Finding Myself

“Is Love The Answer?” Shows the Fluidity of Asexuality and Identity

· Updated on October 4, 2023

Although asexual and aromantic people are gradually having their identities recognized, there are still some misconceptions. Some people think that asexuality is just being prudish and that aromantic people can’t feel love and are cold, and that it isn’t possible for either identity to overlap with other identities. Isaki Uta’s manga “Is Love The Answer?” shatters these ignorant assumptions with its aromantic asexual female lead Chika as well as secondary characters.

“Is Love The Answer?” begins with Chika in high school, where she attempts to “like someone normally” through two different romantic relationships with boys. The first one ends when Chika experiences sexual violence and is called an “alien” by her ex for not wanting to have sex, while Chika ends the second relationship herself because she still can’t feel romantic or sexual attraction despite dating a decent guy. 

A month later, Chika goes to college to study psychology and meets Professor Ishii on a bus ride. Professor Ishii tells her it’s okay to not want romance or sex, that she is similar to Chika, and to interrogate what is normal rather than trying to be normal. Chika feels so validated by this that she asks to stay at Professor Ishii’s UFO house when she learns there is room available. From there, Chika gradually learns more about herself as she meets more new people who are asexual, queer, or heteromantic and heterosexual.

One person that Chika meets—a guy named Mitsuru—is initially harsh to Chika when she comes to the professor’s house. However, when he overhears Chika’s fellow psychology majors making assumptions about Chika’s asexuality, he stands up for her. He also tells her that sexual orientation is fluid and to do further research to find hers. As a result, Chika checks out a book from the library that helps her learn about asexuality for the first time.

Chika gradually learns more about herself as she meets more new people who are asexual, queer, or heteromantic and heterosexual.

In fact, there is more to Mitsuru and Chika’s fellow psych majors than meets the eye. They’re all so caught up in the notion of what’s considered “normal” that it makes it hard for them to understand each other at first. Two of the psychology majors, Ito and Enomoto, later apologize to Chika and explain how they feared backlash. Ito is a gay man with a fluctuating orientation, while Enomoto is an otaku. Both of their circumstances are significant when you consider how love has multiple meanings, ranging from queerness to a personal passion for something.

Amatonormativity is a term coined by Professor Elizabeth Brake that describes the belief that participating in a romantic relationship is the only way to have a fully satisfying life and that everyone wants a romantic relationship. Meanwhile, hypersexualization is a cultural norm that expects everyone to be sexually active and experience sexual attraction, which harms marginalized groups such as Black and LGBTQ+ people through negative stereotypes. As a result, I sometimes feel isolated as a Black, bi, grey-aromantic asexual.

Through Chika and other characters, “Is Love The Answer?” demonstrates how the isolation that asexual and aromantic people feel is like being an alien with no planet to call home. Although Professor Ishii’s house just happens to be shaped like a UFO, it becomes a safe place for not only asexual and aromantic people, but also anyone who doesn’t fit the preconceived notions of what’s normal. When Chika manages to befriend Enomoto and Ito, she invites them over to marathon Magical Girl Rosette, an anime that she was previously shamed for. As a child, it wasn’t “trendy” to like it, so Chika felt like she had to conform to others’ tastes in order to be liked. Rewatching the anime with friends as a college student allows Chika to confidently indulge in her personal tastes.

“Is Love The Answer?” demonstrates how the isolation that asexual and aromantic people feel is like being an alien with no planet to call home.

Like Chika, I also found safe spaces to figure out and express my orientation. The online Tumblr community F*ck Yeah Asexual recently helped me realize that I am grey aromantic asexual, which means that I am a bi person who rarely experiences sexual attraction and experiences aesthetic attraction rather than romantic attraction. Aesthetic attraction involves appreciating the physical features of a person with no sexual or romantic desires. Another space that I’ve participated in is the online literary magazine The Aze Journal, which focuses on publishing creative writing by asexual and aromantic people. 

Another reason I am grey aromantic is that I have little to no interest in romantic relationships and would rather prioritize friendship over romance. However, I am still open to the possibility of being in a romantic relationship someday. In “Is Love The Answer?”, Chika expresses similar sentiments and initially worries that she might not “really be asexual”. However, Professor Ito tells her it is okay if her identity changes later on, because all that matters is how she sees herself right now. This allows Chika to confidently call herself asexual and start using her perspective to open up her world more.

All in all, “Is Love The Answer?” shows that there is no one particular answer to identity, asexuality, and love. Earth might put romance and sex on a pedestal, but it is not the only planet out there or the only way to live. To quote Chika herself, “There is an infinite expansion of starlight, I just couldn’t see it before.”♦

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