Kiryuu Futaba is a 32-year-old mangaka who finally found success with her harem romcom Bocchi no Ore kara Riaju no Omaera ni Ittoku ("A Loner Like Me's Got a Lot to Say about You Normies out There") or Bottoku for short. In just a year, the series got popular enough to get an anime adaptation! Problem is her favored genre is fantasy shonen touching on social issues. But because all of her previous works flopped, she accepted her editor's challenge to tackle a more popular genre, even though she hates harem comedies and knows nothing about love.
To make matters worse, her 20-year-old assistant Asakura "Assassin" Yuu, soon confesses his feelings for her. And Kitamura "Strategist" Kyousuke (42), the screenwriter for the anime adaptation, also actively tries to seduce her. At first highly uncomfortable with those attentions, Futaba eventually decides to seize this occasion to understand more about this whole "love" thing that's so alien to her.
Kiryuu-sensei wa Ren'ai ga Wakaranai (Kiryuu-sensei Doesn't Understand Love) is a not-quite-romantic comedy by Ono Haruka, published in the josei magazine Ura Sunday in 2016. It is one of the few mangas that tackle the subject of asexuality and aromanticism, as well as providing some commentary on stiffening gender expectations and some insight on the manga publishing world. The series' messages aren't exactly subtle, but that's to be expected considering the rarity of its main topic. All 5 volumes were released in France by Akata under the title Aromantic (Love) Story.
Tropes featured in Kiryuu-sensei wa Ren'ai ga Wakaranai
- An Aesop: On the romantic side of the story: "You can be happy witout falling in love" and "Living true to yourself is more important than complying to arbitrary social norms." On the manga side: "trading passion and sincerity for popularity never works out in the long run."
- Futaba is single and has never fallen in love, nor does she have any interest in sex. The story isn't about her suddenly discovering love by meeting the "right person", but rather trying to understand and become less dismissive of those who do, as part of her own questioning.
- Kyousuke, on the other end, has plenty of experience in sex but has never truly fallen in love, which is why he develops an interest in Futaba, whom he feels is similar to him. He does fall in love with her for real, eventually.
- Brutal Honesty: The anime's director Harashima does not even try to hide his dislike for Futaba's ideas and personality even in the middle of work meetings, leading them to butt heads more than once.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Futaba can get drunk just on alcohol fumes if sleep-deprived enough. It turns out Yuu doesn't fare any better, being just barely of drinking age.
- Christmas Cake: A recurring theme in the series is middle-aged characters (male or female) complaining about the pressure to get married from their parents. The idea that a woman can't be happy without finding love is something that highly irritates Futaba.
- Cliché Storm: Futaba's manga is this In-Universe, down to the light-novelesque absurdly long title − since she doesn't know a thing about love, the only way she can write a romcom is by reproducing overused tropes she has seen elsewhere. Which at first is the reason of its success, but the series rapidly starts to stagnate and become predictable, leading to a drop in popularity by the time the anime starts.
- Death Glare: Yuu's usual appearance is already pretty intimidating, but just try to woo or insult his beloved mentor in front of him and you'll see him wreathed in the flames of hell.
- Face of a Thug: Yuu has been dubbed "Assassin" by Futaba, who imagines him shooting her in the head out of nowhere when he shows up for work, and he gets controlled by the police fairly often. All because of his hood and menacing look. He's actually a nice guy when you get to know him.
- Forceful Kiss: Kyousuke suddenly kisses Futaba out of nowhere after they promised to be friends. She later makes it clear that a man a head taller than you forcing himself on you like that is not fun or exciting in the real world. It's rather unnerving and terrifying, as well as a severe breach of trust.
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Near the end, when Futaba is on the verge of depression, Harashima of all people doesn't shy away from telling her she has lost her bite and should reawaken the rage and conviction that she showed at the beginning. This is also what ultimately convinces her to reject Kyousuke's marriage proposal. Amusingly, Futaba later calls him back to tell him basically the same thing.
- In Vino Veritas: The trope is used several times to have the characters blurt out their deeper feelings, notably Futaba and Assassin.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In volume 4, when the new editor-in-chief of Weekly Burst decides the cancellation of Bottoku, Futaba begrudingly admits that a lot of his harsh points reflect her own feelings about her series. At the same time though, he was also the editor who panned her previous, more serious manga, which makes him sound a tad hypocritical.
- One Head Taller: Invoked by Yuu in an omake, who's jealous of Kyousuke because he can easily embrace Futaba so as to rest her head in the cavity of his shoulder. Yuu is not quite tall enough for that but still tries to console her that way at the end of volume 4, with mixed results.
- Those Two Guys: Akiko and Hanae (aka Teddy), Futaba's two college buddies, are mostly there to comment on her reactions and listen to her insecurities. Akiko is the Deadpan Snarker type while Teddy is more bright and positive and a bit of a Cloud Cuckoolander.
- Unequal Pairing: One reason Futaba opts to date Kyousuke rather than Yuu is to avoid this type of situation. Not only is Yuu her assistant, but he looks up to her as a mentor while she almost sees him as a child because of the age gap.