There are many modern conveniences we have in our lives as well as freedoms we take for granted. Choosing who we associate ourselves with in our daily lives, the friends we make, and those who we fall in love with is a basic concept. However, imagine being unable to choose something as basic as who to fall in love with and marry, even if you did not want to at all.
The inhabitants of Japan in Koi to Uso don’t have this choice. Upon reaching maturity, they’re assigned a partner who they must marry by order of the Japanese government. As you can imagine, being star-crossed lovers in a world like this would make for a harrowing tale. Nejima Yukari and Takasaki Misaki have loved each other since they were children, without each other knowing. However, they confess only days before they’re assigned marriage partners, that, unsurprisingly, aren’t each other.
Love isn’t always a straight line. It takes many shapes, forms, and paths to finding happiness. Here are our 6 recommendations for stories that showcase love amidst lies, just like Koi to Uso.
Similar Manga to Koi to Uso / Similar Manga to Love and Lies
1. Watari-kun no xx ga Houkai Sunzen
- Authors: Narumi, Naru
- Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Seinen
- Volumes: 4
- Published: Aug. 2014 - Ongoing
Naoto Watari is known to everyone in school as having a sister complex. After their parents’ deaths two years ago, Watari and his little sister Suzu have lived with their father’s sister, with Watari being Suzu’s sole caretaker. Despite being the older brother of an overly attached grade schooler proving difficult, life for Naoto Watari is good, and generally without incident. That is, until the transfer of a new student into his class. The beautiful Satsuki Tachibana has deep ties to Watari’s past, sharing traumatic secrets he wishes he could forget and hide. As more of their past together comes to light, their relationship grows, and things begin to change for Watari, although not all for the better.
Watari-kun is a more mature manga which takes on the trope of beautiful new female transfer student. Although it does contain comedic bits, the series feels a bit dark with the foreshadowing of odd secrets in their past coming to light. Naoto’s classmates have seen him in a certain light for years, but his new relationship with Tachibana is making them see him differently.
Like Koi to Uso, both of these manga explore one boy’s relationship with multiple girls and how they impact his relationships with those around him. There are some secrets in store in both stories, and while Watari-kun is more comedic than Koi to Uso, it still delivers some dramatic blows further in. If you’re looking for a more mature read that has some serious and funny sides to it, Watari-kun no xx ga Houkai Sunzen is a good read for you.
2. Kuzu no Honkai (Scum’s Wish)
- Authors: Yokoyari, Mengo
- Genres: Drama, Romance, School, Seinen
- Volumes: 8
- Published: Sept. 2012 = Mar. 2017
Unable to come to terms with their unrequited love, two high school teenagers come up with an unorthodox solution. Yasuraoka Hanabi is in love with her childhood older brother figure Kanai Narumi, who is now a teacher at her school. Unable to confess the love she has held for years, she quietly laments over the fact that it is too late, as he is dating fellow teacher Akane Minagawa. When she learns that Awaya Mugi is in a similar situation to hers, being in love with Minagawa, the two begin to date each other to deal with their loneliness. Thus begins a sordid and complicated love polygon that will throw more than six hearts completely out of whack along the way.
Kuzu no Honkai repeatedly showcases the common brutality of first loves throughout the series. The main cast laments it, dreads it, and even comes to abuse it to sate their needs and wants. In turn, it is in all actuality a showcase of “scum” catering to their desires. Even though characters commit misdeeds, it’s hard to paint one person as more culpable than another, as no one in this series is completely innocent.
Hanabi and Mugi are lying to everyone around them that they are in love. Same as in Koi to Uso, lies go hand in hand with love. The relationships become complex as other characters are added in, and revelations take the plot in unseen directions. If you’re interested in a romance plot that will have you feeling topsy turvy by the end, Kuzu no Honkai will certainly deliver.
3. Nisekoi Doumei. (“Nisekoi”)
- Authors: Sakaki, Aoi
- Genres: Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo
- Volumes: 2
- Published: Jun. 2012 - Dec. 2013
What would you do if you discovered your lover was cheating on you? That’s the question Nisekoi Doumei tries to answer. After the end of classes, Asana Mayuri spies her boyfriend Matsumoto Kaname kissing another girl in his class. The girl is the popular Sakura Ouka, who happens to be the girlfriend of her friend and classmate Aizawa Youji. Youji doesn’t act all that surprised when the two learn of their lover’s unfaithfulness, but they come up with an unusual arrangement. In order to achieve some sort of payback, they become secret lovers behind their own lovers’ backs.
Not to be confused with the popular harem comedy Nisekoi which had an anime adaptation, Nisekoi Doumei explores another kind of fake love. Everyone involved in this love polygon is lying to each other, similar to Koi to Uso. Not everything is as it seems between the two couples, and no one is getting away from this unhurt. While they are lying to each other and others as well, they find they are also lying to themselves. If you want to witness a love story where everybody lies, Nisekoi Doumei is one such as that.
Any Manga Like Love and Lies / Any Manga Like Koi to Uso ?
4. Sakura Sakura
- Authors: Morishige
- Genres: Harem, Comedy, Ecchi, School
- Volumes: 8
- Published: Jun. 2012 - Sept. 2015
Japan’s declining birthrate has finally reached terrifyingly low levels. A small number of children exist in the country, so few that they’re known as “LastGen”. Raised in isolation and paid great national attention, they live lives that normal children typically don’t lead. However, a new plan has been put in place to introduce them to each other. Hanasaka Haru is 15 years old, and ecstatic over the chance to meet teenagers his age at school for the first time. However, his first classmate Himeshiro Sakurako is rude and evasive, far different from what he imagined. As other girls are added to his class, the chance for the normal school life he imagined seems to be slowly slipping away.
Like Koi to Uso, the Japanese government in Sakura Sakura is very manipulative over the love and happiness of these young adults. Sakurako has seen this first hand and is wary of adults and people in general. However, Haru’s innocence and earnestness begins to slowly win her over and she opens up. As another story that has government playing a big role in love, Sakura Sakura is an interesting manga to check out.
5. Sore wa Totsuzen, Unmei no Aite ga
- Authors: Hiromoto, Hiroki
- Genres: Comedy, Ecchi, Romance, School
- Volumes: 4
- Published: Sept. 2010 - Aug. 2012
In Sore wa Totsuzen, the Japanese government uses a citizen’s genetic information to match them up with their ideal spouse. They’re then told of their partner at the age of 14, and given one week to meet and make a decision based on their interaction. Over the course of the story, four couples are matched, and they try to find true love despite the unusual circumstances.
Sometimes having the government decide your potential marriage partner isn’t exactly a dystopian horror story. As a romantic comedy, Sore wa Totsuzen is a far cry from the dramatic thriller Koi to Uso, but they share a common theme. Can true love thrive with outside intervention? Both stories try to answer this in interesting ways.
6. Happy Project
- Authors: Ochiai, Hirokazu
- Genres: Drama, Romance, Comedy, Psychological
- Volumes: 4
- Published: Dec. 2011 - Aug. 2012
In Happy Project, when citizens turn 18 years old, the government requires them to attend a marriage camp to meet a potential spouse. Given one month, as his last and only chance to find true love, Yamano Souta hopes to meet the woman who will become his wife. Thus begins a dramatic comedy where everyone is out for themselves. At the marriage camp, no one is honest with each other, and even less with themselves.
Happy Project is another story where love tends to go hand in hand with lies, similar to Koi to Uso. With the government placing restrictions on who can fall in love and how, everyone is looking to serve their own self interests. The way classic character tropes are handled may surprise you. If you’re looking for a read that will have you guessing whether or not a happy ending is even an option, Happy Project is for you.
Koi to Uso and its romantic drama has really managed to ask tough questions about what love truly is. These other stories pose similar questions about love in their own unique ways. Do you have any other favorite manga like Koi to Uso? Let us know some of your favorite romance stories with lying protagonists. We’d love to know what you’ve read!