Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Junjou Romantica and the Subject of Forbidden Boys Love

You don't have to put it in my face, Misaki, I see enough of it around these here parts as it is -_-"

Sorry for the bad 'screenshots' (Print Screen + paste in Paint *swt*) quality, honestly though, I wish I got to watch this on NicoNico for the added lulz :P On a seperate note, there seem to be a whole lot of Studio DEEN anime this season... Jason may have to pick more than one Mr Irrelevant this Thin Slicing...

So yea, Junjou Romatica's first episode was awesome enough to get its own seperate post! Is what I would say if I was a totally biased yaoi fangirl or something. Then again, YOU CAN’T CONSIDER YOURSELF A TRUE ANIME BLOGGER UNTIL YOU GET TO WRITE ABOUT GAY PORN.

Skip the next few paragraphs until the next image if you're here just for what I have to say about Junjou Romantica.

Perhaps first a little on the subject of 'forbidden boys love(BL)' (the 'forbidden' there just makes things sound more serious than it really is :P). Personally I have no problems with same gender romance - it may sound cheesy as hell but I do believe that if you truly 'have feelings of affection' towards someone or something, it really doesn't matter if he's a he or she's a she or it's a rock or plant or whatever (or even a dog for that matter - yes, I'm once again referencing something here). I think there was once a time when shounen ai and what not was a decent attempt at highlighting an 'alternative' romance of sorts. And I suppose there are stories out there that do a good job of highlighting this, even if its not exactly believable and overly romanticized. But there's always the tendency for such works to use pretty boys as fangirl fodder and pairing them up for the sake of hearing them go "KYAAAA!!!" (Done for humour though, can be pretty funny :P).

Often though, far from just 'romanticizing' the notion of guy X guy relationships, BL often branches into the 'forbidden' territory of yaoi and that's when the 'subtext' (anagrams can be so fun :P) comes into the picture... literally. I'm not going to bother with the whole sex in stories and whether it's justifiable or not, but if it just there to pander to hungry fans of pretty boy on pretty boy action, then I've got a problem. It's the equivalent of large bouncy booby or tentacle fanservice to fanboys after all. (I wonder if there's anyone that enjoys both?) Unfortunately, most BL titles that make the translation into anime is of this variety (the fact that they're usually OVAs that aren't or rather can't be shown on actual TV should make it obvious). As much as I want to maintain a neutral stance towards yaoi in anime, a lot of it has turned out to be rather atrociously written excuses for buttsex to happen and mindless sex of any variety is not what I want to see, period.

Why watch at all then? Like Hinano and even Shin (If only for Junjou Romantica in Shin's case), I'm in it for the often unintentional lulz =P My hunt for humour takes me to the most 'dangerous' of places sometimes....

Of course there's an obvious market to pander to in Japan alone. Almost every manga store I've entered here has quite a generous BL section, spanning from a minimum of 2 racks (yes, racks, not just shelves) to the largest being 2 freakin floors (and I have this feeling it's not the largest by far). I've seen Junjou Romantica's source material series in just about every bookstore I've been to - so I'm blaming subliminal messages in advertizing for this post =P

Am I the only one who finds this scene slightly disturbing?

Now my problem with the first episode of Junjou Romatinca is obvious - if raep within the first few minutes of the show isn't pandering, I don't know what is. And I call it that for lack of clarity on the actual nature of the proceedings in the scene thanks to Studio DEEN's blackout feature. Whether it was 'just' a handjob or full on buttsex isn't the thing, it's the fact that it starts off with that, and once it was said and done (like Usami points out, it doesn't last very long -_-") it's ridiculously unbelievable that anyone would willingly sit in the same room let alone poke fun and be 'friends' with the total stranger that just raepd you. It totally ruins the credibility of any upcoming relationship between the two IMHO.

Now compare it to this one. Looks pretty cute actually, lol. The wonders of character deformation.

But in the episode's defence, there is humour, there is character chemistry, the OP/ED aren't bad, the art's a little shoddy but the character deformation scenes work really well with the humour (god, all the 'good points' I'm using are getting a little predictable). The romance aspect is a slight stretch to the imagination, but Misaki and Usami's story is apparently the first of 3 to be featured in this show, so there's room for improvement. We'll see.

(That's a yes to the continue watching? question, btw. And if my willing to give Junjou Romantica a chance past the 1st episode and not Kanokon or To-LoveRU changes your perception of this panda, then so be it =P)

Junjou Romantica : It's going to be like Kimikiss... with boys! (Well, it might, don't see it as an insult to Kimikiss though)

It's not doing much of repairing the negative image of BL to the masses (well, it'll forever be a niche thing I suppose), but for better or worse Junjou Romantica has stirred up some form of temporary interest than an 'ordinary' BL series would usually, and it is going to be a full fledged BL series actually spanning a 24 episodes (That's pretty long in this genre. Kyou Kara Maou's doesn't count) so that's sort of another point in its favour. My expectations for this show are still relatively low though, but if the comedy keeps up it should do just fine for me.


blissmo said...

Haha, I'm not ready for another Kimikiss though! Argh, I hate anime like this, so I won't bother watching this anyway. But I might for the LOLS

Caitlin said...

Maybe the creators were fans of the whole Luke and Laura craziness (from General Hospital). If it worked for them, it might work again? :P

Fllay said...

When people say they're following Junjou Romantica for the "lulz"... I'm kinda confused because aside from LULZ!REAP there's... nothing much to lulz over? (or maybe its just me.)

Openly Gay said...

Everyone who hates this is just being tsundere.

fllay said...


btw, openly gay, about your junjou romantica summary... I'm sorry for saying this, but wth were you smoking on when you watched it (I want some of those too. OTL)

Hinano said...

ROFL @ Shin above xD;;

I guess I'm a true blogger cause I blogged Gakuen Heaven, and Princess Princess xD

issa-sa said...

fllay >>> The part when Misaki nailed all of Usami's character traits was kinda funny XD (except the fact that it happened directly after the raep -_-'')

Woah woah woah, this post just became the most commented on this blog overnight! (pathetic I know, but I'm still giving it all I've got here :P)

I think I'll actually have to start blogging Junjou Romantica LOL