Time to take a look at this season’s two resident same-sex romance shows.
Yagate Kimi ni Naru/Bloom Into You
I’m a bit torn on this episode. On the one hand, I can think of plenty of reasons why I’m glad such an anime series is even airing to begin with – the foremost of them being that anime desperately needs more genuine girls love titles which cater towards other women (as opposed to titles featuring hawt chicks who make out with each other for the sake of titillating a predominantly male audience). I also have no issue with girls love titles taking inspiration from the Class S genre of old, which brings back some nostalgic memories chiefly involving Maria-sama ga Miteru. This is not to suggest that Yagate Kimi ni Naru of course, because it very much feels like its own show, and with characters who feel both realistic and contemporary. Moreover, from a purely technical standpoint, this premiere is easily one of the best of the season; fluid animation, clean artwork, and great use of visual storytelling that’s nonetheless understated enough to complement rather than distract from the actual content.
On the other hand, Touko’s confession to Yuu comes totally out of left field. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s wonderful that Yuu – the younger, shyer, less experienced of the pair – doesn’t fall helplessly in love with Touko at first sight but rather the other way around, just because it makes for such a refreshing change. But the buildup to this is virtually non-existent, and I’m also pretty sure I’d be calling Touko a creep for invading Yuu’s personal space out of nowhere like that if she was a guy. On a more personal note, I identify very strongly with both Touko and Yuu’s awareness of the societal pressure that all but forces people to constantly think and talk about romantic relationships, resulting in those who don’t have any such interest being viewed as funny or abnormal. Touko’s sudden change of heart is a jarring contrast, because instead of undergoing a natural shift as a consequence of falling for Yuu over time, she completely ditches her previous standpoint – i.e. the focus of the entire episode up until this point – and acts exactly like any one of the myriad of boys she’s apparently spent the last few years of her academic life turning down. I want badly to like Yagate no Kimi ni Naru, and so far, I mostly do. However, consistency is key, and I need to know the series won’t just abandon its carefully established characterisation in favour of abrupt love confessions because it thinks that’s what’s going to make my heart flutter.
Dakaretai Otoko Ichii ni Odosarete Imasu/DAKAICHI -I’m being harassed by the sexiest man of the year-
I freely admit to watching about ten minutes of this – possibly even less – before deciding I hated it. And that was before getting to the inevitable sexual coercion/abuse/rape that typically passes as romantic and/or erotic within much of the boys love genre. I have two main reasons for this. First, the two main characters are both complete assholes – not just to each other, but also in very general terms. They’re self-centered, arrogant, two-faced, and unprofessional, and while they may well have hidden depths (I’m not familiar with the manga on which the show is based), I certainly lack the patience to want to explore them. Second, and hear me out here, neck beards. I truly cannot stand this type of character design, where the shadows under the chin are drawn with black, wide-spaced diagonal lines that make every single character look like they’re sporting a neck beard. Shallow? Maybe. But you know what, that was honestly the kicker for me, and nothing will induce me to watch any more of a series that’s already plenty ugly enough anyway. Hard pass.
Question of the post: Are you a girls love/boys love fan, and did you check out either one of the above shows? If so, what were your thoughts on either or both of the premieres?