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Literature / Watanare

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After a less than stellar experience in Middle School, Renako Amaori is determined to make the best of her High School years. To do that, she approaches the most popular girl in school, Mai Oduka, as soon as the school year starts, and succeeds in joining her group of friends. Unfortunately, acting like one of the popular girls when she has always been a lonely person turns out to be mentally exhausting. One day, she goes alone to the rooftop of the school to relax, but Mai finds her and gets the impression she is about to commit suicide. The misunderstanding actually ends with both completely opening to the other, and Renako goes home happy that she finally found someone she can call her best friend.

At least until Mai gives her a Love Confession the following day and asks her out.

Now the desires of Renako and Mai are in conflict. One wants them to be best friends, the other wants them to become lovers. A competition then starts: they will act like lovers in some days and as best friends in others, each trying to convince the other that the relationship they envision as the best. And so, Renako's very unique High School life starts!

Written by Mikami Teren and illustrated by Takeshima Eku, Watashi ga Koibito ni Nareru Wakenaijan, Muri Muri! (*Muri Janakatta!?) (Literally, There's No Way I Can Have a Lover! *Or Maybe There Is!?), is an ongoing Light Novel series of the Yuri Genre. The first volume was released in February 2020, with a manga adaptation by Musshu starting three months later. Seven Seas Entertainment has licensed the series under the title There's No Freaking Way I'll be Your Lover! Unless…, with the first manga volume being set to be released in April 2023, and the first Light Novel volume, the following month.

The Light Novel series contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Mai is filthy rich, a popular model, has an athletic body figure, gets top grades at school, and usually masters most things she sets on mastering in short time. Other characters repeatedly lampshade (and complain about) how she is pretty much the perfect woman.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling:
    • Not only does Renako's younger sister repeatedly reminds her sister of her time as a hikikomori, she bribes her to buy snack by threatening to reveal this to her classmates. It also turns out that despite all that she brags about her sister being friends with Mai Oduka, something Renako ironically relates to.
    • Ajisai also often complains about how much work her younger brothers are, demanding her attention and interrupting her moments with Renako. It's not nearly as bad as Renako's relationship with her own sister though.
  • The Bet: The plot of the series is kickstarted by a bet between Renako and Mai over who can convince the other that their vision of the ideal relationship is better: Renako thinks it's being best friends, Mai thinks it's being lovers.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Renako and Mai have one at the end of Volume 1. It happened after Renako had to run at full speed to find Mai, lifted her spirits by forgiving her past actions, admitted she does feel attracted to her, and finally pulled her underwater so they could kiss without being seen.
  • Brutal Honesty: Satsuki always gives her blunt opinion when talking with Renako, which usually results in insults.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Ajisai develops feelings for Renako at the climax of Volume 1, but never musters to courage to admit it, let alone confess. Until the ending of Volume 3.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Not a single character in the main cast shows interest in the opposite sex. The closest thing is Mai commenting that she doesn't care if her partner is a boy or a girl, and even that is said in the context of her explaning how she became Renako-sexual.
  • Character Focus: Each volume deals with Renako's relationship with a different girl:
    • Volume 1: Mai
    • Volume 2: Satsuki
    • Volume 3: Ajisai
    • Volume 4: Kaho
  • Chick Magnet: For someone who supposedly doesn't belong with the popular crowd, Renako certainly managed to gain the affections of many girls during the story. Mai technically counts too, but in her case this is more of a side effect of being an Everyone Magnet.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Mai gets jealous easily when Renako hangs out with other girls. To the point where she rushes to go back to her even when she is currently in a different country.
  • Covert Pervert:
    • Mai always looks prim and proper, but when Renako asks her to write down what she would like to do with her if they were lovers, she finds herself with a long list of R-rated activities.
    • Renako herself starts worring she has become this after the events of Volume 1, due to how often her mind goes into R-rated territory when her friends say something ambiguous. She blames Mai for it.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: At the beginning, Satsuki is cold and dismissive towards Renako. Through the events of Volume 2, however, she begins opening up to her, ultimately admitting they are friends.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: Downplayed. Mai is very much portrayed as being wrong in pushing Renako down and touching her without permission. However, she still gets Easily Forgiven at the end of Volume 1. Though it's important to note that Mai was about to commit a big mistake in an attempt to "redeem" herself, and the forgiveness was partially to put a stop to it.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Mai is loved by everyone, regardless of age or gender. The climax of Volume 1 shows that her pretenders can form a huge, mixed-gender crowd that nearly fills the entire lobby of a hotel.
  • First Kiss: Mai steals Renako's while simultaneously giving hers to the girl. Renako accidentally steals Satsuki's one volume later.
  • Forceful Kiss: Mai delivers a couple of those to Renako. Usually when she is annoyed by the latter trying to downplay their relationship or deny her feelings.
  • Friendless Background: Renako, due to an incident in middle school where she gave the other girls the impression that she didn't want to hang out with them, leading to her being excluded of the group.
  • Friends with Benefits: The match between Mai and Renako ends with Renako attempting to find a middle ground between lovers and best friends, which she nicknames "Rema Friends". Mai suggests this is just them being sex friends, but Rena vehemently denies it, drawing the line at kissing.
  • Gamer Chick: Renako loves video-games. It's somewhat of a tragic example, as she spent so much time playing games because she lacked friends.
  • Gratuitous French: When she is talking with Renako on the phone in France, Mai peppers her speech with some French words.
  • Hidden Depths: The relationship/competition between Renako and Mai starts with them exchanging Hidden Depths with each other. Mai feels insecure about her public persona because she sometimes thinks she is just acting as people expect her to. Renako is really a very socially awkward person and feels mentally exhausted keeping up with the popular people. Renako's is a two-fold one, as her social awkwardness actually comes from a deep-seated self-hatred, which she keeps well hidden until Volume 4.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter title in the novels ends with Muri Muri! (It's impossible, or There is no way! Due to the way Japanese grammar works, a more literal translation into English would actually put those words at the beginning of the chapters rather than the end).
  • Innocently Insensitive: Mai doesnt' fully realize how much Satsuki is bothered by always losing to her. This reaches its zenith when she bluntly tells Satsuki that she thinks the latter hasn't changed since they were children. As Renako had already discovered, Satsuki has been trying to better herself for years to finally defeat Mai, and this comment sounds like a denial of all her hard work.
  • It's All About Me: Mai is a Played for Laughs example. She is fully aware of her own status as The Ace and uses it as an argument at every opportunity, to the point where she claims it's sunny the day she goes on a date with Renako because she wants it to be. There is also her idea of courtship.
    Renako: "Where did you get the idea that I like you?"
    Mai: "Are you implying that there is a person that doesn’t like me?"
  • Lonely at the Top: There are plenty of people that admire and flat-out worship Mai, but she is aware that's very different from having a friend or a lover. This loneness makes her deeply treasure Satsuki and Ajisai for being her friends as equals and leads to her falling in love and confessing to Renako merely one day after a heart-to-heart talk with her.
  • Long Title: A full sentence followed by a short question leads to a pretty sizable title.
  • Love Confession: The plot starts when Mai gives one of those to Renako. Ajisai does the same at the end of Volume 3.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Both Mai and Ajisai are in love with Renako, who likes the two but doesn't want to enter in a romantic relationship. Kaho is in love with Mai. Satsuki gets plenty of Ship Tease with Renako in Volume 2, but ultimately calls her just a friend. However, it's believed In-Universe she may have feelings for Mai.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: When she first sees Satsuki's mother, Renako assumes she is her older sister. The woman is very happy about the misunderstanding and would have let it continue if Satsuki hadn't interrupted.
  • Nice Girl: Ajisai is so kind and polite, she borders on being a parody of this trope. Renako is convinced she can't be a mere human being.
  • No Antagonist: The girls occasionally bring trouble to each other, but that's purely because of clashing feelings they don't fully understand. No character in the series actually means to harm others.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: From the moment she falls in love with Renako, Mai develops an habit of getting really close and personal whenever they are talking.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • The usually confident and seductive Mai becomes a lot quieter when visiting Renako's room for the first time. The second time, she admits she was nervous. She later gets entranced into silence by the sight of Renako's panties, to the disbelief of the other girl.
    • Despite being a self-aware Ice Queen, Satsuki gets very flustered when she and Renako accidentally kiss, and it doesn't get better when the possibility of her entering a real romantic relationship appears.
  • Officially Shortened Title: Watanare in the original Japanese, helping avoid the awkwardness of the Long Title.
  • Once an Episode: Renako shares a bath with a different girl in each of the Light Novel volumes.
  • Peerless Love Interest: A big part of the reason Renako initially refuted Mai is that she has trouble understanding why the most famous and desired girl in school would want her for a girlfriend. Her inner monologues across Volume 1 show that she feels a lot of pressure when she is seen together with Mai. This unveils their respective character arcs: Mai wants someone who can stand at her side as an equal, and Renako needs to learn to love herself.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: Discussed through Volume 1 as part of the "Best Friends vs. Lovers" match. Renako believes actually dating would lead to constant stressing over the relationship and tries to argue that being best friends is better. However, it's also clear that she expects a deep emotional connection with her best friend, who she describes as someone she can always trust to be by her side. Mai notes this isn't very different from what she considers to be "girlfriends".
  • Sarcastic Title: As hinted by the sentence inside the parenthesis, every time a title – be it the title of the entire series or just a chapter – declares something to be impossible, the opposite will be proven true.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Renako has been hanging out with the most admired girls in school long enough that most students also consider her to be part of the popular crowd and are repeatedly seen commenting on how cute she is. Yet, she refuses to consider herself one of them and is always worried that she looks out of place among her friends, as she is too self-depreciative to think of herself as beloved or popular.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Once Mai falls in love with someone, it has to be that person. She doesn't care how many admirers she has, Renako is the only one who touched her heart, and the only one who can be her lover.
  • Sliding Scale of Plot Versus Characters: Mostly stays on the "Characters" end. Each individual volume of the novel is focused in developing the relationship of the main character with the girls around her.
  • Spell My Name with an S: All the fan-translations spelled Mai's surname as "Ozuka" but the official English release uses "Oduka" instead. It is pronounced with a "Z", but the official one is consistent with the old Nihon-shiki system. The confusion comes from how, due to Language Drift, in modern Japanese, the "d" is pronounced like "dz" or "z" when followed by "u", so it can also be romanized this way.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: The first two kisses Mai gives to Renako are just expressions of love. The third is her response to Renako attempting to dismiss the previous two as just friends fooling around.
  • Underwater Kiss: Renako pulls Mai into the pool of the hotel to kiss her without anyone else seeing at the end of Volume 1.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: Nobody seems to think that Renako's pink hair and Kaho's blue hair are worth a mention.
  • Yuri Genre: Renako may not like it, but this is a story about romance between women.