Story & Art by Tamifull
English Translation & Adaptation by Abby Lerkhe
Touch-up Art & Lettering by Joanna Estep
Design by Alice Lewis
Edited by Pancha Diaz
While there are plenty of romance manga out there, very few of them center on actual couples. Series like Fly Me To The Moon and My Love Story have begun to break the trend, but they’re still lacking in LGBTQ representation. This is where How Do We Relationship? stands out, highlighting the lives of two college girls, Miwa and Saeko, as they date each other. What follows is a heartwarming love story that explores the challenges of maintaining a same-sex relationship.
How Do We Relationship? doesn’t dawdle in pairing its main two heroines together. By the end of the first chapter, Miwa and Saeko are a couple, but this is merely the first step in their relationship. The series touches on the difficulties of being in a same-sex couple publicly. Saeko’s previous experiences of discrimination because of her sexuality makes her wary of coming out publicly, and Miwa’s reserved nature makes it difficult for her to discuss her sexuality with others. The girls’ decision to disclose their relationship to their friends reflects their desire to no longer hide their identities and be proud of their true selves. In turn, this also allows Miwa and Saeko’s friends to serve as a support system for their relationship. Both girls ask their friends for advice throughout the volume, and they help navigate their daily woes. These friendships provide a grounded touch to the narrative, and make Miwa and Saeko’s relationship all the more compelling.
One of the primary topics of this volume is intimacy. While Saeko has been in several relationships before, Miwa has little experience dating, let alone with another woman. This contrast serves as the biggest gap in their relationship, as each of them has different expectations. Saeko wants to have sex with Miwa as soon as possible, but Miwa is hesitant to do so. Each girl has boundaries for what they’re comfortable with, but since they don’t align, they worry about disappointing their partner. Their search for a common ground as a couple is incredibly interesting, and presents a difficult aspect of relationships that is rarely highlighted. From this obstacle, we get a better understanding of Miwa and Saeko’s expectations, why they’re attracted to each other, and if they see a future together.
Tamifull’s artwork is consistently solid throughout the volume. Their character designs are particularly praiseworthy, as it showcases a wide range of body types and fashion choices. You can tell each character has a unique personality, and the variety aptly fits the college setting. Tamifull also does a good job of utilizing silent panels. This is especially true between Miwa and Saeko, where there will occasionally be quiet moments when they’re together. During these instances, you can vividly identify their emotions, whether it’s that of anxiousness or joy. It adds an additional humanistic element to the manga, and strengthens the narrative as a whole.
How Do We Relationship? is a lovely exploration of relationship dynamics, uniquely framed from a same-sex couple’s perspective. It’s a wonderful manga that will sell you on its focal characters and root for their success. I look forward to seeing where Miwa and Saeko’s love takes them next.