Neither are great, but at this point, I’m taking what I can get.
Baraou no Souretsu/Requiem of the Rose King
Does anyone else get the urge to laugh whenever anime tries to do something historical and non-Japanese? I know this series is likely meant to be extremely dramatic and possibly even poignant, but it’s really hard to take any of it seriously when everyone’s a bishounen and wearing what I guess is Japan’s version of Middle Ages outfits, which is… well, ‘not historically accurate’ would be putting it pretty mildly.
Even if the show somehow got that down pat though, the drama is just so theatrical and overblown here that it honestly feels more like watching a stage play than an anime. This isn’t helped by the fact that probably a good half of this premiere episode was made of still frames, which gave the appearance of the series being very cheaply made. Whether or not that’s the case, I don’t know – perhaps it’s all just part of the artistic vision of the piece. Unfortunately, even if the latter is true, I’m not sure it was to Baraou’s benefit; it’s hard to get successfully hooked on something when neither the storytelling nor the visuals are compelling enough to act as a vehicle for the plot or its characters, non-fiction or otherwise.
I’m probably going to give this a second episode, if only because I’m still a sucker for historical dramas – probably one of the least represented anime genres out there. However, I’d advise any potential viewers to treat this more as a dark fantasy that just happens to be loosely based on historical text. Poor Shakespeare would be turning in his grave.
Sasaki to Miyano/Sasaki and Miyano
Weirdly enough, despite scoring Sasaki to Miyano more highly than Baraou no Souretsu, I doubt I’ll be giving this one another shot. Probably not for the reason you might be thinking, however. I’m normally the first person to clock BL anime for being unnecessarily creepy and downright predatory – I mean, I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve probably seen at least part of every single outright BL/yaoi anime that’s ever aired (though granted, there’s not actually that many of them), and I quite literally based a chunk of my PhD on the topic. So, as you can imagine, I’ve seen my fair share of gay anime relationships, most of which are deeply, deeply unhealthy and typically abusive to some degree.
Sasaki to Miyano is not that, which is incredibly refreshing and enough for me to give it a decent score right out of the gate. Aside from Sasaki maybe being a bit too hands-on at first (which is passed off as “skinship” by Miyano, who at least doesn’t particularly seem to mind, but still), this seems like a remarkably wholesome relationship. If cute and fluffy is your thing – complete with frequent sparkly backgrounds and slapstick reaction faces at every turn – then this anime is probably for you. My only major issue is that there’s very little of substance here, and cutesy just isn’t enough to keep me invested. I got bored by about the halfway mark, even if, to the show’s credit, it retained enough goodwill to keep me watching until the end credits.
Bottom line, this is a point for BL as a whole, even if it’s not really my thing. No episode 2 for me, but it makes a respectable showing, so I’d say give it a chance if you take your yaoi with a generous spoonful of pastel-colored fluff.
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