Sasaki to Miyano comes to us from Studio Deen that really has quite a diverse range of anime behind it but did give us previous shounen ai (boys love) titles such as Super Lovers and Junjou Romantica. Throw in the fact that the director of Sasaki to Miyano is Shinji Ishihira who also directed Super Lovers and at least there’s some experience behind this project. Though so far Sasaki to Miyano has stayed away from the problematic tropes that plague both the previously mentioned titles in their first episodes.
So yes, we have a boys love title that doesn’t have a major age gap between the potential couple (they aren’t in the same grade but they are both in high school) and within the first episode no one has made any inappropriate contact though Sasaki is definitely a more hands on guy than Miyano. Honestly it was kind of refreshing not to have to navigate the usual tropes that come up in first episodes of boys love stories though this isn’t the first title to do so when you look at anime like Given that have come out in the last few years.
Sasaki to Miyano has so far been pretty standard high school romance.
If anything, the biggest issue Sasaki to Miyano might face after this first episode is it isn’t particularly memorable as it moves through the spontaneous meeting of the characters and cuts back and forth between where they are now (with Miyano recommending BL manga to Sasaki) and several of the events and encounters that led them there. I’m guessing the hook of this story was meant to be Miyano’s obsession with boys’ love comics and while the conversation between the boys about the manga Miyano leant Sasaki is cute ultimately there’s not much substance to this point, yet.
This episode largely plays out like the first episode of any other anime romance with Sasaki realising he is developing feelings to Miyano and being very aware of him as they share an umbrella or a drink and the episode ends with him admitting to himself that he likes Miyano. About the only real difference is that Sasaki repeatedly reminds himself that Miyano is male throughout the episode.
And when I say it plays out like any other romance, I really mean it. Complete with sparkles and colourful backgrounds or bubbles floating past the characters. Though just looking at the promotional image with its flowers and sparkly visuals probably should have been a sign that this was the aesthetic that Sasaki to Miyano was going to go for.
For me, Sasaki to Miyano was probably always going to end up on my watch list this season. There really isn’t that much boys love anime out there and unless something is unwatchable I tend to stick it out, and I was pretty happy with this first episode. The two main characters both seem nice enough and if it continues to play out the standard rom-com tropes rather than BL ones I wouldn’t mind that either because I do enjoy sweet romance.
Where this anime may have a problem is that so far this first episode has played it very safe and while it is competently put together it isn’t going to make much of an impact on people who aren’t already fans of the manga or BL fans in general. Hopefully it gets a bit more presence as it goes but if Sasaki to Miyano wants to remain this kind of low-key easily digested romance for the season I’d still be pretty happy with that.
Images from: Sasaki to Miyano. Dir. S Ishihira. Studio Deen. 2022
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