Even Though We Are Adults – 9 Tailed Kitsune

Even Though We Are Adults is a recent manga authored by Takako Shimura. She is a manga artist who is renowned for her contributions to the LGBT and more specifically yuri manga scene.

While she’s established her reputation with masterpieces like Aoi Hana and Wandering Son, I firmly believe that Even Though We Are Adults should also be seen in the same light – as one of the best lesbian manga out there.

Though less heralded, this one piqued my curiosity with its premise of adult yuri romance and also the themes of cheating which it deals with!

The plot follows Ayano, an elementary school teacher, who runs into an attractive woman, Akari, while visiting a bar. Sparks fly and the two of them end up kissing. 

However, the story doesn’t progress smoothly from there.

Angst and adultery

First off, the author throws a curveball by revealing that Ayano is actually a married woman. So naturally, her encounter with Akari complicated everything around her.

Akari herself was oblivious to the marriage aspect, which made her very cautious about taking her relationship with Ayano to the next level. 

And Ayano? She just up and confessed to her husband, Wataru, that she cheated. That confession came a bit too fast for me. But I guess Ayano had her mind made up!

From that point on, the story became a little uncomfortable. Mostly because of how badly Wataru seemed to be hurt by the infidelity. To his credit, he handled the whole issue in a sensible and mature way.

While I understand that a lot of readers would look down on cheating, I have to say this – Shimura is in no way painting the taboo in a positive light. Instead, I’d say she handled this sensitive topic in a way that is fair and nuanced.

As the story continues, it becomes clear that Akari and Wataru’s marriage was already in trouble. Not because either of them is a bad person, but mostly because the embers of romance were put off somewhere along the way.

Ayano’s meeting with Akari just served as a wake up call in retrospect. However, the decision to divorce was the culmination of a much longer experience.

On top of that, the small callbacks to Ayano’s past that are littered throughout the manga suggest that her actions of not embracing her feelings in the past had left her with some regrets. She probably didn’t want to make the same mistakes again.

I felt that Ayano’s actions were symbolic of people breaking out of their cages and embracing who they are, rather than sticking to the confines of traditional societal views.

Sparks fly, but slowly

Don’t let the quick developments in the beginning give you any false hopes of a whirlwind romance between Ayano and Akari.

Instead, after their first quickie (sorry, I had to), the relationship between the two progressed at a snail’s pace, simmering with angst.

Unlike other yuri romance stories, the main conflict here is Ayano seeking to separate from Wataru. The first half of the story focused on her struggles as she fends off her in-laws and her family in the process. 

So yeah, the romance does take the back burner for a while. But there is no denying that Akari and Ayano are actually in love with each other. And once Ayano had broken down the wall between them, things started to look a bit bright.

Even then, there is no escape from the messy realism which the manga offers in abundance. As Ayano and Akari do get closer after the former’s divorce, Akari can’t help but feel guilty for breaking apart a family.

Her moral dilemma is a perfect example of how well the characters and the themes in the story are handled.

Don’t think of the deliberate development as a downside. Shimura, staying true to her signature style, added a lot of emotionally messy elements and side characters to keep readers hooked.

Be it Wataru’s sister Eri or Ayano’s students, they influence the narrative in their own way and it is interesting to have them in the fold.

I noted earlier that one of the reasons why I picked up the manga was because the characters in this were adults. And that viewpoint totally pays off.

Another groundbreaking work

Like Aoi Hana, Even Though We Are Adults too should be put in the bracket of groundbreaking manga.

Aoi Hana

Shimura is known for breaking free from the tropes of yuri romance. You won’t find the stereotypical flowery fantasies that define the genre in her works. Instead, they are often quite realistic and feature imperfect and struggling romances/characters.

There is always a tendency in the yuri genre to have a bold-shy pairing. And that’s where Shimura starts challenging the conventions in this one. Neither Ayano nor Akari fit the mold of traditional characters or their personas.

Both of them are bold in their own way, sweet and shy depending on the situation and most of all, they both come across as flawed and imperfect human beings. That makes the romance and the interaction between them all the more interesting.

Well, despite being adults, there were times when their indecisiveness and stalling made it quite frustrating for me. However, when you look closely, the frustrating choices that these characters make in the manga is understandable given how a new reality is unfolding in front of them, that too an unsavory one for starters.

I took it as a testament to the fact that even adults can have a hard time figuring out their feelings sometimes.

But that’s not the only part where Even Though We Are Adults manages to stand out. Reading some dialogues in the manga, I can’t help but wonder if the author was purposely trying to portray how much LGBT community, and especially yuri manga, has evolved over the years.

For instance, take the statement from chapter 3 where Akari says that all her previous girlfriends dumped her for a guy at the end. To me, this felt like a jibe at the Class S and platonic relationship tropes that dominated the yuri genre of yesteryears, in which the male romance interest eventually won at the end.

I mean this manga is the polar opposite of those concepts – a married woman who is ready to leave her husband to be with the woman she fell for. 

Final thoughts

The realistic approach and handling of characters along with their expectations was the best part about Even Though We Are Adults. While the art is not over the top, it is still decent and complements the story quite nicely.

Though I praised the manga quite a lot, it is not perfect. Depending on the reader, you might find aspects or flaws that you are not completely satisfied with. In the end, Even Though We Are is a solid and refreshing read. I would definitely recommend it and ask you to pick it up.


 I am your friendly neighborhood spirit who is also a voracious manga reader. When I am not busy scaring the naughty kids in my alley, you’ll find me reading a manga or writing down my thoughts about it.