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Manga Review: I Don’t Know Which is Love Vol. 1 (2023) by Tamamushi Oku

Perfectly poised to tease and please readers.

“With high school graduation approaching, Mei Soraike tries to confess her love to her best friend for whom she had long harbored a secret crush…only for her hopes to be crushed. But a little heartbreak is fine—because she'll absolutely, definitely, without a doubt get a girlfriend in college! And no sooner does Mei set her resolve than potential prospects start sidling up to her one by one…?!” (Yen Press)

I Don't Know Which is Love Vol. 1 Amazon

's “I Don't Know Which is Love” makes its intent apparent within the first volume, taking an approach to lesbian-themed comedy that will split the readership. Notably, Oku leans into a sensational depiction of the lesbian lifestyle, with protagonist Mei having many lipstick lesbians throwing themselves at her. Consequently, the work becomes almost fetishistic as sexual encounters become just as common as everyday conversations. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, particularly with how well Oku implements comedy into the formula, those looking for more realistic LGBTQ+ titles may feel this approach is too excessive.

However, the focus on crafting titillating scenarios does not mean that Oku lacks when it comes to character building. Mei is a very expressive character struggling with her identity. Her general confusion about her emotions and her feelings about the advances is complex enough to warrant broader interest in her quest for love. In addition, a few of her suitors have troubled backgrounds and insecurities they try to reconcile by forming a relationship with Mei, teasing more in-depth story arcs in later volumes.

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Essentially, the writing of Oku offers enough value to keep readers invested in the characters and not just caught up with ‘shipping' or ‘simping' for various girls–though there is certainly room for that as well. Moreover, Oku has succeeded in playing with familiar archetypes, giving the series instant familiarity while offering enough unique flair to keep the series engaging.

The book's tone fluctuates between playful and sexual, with minimal variance. Thankfully, Oku's visuals complement the tone, and her characters, ranging from demure to vivacious, are depicted with a lot of personality to make each stand out. For those drawn to sexual themes, there is no nudity (the book does not come in a plastic cover), but the way that Oku skillfully builds up to these moments both visually and narratively still adds that erotic allure required to scratch that itch.

“I Don't Know Which is Love,” for what it is, is perfectly poised to tease and please readers going forward with its complimentary mix of lewd, cute, and comedy. Still, the work won't be for everyone, and if you are looking for introverted or contemplative stories of romance, look elsewhere.

About the author

Adam Symchuk

Adam Symchuk is a Canadian born freelance writer and editor who has been writing for Asian Movie Pulse since 2018. He is currently focused on covering manga, manhwa and light novels having reviewed hundreds of titles in the past two years.

His love of film came from horror and exploitation films from Japan that he devoured in his teens. His love of comics came from falling in love with the works of Shuzo Oshimi, Junji Ito, Hideshi Hino, and Inio Asano but has expanded to a general love of the medium and all its genres.

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