I went into Assorted Entanglements Volume 1 excited. I need more yuri manga, and this one started cute and funny. This first volume left me torn about how I should feel about the couple. Depicting authentic relationships is one thing. It’s another to romanticize alcoholism and abuse. Assorted Entanglements Volume 1 delivers the romance and laughs but ends with a question mark surrounding this pairing.
Written by Mikanuji, with translation by Eleanor Ruth Summers and lettering by Elena Pizarro and Anthony Quintezza, this manga, serialized in English from Yen Press, starts with Iori Tanaka’s misfortune in relationships. Her fondness for choosing married men leaves her alone. After another breakup and workplace annoyances, she drowns her sorrows at her usual haunt. There Minami works as a server as Iori gets blackout drunk. Her consumption of alcohol is not given serious attention but is a comedic joke. When she wakes up, she’s home in bed with Minami. Thus begins their relationship.
Assorted Entanglements Volume 1 Is Comical, Passionate Yuri Manga
The comedic interactions stand out. The antics between the two side characters are unforgettable. With witty dialogue, it’s easy to read and laugh at moments of hilarity. Mangas, like anime, allow more leeway for fantasy and exaggerated behaviors and actions. As a pairing, Iori and Minami are cute together at first glance. Sweet moments combine with laughs in this mature manga. The relationships feel real, and therein lies part of the problem. Because Iori is 28 years old and Minami is 18 years old.
Leading With An Illegal Age Gap is a Choice
While I’m not going to judge a ten-year age gap between two adults, other issues here tie in with that age difference in this manga. One, the legal age of consent was not eighteen when this story dropped in 2019. So their relationship is a secret. Assorted Entanglements Volume 1 portrays Iori as immature. Minami is the more level-headed of the pair. There are people older than Iori who exude high levels of immaturity. However, that does not mean a predatory relationship gets an endorsement. Even though the laws in Japan changed and their relationship is now legal.
I do focus on patterns of behavior when it comes to age gaps. Some people choose partners based on character. So, their various partners differ in age from younger or older to around their age. But they are all adults. So, something other than their partners’ birth years attracts them. However, if it’s only younger or older, the age is the draw. Or what they think comes with that age. Usually, it’s the “keep them young” or the parental figure. That’s the issue here.
Abused Children Often Exhibit Maturity for Their Age
Minami’s maturity is not from being on the cusp of adulthood. It’s the reflection of someone who didn’t experience a childhood. With her abusive father, she had to be the voice of reason. Remaining calm probably spared Minami’s life on many occasions. Iori is physically abusive as well. It may not be on the level of Minami’s father, but still. So their relationship does not work—Minami’s in the same pattern. It’s a victim of parental abuse finding an abusive partner. The manga is not full of abuse, but as they say, “once is one time too many.”
Assorted Entanglements Volume 1 glosses over the abuse as a quirky part of the relationship. Even the other relationship in the first volume is toxic. Iori’s sister, Shiori, and Minami’s abusive friend, Shizuku, threaten each other. Shiori does seem to be helpful for the destructive Shizuku. The fact that they are around the same age is also a plus. This is not to say there should not be depictions of toxic relationships. But awareness of how to navigate this is essential.
The “assorted” in the title spells hope that the next set of characters’ relationships differs from this one. Unfortunately, these problems overshadow the comedic moments in this yuri manga. There’s nothing wrong with depicting issues in couples. But giving them an air of normalcy by not seriously addressing them is a problem. Assorted Entanglements Volume 1 is uncomfortable to read as it’s challenging to separate the rom-com moments from the issues with the relationship. Hopefully, future issues focus on couples readers can happily cheer on.