HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | "How Do We Relationship?" - Volume Nine

MANGA REVIEW | "How Do We Relationship?" - Volume Nine

MANGA REVIEW | "How Do We Relationship?" - Volume Nine

I am constantly impressed with the way Tamifull presents modern-day dating in How Do We Relationship?. Even if it’s an LGBTQ+ story, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it shows exactly what it’s like to partner up these days. Now that both Miwa and Saeko have gone back to being just friends, watching them date others has surprisingly shown how much they’ve matured since their coupling. But in the ninth volume, How Do We Relationship? shows that just because you’ve got the experience, doesn’t mean you’ve got the skill.

That fact comes into play with Miwa, who shares her first intimate night with Tamaki. And despite it getting off to a strong start, the finish…isn’t even a finish. It’s a moment that throws Miwa into a spiral of self-consciousness, even going so far as to think that she should ask Saeko for sex advice. But like any normal person would, she quickly realizes that it’s not smart to ask an ex about sex.

It’s even harder with the fact that the two are doing their best to keep a healthy distance between one another. While they still consider each pals, their dating past makes things a little awkward between he two of them. However, a moment when Miwa speaks kindly about Saeko and her dependability shortens the distance between the two of them. The moment creates a new pathway for the ex-girlfriends, with Saeko feeling truly grateful that Miwa spoke up for her.

When an old middle school friend appears, Saeko reflects back to her past as she came to terms with her sexuality. It’s obvious that she had a hard time dealing with it, and despite having a steady girlfriend at that time, it didn’t do anything to silence the teasing and bullying from others. But the biggest dagger in the heart arrives when her girlfriend at the time says the worst thing you could say to a lesbian: “I wish you were a real boy, Sae.” A proverbial gut punch, that certainly was.

But even after Yuria does her best to make her feel better, Saeko dives right back into the lion’s den with her coming-of-age ceremony. Outright refusing to go, Saeko’s mother becomes upset at her actions. It leads to another flashback, this time from the mother’s perspective. There, she showcases how many of her hopes and dreams for her daughter vanished one-by-one, as she realized that Saeko’s a different girl than she was. However, unlike most LGBTQ+ narratives, this mother has her daughter’s back no matter what.

How refreshing it was to see a mother easily come to terms with her daughter being gay. Many queer stories from both sides of the Pacific really hammer in how unsupportive parents of outed children can be. So it’s a big breath of fresh air to see not only Saeko’s mother loving her unconditionally, but also being by her side and rooting for her happiness at every step of the way. Mind you, she does point out that things will be tougher on her than it’d be if she were straight, but it doesn’t take away from the amount of endearment this mother and daughter have for one another.

Thoughts on the future play heavily towards the end of this volume of How Do We Relationship?, as Saeko and Miwa both seek to enter the job hunt realm. It’s a demonstration of not just their maturity, but how they also aim to be better girlfriends to their loved ones. Whatever broken fence they had between them has been mended, to the point where both can actually have fun with one another without worry. But after a night of drinking and a barfy incident, a misunderstanding is sure to unfold when Tamaki shows up the day after!

Volume Nine of How Do We Relationship? did a surprising deep dive into Saeko’s past, while also doing a great job mending her and Mika’s friendship. Progress has also been made in their relationships with Tamaki and Yuria, to the point where it feels like these two have finally found the people they’re destined to be with. But that’s the thing about dating: you don’t know what sorts of things will come out that could damper a perfect love. And How Do We Relationship? is no stranger to such dampness, even if it’s well-written dampness.


Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)