The unemployed Shibata Michiko is betting everything she has on her romance with a younger man—literally. In order to keep him happy, she deprives herself of the things she wants and buys him expensive clothing and accessories. Since she's flat out broke, she needs to find a job before she starves to death and loses her young love interest. However, Michiko discovers that the boy was never interested in her romantically. Depressed at being dumped and after a series of unsuccessful interviews, she bumps into Kurosawa—an intimidating former boss she used to dislike.
Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai was adapted into a Japanese live-action drama TV series directed by Hayato Kawai, Ryosuke Fukuda and Sho Tsukikawa that aired on TBS from January 12 to March 15, 2016.
I felt the need to edit my review for this manga since I’ve read it like 3 times already. I want to start by saying my standards for romance novels are pretty low. I don’t need a mindblowing storyline or complex, original characters. All I need are realistic characters and good chemistry, which is enough to convince me that the relationship subject of the story has a believable foundation. But surprisingly enough I can count with one hand the total number of romance novels that have actually lived up to that standard. And damekoi is one of them.
The plot is pretty simple (might even be
too simple for some more dedicated readers out there). It’s just about this thirty-year old lady struggling to get through her quarter-life crisis and her old boss who helps her along the way.
The simplicity of the story is compensated by the colorful characterization of the two leads, Michiko Shibata and Ayumu Kurosawa. It doesn’t start off with your typical love at first sight kind of plot (which honestly, I never liked anyway unless it’s written well which is never the case). Shibata absolutely hates her demonic old boss who turned out to be just as demonic outside of the office, and Kurosawa (“Shunin” as she addresses him) is primarily irked by Shibata’s virgin naiveté, and her fussing over mundane things like her age, love life, and social status. But despite the clashing of their personalities and priorities in life, they develop a close companionship, Shibata slowly seeing Shunin as someone she can come home to after a long tiring day, and Shunin finding himself enjoying Shibata’s company.
I also like that this isn’t an ‘in your face’ romance novel since it takes the time to develop the characters’ personalities, first giving more life to their interactions and their friendship before it takes what it has already established and finally turns it into romance. In other words, the pace of this manga is very slow. It’s not ideal for people who are impatient. As for me, I never liked rushed romance stories. I’ve always liked it when writers take the time to develop their love stories. Writing good romance means understanding the stages that lead to romance, understanding that not every interaction between two characters is always romance-oriented. Apart from being potential lovers, the characters are also friends who make fun of each other, who criticize each other, who see not just the good in the other but also the bad, who tell each other their problems and help the other through their hard times. And writing a good romance doesn’t mean always having love as the undertone for all these interactions. People who do all that for other people don’t necessarily see the other as a potential lover. If you get what I’m saying.
The point is, this writer writes romance REALLY WELL. You can see that the relationship of Shibata and Shunin progresses naturally. It’s genuine and definitely relatable. Definitely, this manga has set the bar for how I want my future relationship to be like. I definitely want a Shunin in my life to scold me when I’m doing something idiotic, to make fun of me, but at the end of the day be lowkey loving and affectionate. Lol when am I going to find you :(
Pls consider reading this! I still don’t understand why the rating is barely an 8 when this is one of the best romance manga I’ve ever read in my entire history of reading only romance mangas and the occasional non-romance manga. Lol
OMG!!!! why is the rating for this manga so low???? i loved literally EVERYTHING about this manga. i loved that it was slow-paced, and that the mangaka took the time to build up both michiko's character and her relationships with the rest of the people around her. i loved that her relationship with shunin didn't start out as the typical unrequited love thing. i loved that the both of them had to literally grow into each other before you can even consider anything remotely related to romance. their relationship was written so well: the foundation of their friendship, their chemistry, the inevitable feelings that would finally develop between them. i also like that their romance felt kind of like an after-thought. honestly, had they ended up with other people, i would have been totally fine with that. that was how well-written this manga was. all the characters were given their justice, none of them being used as fodder for more interesting storylines. this manga gives me such a warm, fuzzy feeling. i will treasure it 4 life. pls read this everyone. 1000/10 would recommend.
This is a lovely josei manga. Perfect for the twenty-year old me who can relate to the MC's problems. And, I haven't laughed so hard while reading manga in a loooooong time. Almost every other josei manga is too sexual (for me), while this story is super cute and the lines between the characters are all so witty.
Before I knew it, I finished the manga, which made me sad but there is a sequel!! Though I don't necessarily think it needs one, but I still can't wait to read it. :')
This review is not helpful, but I just wanted to vent my admiration for
this manga. Thank you for reading and I hope you do decide to read this!
Upon completion, I'd say the story shifts focus. In the beginning, the story is more focused on the main MC's life, which I found more relatable than the family drama of the male MC. His family literally barges into his cafe to either stir up drama intentionally or find another reason to shift our attention from the girl MC to the guy's family drama. It gets stale after a while: first issues with his older brother and then moving onto his father. Then the girl MC's father busts into the cafe out of nowhere for more family drama. I had to skim the middle part
of the male MC's issue with his rich dad - seems like a plot line right out of kdrama.
In the beginning, I found the struggles the girl MC have mirrored much of my life. I am in my late twenties, similar to the MC. Her struggles are super relatable. You kinda know the two MCs will get together, except you don't know when. What I admire about the romance is that their relationship actually progresses from a friendship/mutual earned respect/trust. The two MCs don't get together immediately. They talk to each other and actually develop a friendship before that's considered. Feels more real, ya know? It's not like BAM Kare Kano style where from love confession the two MCs literally stop talking and just make out all the time.
Super relatable. Who hasn't spent the early 20s pining over younger guys only for literally their face? She is a super relatable doormat who does get better. Believe me, I thought it started off depressing because it was like seeing my life thus far: paying for a guy who ditches you for his friends and totally takes advantage of you, taking other people's workload because they asked. But then she starts developing better friendships, aside from pining for romance like a typical shoujo MC. From the friendship she develops with the various characters, she develops boundaries and learns what it means to take care of your needs I think. She realizes where her limits are and when to trust other people in her life, other than the main MC. Middle wise it got to kdrama land with drama between the male MC and his dad. Yes of course the main guy has to be from a super wealthy family who has financially separated from him: he has to work and he has chosen to work as a chef for the family cafe. I like how it shows you can still be thoughtful without money from merely the act of cooking for someone. The male MC cares for his friends from the food he cooks, not just lavishly throwing money onto the female MC. (I'm looking at you stupid kdrama fantasies!)
Pros are the characters, aside from the family members of the male MC & the girl's dad, are developed and concrete. The family members seem there just to unleash the male MC's baggage onto the world - aka the cafe... Aside from the unnecessary melodrama, I am glad the girl really grows from doormat to eventually someone who stands up for herself, even in front of her dad at the end and thinks about herself and even what she wants to eat through the help of her friends. Yes her male MC is her friend first before they get together (which hello was obvious from the very nature of this Rom-Com).
I think the best way to summarize this series is "refreshing." This won't blow your mind and it doesn't have crazy drama, but it's so cute and unique that reading this gives you the same feeling you get after watching your favorite romcom.
The main character, Shibata, a 30-year virgin who is also a doormat, is a lot better than she sounds. Even though she can make stupid decisions, she's not stupid per se, and it's almost endearing at times, like a puppy. Plus, it's hard not to relate to her extreme willingness to avoid confrontation. Moreover, even though she's a doormat, she isn't the standard
weak romance protagonist; there are a lot of times she gives into puppy-dog eyes, but on the whole, she's a lively and argumentative protagonist. As well as that, she's always aware when she makes stupid decisions, and never writes off being taken advantage of to "he did it because he loves me," which is definitely refreshing for this genre. So, of course she's flawed, but she's flawed well, in the way that makes you feel "I'm not mad, I'm disappointed" when she messes up instead of "this fucking idiot."
Her love interest is her demon ex-boss, Kurosawa, who is nothing like you expect, especially in a romance manga with a boss-employee element. Even though he's rough around the edges, he's undeniably and uncommonly kind; tsundere in the truest sense of the word, not the shoujo manga borderline abusive "why hasn't she broken up with him yet" kind of tsundere.
My favorite thing about this manga is that you can feel them go from "weird ex-coworker situation" to "genuine friends" to "falling in love," and it's incredibly cute to watch. Being real, I found myself whispering "holy fuck, I can't believe love is real" to myself way too much when I read this. But they start to care about each other so quietly and organically; even though they banter and call each other names in every conversation, it's the kind of banter between best friends, between sibilings, between married couples, between two people who clearly care about each other a lot, and it is so pure. Watching them go to huge lengths and get passionate about helping each other with their problems for all the "four-eyed perv"s and insults written on omelettes was sweet enough to give me cavities.
And it's cute how it is about both of them falling in love. There aren't any arcs that are stupid or overdramatic or get too dragged out, and even though it's about a girl who's been treated badly, the optimistic and almost naive-feeling tone this manga warms my heart. When Kurosawa's girlfriend of eight years shows up and makes a scene, it turns out that she's just an overemotional, spunky girl who's doing her best. When Kurosawa's longtime love is introduced, we find out she's a really kind and friendly girl - exactly why he fell in love with her. Every time you think dumb, over-exaggerated, and overplayed drama is going to rear its ugly head, it's avoided completely and the situation is handled in the most uniquely refreshing way.
So maybe it's not mindblowing and you won't be preaching to all your friends about how this manga changed your life, but it's definitely well done. As someone who's read more romance manga than I can count, this is one of my favorite of the genre and something I'll reread on rainy days. If anything, give it a try.