Most romance stories will focus on the lead up to the main couple getting together, but Tamifull confesses to being more interested in what happens after the characters in these stories start dating. Since she wasn’t able to find these kinds of stories, she decided to create one herself. Thus, How Do We Relationship? was born; a yuri manga that explores the compromises, misunderstandings and joys that come with dating someone.
Miwa has very little experience with dating, as she grew up in a small town where it was difficult to meet other lesbians, but she’s hopeful that college will be different and that she’ll finally be able to find a girlfriend. She’s soon befriended by Saeko, a boisterous and confident classmate, and they decide to join a music club together. After having a few drinks at a party, Saeko confesses to Miwa that she’s attracted to women and suggests that, since they’re both looking for a girlfriend and get along so well, they should try dating each other. Miwa agrees, even though she has some reservations about starting a relationship for such pragmatic reasons. While their transition from friends to romantic partners was swift and uneventful, Miwa and Saeko soon run into a few speed bumps as they try to navigate their new dynamic as girlfriends. Will facing these challenges cause their bond to deepen, or will their budding relationship fall apart under pressure?
I can’t think of another romance series that I’ve read that’s felt as grounded as How Do We Relationship? Having neither character be in love with each other when they start dating is an unusual setup, but one that’s more authentic to how things typically are in real life. It’s nice to see a couple casually dating to see how things go and building their relationship from there, instead of immediately falling in love and then spending the whole series pinning over each other. As exciting as the will-they-or-won’t-they tension of your standard romance can be, I found the smaller dramas surrounding whether or not these two very different ladies can make it work to be quite compelling. Miwa is shy and Saeko is outgoing. Miwa has little to no dating experience and Saeko is troubled by a previous relationship that was torn apart by homophobia and bullying. Miwa isn’t ready for their relationship to turn physical and Saeko is raring to get down and dirty with her. Ensuring that they can both be happy and comfortable in the relationship requires some patience, understanding and negotiation on both their parts. I enjoyed seeing how they worked through these issues, weathered their first real fight and dealt with the question of who it was safe to let know about their relationship. I also loved how supportive their friends were when they found out, especially considering the suffering that Saeko’s already lived through because of bigotry.
This no-fuss approach to a romance story does have the side-effect of making How Do We Relationship? feel a bit slow in places. This isn’t an epic tale full of huge emotions or thrilling turns, instead it’s about steadily growing feelings and a practical arrangement becoming love over time. Dating isn’t quite what Miwa imagined it would be like, but in some ways the warm and easy rapport she has with Saeko is even better and, likewise, I found How Do We Relationship? to be very charming in its own way.
Both sweet and realistic at the same time, How Do We Relationship? focuses on a period in relationships that doesn’t usually get a lot of attention and I found it to be an entertaining read. Perhaps not the most exciting series out there, but I’d still recommend that yuri fans give it a try. It might just win you over, like it did me.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10
For more information on this series, visit Viz Media’s website.
What did you think of this series? Can you think of any other romance manga that bypass the courtship period and focus almost exclusively on the dating part of the relationship? Let me know in the comments.