I Love You So Much, I Hate You is about the emotional and sexual relationship between Saori Fujimura and her supervisor, Ayako Asano. Saori is a single, lighthearted, twenty-something who has always been attracted to women and is desperate for the love and attention of her supervisor, Ayako. Ayako is a married woman who would much rather focus on her work than acknowledge her attraction to Ayako. The pair must overcome workplace gossip, heteronormativity, and Ayako’s hesitancy to share her true feelings for Saori if they wish to be happy together.
I Love You So Much, I Hate You is pretty standard fare for the genre. The themes of coming out and accepting one’s own sexual orientation tend to be omnipresent across many, LGBTQ+ manga. In this way, I Love You So Much, I Hate You is not particularly notable. Though Saori and Ayako do make a charismatic pair, they do not tread any new water.
As writer and illustrator Yuni explains in the postscript of I Love You So Much, I Hate You, the story began as a short manga, eventually adapted into a full volume. Unfortunately, this method does negatively reflect on the work as a whole. Namely, I Love You So Much, I Hate You feels rushed. The brevity of the text takes away from the emotional impact of the story. The resolution is reached far too quickly, and the reader may feel a bit wanting on completion of the story. However, Yuni’s clearly personal relationship to the story and the characters is inspiring and does add some amount of depth to the manga.
With that said, the artwork is competent and Yuni is clearly a skilled artist. Yuni is able to capture a range of emotions across the pages of the story, which is no easy feat in the traditional black-and-white manga style. Additionally, there are many sex scenes throughout the manga and, miraculously, none of them feel exploitative of the subjects. Yuni has a talent for capturing intimate, sexual moments without objectifying them. This may alone be enough to pique the interest of readers.
I Love You So Much, I Hate You, is by no means a “bad” manga. It has nice illustrations, likeable characters, and an uncomplicated premise. Yet, ultimately, I Love You So Much, I Hate You will most likely not fill a void in your library’s manga collection. If your library is lacking LGBTQ+ manga, more established titles, such as Saburouta’s Citrus or Nakatani Nio’s Bloom Into You, may be a better place to start.
I Love You So Much, I Hate You
Yen Press, 2020
Series ISBNS and Order
Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+)
Character Traits: Japanese Lesbian
Creator Highlights: Japanese
Related to…: Book to Comic