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Miscommunication as narrative conflict is often linked with contrivance and bad writing—and no genre faces this criticism more than romance. That’s what makes Yuri is My Job! so refreshing. In the process of building a will-they-won’t-they story, it explores the gendered, neurotypical, and heteronormative expectations that are built into social interaction.
Holo and Lawrence’s relationship is initially held back by the circumstances upon which they first meet, rendering Holo as an owned object rather than an equal companion and stifling both leads’ feelings behind layers of performative inauthenticity. Part of the appeal of Spice and Wolf is watching these two characters overcome the gendered norms of their medieval setting, as well as their own personal flaws, to achieve an emotional reciprocity that is narratively satisfying.