I am starting to watch the series Sekaiichi Hatsukoi. It’s a Boys Love anime about first love by the creator of Junjou Romantica. BL is basically man-on-man (or girlish male adolescent-on-adolescent) romance written by and for women. Oddly, I learned about it from my male cosplay friend, Bangin Sensei. He claims he cosplays BL stories only as “fan service” for his female otaku audience. Really?
“We’re both Japanese, let’s play it a little vague.”
I am loving season two of Junjou Romantica. The characters’ passion, denial and misunderstandings continue to be “innocently romantic.” I love Misaki’s protest to his lover: “What’s the big deal. We’re both Japanese, let’s play it a little vague.”
Can denial make desire more passionate?
Somehow this anime makes behavior that would seem stalker-like in other contexts seem sweetly romantic.
The screenshots are great, but the voice actors are also super-talented. The younger Misaki is excitable, quick to anger, and innocent. The older Usagi is deep-voiced, authoritative, and passionate.
“Er, well, I suppose I was in love with a man myself”
Following a few blog links, I discovered this year’s most popular Boys Love anime, Junjou Romantica, with seasons 1 and 2 appearing on television. With a cast featuring university students, professors, and a famous novelist, this story tells the connected stories of four male couples.The title can be translated as Pure Romance.
Like all Boys Love, this anime is clearly written by and for women. Gay romance and sex is a fantasy displaced onto men for maximum erotic exploration. Few if any of the characters identify as gay. The sex is generally forced and desire denied, while simultaneously there’s also sweetness and true love.
Super hen, ne. ちょう変、ね！(Very twisted).
Equally amazing is that these shows have a huge international fanbase, who fansub them into English within a week or two of broadcast. All episodes can be found online for free. Season 1 can be found here. The first five episodes of Season 2 here.
Here’s some more stills, showing ostensible rejection of attention, “but” . . .
Sex that’s borderline rape.
More denial of desire.
A rare role reversal, saved for the finale of Season 1.
The voice actors are hilarious, and the visual style very entertaining. When the characters frequently become mad, the drawings get simplified, and characters regress to children. There’s also some excessive use of falling flowers.
Season 1 has a rock and roll love song in the opening. I’ve learned most of the lyrics:
I want to see you, just want to see
If the more we’re together, the lonelier we get,
Let’s hold each other’s hands until we’re not lonely anymore
Don’t let go of that hand, don’t let go
Because I’m here beside you
Keep on smiling, always smiling
And make flowers bloom