- Mangaka : Mikanuji
- Publisher : Yen Press
- Genre : Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Yuri
- Published : February 2023
Anthologies are a popular staple in the yuri genre, with successful series like Éclair and Syrup pulling together the best mangaka from the shoujo ai and yuri industry to pen short, standalone stories. Some mangaka have even taken this format into their own works, like the fantastic Neko to Sugar Pot (Cats and Sugar Bowls) by Yukiko, which has a variety of different couples shown over a single volume.
Anthologies have a problem, though—we don’t get enough time with each couple! Those bite-sized chunks of romance are lovely, but wouldn’t it be great to have an entire volume dedicated to each new couple?
Enter Fusoroi no Renri (Assorted Entanglements), the new series by Mikanuji—a contributor to both Syrup and Shakaijin Yuri Anthology (Whenever Our Eyes Meet).
This series will star a new couple in each volume, giving plenty of time to meet our new lovebirds, learn about their pasts, and see how they navigate new feelings of love, lust, and living together!
Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we review Assorted Entanglements, Volume 1!
The first volume of Assorted Entanglements follows the unlikely relationship of 28-year-old office worker Iori, and Minami, a bar worker ten years her junior.
After indulging in yet another drunken bender to forget her horrible luck with dating married men, Iori winds up having a one-night stand with the attractive worker at her local izakaya. It turns out that Minami’s living with her abusive father, and after getting physically assaulted, Iori decides to take Minami in, beginning a relationship that’s both romantic and sensual!
Both women have a complicated history with love—romantic or familial—and Minami’s backstory evolves in a surprisingly dark direction, showing her past at a juvenile institution, and her father’s attempts to kill her. Iori, meanwhile, has fallen into a trap of being “friends with benefits” with married men, willfully engaging in adultery simply to have a physical attachment.
Reflecting both their age gap and the changing mood of contemporary Japan towards same-sex relationships, Iori and Minami approach their partnership from different places. In particular, Iori struggles with the concept of being in love with a woman, while Minami simply thinks that—to co-opt a phrase from the Western LGBT movement—“love is love.”
Sometimes the concept of “yuri relationships as practice for a husband” can feel shocking and derogatory to us Western readers, but it’s important to remember the context of Japan’s lagging civil laws and societal judgment, particularly given current topics like Japan’s falling birth rate.
1. Shadows of Anthology
While we love the idea of an ‘extended anthology story,’ it’s hard to shake the feeling that Iori and Minami’s story suffers from the extra padding. Some chapters are composed of rapid slice-of-life 1-page panels showing their life together, before plunging back into more serious conversations about their relationship.
This makes the pacing feel very “stop-and-start,” never quite giving the reader enough time to laugh or cry before moving on entirely. If anything, it’s vaguely disorientating and had us flicking back between pages quite frequently, thinking we’d accidentally gone one page too far.
With Assorted Entanglements, Mikanuji has achieved a great blend of sweet romance, sensual smut, and comedic gags—and the concept of giving bite-sized anthology stories an entire volume is definitely appealing.
We loved Iori and Minami’s relationship, but outside of diehard yuri fans, this isn’t an immediate must-buy purchase. There’s definitely potential in this series, but yuri fans have been spoiled for choice recently, which means we no longer need to buy everything simply to have girl’s love stories.
That said, if you’re interested in a full-length volume about an adult couple navigating the difficulties of their own pasts and finding acceptance in each other, then Assorted Entanglements, Vol 1 will hit the mark—and we look forward to meeting our next couple in Volume 2!
Are you going to read Assorted Entanglements? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!