Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi at a Glance

A perfect illumination of how the spring season has left me feeling so far.

So, here’s our BL for the season. Going in, I was pretty leery, as it comes from the same manga-ka as Junjou Romantica did, and that was a terrible, annoying show, in large part since it focused in on the worst couple present in the story. I will note that this, in turn, enhanced my distaste for the thing – if Shungiku Nakamura was actually capable of creating decent characters with a decent story, why did the proceedings have to zero in on the weakest ones?

However… the first episode of Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi was actually… decent. In fact, it was quite good at points; the rendering of facial expressions for humorous ends that Nakamura used in the manga remain well-adapted to the screen here, and the depiction of the manga industry seems much more apt than you’ll find in something like Bakuman and many others. And our would-be uke didn’t seem to be a total idiot.

But, hey, with first episodes, there’s always gotta be a second, so…

Watching the second episode of Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi, I couldn’t help but feel this sinking sense of despair – not, exactly, about the show itself, but more about the entire spring season that I have endured thus far. Because, thus far, I see little to be excited about. I also see little to be enraged about, but I am mainly viewing a field of mildly disappointing and not terribly engaging entries to the genre as a whole.

I want to stress that I don’t take this as evidence that anime is getting worse, because I am fully of the belief that stuff ebbs and flows. A poor season doesn’t mean everything is now going to be crap, it just is a part of the natural cycle of anime. But I still have found this season to be fairly uninteresting so far.

In the second episode, the uke, Onodera, seems to lose about 30 IQ points from the first episode. We also, unhappily, have the full plot contrivance of his selective memory rear its ugly head. I guess I’d managed to forget that there was a hint of this in the first episode since, when I thought on it again, I should’ve known this was coming. But our memories are very good at editing out the more unpleasant items we encounter in our lives – hence “the good old days” because, actually, you forgot a lot of the nasty bits. So, our uke is now blushing, stupid, and forgetful. Grand.

Of course, I knew the drop in quality was coming. The promo art made that pretty clear. We can get all set for rape-as-romance in ensuing episodes, I’m sure. Damn… why did I even bother?

I suppose of the good remaining notes is that Nakamura apparently finally figured out how to draw decent-looking female characters since she did Junjou Romantica. And, uh… uhh….um… Never mind, I guess that’s the only one.

Also, is anyone else annoyed by the way the heads are drawn? I find their angularity to be terribly unpleasing to the eye. It just looks ugly and stupid. And I think I’ve worked out that for Nakamura, a pointy chin = uke, whereas a squarish-one = seme. Hilarious.

Ugh. Pass. I live for the day we get a solid BL anime… which probably means I will get to live a good, long while since I haven’t anything to indicate that such a thing will happen anytime soon.

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10 Responses to Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi at a Glance

  1. Emperor J says:

    I’m in no way representative of the audience of BL, but I am watching this as I won’t allow anything to be dropped this season. Anyway, I had talked to a few people about 2 years ago about BL anime and it was pretty much established even then that nothing was any good. I watched a few even, but they were fairly poor (maybe 1 was worthy of a 7/10). I don’t see how this could ever change personally.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      The last time I saw a good BL anime it was, first of all, an OVA, and, secondly, was several years ago. And, it also never got completed! Oh, Close the Last Door… although that same year, I watched Fuyu no Semi before I hit Close the Last Door, and that was pretty good. But those were both four years ago. SIGH.

      I’m pretty sure that a good BL TV anime will never happen.

  2. kluxorious says:

    I watched Junjou so I doubt anything can top how bad that was.

  3. Caddy C says:

    I went in to this with about the same trepidation that you did – after Junjou Romantica I was fully expecting sexual harassment/assault by the love interest (check!), an oh-so-stupid and insipid uke (eh? he was alright in the first episode, but I haven’t watched the second), and obnoxious cutesy stuffed animals and shit (check!).

    I kindof like the shoujo manga setting, though. The thing is, I get why it’s a cute setting for an office romance anime but does anyone else think it’s a little skeevy for a bunch of men deciding what girls like to see/read? I mean, really? No token woman at all? And I’m sure that’s how it is in real life too, but it just seems … sad.

    I’ll probably keep watching this until I can’t bear it anymore, though. My bar has dropped so low for BL that even though the uke was sexually harassed by the seme in the first episode, I thought – well, at least it wasn’t flat-out assault like it was in Junjou! How sad is that?!

    • adaywithoutme says:

      I actually noticed that as well; I figure it does reflect the real-life reality of the industry, the women slaving away in the lower paid jobs while the guys have the higher salaried positions. Even shoujo is a man’s world!

      Ok, shut up, I loved the rubber ducks in Junjou.

  4. wendeego says:

    I wouldn’t say that the spring season’s been THAT much of a disaster. Tiger and Bunny’s surprisingly good, Deadman Wonderland and Ano Hana are supposedly excellent (for very different reasons) and C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control is stark raving mad in the best possible sense. That’s at least four decent shows right there, which is certainly a step up from last season when the only worthwhile shows as far as I could see were Madoka Magica (which I thought was brilliant) and Wandering Son (which I haven’t seen yet but have heard was brilliant.) So yeah, I think it could be a lot worse.

    Don’t think I can say anything intelligent about Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi, though, because the only remotely BL thing I’ve read has been Banana Fish. So can’t say anything there!

    • adaywithoutme says:

      I wouldn’t say its been a disaster at all – its just been blah as hell. The only thing I’ve felt anything more than lukewarm about has been AnoHana.

  5. Hana says:

    There do seem to be several solid shows, rather than anything even approaching excellent.. yet. This is better than Junjou, though (not that that’s saying much), probably because the uke isn’t annoying like Misaki was. Btw is it just me, or does the seme pretty much Usagi’s clone, except he has dark brown hair instead of silver/grey? Hmm…

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