Friend-Love in Comic Form

Somewhere Between Friends and Lovers: Interview with Comic Artist Yumi Sakugawa

Illustrator Yumi Sakugawa’s debut comic book I Think I’m In Friend-Love With You explores the intense feelings that can come with a friendship that’s not quite romantic but feels just as all-encompassing.

by Ada Tseng

A hairy one-eyed monster spies on a face-less robot through the window of a cafe. “I have a confession to make,” the monster writes in a letter. “I think I am in friend-love with you.” The monster’s cheeks blush into a rosy pink color.

As the confessional continues, the monster daydreams about Facebook chatting after midnight, swapping favorite books, visiting their favorite food trucks, and laughing at each other’s jokes (even the unfunny ones). This desire is not based on lust, as there is no desire to cross any lines into romantic love; in fact, the very idea of it makes the monster uncomfortable. It’s more about having that “super awesome best friend” connection with another person that completely understands you. “Because what you find to be beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking in this world… is what I find to be beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking in this world,” the letter continues.

“Not surprisingly, it was based on friend-loves that I’ve had in the past,” says author and illustrator Yumi Sakugawa. “Society places such an emphasis on finding your soul mate, and intense stories about friendships often get pushed to the side. We don’t have the vocabulary for a ‘friend-love,’ for having an intense but platonic attraction for another person, and I think it was my own therapeutic way of processing that emotion. And I turned it into a comic.”

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