kobeni. Talk about a move in, they not only come into the house, they come into the school and right into her class room (like you didn’t see that one coming, eh?). As Kobeni spends time adjusting to this new family, she learns there is more to Hakuya and Mashiro than meets the eye.
Kobeni has enough problems in her life, as sister Benio is The Most Popular Person at School, smart as they come, Student Council President, perhaps runs the World Bank in her spare time and anyone would do anything for her. It’s that now we have Hayuka transfer in (a man of little to no words) and Mashiro (who is a bit overcute for me. Look, look, her uniform is too large so you never see her hands! Awwwwwww!) In a sense, Kobeni is under attack on three fronts and has to place this all in perspective. Adding to the concerns, she kind of vaguely remembers Hayuka, but a childhood accident robbed her of her memories of that time.
There is something odd about the Mitsumines. They feel ‘off’ and out of place, as though they are not really human. This plays throughout the show as we learn more and more of what make all of these people tick and why Betrothed and Li’l Sis are so off, and not because they live high up in the mountains, away from the nearest Starbucks.
I do find myself drawn to these ‘surprise engagement’ shows. There is something unsettling to learn that you are to marry a total stranger because something your grandfather did before you were born and everyone seems to have forgotten about the whole thing. Well, not everyone. And you have no say in the matter, so be quiet and eat your succotash!
Although some of the humor seems forced, the font of genuine fun comes from Benio. You see, she has both a siscon and lolicon affinity and dotes on Kobeni. But when Mashiro shows up, all bets are off, as she has Mashiro running in fear. Yes, Mashiro is both bratty and pushy and doesn’t have a decent tongue in her head (she comments that Kobeni has some “great child birthing hips”), so to see her put to flight is delicious enjoyment. And the normally prim and serious Benio is let loose to satisfy her wants. Normally, I dislike the ‘smitten’ tropes, but they are used quiet well here.
Hakuya is underwritten to a flaw. I know we want him taciturn, but he borders on anti-social or perhaps one of those cardboard cut-outs you can get at the party store. I really wanted to know more about the accident and what happened, rather than ‘something did occur’ and the details are sketchy. This is a bubbly and frothy show and, petty annoyances aside, is charming in its own right, despite a terribly contrived ending season arc that anyone could see through, except our characters. The course of true love never runs smoothly.
There are also a pair of very silly OVAs that appear to take place after the main arc of the show. I think they are there just to have some fun, as they are high on the goofy factor.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Everyone is soooooo cute)
Plot 8 (Nice job of a standard approach)
Pacing 7 (Moves along consistently)
Effectiveness 8 (Even with the numerous side stories)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 8 (Even with contrivances)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You’re Benio’s sister?