Welcome back to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss Romance Manga. Today we’re covering volume 1 of I Married My Best Friend To Shut My Parents Up by Naoko Kodama (translated by Amber Tamosaitis). Join us for some incredibly practical fake dating as these two gals deliver on everything promised by this manga’s title (and fall for each other along the way).
CC: y’all ready to talk about these gfs?
Jenny: they are…very cute
i love a fake dating, this is known
Rachel: it was really so nice!!!
like, the premise did not disappoint
it’s right there, in the title
Jenny: it delivered!
CC: it really did all the things it set out to do!
she married her best friend and eventually it shut her parents up!
incidentally, today we’re covering I Married My Best Friend To Shut My Parents Up
Jenny: important context, yes
CC: a manga about exactly that! an office lady marries her gay best friend to get her parents to stop pressuring her to get married
Rachel: it also is beneficial for the gay best friend, who is getting kicked out of her apartment while it goes under renovation
and needs a place to live
and unsurprisingly, the housing market in Tokyo is just as bad as everywhere else!!
CC: and who has also had a crush on the office lady gal since high school L O L
fake dating long con
Ashley: so delightful
CC: I think we’ve read enough of these now to become a lot more familiar with yuri tropes and
hilarious that the girl with the dark hair is always the responsible one and the girl with the blond/red/pink hair is always a menace to society LMAO
blond girl in the yuri manga is always the one i would least want to ever have a conflict with LOL
CC: blond girl in the yuri manga will fight god
Jenny: and she’ll win
Ashley: there’s even a little backup story with this same dynamic but different characters and i did like a double-take lol
CC: yeah I thought they were the same girls for a minute!
Jenny: oh man were they not?
i thought i was just like a highschool track AU
CC: they had different names!
at least I am pretty sure
Jenny: ah well fair enough
Ashley: they did have different names
but yeah i also at first thought it was a high school sport au lol
Jenny: well that makes sense because the track star brunette was way more of an asshole than our good office lady
Ashley: hahaha yes
Jenny: honestly i really liked her arc in this
just like, learning to stand up for herself!
happy for her!
CC: truly! loved when she stands up for herself to her awful mom!
Jenny: so, i mean, that relationship is kind of the impetus for this whole thing, right
like, she won’t just tell her mom to lay off, and her mom wouldn’t lay off even if she asked
and that’s why she agrees to go to these incredibly silly lengths
imagine roping your longest crush into this like, “okay i have this super normal fool proof idea…”
CC: total coincidence
Ashley: but then honestly…. it works
CC: this is for you and 100% not for me
Jenny: i mean, love that confidence
CC: yeah she’s like the MVP of fake dating
Ashley: not even the romance part like, yeah actually if you weren’t gay as hell the plan would have worked to a t still
CC: hana the genious
Jenny: i mean…
“what is marriage fraud”
they’re not defrauding anyone tho really!!!!!
CC: is it marriage fraud if one party is in love like with the other tho
Jenny: it’s not fraud if you’re actually married!
you’re just married!
and they got legally married
i’m so happy for them
CC: LMAO learned a lot w/that link jenny
straight people have been marrying lovelessly for millennia I think these two have a pretty big leg up here
Rachel: and honestly all good marriages have things that you want out of it
and for hana:
Rachel: bathing together is a must
Jenny: it’s true
CC: LMAO HANA
Jenny: undeniable that newlyweds should be able to take a bath together
Ashley: hahahaha i also loved this hana moment
Rachel: yes I KNOW that our marriage is fake but it is REQUIRED we bath together
i don’t make the rules
Ashley: this is a REASONABLE DEMAND and i won’t hear otherwise!!!
CC: she had a plan and she is really seeing it through on every level
Rachel: she knows there is a great rack there and she is determined to see it
Ashley: lol yep
Jenny: well that actually is one of my points
CC: if you don’t see tiddy yr marriage can get annulled, legally
CC: these things are just defying gravity all over this comic
Ashley: she just makes good money and buys those really expensive bras
Jenny: it’s no wonder hana is eager to see them!
CC: like this?
Rachel: holy shit
Jenny: does that 14 THOUSAND HUMAN DOLLARS?
CC: what kind of job do u need to get to buy a $14,000 bra
Rachel: is it custom formed to your tits????
CC: it better be for 14K!!!!
Jenny: well i think that APPARENTLY only men get jobs that pay that well
at least at this company
Jenny: i mean, predictably, this made me so mad
CC: no wonder she feels like this about her job
i wouldn’t have fun there either!
but this is one of the things that this book does really well, i think, in respect to our girl’s character arc
it sets up this bad relationship with the mom, it sets up this shitty work environment
then it shows how just being around hana, seeing how hana chooses to live her life and pursue the things she wants, has a positive effect on her
she really grew and changed!
Ashley: it’s really true!!!!
it happened in a very organic -feeling way but in a relatively short span of time
Jenny: yeah! like, by the time we get to the confrontation with the mom
Jenny: we really have a sense for what their relationship had been like in the past, and just how big of a deal this is for her
but this book itself is so short compared to other books we’ve read
Jenny: really efficient storytelling
CC: yeah for real! feels like it gets more done in less time
Jenny: i mean, they even had time for a highschool flashback (separate from the bonus track star high school story)
CC: blond yuri girl!!! ur angel or your debil!!!!
Jenny: and like…huge “people keep asking who i like so i just picked some random dude” energy
Ashley: HAHAHA seriously
but one more thing I liked in this fun lil book
confrontation w/wife’s ex LMAO
Ashley: hahahahahaha so good
i LOVED the ex, of course, i can never resist a mean femme lesbian
Jenny: for real
also kind of loved that this is what it finally took
much like our hopes for colin & pen in bridgerton
it took the presence of a potential rival to finally get thing moving!
bc once they get home from the bar, it’s time for a classique game of gay chicken
Ashley: hahahahahahahaha yess
CC: My Best Friend Trolled Me Into Falling In Love With Her To Shut My Parents Up
Rachel: also the KABADON
thinking about my wife towering over me is a totally straight thing to do!!
CC: thinking about my wife towering over me….heterosexually
sure jan LOL
Ashley: literally dying over here
CC: sigh….love this for them
Ashley: honestly, yes
idk what else to say even, it’s just nice!!!
CC: i just think they’re neat
Jenny: and like, after this night, when all they do is kiss a little, they go on vacation together
and it’s very cute!
Jenny: and hana is so horned up
whomst among us
has not been there
Ashley: lolllll poor hana
honestly… she had a frustrating time and i fully get it
Jenny: her wife is so oblivious!
it’s a hard life!
CC: that’s true!
v curious about how things would work out for these two!
they definitely seem like they’re on the more clueless end of some of the yuri we’ve covered here
Rachel: true!! i was definitely hoping for more obvious confirmation of their feelings/intentions
Jenny: i mean, very same
but this was all p chaste
Ashley: yeah, i expected a saucy conclusion that we didn’t really get
it seemed to end very abruptly to avoid that in fact?
Jenny: yeah, i mean, really this was as steamy as it got
and it was p early on!
Rachel: def!! honestly i would have liked another chapter for some of this to get into more Going Steady territory, over the highschool sports au we got
which, tbf, i am still a little confused about
CC: yeah me too! I feel like it just kinda followed the main story as if it was connected without much of a lead!
a few manga I read in high school did this kind of thing occasionally but it’s something I haven’t seen in a while
(Kare Kano used to do this all the time!)
Rachel: i think especially since we KNOW these gals were high school friends, it definitely threw me for a loop
CC: also they look so similar!
Ashley: haha they really do
it must just be something about how it was serialized i guess??
CC: yeah possibly!
but also like y’all mentioned, my favorite thing about the high school side story was how mean the dark haired girl was ha ha
an interesting change of pace!
Rachel: well y’all ready for final thoughts??
CC: my final thought is pretty simple y’all, and it’s just
would love to read one of these where the dark haired girl is an agent of chaos
enjoy keeping things fresh in that way
would love to see it L O L
Rachel: also, i’ll just put this out there — two dark haired gals???
Jenny: oooh game changing
changing the game
Ashley: i stand behind this bold direction
Rachel: i will start a petition!!
Jenny: i will say — if y’all haven’t read Days of Love at Seagull Villa…
Rachel: ohhh i haven’t!!
Ashley: also haven’t
Jenny: neither of them are agents of chaos, but! the brunette is the femme and the blonde is the butch
they are both pretty responsible though
Ashley: i love that, sounds great
Jenny: it’s charming
Rachel: oh and same author!!
CC: neat! will def check that out
Rachel: maybe a good future RR candidate
Jenny: i think so!
idk if that rec counts as my final thought, but if not…
my final thought is just: could’ve been sexier! fr!
CC: truly! surprised that this one was maybe one of our tamest RRs ever!
Rachel: i def expected at least a side boob moment!
Ashley: that does lead me to my final thought though which was simply
Ashley: i love how hana was a simple tiddy appreciator
CC: LOL true
Rachel: haha yes!!
ok so my final thought is pretty basic but — our main gal has good fits!!
Rachel: i’m a sucker for a high waisted wide legged pant work outfit
CC: oh yeah those pants rule
and the v neck – it really works here!
Jenny: a great look!
Rachel: like i do not want to do anything with my hair outside of this low pony, my pants are doing the heavy lifting for this look right now
Ashley: very like effortless 90s ish style
Rachel: love it love it
CC: love when comfy pants are doing the heavy lifting
Jenny: but also, critically
Ashley: yes jenny, thank you for saying it
it needed to be said but i was too fearful
Jenny: i think this artist, like hana, is but a simple tiddy appreciator
Ashley: it’s called good representation
Jenny: it’s so important