Published in English by VIZ Media, How Do We Relationship? is a teen plus yuri romantic comedy manga series by mangaka Tamifull. In this series, shy Miwa has always dreamed of finding love, but living in small-town Japan made finding the right match difficult. While finding love is hard, it’s even harder for Miwa who has spent much of her life hiding her interest in girls. Even going away to college didn’t seem to help her in the romance department. Then, one day, her outgoing classmate Saeko suggests they might as well start dating each other since it’s not like either of them has other options. What begins as a relationship of convenience, quickly becomes the real thing.
How Do We Relationship? Volume 1 opens with the already established relationship between Miwa and Saeko, in bed, laughing, and getting ready to go for round two. While there isn’t anything extremely intimate shown, the reader knows what’s happening which makes the switch to how they got together all the more interesting. Through nine chapters we get the chance to see Miwa move from timid and questioning her own sexual identity to deeply in love and thriving.
The way that Tamifull writes Miwa is wonderful. Miwa doesn’t tell people she’s queer but she doesn’t do it out of shame. In fact, with her internal dialogue, you see that she knows that there is nothing abnormal about being attracted to women. That said, her fear of the way society will react pushes her to hold herself back in conversations about dating.
On the other hand, you have Saeko. Where Miwa is timid and worried about interacting with people, Saeko is open, loud, and affectionate with everyone she meets. When she makes the proposition to begin dating their already close connection grows, even if Miwa is hesitant at first. While Saeko is comfortable in her sexuality, Miwa has never been with a woman. But both women are complex characters. Miwa isn’t always timid and Saeko isn’t always open – in fact, as the story develops, it becomes clear that her loud demeanor is both her armor and her weakness. While she is able to be open about who she is and openly being romantic with Miwa in small amounts, when they’re discovered kissing, Saeko’s self-deprecating humor shows that she is too aware of how society sees her.
How Do We Relationship? even tackles the harassment, discrimination, and the stereotypes they’re fueled by when Saeko and Miwa are seen by their band mate Mikkun. When he asks Saeko about their intimacy, fueled by fetishization of lesbian relationships, she explains that this isn’t the first time she’s had to react to such questions and Tamifull breaks down why Mikkun’s question isn’t okay to ask. But outside of this one moment, their relationship is celebrated by their friends and the two of them and from that point on the volume becomes an adorable slice-of-life with romance and comedy in equal measure.
But perhaps How Do We Relationship?’s biggest strength comes from Tamifull’s ability to build out a story that feels genuine even when the two women misunderstand each other. As the two develop deeper feelings, it’s refreshing to see them flourish without tragedy. While each have backgrounds that impact how they navigate their relationship, it never feels like Tamifull is pushing them to drama for the sake of it. In fact, the way they build up to their first time is adorable and loving.
Overall, How Do We Relationship? Volume 1 is the debut to such a wholesome and fun series. For those looking for a queer romance that doesn’t fetishize their relationship and doesn’t land in the smut category, this is a series to pick up. It’s loving, thoughtful, and Miwa and Saeko compliment each other in the best of ways.
How Do We Relationship? Volume 1 is available where books are sold June 9, 2020.
How Do We Relationship? Volume 1
How Do We Relationship? Volume 1 is the debut to such a wholesome and fun series. For those looking for a queer romance that doesn’t fetishize their relationship and doesn’t land in the smut category, this is a series to pick up. It’s loving, thoughtful, and Miwa and Saeko compliment each other in the best of ways.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.