Think of a world as I shaved. Then I brought a high school girl home, except Sayu is a middle schooler, Yoshida is a masking-wearing stalker and instead of being a tormented girl saved by a good fella, she instead indulges in toxic sometimes homicidal actions.
One Room of Happiness is a series that takes kidnapping to a whole new level. And by that I mean it is about a guy who goes by Mister, sheer obsession with a 14-year-old girl who gets abused by her parents, raped by her teacher, and bullied by her classmates. Following runaway/ kidnapped Sachi the story starts off very self-aware in the sense they, Mister and Sachi, both understand the situation they have found themselves in is far from normal.
Being taken (walking?) to his apartment Sachi is a little unsettled by the fact the walls are plastered with pictures of her, but the simple fact no one has been nice to her literally ever, she pays it no mind. As fucked up as it may be, this weirdo mask-wearing stalker that is easily 12 years older than her is the first person to treat her as a human. Cooking for her, washing her clothes, and telling her she can literally do whatever she wants whenever she wants (even leave) a complete 180 on her usually tormented life, a 180 brought to her by a felon who is illegally harboring her.
What starts out as this kinda weirdo ‘we will run away together and get married’ shifts into a rather disturbing but somewhat wholesome change of narrative. Over time this dance-around romance between a runaway girl and a much older man becomes more of a story about a guy and girl who are truly lost in their own way. Sachi, abused, beaten, and thrown away from society suddenly has this guy taking care of her, allowing her to see the world she never had (even if it the bare minim) and Mister is a guy who has just been living his life with no purpose only to suddenly find one in this girl.
On that note, it is a lot like Higehiro but sometimes Shiro pulls a knife and tries to kill people, something I don’t think Sayu ever quite got to.
It definitely plays on more of a note that anyone who may get in the way of Shiro’s newfound life is in clear danger of their own well-being. Fortunately, much like Higehiro, for some reason 99% of everyone in their life seems okay with the fact this guy kidnapped her, even a private investigator hired to bring her back home.
I’m not sure how I find myself readings stories like this, but it isn’t like I mind. One Room of Happiness is remarkably fine. It tries to be edgy, sometimes works, but most of the time reads like any over-the-top psychological thriller. Sachi has mental breakdowns and does stupid things, the cops seem woefully ignorant because they know her mom is a bitch and really drag their feet. The duo runs into a lot of people that seem to want to kill themselves which is staying on the brand since they make a suicide pack with one another many times.
Yeah so it starts out as they will get married, then shifts to Sachi will kill Mister when he is ready to die, to mutual suicide, all the way back around to them wanting to live with each other forever. Now that I think about it, it all is rather silly.
And they really do ignore the fact she is 14, it was weird enough with Sayu but at least she was a skip away from being an adult, Sachi is very much so a kid, but this is done on a backdrop that all the adults around her, kidnapper included also act like kids. Mentally, through their own set of abuse and pain, are on the same maturity level.
Stories like this one are kinda hard to pin down. They exist in this weird spectrum that I find entertaining due to the dark vibes but equally lame due to their desire to be edgy. In no world I don’t think could a knife-wielding 14-year-old and a suicidal 27-year-old make a weird marriage death pack and it not be cringe, One Room Happiness is no different. Honestly, it comes down to the absurd notion of the narrative that I ended up liking, it’s plain weird, all of it is including the characters.
Happy Sugar Life comes to mind.
If you are bored and want to waste a couple of hours reading about three head cases run around Japan. One Room Happiness might be down your alley. If you want a good dark story about trauma and learning of self-worth, the manga isn’t quite up to where the light novel is, but just stick with Higehiro
As always thanks for the read!