- Mangaka : MIYAKO, Miyahara
- Publisher : Seven Seas Entertainment
- Genre : Yuri, Comedy, Ecchi, Romance, Drama
- Published : February 2022 — present
The original (and direct) translation of Ichido Dake Demo, Koukai Shitemasu’s title is Even If It Was Just Once, I Regret It. That’s a much more accurate title for the characters and their relationship in this yuri rom-com drama. Still, with its smooth combination of slice-of-life cuteness and the introspective consideration of sexuality, I Can’t Believe I Slept With You! (to use the current title) is a fun and thoughtful delight.
Chiyo Koduka is 24, three months behind in rent, unemployed and living in a mess — so when her much younger landlady, Ritsuka Hara, propositions her with a plan to fix her debt situation, Chiyo (drunkenly) agrees. A regretful one-night stand turns into an awkward home life when her landlady moves in and they start living together!
Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we talk about the highs and lows of love in the modern age, with this review of Ichido Dake Demo, Koukai Shitemasu (I Can’t Believe I Slept With You!) Volume 1!
Chiyo’s relationship with her landlady is not immediately a two-way street. As we mentioned earlier, “I regret it” is a familiar and oft-repeated line throughout the volume. Chiyo isn’t explicitly lesbian or bisexual and claims that sleeping with her landlady was a mistake; in order to make up the rest of her rent back payments, she agrees to fulfill ‘favors’ for Hara, but refuses to sleep with her again.
For her part, it’s clear that Hara is lonely and confused. She struggles with female friendship, fearing that she’ll inevitably end up attracted to someone and end up hurt or rejected. A few instances throughout the volume suggest Hara has been on the receiving end of homophobic judgement before, and that she genuinely wants a passionate relationship but struggles to find the right person. She clearly took advantage of Chiyo’s situation to fulfill her own desires, but she also regrets that decision, especially since her feelings for Chiyo seem to run deep.
Chiyo and her landlady have an excellent chemistry on the page, making them perfect matches as either friends or a couple (depending on how the plot unfolds). Their relationship is playing out backwards from the “end goal” of most romantic dramas, but I Can’t Believe I Slept With You isn’t a drama by default — there’s a big emphasis on the slice-of-life and comedy elements.
The art style is gorgeously clean, with adorable characters and great expressions that really convey the right emotions. Chiyo’s obsession with video games and figurines adds a nice otaku layer to her character, and her plight as an unemployed millennial is sadly resonant for us (and no doubt many readers as well).
1. The ‘Q’ Is For Questioning
I Can’t Believe I Slept With You isn’t the first yuri manga to explore the concept of uncertain sexuality and attraction among queer couples — Tsukiatte agete mo ii ka na (How Do We Relationship?) springs to mind — but it’s wonderful to see more yuri stories approach lesbian relationships from a questioning angle.
Although landlady Hara’s feelings are obvious from the beginning, Chiyo questions her feelings a lot, as she’s sure she’s straight. Throughout the first volume we see her assumptions about sexuality questioned, and we hope there’ll be more time to explore this in the next few volumes, too.
2. Consent Matters!
There’s a power imbalance in I Can’t Believe I Slept With You. It’s notably reversed from the usual societal structure, since Chiyo is five years older than her landlady, but Hara maintains the power over her thanks to her position.
Despite the manga’s plot summary, there’s a large emphasis on consent here. In flashbacks it’s made clear that Chiyo consented to sleeping with Hara, but was quite drunk, and both parties regret going forward in that situation. From that point on, Chiyo maintains her position and Hara respects that, never trying to push her feelings onto Chiyo or take advantage of her via ‘favors’.
Consent matters in all relationships, and is something we could talk about with regards to many romantic drama manga, but it’s especially important in LGBT+ content where queer people are often vilified as being ‘dominant’ or ‘pushy’ with their sexuality. We really appreciated that the mangaka took the time and thought carefully about making consent such an important part of the plot.
Could a regretful one-night stand blossom into an actual relationship? And what difficulties lie in a relationship where one party isn’t even sure of their own persuasion? I Can’t Believe I Slept With You manages to propose this question and begin exploring its answer all while maintaining a sweet charm that errs on the side of comedy more so than drama.
With a central conceit that keeps the plot on a short timer — and only three volumes in total — I Can’t Believe I Slept With You will be wrapping up quickly, and we can’t wait to see what happens to Chiyo’s relationship with her landlady!
Are you going to pick up this volume? How do you feel about seeing more characters questioning their sexuality in romance manga? Let’s talk down in the comments, and as always, thanks for reading!