If you’re getting sick of fluffy high-school romances and are looking for a sexy and mature yuri manga, then I Love You So Much, I Hate You, by Yuni, is the book for you!
Saori Fujimura is used to her feelings never being reciprocated, so she tells herself that she’s happy with a purely physical relationship when she begins having an affair with her beautiful manager, Ayako Asano. The cool and collected Ayako and hard-working and eager Saori make a great team at work, and have even better chemistry in-between the sheets. There’s just one problem with their arrangement: Ayako is married and isn’t looking for anything more than a fling and, no matter how much she tries to convince herself otherwise, Saori wants so much more than that.
This is probably one of the steamiest yuri manga I’ve read to date! Saori and Ayako take every opportunity they can to get into bed together and their love scenes are quite erotic.
That isn’t to say that this manga doesn’t have any depth, however. I Love You So Much, I Hate You tells a very adult story that focuses on both Saori and Ayako’s struggles with societal expectations. Ayako has always done what’s expected of her and thought that getting married and having children, just like everyone said she should, would make her happy. That didn’t end up happening and, instead, she’s dissatisfied with her marriage, her husband is cheating on her and the pressures that everyone in her life put on her are starting to feel suffocating. Indulging in her affair with Saori is the only bit of excitement she has right now, but, despite all that, she’s still too scared to walk away from her marriage.
Saori, meanwhile, knows that she could never be in what society considers to be a “normal” relationship and is trying to resign herself to being happy with playing lovers with Ayako, instead of pushing for what she really wants. The more they’re together, however, the more she craves and she isn’t able to keep her true desires bottled up forever.
I could empathize with both woman’s positions and I was eager to see them work through their troubles and find happiness together.
Yuni also subtly weaves in glimpses of the sexism that working women face, both at the office and at home. Ayako’s husband expects her to quit her job when they have kids and handle the bulk of the child-rearing and, despite being highly capable, there are still male co-workers who will make demeaning comments about her because of her gender. The manga doesn’t dwell too much on these issues, but it does help illustrate how hard Ayako worked to become the first female manager at her company and how thoughtless her husband is. The person who appreciates her efforts and is there to support her when things are difficult is ultimately Saori and this winds up being what helps Ayako realize which relationship she wants to cherish.
I liked Ayako and Saori a lot as a couple, but there are a few issues that might put a damper on some readers’ ability to enjoy their romance. There is, of course, the power imbalance, since Ayako is Saori’s boss. What’s more, Ayako begins the affair with Saori as a way of getting revenge on her husband and then continues to see her casually, despite knowing that Saori is in love with her. Their relationship does develop over the course of the book and becomes very loving, but there’s no denying that, in the beginning, Ayako is using Saori and ignoring her feelings. If you prefer a more sweet and cutesy romance, then this might not be the manga for you.
This sensual manga is perfect for yuri fans who are looking for a more adult narrative and something a bit spicier then what you typically find in the standard high-school romance. While the power dynamic might turn some people off, I found I Love You So Much, I Hate You to be an enjoyable read and I’d recommend giving it a chance.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Yen Press’ website.
What did you think of this manga? Does anyone have any insights on what the title is supposed to mean? I’m a little confused, as no one winds up hating anyone or really acts like they do either.
Also, if you’re interested in more yuri titles featuring adult women, be sure to check out these other reviews: