Thursday, October 1, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: HOW DO WE RELATIONSHIP Volume 1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

LETTERS: Joanna Estep
EDITOR: Pacha Diaz
ISBN: 978-1-9747-1174-1; paperback (June 2020); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
216pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £7.99 UK

How Do We Relationship? is a “yuri” manga from creator Tamifull.  Yuri manga feature love stories in which the romantic lead characters are both female and are both lesbian.  Yuri manga, sometimes referred to as “Girls' love” manga, can also feature explicit depictions of lesbian sex.

How Do We Relationship?, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 9) introduces Miwa Inuzuka, a shy young woman who is an incoming college freshman.  She accepts that she is a lesbian, but other than having had a “huge crush” on a girl in high school, she has never dated.  During “Matriculation Day,” Miwa bumps into Saeko Sawatari, an outgoing and brash young woman who immediately attaches herself to Miwa.

The two students eventually stumble into “going out” as a couple, but each has a different way of presenting themselves and different ideas about presenting each other in public.  Miwa wants to be secretive about their relationship, while Saeko always seems on the verge of blurting it out.  Will their clash of personalities be an impediment to true love?

[This volume includes bonus manga; an “Author Note” in manga form; and a “Commentary Track” comic.]

THE LOWDOWN:  The How Do We Relationship? manga is not my first experience with yuri manga.  I am currently reading A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow (also from VIZ Media) and a few months ago, I read Éclair Blanche: A Girls' Love Anthology that Resonates in Your Heart (Yen Press), a recent installment in the Éclair yuri anthology series.

How Do We Relationship? Graphic Novel Volume 1 reminds me of another yuri series, the music and nightlife-themed After Hours (also from VIZ Media) in that After Hours focused on the complications of what happens after the two young women become a couple.  In her author's note, creator Tamifull says that she is interested in reading about romance that depicts what happens after the romantic leads decide to become a couple.

In truth, shojo manga, especially those set in high school, often end when the high school girl and boy decide to officially become a couple after overcoming the obstacles that kept them from being a couple.  How Do We Relationship? deals with the compromise, misunderstandings, spats, and self-interested calculations that are part of real-world relationships.  Tamifull takes a deep dive into all that is fair in love and war, but it does not make How Do We Relationship? any less romantic.

The translation and English adaptation by Abby Lehrke captures the yearning and longing of Miwa and Saeko to love each other and to be loved.  Tamifull deftly depicts passion without depicting sex in Vol. 1, which is exemplified in the moment in which Saeko tells Miwa that she thinks Miwa is passionate.  Miwa is shocked because she equates passion with the act of sex.  However, Miwa's passion in the way she seeks things out and in which she explores new things, even as she struggles with how far she should go with Saeko... and how fast.

I am genuinely curious to see where Tamiful is taking this story.  This first volume of How Do We Relationship? ends with a kind of romantic cliffhanger, but I see more complications ahead.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of yuri manga will want to read How Do We Relationship?

7.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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