I Can't Believe I Slept with You (Japanese: Ichido Dake Demo, Koukai Shitemasu, or "Even If It Was Just Once, I Regret It") is a yuri manga written by Miyako Miyahara. It began in 2019 and ran for 19 chapters. The first two volumes were released in English by Seven Seas Entertainment in 2021.
The story begins with 24-year old Chiyo Koduka three months behind on her rent, after she quit her job as a video game designer. When she informs her Landlady that she can't pay her rent, the Landlady makes her a proposition. She will deduct ¥10,000 of the ¥210,000note debt for various acts of service, with her first request being that Chiyo have sex with her. Chiyo agrees but regrets it the next morning. The Landlady seems surprised by this, saying that Chiyo had seemed interested the night before. However, she tells Chiyo that the acts of service need not be sex, and she will continue to deduct ¥10,000 from the debt for anything that Chiyo does that makes the Landlady happy.
Chiyo ends up moving in with the Landlady, and Chiyo quickly realizes that this younger woman (the Landlady reveals herself to be 19-years old) has her life situation much better organized than she, herself does.
She tries to perform small acts of kindness and finds that the Landlady is regularly marking down the back rent, even if Chiyo herself doesn't feel like she's done much of value at all.
Despite the title, and the premise, little if any depictions of actual sex are shown. To date, Chiyo and the Landlady have only had one night together, and it is clear that both of them regret it, for their own reasons.
I Can't Believe I Slept with You provides examples of:
- Age-Gap Romance:
- Setouchi, Chiyo's downstairs neighbor, who appears to be in her thirties, confides in Chiyo that there was a delivery girl whom she was falling for, back at her old home. An illustration in the final Bonus Chapter shows the two of them on a date, though whether it's canon or not is debatable
- The Landlady and Chiyo are a less extreme case, but the five-year gap between them is occasionally brought up in-story.
- Alcohol-Induced Bisexuality: The story opens with Koduka, who professes to be straight, having woken up after a drunken tryst with the Landlady. She also claims in the story to have "experience", though what that entails, we're never told. The story ends with her in a committed relationship with the Landlady.
- Ambiguously Bi:
- When Chiyo wakes the next morning with no memory of having had sex with the Landlady, she states that she's only into Men. However, when bits of memory from that night come back to her, she recalls enjoying it, and she seems more than willing to kiss the Landlady later. She does tell the Landlady that she has "experience", meaning she may have had a boyfriend or two in the past.
- Setouchi used to be married to a man but develops feelings for a delivery girl. She puts some space between them but eventually realizes that she loves the delivery girl regardless, just after they've fallen out of touch.
- Amicable Exes: Setouchi mentions that she and her ex-husband are this. The two got married, found out that they didn't mesh well together with schedules, work, and chores, and separated, but were on friendly terms still.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Chiyo. Not her first declaration, which was actually calm and relaxed, delivered in bed while she and the Landlady were holding hands. But the Landlady's Gayngst causes her to ignore it. But later, Chiyo tries to make love to the Landlady again, and she finds she can't, because as she tells the Landlady, she can't do sex as a "service", because she loves her, and she can't do "service" but wants to show her genuine love. It finally convinces the Landlady of her sincerity.
- Armor-Piercing Question: "Kozuka-san, all of this kindness is 'service', right...?"
- Armor-Piercing Response: The morning after they first have sex, the Landlady asks Chiyo if she regrets it. Chiyo's response is a very tearful Blunt "Yes".
- Because You Were Nice to Me: This swings both ways for the Landlady and Chiyo. The Landlady seems to be marking down the debt simply because she felt that Chiyo had done something nice, if not actually helpful, at the time. Chiyo, meanwhile, seems to be growing closer to the Landlady when she does such things as provide her a place to sleep, cooks for her and does most of the chores (and redoes the ones that Chiyo attempts).
- It turns out that it began even earlier. Due to the incident of their Forgotten First Meeting, the Landlady had already fallen for Chiyo, because in a drunken state, Chiyo had tackled Ritsuka on a bridge, mistakenly believing the girl was about to commit suicide, and when Ritsuka tried to drive her away by telling her she was a lesbian and asking if she'd have sex with her, Chiyo seemed more than willing if it would help save the girl. Ritsuka came to realize this drunken mess of a woman really was kind. And then, a month later, she found out that Chiyo had moved into her apartments.
- Blunt "No": The localization reframes the exchange between Chiyo and Yotsugaya to this trope.Chiyo: Can I go with you?
Chiyo: For real?! You don't have to be so blunt about it!
- Blunt "Yes":
- In the first chapter, about what happened the previous night.Landlady: Do you regret it?
Chiyo: I can't tell you how much!
- In the fan translation, after starting work at the deli, Chiyo asks her coworker Yotsugaya if she'd mind if Chiyo tags along on a shopping trip. Yotsugaya bluntly says she does mind, but reluctantly lets Chiyo accompany her.
- In the first chapter, about what happened the previous night.
- Brick Joke: Early on, Landlady informs Chiyo that she has a tendency to strip when drunk. A later flashback reveals that during their Forgotten First Meeting, a drunken Chiyo believed she was offering a suicidal Landlady Sex for Solace and began stripping down in public.
- Broken Bird:
- Landlady lost the support of her family and friends when she came out of the closet and revealed she was a lesbian. A chat with a former classmate reveals that she was well known for dating girls, and Landlady's reaction to this statement suggests that it got her no small amount of bullying.
- Chiyo was rejected by over 50 companies before getting a job, and then a poorly performing product got her transferred to General Affairs, upon which she quit. She then has trouble finding a new job, exhausts her savings, and is three months behind on her rent and living in squalor when the story opens.
- Setouchi and her husband got divorced because their lifestyles — working from home and working in an office — were incompatible. She then fell for a delivery girl, resulting in her questioning her sexuality, but decided to put some distance between them. By the time Setouchi came to terms with being bisexual, she and the delivery girl had fallen out of touch.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Both women seem to have trouble spelling out their feelings. The Landlady almost makes an Anguished Declaration of Love, but is interrupted by Chiyo's cell phone ringing in their ears.
- Catapult Nightmare: Actually more of a memory, Chiyo bolts upright having a flashback to the night she and the Landlady had sex.
- Closet Key: Landlady for Chiyo, as she considered herself straight until she began living with her.
- Cute Little Fangs: The delivery girl Setouchi had a crush on has one, and Setouchi makes note of how the latter "had a cute little snaggletooth."
- Differing Priorities Breakup: Setouchi makes games from home while her husband was "a company man." She notes that their lifestyles were incompatible, and they decided to divorce and go their separate ways after talking things out.
- The Ditz: Chiyo doesn't have the best judgment, from neglecting to read contracts to making many mistakes back when she was working a part-time job.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Chiyo was hesitant to tell her friend Aoi that she'd lost her job and savings since she didn't want Aoi to see her in such a pitiful state, but Aoi insists that there's no shame in her relying on her friends.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Subverted. The first time that Chiyo and the Landlady go out on a date together, a former classmate addresses the Landlady by her family name, Hara. See Insistent Terminology.
- Everyone Can See It: Every named character who isn't Chiyo or the Landlady is quick to realize that the two of them are in love with each other.
- Exact Words: When Chiyo interviews for a job, the hiring manager says he'd be happy to have her work for them. Chiyo then gets a call back saying that she didn't get the job and that the hiring manager says that to everyone he interviews- just because he's happy to have them doesn't mean that he's going to hire them.
- Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Chiyo eventually works part-time at the deli where she worked in high school. It's zig-zagged since while Chiyo is desperate to find work, the fact that she's going out and working is a sign of how much she's recovered since the start of the story.
- First-Name Basis:
- Chiyo and Aoi, being long-time friends, use each other's first names without honorifics, and Aoi is the only character who addresses Chiyo this informally.
- At Christmas, Ritsuka asks Chiyo to call her by her first name for the holiday. The two women start calling each other "Chiyo-san" and "Ritsuka" after becoming a couple.
- Forgotten First Meeting: Chiyo and the Landlady met two years prior. Chiyo mistook Ritsuka standing on a bridge as suicidal, and, in an inebriated state, tackled her while tearfully telling her that she shouldn't kill herself. Ritsuka was in a foul mood over a fight with her family, hinted to be over her orientation. She tells Chiyo that if she really cares, then please have sex with her. She then states that she's a lesbian, hoping to drive Chiyo away. To her shock, Chiyo begins undressing (again, she's drunk). She tells Chiyo she was joking, but is glad to have met her. Chiyo forgot most of it due to her drunken state. Landlady never did.
- Gamer Chick: Chiyo, in spades. She owns old consoles and games that are considered "vintage". She also was once employed as a game designer, and gets another job as a console game developer, later quitting to become an independent developer.
- Gayngst: A former classmate reveals that the Landlady, Ritsuka Hara, was well known for dating girls in high school. The Landlady also informs Chiyo that she doesn't have any female friends, because she was afraid that she wouldn't be able to avoid developing romantic feelings for them, so she kept herself isolated. When she is being kissed by Chiyo, she's certain that Chiyo must be grossed out, doing so with her.
- Hidden Depths: Landlady is fascinated by astronomy and can easily identify various constellations and knows where the best places to view them are.
- Hope Spot: An ambiguously worded expression of approval from an interviewer causes Chiyo to briefly think she has a job offer. She's unpleasantly shocked to find that the hiring manager didn't mean anything by it.
- Incompatible Orientation: What Chiyo claims the next morning. By the end of the story, it's averted.
- Innocently Insensitive: One of the Landlady's former high-school classmates runs into Chiyo and the Landlady on a shopping excursion. She asks if Chiyo is the Landlady's girlfriend. When Chiyo says they're "just friends", the former classmate goes on to cheerfully inform Chiyo that the Landlady Hara, was infamous at school for dating girls. She then says that she's actually pretty open-minded about such things herself. Incensed, Chiyo actually takes the Landlady's hand and insists they move on.
- Insistent Terminology: We learn the Landlady's family name early on. Later, we learn her full name, Ritsuka Hara. But she insists that while they're under the contract, Chiyo keeps calling her "Ms. Landlady".
- Last-Name Basis:
- For most of the series, the landlady refers to Chiyo as "Koduka-san," since Chiyo is a tenant.
- Setouchi is only known by her surname, and calls Chiyo "Koduka-chan."
- Love Epiphany: The Landlady delivers an unintended Armor-Piercing Question to Chiyo after the latter kisses the former to close their date, wondering if her acts of kindness were just the "service" towards her debt. But Chiyo realizes the next morning, mulling it over, that she'd done things like asking the Landlady out and kissing her without any thought to the debt, that they were things that she genuinely wanted to do with the other woman. And if they were things that she wanted to do, it must be because...
- Jerkass Realization: A mild example. After an unpleasant run-in with one of the Landlady's former classmates, who all but attempted to out the Landlady in public, the Landlady told Chiyo that she had thought she'd been like that classmate. Chiyo realizes that she's been saying hurtful things to the Landlady since they started their current arrangement and resolves to be more sensitive.
- Luminescent Blush: Chiyo is prone to blushing frequently, but the first and most noteworthy blush comes from the Landlady after the end of their first real date when Chiyo tells the Landlady that seeing her flustered was actually cute. The next morning, Chiyo has her own prominent blush when she realizes that she's actually coming to love the Landlady.
- Meaningful Echo: "Please have sex with me." It was what Ritsuka, the Landlady, had said to Chiyo during their Forgotten First Meeting, trying to drive off a person she initially found annoying. When she went to offer Chiyo a chance to work off her debt, she'd repeated it in the hopes of reminding her of that chance encounter, and of invoking this trope, only to find that a very drunk Chiyo was eager to oblige.
- Meaningful Gift: Chiyo is out shopping and finds a set of earrings patterned after constellations. Knowing of Ritsuka's love of astronomy, she buys them for her, even choosing clip-on type since she noticed Ritsuka's ears aren't pierced. After talking it over with a friend, Chiyo decides to give them to her as a Christmas present. When she receives them, Ritsuka is clearly moved and asks Chiyo to put them on for her
- Misery Poker: When under the impression that Ritsuka was about to commit suicide in a flashback, Chiyo drunkenly points out that if someone like her, who's been turned down from 50 companies, is continuing to live, so should Ritsuka.
- Moment Killer: Chiyo's cell phone rings just as the Landlady was about to confess that she loved Chiyo. The caller informs Chiyo that she didn't get the job she'd interviewed for, and when Chiyo hangs up, the Landlady drops the subject, resulting in the status quo being upheld.
- Nice Girl: Aoi is a supportive friend to Chiyo, who checks on the latter when she's worried about her and insists that Chiyo not feel self-conscious about asking for help.
- Perpetual Frowner: The Landlady has a semi-permanent scowl on her face.
- Perpetual Poverty: Chiyo, which is how she wound up in her contractual relationship with the Landlady in the first place.
- Plucky Girl: While Chiyo can be a bit of a ditz who's prone to mistakes, she's also surprisingly resilient. She persists in applying to companies over 50 times until she gets accepted, and after she breaks out of her funk, continues with her second job search and finally succeeds in getting the position she wants.
- Questionable Consent: Chiyo did agree to sleep with the Landlady that first night, but her other option was to get evicted with a standing debt of ¥210,000 note , and it's strongly hinted that Chiyo had to get herself hammered before she was able to go through with it. The Landlady seems genuinely hurt and confused when Chiyo tells her she doesn't remember anything that happened the night before, and that Chiyo regrets having gone through with it, with the Landlady saying that it had been a consensual act. From time to time, Chiyo recalls moments from that night that suggest she was willing. But both Chiyo and the Landlady regret the way it happened, and so it hasn't been repeated. A flashback at the climax of the story reveals that Ritsuka had only asked Chiyo to have sex with her as a joke to try and remind her of their Forgotten First Meeting, that she'd already had a chore list prepared to offer Chiyo a chance to work off her debt, and that Chiyo had picked her up and carried her to bed, where she had given in to temptation and made love to her.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: As a result of an incident that is vaguely alluded to in a flashback, Chiyo was transferred to the General Affairs division of her game development company, resulting in her quitting.
- Sex for Solace: During Chiyo and Ritsuka's Forgotten First Meeting, Ritsuka, in an effort to drive off the wailing drunk woman who had tackled her and mistaken her hanging out on the bridge for her being suicidal, asked her to have sex with her. Chiyo, in her drunken state, figured she was playing into this trope to help a desperate and suicidal person. Ritsuka has to stop her from undressing in public.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Landlady is neat and organized in her care of the apartments, but she dresses down in frumpy outfits that tend to hide her figure. But she manages to look positively radiant in an elegant dress that she put on to celebrate Christmas with Chiyo.
- Sick Episode: Chiyo catches a very bad cold and is incapacitated. The Landlady makes porridge for her, wipes the sweat from her body, and watches over her while she's down. She even goes so far as to deduct another block off of Chiyo's debt, partly because she felt sorry for her, and partly because taking care of Chiyo genuinely made her happy.
- Spell My Name With An S: Chiyo's surname is Kouzuka in the fan translation and Koduka in the localization.
- Stepford Smiler: Setouchi seems cheerful at first glance but bottles up her pain. She tells Chiyo and the landlady about how she got divorced, then insists that she's fine now. After fondly reminiscing about how she had a crush on a delivery girl, only to fall out of touch, Setouchi apologizes for oversharing. Upon parting ways with Chiyo and the landlady, Setouchi breaks down in tears over how much she misses the delivery girl.
- Title Drop: Happens in the lead-up to the landlady's Love Confession.Landlady: ...I knew all along that we never should have gone that far. Sleeping with you under those circumstances... even if it was just once, I regret it. The truth is... Koduka-san, I...
- Too Much Information: After the Landlady admits to being 19 (five years Chiyo's junior), and that she's "into older women," Chiyo thinks, "TMI!"
- Weight Woe: Chiyo, noticing that she's gained weight recently, enlists the Landlady's help in doing sit-ups.
- Wham Line: The Landlady reminds Chiyo that she'd said she regretted the one time they'd had sex together. Chiyo's response surprises her.Chiyo: I do. I regret that I couldn't do it very well, right at the end.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The story never reveals why the Landlady chose her occupation, or why she was crying on the bridge when a drunken Chiyo met her. The author alludes that the latter is due to the Landlady's family situation, but says Chiyo should be the only one to know.