Masuo Fugano is a 24-year-old virgin salaryman, and Unlucky Everydude with a capital U. He's tired of being single, and grows despondent when a fortune teller seems to predict he has no chance in love. Despite this, he decides to try a marriage interview... where he meets the beautiful kindergarten teacher Nagisa Shiozaki, who has rather the opposite problem: Too many selfish Jerkasses chasing her have colored her opinion of men in general, and driven her close to giving up on finding a loving husband, but is this seemingly wishy-washy Extreme Doormat of a Dogged Nice Guy really a better prospect?
Thus begins Yamahana Noriyuki's If I See You In My Dreams (known in Japan as Yume De Aetara), which was serialized in Business Jump from 1994 to 1999; 17 volumes of Cannot Spit It Out, Poor Communication Kills, Takahashi-level Belligerent Sexual Tension... and Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other, Love Bubbles.
Not to be confused with the very similarly titled musical film I'll See You in My Dreams.
This manga provides examples of:
- Arranged Marriage: Hamaoka's father tries to set one of these for her, and is very dismayed that his daughter is in love with Masuo.
- Compressed Adaptation / Gecko Ending: the TV series not only cuts all of the other romantic interests of Nagisa (whom, to be fair, featured in the OVA of which the series is a continuation) and excised all the women interested in Masuo (save Hamaoka to make a Love Triangle), it also ends on the arc when Masuo is reassigned and ends with a Train-Station Goodbye between him and Nagisa (with the implication they had their First Kiss before he boarded)
- Devoted to You: every man attracted to Nagisa, and a good chunk of the women Masuo mets after having fallen in love with her. The saddest example was Hamaoka, who is as beautiful as Nagisa and way nicer, but had the very bad Timing of meeting and confessing her feelings to Masuo when he has fallen in love with Nagisa. Masuo, in moments on insight in episodes 12 and 14 of the TV series, admits that had he met Hamaoka first, he would have fallen in love with her instead.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Masuo towards Nagisa, although she does reciprocate but won't admit it. Hamaoka towards Masuo is a female example.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Masuo goes through hell in his pursuit of Nagisa.
- The First Cut Is the Deepest: Nagisa's first love, her tennis coach when she was a student, ended up leaving her for another girl, which left her with serious trust issues. Adding to it, said girl had a personality very similar to Hamaoka.
- Harsh Word Impact: Masuo is subject to these at least Once per Episode, melting, stabbed with metaphorical knives, turning to stone, etc...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Isobe loves to extort poor Masuo out of his money while playing matchmaker for him and Nagisa. However, when he's transferred to Kyushu, she's the one who convinces Nagisa to listen to what he has to say.
- Magnetic Girlfriend: Before meeting Nagisa, no one would give Masuo the time of the day; after he begins to date her, suddenly a lot of women wants to either jump or tease his poor bones.
- Ms. Fanservice: Nagisa, who gets a Shower Scene Once per Episode.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Masuo tries to look out for Hamaoka, especially when she's being (sexually) harrassed, but it invariably alienates Nagisa.
- Oh, Crap!: Masuo has an epic one◊ around mid-way in the series, realizing he's caught between Nagisa and Hamaoka's father, who also happens to have high influences on the company Masuo works at. Just to drive the point home of how much he's screwed, he gets shot by the Space Battleship Yamato's Wave-Motion Gun!
- Poor Communication Kills: A large source of the plot is driven by this. Either Masuo lacks the backbone to say things that are important, or he does and Nagisa won't believe him, and if he tries to tell a lie to save some face, invariably Nagisa will find out and get mad.
- He eventually acknowledges this issue, as while he loves only Nagisa, he didn't want to break Hamaoka's heart by rejecting her, knowing all too well how that feels, inadvertedly giving her false hopes.
- Sacred First Kiss: Masuo is a Rare Male Example, when Hamaoka gives it to him. Unfortunately, the event was witnessed by Hamaoka's father.
- That Came Out Wrong: half of the misunderstandings of the series stem from this.
- Tsundere: Nagisa can give Naru a run for the money. However, Masuo is willing to call her out when she's going overboard on the tsun side.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The reason why Nagisa was in the same restaurant and found out about Hamaoka kissing Masuo? Isobe saw Hamaoka entering a restaurant with her father and they overheard them arguing about it.