There’s No Freaking Way I’ll Be Your Lover! Unless…, Vol. 1

By Teren Mikami and Eku Takeshima. Released in Japan as “Watashi ga Koibito ni Nareru Wake Naijan, Muri Muri! Muri Janakatta!?” by Dash X Bunko. Released in North America by Airship. Translated by TNFWIBYLU Translation Team. Adapted by Harry Catlin.

I can understand the appeal of a title like this. It starts off badly, in my opinion, but around the second half of the book we start to get the actual character flaws that will become development. Its lead heroine is (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) intensely self-deprecating to the point where it’s almost her entire personality, and because she’s an introvert who has been unsuccessful at interaction in the past, she has a definition of “friends” that is vast and all-encompassing. The other heroine is the perfect , extroverted, and very forward rich girl whose personality masks a lonely life, and who also has minimal experience in real relationships, so comes on far, far far too hard. It’s the sort of story that can be developed pretty well over the next few books. That said… I have issues. The narrative voice. The lack of consent throughout (which is, to be fair, a plot point). The implied future plot.

Renako is having issues. She’s successfully managed to reinvent herself in high school as a normal, outgoing gal, and is part of a group of friends that includes the school idol, Mai. Unfortunately, she’s an introvert at heart, and all this interaction is too much. So she runs away to the roof… where Mai finds her, and for some reason assumes she’s trying to kill herself. Throwing herself towards Renako to stop her, both girls end up going off the roof. Fortunately, they are rescued by a passing tree. Unfortunately, Mai then confesses to Renako, saying that she wants to be her lover. This flummoxes Renako, who has no idea why the school idol would be interested in her. can’t they just be friends? You know, best friends?

So, my issues. Renako’s narrative voice is very, very panicky teenager, with a near constant repetition of the title words “no freaking way”. I was crying out for the book to switch to another point of view, but alas. Secondly, Mai has no sense of boundaries, being very explicit about what she wants to do with Renako and not backing off even when Renako demands she do so. This actually comes to a head near the end of the book, when Mai forcibly gropes Renako and Renako’s sister walks in, leading to a slap that was much needed. At this point the book begins to address this issue seriously, but that still leaves a lot of the start of the book, which is in “noncon is funny” mode. Lastly, the series is ongoing, and the subplots of this book, showing Renako interacting with the other members of their friend group, seem to imply a “harem” aspect to this series, with Renako as the unwitting object of multiple affections. This depresses me, as I’d much rather see Renako and Mai try to grow up and define what they have together, but instead suspect I will get “no freaking way” repeated a lot more.

So despite some whining on Twitter, this isn’t bad. It just has a lot of things I personally dislike. And, from what I hear, it’s certainly better than the author’s other yuri series. You might be better off reading the very similar Yuri Tama.