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Manga / Koi to Uso
aka: Love And Lies

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In the near future, to combat a low birth rate, Japan has implemented the Yukari Law. When young people turn 16, they are assigned a marriage partner by the government.

Yukari Nejima is one of these people. On the eve of his 16th birthday, he resolves to confess his feelings to his crush of six years, Misaki Takasaki. To his great surprise, she returns his feelings. However, shortly afterword, he is assigned as a marriage partner to one Lilina Sanada. Despite a rocky start, Nejima and Lilina become friends and she takes a great interest in Nejima's relationship with Takasaki.

Koi to Uso (Love and Lies) is a manga by Tsumugi Musawo. The series got an animated adaptation for the Summer 2017 Anime season, and a live action adaptation in Fall 2017, instead focusing on an original plotline about the Love Triangle between three different people and centered around Yuusuke's niece Aoi. Three Drama CDs, one even concerning the story of the government officials, were released the same year.

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Tropes:

  • Accidental Pervert: Nejima has a few moments, like when he falls on Lilina when he first meets her and again when he falls on Takasaki in the forest.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Nisaka and Takasaki when crossdressing for the school play. Even Nejima stares at Nisaka when he's trying to zip up Nisaka's costume. Nisaka's brother, on the other hand...
  • Blinding Bangs: Nisaka's father.
  • The Beard: Nisaka had a couple of girlfriends prior to the main story that he'd broken up with some time before, but he couldn't feel romantic love or lust towards them. In the epilogue, he's also shown to be married going by the band on his finger, but it's made unclear whether it's a case of this trope, he eventually learns he's bisexual later, or he got married to a man, given later revelations about the Yukari System.
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  • Betty and Veronica: The central plot revolves around Nejima's circumstances being caught between the Girl Next Door Misaki Takasaki (the Betty) or the Defrosting Ice Queen Lilina Sanada (the Veronica). Unusually for the trope, the plot generally steers Nejima towards Lilina simply because Takasaki is not his government-assigned partner and there are significant social consequences to refusing to marry your chosen partner. However, it's not a Betty and Veronica Switch because both characters' personalities still fit the trope.
  • Bouquet Toss: Lilina catches the bouquet at Nisaka's brother's wedding while in another room Nejima declares his enduring love for Takasaki with a kiss.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Lilina's school friend Arisa claims to have been in unrequited love with her older brother. She admits that she's not sure if it was really romantic love, however.
  • Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage: The central premise of the series is that a government-run dating service evolved to become virtually mandatory. People aren't forced to go through with them (or even enroll), but it reflects badly on them if they don't, making it difficult for them to seek higher education and employment.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Lilina is a quarter German on her father's side.
  • Bishōnen: Nejima's friend, Yuusuke Nisaka. It's part of the reason he gets cast as Juliet.
  • Central Theme: What is true love and romantic feeling and how to distinguish it from a simple teenage attraction? How do you develop a romantic and social relationship with a partner whom you love?
  • Crapsaccharine World: Japan implements the "Yukari System" in order to save its plummeting birthrates. While most people appear satisfied with their relationships, those that either refuse to marry their assigned partners or get divorced are faced with social stigma, and are (apparently legally) discriminated against in terms of jobs and opportunities. Technically, the system is optional and is nothing more than a government run dating service, but has evolved such that virtually everyone is enrolled by their parents without their consent. Indeed, virtually every person in the plot is the child of a Yukari Marriage and it comes as a big surprise to Nejima when Takasaki reveals she has brothers who aren't related.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The system apparently also plans for LBGT individuals, along with the various life circumstances that may come with that, so they are paired off cleanly as well.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Lilina is a poster child for this. When she first meets Nejima, she stomps out of the meeting saying she'd never marry him. When Nejima later travels to her school, he finds out she has a horrible reputation and gained the nickname "Snooty Sanada" because she's cold and distant with everyone. However, her experiences with Nejima allow her to open up and make friends, she starts to gain more friends at school, and greatly improves her reputation.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: During the excursion outdoors, Nejima and Misaki walk separately from each other, with Misaki looking down and blushing while Nejima awkwardly walks behind her. They didn't have sex, but their behavior is so telling that Nisaka asks anyway.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Nisaka kisses Nejima when he finds him asleep in the classroom.
  • Distant Finale: One extra chapter shows an epilogue of the story after 10 years passed, with the protagonist being a younger Aoi Nisaka, the protagonist of the Koi to Uso movie. Also serves as a bit of a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, with Nisaka becoming a famous actor, Misaki working in the government, Lilina becoming a veterinarian, and Nejima working in a museum. No one's partners are revealed, however, and the chapter wasn't included in the tankoubons.
  • Everyone Can See It: Whenever anyone sees Nejima and Lilina together they're sure to comment on what a perfectly arranged match they are and how clearly they love each other. This only makes them uncomfortable because they're both convinced that he belongs with Takasaki. Lilina and Nejima are also aware that they're in love with each other but actively suppress saying anything because by that point they're committed to finding a way out of the Yukari system so Nejima can be with Takasaki. Interestingly, this trope ends up being problematic because the government assigns "agents" to the couples paired up in the Yukari system, and the agent for Nejima/Lilina can flat out tell they're in love and doesn't buy Nejima's explanation that he and Lilina are fighting in the least.
  • Forceful Kiss: Nejima gives Nisaka one in Chapter 184, just to prove that they can still be friends despite it. Predictably, they cannot; their friendship takes a hit due to their revelations.
  • Foreshadowing: Even before Chapter 4.5, there are several hints that the person Nisaka likes is Nejima himself..
    • Despite Nejima's suspicions that Nisaka likes Takasaki, the two don't seem to get along very well, and not in a Belligerent Sexual Tension way. When Nisaka spots the two kissing, he seems upset when he walks home with Nejima, and gets a pained look when Nejima tells him that he's glad they they were put in the same class.
    • Nisaka makes it clear that he doesn't want to go on the camping trip, but still agrees while asking for very little in return. After meeting Nisaka's ex-girlfriend on the way, Nejima asks him what his "type" is, he specifies that he likes "someone I don't get bored of when we're together". When Nejima confronts him later that night, asking if he's hiding something, Nisaka seems uncomfortable.
    • In Chapter 35, he tells Lilina that being friends with someone means that if you want anything more, it's all over.
  • Friendless Background: Lilina was kept out of school due to illness as a child, and had no idea how to make friends before meeting Nejima and Takasaki.
  • Friendship Denial: Turns out for the worst in Chapters 183 and 184. When Nisaka confesses to Nejima, he tries to push the latter boy away by saying that his feelings meant they were never true friends. Nejima, hurt that Nisaka feels this way, clumsily attempts to prove him wrong and show that they can be friends despite physical intimacy—by kissing him.
  • Gender Flip: The live action film is essentially the manga's premise with the Love Triangle flipped: the heroine Aoi Nisaka is in love with her childhood friend Yuto, but she is set to marry a boy named Sousuke by the government. Also occurs in the main series, where the class runs a gender flipped version of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Good Is Dumb: Nejima is a Dogged Nice Guy, so when he attends a "special lesson" which turns out to be designed to encourage Yukari Couples to have sex, Yajima tells Nejima that the next room is being monitored and that bad things will happen if the Yukari Couple doesn't have sex. As a result, Nejima decides to "pretend" to have sex with Lilina to protect her...without telling her his plan. Not only is she frightened by Nejima's actions, but once she asks him why he did it, she tells him it was incredibly stupid to believe that the government was secretly taping people having sex.
  • Generation Xerox: Played with because when Nejima expresses surprise that Nisaka's father looks very little like him, Nisaka's father indicates that Nisaka looks just like his mother. Played straight with Nisaka's brother who does look like the dad. Zig-zagged when Nejima expects that the lack of similarity between Takasaki's brothers is something similar to Nisaka's family, but then it turns out they're not related at all (which is highly unusual in the setting).
  • Girlish Pigtails: Lilina wears her hair this way until she becomes friends with a girl at her school.
  • Happily Married: Nejima and Lilina's parents. Nejima's friend Dai and his marriage partner seem to get along fairly well, too. In fact, this is largely the goal of the Yukari Law. However, we see that it's just an act with some couples.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: People who don't connect with their arranged partners but don't want to face the social stigma of breaking it off often resort to this. For example, Yajima and his fiance almost never speak and both love other people but pretend to be in a close relationship for the sake of their careers.
  • Idol Singer: Nisaka's mother was a popular singer, while his father was a shy, normal boy with Peek-a-Bangs.
  • Ill Girl: The stated reason for Lilina's Friendless Background. During her formative years, she was often very ill and never learned any of the appropriate social skills. Apparently, she got better because her illnesses don't seem to particularly relevant to the present-day plot.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Nisaka loves Nejima, who only shows interest in girls, and Nejima only loves that person as a friend would. Brutally hammered home in Chapter 184.
  • Indirect Kiss: One chapter dedicated to illustrating how completely Nejima misinterprets Nisaka's feelings has him not understand why his platonic friend is hesitant to share a drink with him.
  • In Name Only: The live action. It's set with the same premise, but the plot follows a completely different set of people with a different set of dynamics.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Nejima's lack of understanding leads to this when he interacts with Nisaka. From the very beginning there are signs that Nisaka is gay and in love with Nejima, but Nejima's ignorance to this means he doesn't realize that its painful for Nisaka to hear Nejima talking about them being "together forever," even if Nejima meant it in a platonic sense.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: This series lives on this trope. Takasaki encourages Nejima to give up on their mutual love and find happiness with Lilina, because she doesn't believe that a non-arranged relationship could work in their society. Lilina encourages Nejima to further his love with Takasaki even after it becomes obvious she's in love with Nejima. Lilina takes this a step further when she agrees to perpetuate a fraud on the government in order to annul the government notice despite the fact that both parties have reached the point at which they're each actively suppressing their own love for the other.
    • Igarashi is this towards Misaki, to the point where she hacks the government's files in order to match up Misaki to Yukari.
    • Also very strongly implied until outright confirmed with Nisaka, who understands that they have an incompatible orientation with Nejima, so from the very beginning of the series he helps him to become happy with Lilina, believing that she is the most suitable partner for him.
  • Last Kiss: After deciding to end their arranged relationship for Takasaki's sake, Lilina and Nejima try a "practice kiss" to prepare Lilina for her eventual real love. Unfortunately, this is what makes them both realize that they really love each other.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: After Chapter 4.5 came out, most people following the series know that Nisaka's gay. They don't treat it as a secret in the anime adaptation, getting that chapter out of the way in as early as episode 2.
  • Likes Older Women: Nisaka claims this in Chapter 16. It's very likely that it's a lie.
  • Love Confession: Nisaka gives his in chapter 181.
  • Love Epiphany: Nejima and Lilina realize that they really love each other after their First Kiss, but both choose to ignore and hide their feelings for Takasaki's sake.
  • Love Triangle: Takasaki, Nejima, and Lilina.
  • Loving Details: Takasaki is able to rattle off a whole list of tiny things she's noticed about Nejima when asked why she loves him.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Good lord, Nejima. Best seen in Chapter 184, when he attempts to keep his friendship with Nisaka by responding to his confession (and Nisaka's notion that they can't be friends because of his crush on Neji) by making out with him twice and showing him he didn't feel anything from it..
  • No Ending: The animated adaptation ends with Nejima, Yukari, and Lilina at a wedding photo shoot. None of them make their feelings clear, and plot threads are still hanging.
  • Oblivious to Love: Nejima does not realize that Nisaka's unrequited feelings are for him, leading to a lot of frustrating miscommunication when he tries to commiserate on hopeless love. Nejima also fails to realize that Lilina is obviously in love with him, despite the fact that Everyone Can See It. Indeed, on one occasion he even tells Nisaka that Lilina doesn't like him romantically, which prompts Nisaka to tell him that it's beyond obvious.
  • One True Love:
    • The concept as engineered by the government was already called into question by the characters, citing that it's easy to make a bunch of teenagers think that their partner is their one and only if the government pairs off random kids at the peak of puberty with little prior experience in love, and has them stay together for extended periods of time.
    • However, the trope is enforced by how the government chooses partners for Yukari participants. They carefully monitor each participant, noting their strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes, hobbies, etc. throughout the years, and then try to find the best possible match for the candidates from all the data. Essentially, they're trying to make each partner the most perfectly suitable person for their future spouse as possible. Sometimes it doesn't work and the pair really don't take to each other, but all they have to do is keep calibrating until they hit a winner.
  • Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Lilina freaks out at the idea of kissing Nejima, and freaks out even more when she thinks he's going to try to have sex with her at the "special conference."
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: The goal of the Yukari Law. Most people are happy with their assignments, but even those who dislike their partners at first are pressured into making it work.
  • Red String of Fate:
    • Every couple has one, and on the volume covers most of the main characters are wearing one. Unusually for the covers but justified due to Incompatible Orientation, this doesn't apply to Nisaka at all.
    • The Yukari Laws themselves have apparently earned the in-universe colloquialism of "The Red String of Science".
  • Secret Keeper: Nisaka's father refuses to show his son's ID to some government officials when they come by to talk to him. They never state the reason why, but whatever's on it is probably not very good for Nisaka if anyone found out.
  • Selective Obliviousness: At one point, Nejima and Lilina agree to a "practice kiss," which turns out to be incredibly passionate and heartfelt. While both of them claim they're devoted to Nejima's relationship with Takasaki, Nejima's narration makes it clear that the two know they are in love, but are both actively suppressing it for Takasaki's sake.
  • Shipper on Deck: Lilina is encouraging of Nejima and Takasaki's relationship because she finds the concept of true love romantic. Meanwhile, both Takasaki and Nisaka encourage Lilina and Nejima to pursue their arranged marriage both because of the social implications and because they can sense the budding feelings between Nejima and Lilina.
  • Spin-Offspring: The heroine of the live action movie and its tie in manga chapter, Aoi Nisaka, is Yuusuke's niece.
  • Stage Name: Nisaka eventually goes by "Yuusuke Kido" when he becomes an actor, according to the movie's timeline.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Takasaki believes that she and Nejima are destined to become this because of their eventual arranged marriages.
  • Stepford Smiler: The ugly truth behind the Yukari System is that because of the social stigma involved, lots of unhappy people apparently live by this trope. Yajima reveals that he was in love with his current co-worker Ichijou in high school, but chose to marry his assigned Yukari partner even though Ichijou offered to marry him instead. As a result, Yajima and his partner, who barely speak, simply live like this because it would be career suicide to divorce your partner. Although Ichijou barely reacts when she is reunited with Yajima, Yajima comes to realize she might be doing this as well since she still carries around mementos of her time with Yajima.
  • Stock Aesop: You will hurt more people, if out of pity you are afraid to choose one person, than you will hurt someone whose feelings you reject.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Lilina. Nisaka calls her out on this in Chapter 35.
  • Tsundere: Lilina is a downplayed example.
  • Villain Has a Point: The central premise of the series is that the Yukari System is ruining people's lives by taking away their choice with regard to their romantic decisions. However, there do appear to be plenty of happy couples and indeed, the main premise is that while Nejima gets separated from Takasaki, he also falls in love with the girl that the Yukari System matched him up to as well. Despite that, we also get some evidence that people paired up by the Yukari System often appear to be happy, while hiding the fact that it's a Stepford Smiler act.
  • What If?: The third Drama CD explores Nisaka and Nejima cast as hired guns, Takasaki as an Idol Singer, and Lilina as a Silk Hiding Steel crime leader.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lilina, Misaki, and especially Nisaka call Nejima out on his actions in Chapters 181-184, all of them emphasizing that he needed to take Nisaka seriously in romance, even just to reject him, rather than putting Nejima's own feelings of rekindling their friendship as first priority.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Chapters 185 to 197 take a look at Nisaka's development from childhood to present, establishing his sexual development as a gay boy.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Nejima receives such a speech from Misaki, who admonishes him for his Heroic Self-Deprecation and thinks he devalues the feelings of everyone who likes him by saying he's nobody special.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Whether it be by government or by personal decision, Nejima is definitely a two-timer. Despite being engaged to Lilina, Nejima is in a relationship with Misaki. Even so they've both kissed him many, many times.
    • It is hinted that Nejima also has feelings for Lilina, even though his first love was Misaki. Not so much hinted as confirmed later on in the manga.

Alternative Title(s): Love And Lies

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