Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi OVA + Eps01-02

Onto my great project of this season's anime blogging: Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi~

I tried to get more sparkles and failed.

Now, for anyone that doesn't know, this is BL. ...that means it's Boy's Love. It's shounen-ai. Saying it's yaoi would be a stretch, because it's not really as graphic as the "yaoi" tag has come to encompass; however, a lot of people use that word to describe just blanket BL, so okay, it's yaoi too. I was very hesitant to blog about this - not because it would mean having to watch it (if you've read my About page, then you must know that I'm not a stranger to this stuff, sadly), but because Pearz and Rho giving me shifty eyes was getting really annoying.

But this post being here means I sucked it up, reclaimed my ever-contested manliness, and here we are. Let's go~

Cliche scene concocted only for the seme to be pro.

I took my sweet time picking this anime up for two reasons: 1) I knew that I would be doing batch posts instead of episodic, so that gave me time to procrastinate; and 2) for completion's sake, I figured I'd have to watch the OVA first, and I knew that would be bad quality. was. *sigh* I should stop being a stickler for these things; it's not like it was un-watchable or anything. Oh well; that's what you get as time goes on and better quality becomes the norm...

A jar of love. *snickers*

The OVA was pretty straightforward cliche: boy in high school likes his senpai, doing little (and strangely girly) things to be "closer" to his love, "accidentally" confesses to his love one day, gets accepted, happiness ever after. I was extremely startled at the speed that they had sex; to be fair, in a heterosexual relationship, the girl would be considered a little slutty for "giving it up" so easily. In shoujo, the build-up to the point when they got together would be much, much longer, allowing the audience to accept the quick sex. This one didn't sit well with me; it happened too fast.

What an awesome workplace~

The twist of this - and what allows it to go beyond an OVA - is the fact that the main character, Ritsu, woke up and it all turned out to be a dream. What's more, his workplace seems extremely interesting, where "passing out" is considering an "occurrence" and not signs of serious problems. BL is usually pretty clear about pairings; the seme in his dream (he dreamt of himself as an uke?) is actually his boss, Takano.

Why are the uniforms different between the OVA and the series?! This bothered me so much.

Seeing the opening of the actual series, in ep01, confused me quite a lot. For one thing, there was a flashback to the happenings of the OVA (with some gross negligence in character design...), whereas I had thought the majority of the OVA was a dream. Did he have a nightly dream about Takano? I wouldn't put it passed this genre.

Typical BL. Sparkles and bishies with funny expressions everywhere.

Regardless, these two episodes moved on pretty quickly. The entire first episode was about Ritsu's first day at his new job, in a shoujo manga department. (I must say, this setting feels fresh, for one reason or another.) I actually genuinely enjoyed his workplace, although I don't know why. I also liked the focus on things other than internal angst and/or love-love. It's like how Kimi ni Todoke is getting a little bit hard to read because the focus is constantly on the erupting new feelings. Variety is good.

If true, then I'm extremely curious why, too~

The first two episodes had a lot of contrived scenarios, which is to be expected (just like in shoujo; this might be a girl thing). One way or another, Ritsu will end up staying in this place (well, it's not like the story could continue if he didn't, considering Takano is here...), which I'll enjoy. The concept of a crazed boss tyrannically leading his people is nothing new and the concept of a harsh-talking seme is almost in the definition itself, so I can't say I especially liked Takano's character. It was pretty generic.

Tie-in to Junjou Romantica!

The animating style of this was something that I really liked, but I couldn't help getting the vague feeling that it felt familiar. I initially chalked it up to being generic BL these days - until Usami Akihiko from Junjou Romantica showed up. It's by the same person~ Nakamura Shungiku, the mangaka, has a fun way of story-telling, so I have higher expectations of this anime based on this finding. The Wiki page says that this is a spin-off of Junjou Romantica, but I have yet to meet any characters that were in both (you do see Usami, the seme, but he never speaks and it's mostly passing references; that's not really enough to call it a "spin-off", I think).

Where does he live that his apartment is so big? Junjou Romantica had the same curiosity...

It was ep02 that blatantly explained it (although, to be serious, it was pretty obvious from some lines in ep01 about Ritsu and Takano knowing each other somehow). Apparently, the activities of the OVA, despite being a dream, were also true. This explains how the uniforms were different, which allowed me to accept that insanity a lot easier. Ritsu, with suspiciously terrible memory, apparently forgot the face of his old boyfriend, so I can understand that, of course, he can't remember what his uniform looked like.

I don't even understand how he can even pretend that that should be a deterrent.

As usual with BL, the development was quick and sudden, with lots of tossing of the uke by the seme. I have to point out that it's so weird to not remember what your lover from 10 years ago looked like; I can understand crushes, but I assume acting on the feelings would cause some weight to be placed on those memories. It felt so deeply contrived - then again, most things are in BL.

Of course you will. You're the seme.

Ritsu falls into the category of a typical uke (like Misaki from Junjou Romantica), wherein he adamantly refuses to have feelings for his seme but also blushes like a damn girl. (In fact, he even cried with hesitant happiness during sex. Come on.) I like that he's not whiny but also not so strong that he encroaches seme territory. This is like watching Junjou Romantica again, with slight differences.

Super contrived development! Of all the buildings you could have moved to...

I had wanted to do a batch for the first four episodes, but this is getting too long as is. So, final notes: this is typical BL of the Junjou Romantic kind (for very obvious reasons). Is there really anything more that needs to be said?