This is review number one hundred and fifteen. This anime is part of the Spring 2011 lineup. The Fall 2012 lineup is soon closing its doors so I am excited for that. There are a lot of good shows in that lineup. Anyways, I’ll be reviewing Sekaiichi Hatsukoi. It’s twelve episode anime about two dudes in a romantic relationship. Yeah, it’s a Shounen Ai. Let’s read on.
The anime is about the love life of the people involved in the hectic world of shoujo manga publishing. Onodera Ritsu was trying to get an editor spot for the literature department of Marukawa Shoten but instead, got sent to the shoujo manga editorial where Takano Masamune is the editor in chief. He is a very serious guy who revived the department in just under a year. Onodera and Takano didn’t click right away. In fact, Onodera thinks that Takano is a big jerk. But could a romantic entanglement from ten years ago that Onodera tried to forget suddenly gets a second chance revival?
Taking the Pants Off
Sekaiichi Hatsukoi is a Shounen Ai or Boy’s Love. If you don’t like story about two dudes making out then this anime is not for you. I often wonder where my limit is when it comes to anime. I literally will watch anything and I’ve have yet to see an anime I can’t watch. I love Shounen Ai ever since I saw this anime called Junjo Romantica. The thing I like about Shounen Ai is that it’s a mature kind of romance. Kissing and sex is fairly normal in the story. Romance anime often leads up to a kiss or a sex scene which often test my patience. I love Kimi ni Todoke but the biggest highlight in that anime (only the anime) was the hugging scene in the second season. It took two seasons for them to hug it out while Junjo Romantica had the two guys locking lips in the first episode. Shounen Ai is the same kind of puppy dog love story actually but with a mature look at relationships. If you can get past the fact that two dudes are in love with each other then you’ll discover that the genre is often much better than any boy/girl love story out there. Of course, I know a lot of people who wouldn’t touch this stuff even if you persist so I often love the fact I have an open minded look on things because I often enjoy things no one else would give a second glance.
This anime is actually made by the same author who did Junjo Romantica. That is actually both good and bad. It’s good because you can bet the same kind of romantic experience is in this anime but it’s bad because you’d be splitting hairs on the difference. I know a Fujoshi though who doesn’t seem to mind the similarities of the two anime and the lack of originality of the content. It all boils down to two bishies making friction. It’s the main selling point and it has the perfect target audience. Now, I’m no fujoshi and I’m a man (damn proud of it) so let me give you an unbiased (as I can be) look on this anime. Again though, if you don’t like the idea of two hot guys kissing then this anime isn’t for you.
There are three love stories in this anime. The main love story is the one about Onodera and Takano. Onodera wanted to get a new start on his career after being seen as riding the coattails of his father’s success. He tried to get a new job at a new company but landed a job at the shoujo manga department. There he meets Takano who is this very serious guy who never do things half ass. Their personalities eventually clash but their work always keeps them together. They soon realize that the two already met before when they were in high school and it was that fateful encounter that went horribly wrong that is now haunting their personal lives. Takano would soon declare that he’ll make Onodera fall in love with him again but Onodera wants to focus on his career and not his love life. Too bad for him cause Takano never do things half assed.
The second story is about a popular mangaka, Chiaki Yoshino, and his editor, Yoshiyuki Hatori. They are childhood friends and Chiaki has often relied on his good buddy to see him through. His feelings would soon get all cloudy after he sees Hatori kiss Yuu Yanase, Chiaki’s manga assistant, on an alley. He would soon wonder if Hatori likes Yuu and vice versa. He soon realizes though that he might be in love himself. So a complicated love triangle is quietly set.
The third love story is about Onodera’s fellow editor, Shota Kisa. He looks young even though he is actually thirty years old. He has a thing for handsome guys and admittedly flirts around with them. He believes that he cannot maintain a proper relationship with anybody so when he finds himself fancying a store clerk, he is now torn if he should approach the guy or just gaze for far way. Ko Yukina is a handsome store clerk who charms his way into getting high sales. A chance encounter had the two actually meet and Kisa is shocked to discover that all the manga he works on is getting high sales solely because of Yukina. He doesn’t realize Yukina is a huge fan.
Three individual love stories might seem overwhelming but the anime was able to pace them just right. Keep in mind though that Onodera’s love story is the main story of the anime. The other two are just side stories. It had the same set up as Junjo Romantica. This approach to the story is to keep you hanging on some of the events while making sure you get a hot yaoi scene at every episode. I look at this anime as if I was a preteen fangirl and the three love stories are actually beneficial. I get an intriguing story every time and I would never feel bored. The amount of hot guys kissing on the anime will also make my shorts wets. I admittedly fan girl at some of the scenes of the anime because of how well they were executed. I also notice that if there was just one love story then it would most definitely be dragged and they’d shorten the yaoi moments. It’s just like watching Kimi ni Todoke. Let’s have two seasons before the two main actually touch each other. Oh no, this anime made sure you don’t have to wait. This happened on the first episode:
And this happened on the second episode:
While I commend the yaoi love spread evenly on the anime, I do notice that all three love stories are essentially the same. In Shounen Ai, there is a seme (the top or dominant one) and an uke (the bottom or submissive one). All the stories are told in the uke’s perspective and they all did the same thing. They were kissed by the seme and then they go on doubting if what they feel is actually love or if they should actually be with the seme. The seme would notice that the uke is keeping his distance from him. The seme would get irritated then he would proceed to force himself upon the uke wherein the uke would slowly give in. After that, a third party would intervene and the seme would get jealous. The uke wonders why but often misses the mark on the cause of the jealousy which would cause some tension between the two. The uke would go on a doubt trip until the seme would pin him again. This happened on all the three stories and I’m critical about the story. Once I noticed the pattern, there was very little that differentiate one story from the others. Eventually, the story would all look the same and I find myself losing interest.
Ofcourse, I didn’t actually lose interest because even though the stories were identical, the romantic moments where all very original. The moment where the seme would kiss the uke will really catch your attention. Those alone moments of the characters are often must watch scenes of the anime. Even if your mind wanders away from the unsurprising story, once you see the seme and the uke alone then you’d be sure something is about to go down. I mean really, you’d never be bored seeing this:
Then there are those one liners from the characters that often makes scream like a fangirl. The execution is damn near flawless and the sentence is spoken just at the right moment. There’s something about those damn one liners that catches you off guard and makes you squeal or something. One liners like this makes the anime very interesting:
The characters are nothing special but they certainly make the anime interesting. The role of the seme and the uke are nicely played by the main characters. Other than that, there really isn’t anything special about them. It’s a major weakness but the anime was able to cover it up well with the insistence of the boy’s love. Most bishies don’t really have a personality and the typical seme are the mysterious type that make moves you’d never see coming. The typical uke is actually the “girl” in the relationship. They are emotionally fragile, they are easily over powered by the seme and they doubt things a lot. All uke does that. Their personal struggle is actually pretty entertaining to watch because at some point, you’d be able to relate to them. The feeling of slowly falling in love to someone you don’t want to fall in love with, the feeling of being comforted but having a stubborn front and the feeling of loving someone out of your league are emotional ice cream to those who have experienced love. To the preteen target audience of the anime though, they lean more on the seme. For godsakes, they’re hot guys who force themselves on the person they love. I know deep down, every girl who watches Shounen Ai wants an equally hot guy to pin them down and kiss them passionately. Yknow, a big whopping kiss like this:
Yeah. I print screen a lot of the kissing scenes in the anime. Anyways, this anime cannot disappoint. The promise of hot guys kissing on every episode and the sweet romantic stories all make up for one awesome anime experience. I am not kidding, this anime proves why Shounen Ai is often better than the typical romance. I often curse at why there are no liberal boy/girl love stories as bold as Shounen Ai because if there is some, I’d like to see it.
Sight and Sound
The character design is the typical bishie characters. The broad shoulders coupled by the slim waist and the strong facial features would make any girl melt. The seme often have those serious eyes that look as if it wants to devour the uke. The uke is often shorter than the seme to establish dominance and they are often feminine. The blush a lot and they have a slim body type that often looks girlish. The character design is a major weakness of the anime though because all the characters look alike.
As you can see on the picture above, these are two characters that have the same template. They only differ on hair design and eye color. I often get confused when the show switches to another couple because they all look alike and I suck at names. I got the hang of it though after the second half because of the different personalities but still. The lack of trying to make the characters look different is annoying. Yeah, they’re hot but couldn’t you at least give on character a scar or something.
The anime is mostly dialogue so there isn’t anything that stands out in terms of animation. Well, except for the kissing scenes. Something about the way the characters kiss really makes you want to watch it. I can’t explain it very well but there seems to be something very mesmerizing when it comes to the kissing scenes.
This anime is Shounen Ai and not Yaoi. They don’t showcase sex. I am actually new to the terms but yaoi is like hentai but with dudes. Shounen Ai is like Romance but with dudes. There are some sex scenes in the anime but they were never really showcased because it’s more about the love story than the sex. If you ever wondered about the sex scenes the anime omitted then you just go read the manga. My fujoshi friend happily linked me this scene from the manga. The picture is from MangaFox. Thank you MangaFox.
The anime’s OP is “Sekai de Ichiban Koishiteru” by Shuuhei Kita. It’s a nice song with a nice rock beat to it. The guitar riffs are really awesome and Shuuhei’s voice is really amazing. The OP sequence, I can only describe as “gay”. A rabbit with a magic wand, the color pink being so obviously dominant and then flowers and frilly embroideries makes the OP sequence very gay. I depended on the OP sequence to give me rundown of the couples though. Since they all look alike, I often needed it to remind me who is who. It showcased all the couples and the relationships they have. It’s a really sweet OP if you can ignore the frilly stuffs.
The anime’s ED song is “Ashita, Boku wa Kimi ni Ai ni Iku.” by Wakaba. I really like this song because it captures the romantic feel of the anime. Wakaba’s boy bandish voice also adds something special to the song. The slow pace coupled by his dreamy voice makes for an awesome song. The ED sequence features the main couple in their high school uniform reading books and ends with their hands touching. It’s cute.
8/10 “The interesting cast, romantic set ups, romantic stories and the perfect execution makes this anime a definite must watch.”
If you can get over the fact that two dudes are locking lips then you’d be surprised at how wonderful the story of this anime is. All the elements seem to work together and while there are some minor blemishes, the anime was able to cover it right away. If you are a fan of romance then you’d enjoy Sekaiichi Hatsukoi. I highly recommend it.