|Junjou Romantica-Usagi and Misaki|
Anime Series Reviews-
Junjou Romantica or “Pure Romance”, which has many alternate titles, is a yaoi manga series by Shungiko Nakamura that focuses on three storylines: the main couple Usagi (famous author) and Misaki (college student), whose stormy romance comprises the majority of the books, and two other couples that provide ongoing side stories titled: “Junjo Egoist” and “Junjo Terrorist”. Junjo Egoist is about Kamijou Hiroki (college professor) and Kusama Nowaki (med-student), and Junjo Terrorist is a slow burn romance between Miyagi (college professor) and his very young ex brother-in-law Shinobu (high school student). The books have branched into several Drama-CDs, a manga series running in Asuka Ciel, and a 24 episode anime series, as well as a light novel series titled "Junai Romantica" that’s run in The Ruby magazine.
|Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi - Ritsu and Takano|
On top of Junjou Romantica, the author wrote a spin-off titled Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi or “The Best First Love in the World”, which again, focuses on yaoi romance, the central pair being Ritsu (shōjo manga editor) and his first love he’d met in school Takano (EIC). Which becomes a twisted love triangle of sorts when Yokozawa, Takano’s friend, sticks his nose in; a jealous sales manager who eventually finds his own true love in another spin-off in the Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi – Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai manga novels and movie. The other couples are: Yoshiyuki or Tori (manga editor) and Chiaki (manga author), whose relationship becomes an triad when Yuu, Chiaki’s other childhood friend interferes; then you have Kisa (manga editor) and Yukina (sexy bookstore clerk). There is a fourth relationship slipped in and easily overlooked if you don’t pay attention, Ryuuichiro (editor) and Kauro Asahina (secretary). Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi was also done as a 24 episode anime series.
I watched the shows first, then found the books to read. Both have engrossing plots and provide an in-depth portrait of what publishing in the manga world is like, as I was informed, quite true to form. So, being an author, I really enjoyed these series, carefully absorbing every word. But I can’t decide which if either appeals to me more. The only thing I will say is I was drawn to certain couples. In Junjou Romantica my favourite relationship was Hiro-san (Kamijou) and Nowaki (Kusama). No matter the turbulence throughout their lengthy courtship, these intensely romantic men manage to stay together. To a lesser degree I also favoured Usagi and Misaki.
|Hiro-san and Nowaki|
Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi had a different feel, and I can’t pinpoint one couple I really preferred other than Ritsu and Takano, and the only reason I’ve chosen them is because out of all the characters in the SIH series Takano was my favourite—my God the man had stamina to put up with Ritsu’s crap, taking into consideration how many times Ritsu hurt him. In real life, I would’ve slapped that “bitch” and moved on. As you can probably tell, Ritsu wasn’t my flavour of the month. He’s a whiny, snivelling ass, the type of uke I cannot stand. And, in the end, he still didn’t have the guts to tell Takano to his face that he loved him. Well, he did, but it was masked as usual. That’s why I’m undecided as to which series is better, or more accurately, my favourite; honestly, I love both, and could watch them over and over again. Maybe my two fav semes Usagi and Takano should get together! I’d pick that one! LOL
|Yokozawa and Kirishima|
The Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai manga novels and movie were pretty good too. Yokozawa was supposed to be the bad guy, shoving his nose into Takano’s business by constantly upsetting Ritsu, but really he wasn’t. He was in love and his feelings weren’t reciprocated. It took me a while to warm up to him, his low commanding voice and stoic personality. He was the only character who didn’t find romance in the series, however he did later in his own movie.
With the two series and separate movie there's a little something for everyone, even a relationship between an older man and a confused teenager, which honestly, was very sweet and tastefully done, at least in the anime series. When Shinobu gave his big, heart-felt speech to Miyagi on the beach I cried. It reminded me of my own youth and the first man I was in love with at the tender age of sixteen. I even sympathized with the older male characters, some of which had become battering rams for their younger, overly emotional counterparts. Anyway, you get the gist. The yaoi manga are more explicit, of course.
I give SIH, JR and the Yokozawa movie 5 Stars each!
Happy Yaoi Hunting!