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 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.
I would have waited to read more before reviewing this manga, but since there lacks any, I thought I'd give my thoughts on it so far, as I read 19 chapters. Let's put it straight already, I enjoyed it, therefore I'm surely biaised.
This manga has all the ingredients you'd expect out of a romance josei, yet it was a refreshing read to me. The characters are quite unusual, at least to me, while being steadily believable, finding myself relating to quite a few traits here and there.
The main characters are of this manga's strengths. I'd argue the secondary characters rely a lot on clichés, being
somewhat one-dimensional (big-hearted deliquents, superficial/hard-working girls/guys), it didn't seem that problematic, since in contrast the main characters are quite interesting.
The female lead, Shibata, is a failure in most things you'd expect in life, be it in personal matters or professionally, and seemingly being unable to take the right decision on pretty much anything. It's not for lack of trying, though, as she has quite a strong personality, even somewhat of a bad temper, and is willing to fight back with life, even though hers sucks (worse of all, it sucks because of her own failures). While quite a few times I'd stop reading a manga enraged at how stupid a character seemed to be, I couldn't hold grief against Shibata's mistakes, because they'd genuinly feel believable to me, and I liked the way she would carry on, even when realizing the errors.
I found that same balance in the other main characters. The male lead, Kurosawa, is quite often depicted by Shibata as a demon of a boss (as he was her former boss), and can be quite harsh with her in every day life. Though, even from their first encounters in the first chapters, you can tell he's touchingly considerate towards her, and even protective throughout the manga.
Same things could be said, while Shibata gets to know more about Kurosawa, she meets other women in his life. At first, I'd think that the manga would build up some kind of a romantic rivalry. Instead, and maybe too easily, their nicer side would be told.
Reading these laudatory thoughts about the characters, I'm sure you'd think "fine, but there's nothing that special". Overall, the manga isn't a masterpiece, a must read of any sorts. The art is quite standard, there isn't some incredibly deep backstory, it doesn't tell any grand truth about life, it isn't moving to the tears, or anything that stands out that much. The manga doesn't hold that kind of ambition, but the story is well told. It isn't overly dramatic, even if some backstories could get over the top, the characters handle them with modesty and/or maturity (not so much from Shibata, but that's her).
What makes the whole read worth it is the pacing. From a comment that made me read the manga, I kept "I enjoyed every chapter of it". And I would not say that about most mangas I read. There's always some part that I dislike, sometimes because I find some character not coherent enough, or the story not credible, or just too much drama of some kind. This far into the manga, the rythm works well, it doesn't rely on cliffhangers or plot twists, while in the meantime the characters evolve steadily through each chapter.
I can't wait to read more of it, and might update this review when I'll have a better grasp on the whole story.
For those folks out there that enjoyed "Lovely Complex" (myself included) this manga is pretty good! Although the characters are older I find it wonderful to relate to myself! The main character is very naive and has trouble making up her mind, but she is rather sweet and silly. As for the main male character, he is well done and comes off very mature. He hasn't really express too much interest, but it is in his nature not to expose too much of his own emotions. I personally love the main characters interactions, very funny! So far the pace this manga is going at
is great too. I'm sure it will progress better as the story continues. I urge you all to read it! I can't wait until the next chapter.