How Do We Relationship?, Volume 2

Book Info

How Do We Relationship?, Vol. 2
  • Format: manga
  • Author: Tamifull
  • Translator: Abby Lehrke
  • Letterer: Joanna Estep
  • Publisher: Viz Media

Review

Volume 2 of How Do We Relationship? picks up right from where the first volume left off, with the protagonists Saeko and Miwa in bed together for the first time. As you probably expect if you’ve read the first volume, it’s not an instant success; Miwa’s inexperience makes her hesitant. But they’re able to talk and work things out like partners.

Now that Saeko and Miwa are in a good place with each other, though, they now need to figure out how to interact with others. Unfortunately, while they’ve come out to their band, they still hesitate with their fellow students. They feel that society as a whole won’t be as accepting of their lesbian relationship as they should be. So while Saeko and Miwa have figured out how to relationship in private, now they’re trying to figure out how to relationship in public.

Unfortunately, the couple’s efforts to hide in public end up putting strain on their private relationship as well. “Lack of communication” is becoming something of a recurring problem for Saeko and Miwa. Which… is realistic.

(The two characters have a fourth-wall breaking “Commentary Track” comic at the end. It makes some salient points about Saeko’s approach to relationship troubles – I hope we see that come to roost in the main story in the future.)

The characters’ beliefs about how society at large will handle their lesbian relationship are unfortunate but believable. The copyright page indicates that this came out in Japan in 2019, so this is a relatively recent story. I’d like to think the characters’ fears aren’t as applicable to Western society – but I can’t speak through experience either way.

Once again, Viz rates the book as “Teen Plus”. That seems fair, if not slightly low. The first chapter is where most of the goods are, so if you’re uncertain about suitability, finding an online preview should give a good idea.

Summary

This time the ending isn’t a point of any particular note for the relationship itself – more a pause than anything else. But that’s fitting for what the manga is about. I’d like to see Saeko and Miwa get better about proactively communicating, to try to head off their worst problems at the pass; but they’re still learning how to relationship, so I can forgive them. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

How Do We Relationship, Vol. 1

Book Info

How Do We Relationship?, Vol. 1
  • Format: manga
  • Author: Tamifull
  • Translator: Abby Lehrke
  • Letterer: Joanna Estep
  • Publisher: Viz Media

Review

How Do We Relationship? is unusual for romantic manga: by the end of the first chapter, one of the two main characters (Saeko) has confessed to the other one (Miwa). Normally the relationship is the end goal of the story. Here instead the relationship is the story: we get to see the two main characters figure out what a romantic relationship, especially a lesbian one, looks like.

(You’d be forgive if this reminds you of Fly Me to the Moon. However, Relationship is a much more serious take. And also lacks a fantastical backstory for the characters.)

As might be expected from her having confessed first, Saeko is the more outgoing of the pair. Her first time meeting Miwa, she blurted out the rather base “Whoaa… that’s some mad cleavage!” Fortunately, they still ended up becoming friends. Eventually they end up admitting to the other that they’re lesbians, leading to Saeko asking Miwa out.

This is Miwa’s first real relationship – and Saeko isn’t terribly experienced either, despite both being in college – so the two of them are figuring out together just what a relationship looks like. The rest of the book sees the pair slowly growing closer together. They go on dates, they learn more about the other. They even hit some speed bumps, mostly due to inexperience, but they get through them.

By the end of the volume, they’ve gotten more comfortable talking about each other with what they want, and have been able to work through their problems so far. But, like any real relationship, there’s no happily ever after – the pair’s relationship will be an ongoing process, not an end. I look forward to reading more in future volumes.

I should note that Viz rates the book as “Teen Plus”, which sounds right to me. While the art is perfectly tame, there is some frank discussion of sex. As such, this book probably isn’t suitable for younger readers. (But then, I doubt anybody not ready for the book would be interested in a romance-focused title like this anyways!)

Summary

How Do We Relationship? is a good exception to the typical romantic manga fare. It’s great to see a romance that’s about the romance, and not just a prelude to it. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐