What Could Go Wrong When The Two Sexiest Guys Get Together?
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. MAL lists this one as a shounen-ai but honestly this one pushes it a bit further than that. While it doesn’t go as far as the source material for this one went and avoids the actual rape in the first episode, there’s still some problematic aspects to how these two guys end up together and Takato gets nearly sexually assaulted by more than one character. If that doesn’t sound like your kind of anime then I’ll thank you for clicking on my post and recommend you check out one of my other series reviews.
For those still with me, I really had a lot of fun with Dakaichi. Another rare case where for whatever reason I actually read the source material of this one a while back (though it turns out my memory of it is a bit hazy). I was very curious as to how this would work as an anime and even more curious as to how it was airing on Crunchyroll given it seemed a little more racy than their usual fare (then again with the Goblin Slayer explosion this one just flew straight under the community radar – or the people who chose to watch it just knew what they were getting into and weren’t all that worried about it).
I reviewed this one at four week intervals with Arthifis and I will admit those conversations greatly added to the fun of viewing what might have otherwise been a reasonably mediocre anime. As much as there are aspects of this I loved, I can’t deny that from an execution point of view there are a number of miss-steps and parts that are just plain average. But, it is one of those titles that is better to watch with someone. Being able to discuss your favourite scene or moment, or ask what someone else’s take on a particular moment was, is one of those really fun aspects that you lose when you watch anime alone. There were also a few others on Twitter that were following this one and I will admit there were more than a few fun screen caps and fan arts floating around. Throw in Cactus Matt and Irina’s collaboration posts week to week and this was a really fun seasonal viewing experience.
Right, so I just admitted it isn’t that great an anime but the social aspect of watching this one was fun. Which makes me wonder what this will be like to people picking it up after the season is done and binge watching it.
And realistically this one comes down to whether or not you like BL. If you are into Boys Love, this one is actually a pretty good title for the genre. Then again, given the limited number of actual Boys Love titles that don’t just tip-toe around the are they/aren’t they aspects being good for the genre isn’t exactly a glowing recommendation.
But there are some fairly strong points for this in terms of being a decent BL title.
Firstly Takato as the protagonist is an absolutely fantastic character. Sure, every single guy he meets (almost) tries to eat him for some reason, but he’s not a push over (for anyone outside of Junta). He’s also really great to watch in his daily life. Honestly, I’d happily watch this show devoid of the relationship aspect and just watching Takato rise up as an actor and hold his own on the set. Seeing him on stage, filming, at photo shoots, and just seeing how he dealt with relationships and roles in different studios was fantastic. This really helps elevate the show when the main character doesn’t just exist to be in a relationship but has an actual life that the relationship has to fit into.
When you pair Takato with Junta, outside of Junta being creepily pushy early on and practically a stalker (standard BL tropes that are definitely being employed), the two actually work really well together. By the time we get an episode from Junta’s perspective showing how he viewed the start of their relationship, his character had kind of grown on me and I actually ended up liking him.
Of course that made me wonder why I found Junta kind of charming compared to Usagi from Junjou Romantica and partially the answer is found in the comparative positions of the two characters. Junjou Romantica has Usagi taking advantage of the student he is supposed to be tutoring and then more or less being the one taking care of Misaki once his brother leaves and it creates a fairly dodgy power imbalance which means that the relationship always sits awkwardly. While Junta starts off as creepy as Usagi, both Takato and Junta are adults who are more than capable of being independent and Takato is actually the older and more successful of the two so isn’t dependent on Junta in the slightest. It is just enough of a difference to help take some of the creepiness out of the whole situation, though this is still not a great model of how to build a happy relationship (so you know, don’t pay a guy 1000 yen while he’s drunk in order to call him by his name and film it because, creepy).
But wait, I was on positives. So let’s discuss the music. I love the OP to this one. It doesn’t really work for everyone but I absolutely loved listening to it. The visuals are kind of meh but just close your eyes and listen and that’s kind of awesome. The ED is great fun and I love watching Takato and Junta dance around the studio. It’s a great way to end each week. The rest of the soundtrack is kind of forgettable but at least it isn’t bad.
The conflict they bring into the relationship is mostly decent. Okay, there’s a lot of drama for the sake of it, as there is in any romance anime, and of course a lot of the issues could be cleared up by the two characters actually having a conversation, but again that’s kind of ordinary. I did like the final real conflict of the story where the two get caught by a photographer and while the resolution to this is way too neat it really just made me want to get behind the characters and their relationship.
Basically, if you can overlook some of the less savoury aspects of how the relationship starts, there’s a lot to enjoy.
Still, even ignoring the sexual assault aspects, there’s a few other issues this anime faces. Visually it isn’t that impressive. Sure there are plenty of screen cap worthy moments of the two main guys (and why wouldn’t there be given they are both apparently sexy actors), but backgrounds, support characters and action are all kind of dull. Not to mention the neck beards (as Arthifis put it). Okay, they are hideous and totally unnecessary.
We also have the ‘filler’ episode at episode 8. Sending the characters to Hawaii could have been fun and given the nature of the show it could have been the opportunity to push the envelope. Instead we got very little in the way of fan-service and the plot and actual execution of this episode was all manner of dodgy. Mostly it was just a terrible episode.
Throw in the fact that the series climax really occurs at episode 12, and while episode 13 is better than episode 8, it also watches like filler, and you have to wonder why they didn’t just make this an 11 episode series.
And actually, that raises an interesting question about the sex in this. Given the characters are adults and they do in fact engage in sex, this anime kind of keeps it relatively off screen but doesn’t leave a huge amount to the imagination. But the problem with this is that people who don’t like sex and fan-service won’t like it, and people who want sex and fan-service won’t feel it goes far enough. It isn’t catering to either audience and while it hit my comfort zone perfectly without going too far for me, I know there are a lot of people disappointed with how tame it ended up and other viewers who were creeped out by how far it went. Well, I guess you can’t please everyone.
Still, this show features cute, adult aged, anime guys falling in love and to be honest, I enjoyed it. This was one I had a lot of fun with during the Autumn season and while I get it won’t be for everyone I certainly think there will be plenty of people who will have fun with this one.
And I just wrote more about this anime than Bunny Girl Senpai so I’m pretty sure I’m done.
And here we are with the final collaboration post between Arthifis and myself, for the Autumn season. We’ve had such a good time we’ve decided to take on a similar project in the Winter 2019 season so just wait and hopefully we’ll soon be announcing the shows we’ll be discussing. In the meantime, here are our final thoughts on Dakaichi, and over on Arthifis’ new place, the Anime Shelter, you can check out our final impressions of Goblin Slayer.
Below I am in RED and BOLD and Arthifis is in BLUE and ITALICS.
Welcome back Arthifis. It is great to see you again and today we get to discuss the end of Dakaichi. So much happened in these final episodes I’m not even sure where to start. Though I suppose, we should probably start with episodes 9 – 11 before we discuss episode 12, where things more or less conclude, before we get to episode 13 which just seemed like its own thing. What do you think?
Thank you for having me once again ^.^ I always love doing these eheh
Yeah, I would start from there! I actually liked this last arc (before the conclusion) I wasn’t really expecting that it would go for that route at all! I was almost sensing that it would be another guy/girl coming up in the series trying to steal either Junta or Takato from the other. But, contrary to all that they played the tabloid card, which for me was unexpected and interesting!
The thing that I liked the most is that, how Japan deals with celebrities such as idols or actors, it is something that I cans see happening in real life. I also have to love how Junta was able to completely fool me and made me think that he started dating with a girl… I mean, I knew that he was saving Takato in his own way, but I thought he was actually with her 😛
On the other hand, there was an excellent character development on the Takato’s side. It was really pleasant to see Takato starting to take out his mask and letting himself go with his emotions more and more 😛
What about you, what is your verdict on this arc?
I really enjoyed it but I ended up with mixed feelings about a few things. I loved that the relationship drama focused very much on their careers rather than a love triangle or something similar. Dakaichi was always at its most entertaining when it focused on their jobs with the relationship sitting behind that and so having to think about their relationship in terms of how it would impact on their acting career seemed like a really suitable arc for this story to end on and I really loved that.
I didn’t love the lack of communication that still exists between the pair at this stage in their relationship. Takato dumping Junta to protect him and Junta ‘dating’ whatever her name was in order to set up his take-down of the tabloid; I just felt like if they’d actually had a conversation they could have bypassed a lot of the drama. Admittedly, then it wouldn’t have taken as many episodes and it probably would have been pretty uninteresting to watch, but in terms of them having any kind of healthy relationship it would have been nice to see.
That said, I’m with you in that I loved seeing Takato’s development as a character (big surprise given how much I’ve enjoyed Takato in general). However, seeing him at the end of this arc, I really loved how his character had been changed by the events of the series while still being Takato.
Did you have a favourite moment?
First let me just comment in the healthy relationship that you commented 😛 I completely agree with you, but at the same time if not like this, there would not many episodes (as you said). But, also I think Takato had to develop to what he is today so he could have this conversation.
Regarding the favourite moment… Well, I think my favourite moment is when Junta is on TV and says everything ahah I loved how everyone who worked with Takato went to Twitter telling their story with Takato being clumsy ahah The guy who tries to be always perfect in the public eye just had everyone showing his softer and cuter side ahah (though I can’t remember if this is in episode 11 or 12).
I also loved the rings scene… It just means a lot both for the characters and for me! I mean, I also put my heart and feelings out for this relationship to work, right!?
What about you?
I also have to pick Junta’s announcement on TV. I may not be the biggest fan of Junta but he played this so well and it was such a well executed moment. The tweets about Takato being clumsy were hilarious but I think what I loved the most was how Junta just smoothly slid in the idea that he was going to move in with Takato mid-TV announcement and so much else was going on that no one even batted an eye. I have to give his character credit for being pretty gutsy.
What about least favourite moment?
From all the series?
Why not, though if you have one from the final episodes that would be cool.
Well… Both include in someone trying to take advantage of Takato, so I’ll give you both ahah
My least favorite from all the series is, of course, when the other guy is thinking of forcing himself on drunk Takato and ends up stopping because of Junta’s phone call.
From the last episodes, has to be that director (producer?) who tests Takato and tries to go to bed with him. Of course it was to make the point that Takato was still in love with Junta, but I just don’t like these kind of stuff lolol
What about you?
My least favourite moment is also a Junta moment. Where he is pretending to be dating the actress and gets in Takato’s face about his expression. I mean, I know Takato dumped him, but Junta has more or less figured out why and what is going on with Takato, so this scene just feels like he’s being a bit of a jerk for the sake of it.
Anything else from these episodes before we get to episode 13?
Just gonna comment… I’m not sure if Junta knew that it was what was happening… Truth is, Junta always seemed pretty insecure when it comes to Takato, like Takato would flee far away one day or another. This way, I somewhat understood the elevator scene.
In fact, I think it was on that point where Junta understood that Takato still loved him and ended everything to protect him.
But, that’s all… Now, episode 13… I don’t even know what to say about it ahah Basically it seemed like a DVD special more than anything.
I liked it. I liked it a lot. I mean, it is kind of special to see Takato running everywhere trying to find the best present and place to go with in Christmas. Moreover, it is pretty fun to see him believe everything he overhears. I mean, he even starts thinking that Junta will dump him if he doesn’t have a present for him ahah
It was a cute episode, ending the series in a bright note! However, I would prefer that the episode was around that play they were talking about in episode 12 😛
What about you?
I agree that it definitely felt like a DVD special more than a final episode. That said, it was a very good special and I really loved watching Takato bump into literally everyone we have met this series before finally getting Christmas with Junta. It was just cute and sweet.
That said, it didn’t actually do anything for the story and given episode 12 left us with a few points (such as the new project that Takato and Junta are working on and that random new character they introduced), it just makes me wonder if they ever intend to do anything with that.
On that note, if they did, would you watch it?
Ooooh! It WAS a new character! I actually thought it was someone who I just had erased from my memory. That, or just showing that the director (producer?) was also gay, just because how he said to Takato that being gay (or just having a relationship) would destroy his career.
Answering to your question… YES! I really loved it! It was one of the best Shounen-Ai Animes I’ve ever watched! So, I really want to thank you for introducing me to this series 😀 I would do the first impressions nonetheless, but by having this collab with you made me really want to watch everything eheh
What about you?
If Takato is in it, I’m going to be watching.
No, I really loved watching this series even with some of its more problematic moments, so I’d happily take a second season. I think there’s still heaps that these characters can do and I’d definitely love to see more of the behind the scenes stuff at their work. So fingers crossed that eventually we get another season (no idea how far the source material went at this point though I might need to go refresh my memory about that as well at some point).
I think this one is still a little bit hard to recommend. There’s a lot about it that is really good but I found myself last week explaining the plot to a friend and by the time I got to the end of the first episode they were ready to bolt. It definitely is one that only really works if you kind of know what you are getting into and you aren’t going to be put entirely off by those moments that really push the envelope.
Well, I basically am with you! It’s shounen-ai and as most Anime shows under this genre, it’s created for a specific public. This way, I would say it is not for everyone. But if you like the genre, or even if you like romance a lot, I think this Dakaretai is one to try out! 🙂
In the end, I think it’s not perfect, but it’s really good! Every episode was entertaining and I didn’t feel bored not even once. Something that I cannot say from the Anime we are discussing at my place ahah
So yeah, that’s my final verdict! 😛 A very strong shounen-ai Anime which I recommend a lot to people who like this kind of setting… Oh! Also, before I forget! Sasaki Takumi is the best manager! (I think that’s the name XD)
Thanks so much for joining me to cover this anime. We’ll definitely have to try this again in a future season. Hopefully the readers have also enjoyed following along with our friendly chats.
Thank you for doing this with me! 🙂 It was really fun and I would love to do it in a future season! And, yes, hopefully you guys also liked to follow our little chats eheh 😉
Hey everyone and welcome to Arthifis’ and my late season thoughts on Dakaichi. I can’t believe we’re already three quarters through the season and soon we’ll be doing our final thoughts on the season. That’s kind of exciting and I will admit I have absolutely loved this collaboration with Arthifis this season (and if you haven’t checked it out already, be sure to check out Arthifis’ Ultimate Guide to the season).
Admittedly, both of us suffered from time zone issues this time around with Arthifis needing some coffee to help him wake up and me needing some pepsi to keep me awake as our marathon effort at discussing both Goblin Slayer and Dakaichi stretched on. The problem was, we both had so much to say about both shows and I think we probably could have kept going except that I needed some sleep and I’m sure Arthifis needed to do something else with his Saturday besides chat with me.
Anyway, if you haven’t already been and read it, please check out Arthifis’ site where our thoughts on Goblin Slayer will be posted and with that let’s get into Dakaichi. Today we’re covering up to episode 8.
Welcome Arthifis. I’m really glad we’re back again and discussing Dakaichi. I’m going to be honest, the last few episodes have made it clear that my memory of this one is patchy at best because other than Junta’s episode, a lot of the events in the last few episodes have come as a surprise to me and I realised that yeah, I don’t remember much of anything else from the source. So, we’re almost on a level playing field when it comes to this one at the moment.
On that note, how have the last few episodes been for you?
ahah I know the feeling of not remembering anything at all from something I read/watched.
Well… There is way too much happening on these episodes and a lot of things that I want to touch and ask your opinion xD So,maybe I’m gonna start with the conclusion of (browsing the name of the guy)…Is it Kiyotaka? I’m having a blank lol No, it’s not! It’s Ayagi.
Ok, let me just rephrase that, then… So, maybe I’m gonna start with the conclusion of Ayagi’s situation, what do you think?
I actually kind of liked how that concluded in the end mostly because Ayagi’s existence makes Junta look less creepy by default and also because the attention very much turned to Takato and the fact that he actually does kind of like Junta. It’s been hard to tell whether Takato is into the relationship or not previously, but after his encounter with Ayagi it really does make it clear that Junta isn’t forcing anything (or at least not too much) and Takato has made a clear choice.
That said, Ayagi is a really horrible person,but a necessary character. Or at least that’s how I saw it. (Is Kiyotaka the younger guy?) How did you find the conclusion to the Ayagi/Takato situation?
Nope, the younger character is Narumiya… I actually can’t find who Kiyotaka is LOL There is no pictures in MAL besides Junta and Takato and on Anime-Planet he doesn’t even appear on the character list LOLOL So, let’s just let him be for now ahah
Well, I understand what you are saying, but I don’t agree, to be honest. I found most part unnecessary. In fact, if we look up close, Ayagi was ready to force himself and rape Takato if Junta had not phoned. For me, it’s just not ok. Yes, Ayagi sleeps with everyone who he feels that he has to so he can climb in the ladder, that’s not ethic, but completely fine by me. However, from there, to actually rape someone who is passed out because how drunk they are it’s just… Not ok in my book. I mean, I don’t mind seeing media where that situation is used in a way of bringing awareness where the victim passes through hell and etc. I think the bad stuff also has to appear on the big (and small) screen. However, in this case, the situation is brushed off very easily.
I do think you are right when it comes to Junta though. When I was watching the episode I felt that Junta was stalking a little too much (the scene where Junta seems to be following Takato and knows where he is and what he is doing). However, after watching I put myself in his shoes and… If my boyfriend was close to being rape like Takato I would probably be even madder than Junta and would actually destroy the guy’s pretty face right away. Moreover, if I was in some kind of a world where that situation couldn’t be discussed or brought to the authorities and my boyfriend had to forcefully work that guy nevertheless, I would go and keep a close eye to what was happening.
However, at the end, I didn’t like how things were brushed off. Right away we can see that Ayagi is not such a bad guy after all. Meaning, he would not go to bed with someone if they are in a relationship. Besides, he actually goes in a quest in trying to make amends for what he has done to other girls. A little bit because of Junta’s blackmail, but also because of liking Takato and wanting to conquer his love. So, it just doesn’t make much sense…
What about Junta’s episode? Did you like it?
Before that, I think the depiction of rape and consent is a huge issue in any kind of Yaoi/BL story. The way it is portrayed,the consequences of it, the impact it has on people’s lives, it is very seldom explored in any meaningful way and is regularly used as a gateway into a same sex relationship which is just appalling. However, what that does mean, is that going into this story, I kind of expected it to be a lot worse. I was fully prepared for Junta to force Takato in episode 1 and for them to then try and build a relationship out of it (much like they did in Junjou Romantica – and that is still kind of creepy that they end up in the relationship they do).
So, by the time we get to this scene with Ayagi almost but not raping Takato, it isn’t so much that I think they did a good job of how they present the issue, because to be perfectly frank, they didn’t. Mostly because of all the reasons you’ve already identified. But, in my head I’m rationalising with the ‘it could have been worse’ argument. Which isn’t a great justification and for people who identify with this kind of event, won’t help that once again the issue of rape is being trivialised by this particular kind of story. Still, it is why it didn’t bother me so much while watching. I was genuinely expecting this series to be worse than it is in terms of how that issue was presented.
Does that make sense?
Yes, it does. And I remember when we first did this, you talked about that scene. The truth is, since they didn’t go that route in episode 1, I was expecting that they would not do it this time around.I was trying to find a scene where Takato could be at fault by leading Ayagi. However, that would not make sense to his character. So.. I think they could goat the route of Ayagi just trying to kiss him or something like that. It would piss off Junta nevertheless and it would be easier to digest.
However, I have to say that this scene, yet again, showed how Takato’s character is a little all over the place. I mean,one day he is this strong male character who doesn’t let anyone to play games with him, in the next he just seems someone who needs a strong man to defend him from everything… Oh, well… I understand, it’s the uke and seme formula that everyone wants to watch.
However, I do have to say, that they could just make Takato behave in a different way while near Junta (it would make a lot of sense) and still give the uke and seme formula without making me feel that Takato’s character is always changing with really no reason at all.
Sorry, just started another topic before even talking about Junta’s episode 😛 It’s just, this Anime is kind of a hate-love for me… I just love the relationship and both characters, but then I hate the flaws that the Anime has in my opinion xD
So do you want to finish discussing Takato and then tackle Junta’s episode? Because I could talk all day about Takato.
Ahaha! Yeah sure! 😀 I mean, I think I gave my opinion for these episodes, so go ahead eheh
Alright, I’m with you in that Takato’s character changes a lot but for me I find every change fairly relevant to what is happening at the time. When he’s in front of others or at work he has his professional face and personality. When he’s initially dealing with people he’s fairly stand-offish and tactical. Junta’s just forced his way through Takato’s barriers so he almost has no reason to put up a front anymore because Junta’s already seen him at his worst so he can just kind of let himself go.
However, after the incident with Ayagi, we see an actual vulnerable Takato. I loved the sequence after he woke up and he ended up wrapping himself in the curtain. As much as the anime isn’t dealing with the issues anywhere near as seriously as it needs to, it did give us a really good moment right there with Takato feeling lost, bewildered, doubting himself and then that moment of panic about how Junta was going to take it. Also, after being attacked, or allowing himself to be taken to bed by someone, it kind of made sense that Takato continued to feel a little out of sorts and vulnerable during the remainder of the episode before he got his feet back under him again.
I really enjoy these small changes in his character. Admittedly, they aren’t as nuanced as they should be to really pull it off and so he does come across as someone who kind of changes too much, but thinking about each scene I can kind of see where he’s coming from. That and because it was established that so much of his exterior is facade in the first place, it makes sense that he readily changes to suit the occasion. Then again,I really like Takato as a character so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Onto Junta now? Or did you have something to add?
Yeah, let me just comment in what you said xD(We should just do a post about Takato and call it a day ahah)
I’m with you, I really am. I compeltely understand having two different personalities when it comes to work. Especially when you work at the show biz. I also completely understand how Takato is way more vulnerable when he’s with Junta. In fact, Takato never had that kind of support, so it’s just natural that he wants to be himself and let his barriers go when he’s with Junta.
However, in this case, we see a weak Takato in front of Ayagi… I mean, this could be because Takato is slowly becoming more himself even when at work… However, it just felt a little too convenient so we could have that scene.
Nevertheless, I think Takato’s experience after that night is very well executed. In this case, I don’t’t think Takato would ever think that he was about to be raped. In his mind, he just asked himself if he had drunk too much, had sex with the guy and completely forget about it (without anyone forcing anyone). Only the viewers know what Ayagi was trying to do. And Junta, who gets it right away.
So, yeah, I think Takato is a great character which is becoming more and more complex 🙂
Well, let’s start on Junta’s episode? XD
Junta it is. And I will admit episode 7 did a lot to make me start actually caring about Junta as more than just the other guy in the relationship. I do remember part of his story from reading it, but it was really nice to see his character and motives getting fleshed out. I actually really found it cute how he slowly started noticing Takato and what he was doing on the set until Takato kind of dominated all of his attention. And then he overhears Takato having a bit of a tantrum and you see the light bulb go off in his head and you know he’s hooked. It was adorable and for once I didn’t find Junta just the extra in the relationship but actually a character worth noting for who he was.
See? I told you Junta was awesome! 😀
Now, for real… I’m completely with you! I wasn’t expecting for this episode. I didn’t really thought they would give an episode where we can hear Junta’s brain side. I loved to see how he fell in love by Takato and how things developed for him. In fact, it makes way more sense that first episode now xD
However, of course, I have to say that trying to steal a kiss while Takato is in bed ill, was a little too much ahah Again,Takato had the luck of someone entering the scene at the right time so he didn’t get advantage off.
Buuuuuut, I understand Junta’s feelings. When I was a teenager, in parties and things like that I would sleep in the same bed as my best friend who I was terribly in love… I’m not gonna say that I was never tempted to do something like that (of course I never did, because there are boundaries and things like that). But, I understand the feeling of loving someone so much and not being both ways. It messes with your head >.<
Now… I want to address last episode… Episode8… What did you think about this… Well filler episode? XD
Can we just call it trash and move on? Or do we actually need to discuss it? Because honestly, if we just cut out about a minute of Ayagi attempting to be a better person and the last five minutes where the two are photographed by the reporter (and maybe a small little slice where that other guy seems to notice their relationship) then the rest of this can just kind of get tossed in the bin.
I don’t really mind filler but beach filler is lazy at best. Breaking the episode into seemingly mindless vignettes of the characters doing whatever was actually pretty tedious and every time they cut between sequences it just made me check the time to see if the episode was nearly done.
How about you?
AHAHAHAH! I did the exact same thing when the cut between sequences happened. Damn! Those were a LOT, and I mean a LOT of cuts!!!! I think if you take it all of them the episode would be 5 minutes less.
I don’t really know what happened, but I felt the same way as you… Everything felt lazy as hell. Not only the scenes, but even the animation, the backgrounds… Everything seemed rushed. Character design was always changing and there were scenes where Takato didn’t even seemed himself LOL Also, character design just felt soooo off-place versus the background… Damn, it was a mess!
Oh, and also! I mean, we are in a filler episode and we didn’t got much fanservice. Which… Well, I don’t mind, but really makes you ask what the point of the episode all along…
However… there were so many scenes I laughed…I hate myself… And I loved Takato’s character on this one! XD I loved how he was all bumped on playing volleyball because Ayagi told him that he probably was bad at it xD
I don’t know… It’s true, the episode is trash…But I ended up hating and loving it at the same time! I think if they had put a little more time in creating this one that I would had just had fun from the beginning to the end ahahah So, let’s call it a guilty pleasure of mine xD
I actually think you raised a good point about the lack of fan-service. Now it is odd for me to say that they should have more fan-service or more sexually explicit content in anything, but honestly, that probably would have improved this episode. And wow… I’m never ever writing that sentence again.
Anyway, the theory I came up with in my head was that they are aiming to end the series at a particular point and they needed to stretch the run time and so we have off-model volleyball playing with a lot of stills and panning.
I should probably admit that despite this being my low point for this series, it is still getting ranked in my weekly rankings that I’m keeping at about the mid-range level so I can’t have hated it that much.
Alright, anything more to discuss or are we wrapping things up?
Ahahah xD See… I don’t know, there was just something in that episode that shines and makes the episode fun 😛
But, yes, agree with your theory. I also think that they are more into creating the perfect finale, which means, they decided to take less time on working in episode 8 and just get more time to work in the final 4.
And… Well, never say never XD We never know whatt he future may bring.
Nevertheless, I don’t really have much to add.Just wanna say that I’m pretty excited with what it’s coming there! Having the couple being exposed in the media is going to be an interesting ride to watch.If they do this correctly, the relationship will come out way stronger and we will get that cheesy ending moment where they will both say to each other:
“Even if lose my career, what I want is to be with…” – proceed to kiss in a bed
And that’s it from my end 🙂 Can’t wait to watch the rest of it and comment with you our final thoughts ^^
I’m also really looking forward to the end of this one. Not because I don’t like it, but because I really want that moment where they either end up together or choose their career (and I honestly can’t remember how it goes so I’ll be really surprised either way). But I have loved this journey they are on with their relationship. For all the problems this series has, it is still fantastic to see these two getting together and seeing how that is changing them as we go.
Thanks so much for joining me for this one and I really am excited for our next post where we do our final impressions.
Thank you for having me 🙂 And I’m pretty excited too eheh
Okay, that was a really long chat but we both had a great time and hopefully you enjoyed joining us for it. Of course both Arthifis and I would love to know your thoughts on Dakaichi so leave us a comment below and remember to check out our thoughts on Goblin Slayer over on Arthis’ Place. If you missed our previous talks the links are below.
Arthifis and I are back with the next part of our collaboration. We’re five episodes in to Dakaichi and a lot has happened (or at least we had plenty to say about what has been happening) so we recently had a fantastic conversation about the show and how it is going. If you missed our first impressions chat, be sure to check it out and remember we’ll be talking about Goblin Slayer over on Arthifis’ place so if you haven’t seen that post be sure to go and give it a read. For now though, let’s get into it.
Hey Arthifis! How are you this week?
Hey there Karandi! I’m really good to be honest! 🙂 I’m cooking some secret project which is making me watch a lot of Anime… And I’m having a LOT of fun to be honest ahah what about you?
If I’m honest, I’m not in a great space at the moment but that’s just because I’ve been super busy with work and I can see the next few weeks are going to spiral out of control (to the point where I’m looking at maybe having to suspend some posts on my blog in a couple of weeks just to take a breather). Still, it isn’t all bad news. I’m off to a convention next weekend (great timing, I know). I’m really curious about this project of yours though. You’ve hinted at it a few times.
That’s a bummer to hear! 😦 I actually understand you though… My work has been getting busier and busier and I’m actually struggling a lot to be able to balance Blog with work… Well, in fact I just stopped writing on the blog for the time being completely. But, well… That convention seems to be a lot of fun! So hopefully it will be something good eheh 🙂 Eheh yeah I know, I want to surprise everyone, but at the same time I’m so proud and having so much fun that is being difficult to actually have my mouth completely shut about it xD
Okay, so we’re starting off with Dakaichi today. And we’ve both watched up to episode 5. I’m curious as to what you think of the show so far.
Well, I have to say that I discovered in episode 5 that I have fallen in love with the characters and their romance without even realizing it 😀 But, if that’s ok with you I would like to comment on episode 5 more at the end of the post because I don’t really want to lose all the commentary about the love I have from the series until episode 4. What about you?
Yes, episode 5 does need its own kind of section because it goes in a bit of a different direction then the first 4. Still, I’m with you in falling in love with the characters and their romance. Or at least Takato. Junta still doesn’t do a lot for me, but in his defence he doesn’t get a lot of screen time and we’re almost exclusively seeing Takato’s perspective for the majority of the episodes.
Yeah, that’s true. Actually I would like to watch the same story with Junta’s perspective… Nevertheless, I do have to say that Junta is growing more and more inside of me. It’s true that he still doesn’t seem to be able to stay his hmmm… instrument (?) under his trousers. However, we can see that he is in fact in love with Takato and he cares for him deeply. Something I actually liked to watch was how Takato start falling for him… Although maybe I could pass the cheesy momentos where Takato gets teary eyes without really having a reason for it.
My real issue comes from Junta though. As you said, it is clear he really loves him, which is fantastic and what makes so many of the feel good moments of this show stick. But it is also what makes this kind of creepy at times because Junta really pushes the line on consent in a lot of scenes. And the excuse, that they are in love, doesn’t make that sit any better. Admittedly, Junta does stick just on the side of the line that is kind of okay in a story at least, but putting this into a real world sort of situation, I’d tell Takato as a friend to ditch him.
Yeah, I can understand your perspective. However, at my point of view I think Junta just pushes Takato’s boundaries. It’s true that he is pushing himself a little too much. However, contrary to what tropes we normally deal with, here Takato does want to have the sexual relationship, he just doesn’t seem to be completely comfortable with it. For example, the bus scene. Tanako starts saying no, but it’s not because he does not want it, it’s because he is scared of being caught. However, ends up going with it… I’m not sure if that makes any sense?
It makes sense, and it is one of the reasons why I enjoyed reading the story. Takato isn’t against the relationship and while some sequences look very much like Junta is being forceful, Takato very much goes along with a lot of it, and not just goes along, but encourages in his own way. And as you said, comparing it to the tropes and outright non-consensual situations this genre normally throws at us, Dakaichi is at least with this main couple attempting to tone it down in the anime and even reading it after the first couple of encounters a similar toning down happened.
Outside of the relationship though, I’m really enjoying seeing Takato doing his job and part of me kind of wishes we had more sequences where he was on set or doing photoshoots and the like. What about you?
That’s actually what I was going to pick next ahah Something that bothers me a little is how Takato’s personality changes completely when he is working and when he is with Junta. I can understand why they decided to go that route (the guy who always seems to be the best ending up being the “uke” in the relationship. However, I think I would prefer to see Tanako more in his own self way that the teary kind of guy because he is going to have sex. It does not make much sense to me.
So, yeah! I agree with you. I would like to see more of this dominant Tanako since it’s his true personality. Moreover, due to both personalities in this relationship it just does not make sense to me to have a top and a bottom. At my point of view, if this kind of relationship happened they would both be more fluid in bed, meaning they would change sides since both seem to have pretty dominant personalities but also love to be embraced and “dominated” by others. What do you think?
I kind of see Takato a bit differently. I think his personality that he has on set is the cultivated ‘fake’ personality he’s had to construct after a lifetime of working in show business. He’s calculated that appearance and attitude to maximise his chances of success at work, but it isn’t really him. I do enjoy seeing that persona, but it really is just another character he’s playing (which is probably why he’s such a good actor). I kind of feel he has decided to throw aside the persona when he’s alone with Junta and while I do think he possibly becomes a little too sappy, it is kind of nice that he can just kind of let his guard down because it must be exhausting to wear that mask all day.
I can understand your point of view. However, when I was talking about the personality was more about his line of thought, instead of the way he presents to others. His way of thinking is normally in the same page wherever he is (since nobody can actually read his thoughts). And from those kind of thoughts I see someone who is calculist and likes to dominate things. But, yes it’s true that he lets himself go when with Junta.
In fact, I think that persona is what makes Junta to seem to push himself so much because Takato’s persona just can’t accept to be with other guy, I mean it would mean problems in his acting career, right?
You’re right in that Takato’s inner monologue really doesn’t change between when he’s at work and when he’s with Junta. That’s an interesting pick up and one I’ll need to consider.
I don’t have much else to say about the first four episodes, other than I really enjoyed them. Is there anything else you want to discuss before we turn our attention to episode 5?
Let me see… *picks notes*…. Nope, I think we covered everything! Since we are going into episode 5, let me start with this question. What do you think about Takato’s character evolution in episode 5? Isn’t a little strange someone who knows the game, is over-cautious and knows that guy is basically a snake to just let his guard down?
Yeah, I have a big issue with Takato’s character in this episode. The start is great where we see how he’s more or less completely accepted his relationship with Junta (loved the scene where he accepted Junta’s key-card), but then as you said, he lets his guard down. Now, I guess you could argue that Takato has gotten blind drunk and done something stupid before (episode 1) except that in that case he’d just lost his title of Most Huggable/Sexy Guy or whatever and then ended up the supporting actor to the guy who took his title. It kind of made sense that he’d go on a bender. Here, it really doesn’t make sense and I know that they just wanted to set up that final scene, but it really did seem totally out of character for Takato. What did you think?
Exactly the same thing as you. In this episode Takato came out as this naive and “weak” character which we already know he isn’t. It’s true that he can’t handle his drink. However, to be honest, first, I just can’t Takato giving help to an actor he doesn’t like so easily. Second, it’s hard for me to believe that he would just go and get drunk near someone who he knows that is one of those actors that play rough and dirty.
As you, I think they just needed some kind of event to get to that final scene. At this point the romance is completely settled and they had to add some kind of problem into it so there is story to continue. However, I hated the execution. I don’t what was the worst, if the character changing completely, or if it seems that they are building a rape scene to start next episode….
We were definitely diving into uncomfortable territory at the end there (not unexpected but I was kind of hoping they’d tone it down given they toned down episode 1 a lot). But yeah, Takato’s character really suffered in this set up and it is unfortunate given I’ve really been enjoying how he’s come across and during most of episode 5 I just wanted to call him an idiot.
That said, I get why he gave the guy advice. They are going to be on stage together and if the lead doesn’t pull his weight and the show goes down in flames that is going to reflect on Takato’s career as well. Self-interest is always a fine enough motivator even if the guy is a complete jerk. One good thing about Ayagi (sorry, checking notes on that name), is that I really appreciate Junta as Takato’s partner after meeting him. Ayagi is just scum.
That’s a way to take out something positive of this episode ahah I hope… I mean, I REALLY hope that in the beginning of the next episode Takato just pushes him away and that’s the end of it. Yes, it will bring problems since Junta will see that hickey and think he was cheated on. But, to be honest, isn’t just cliché?
I think I would probably prefer to see them just acting like a couple more than that… Work, for example, could become an issue or something like that… Or, maybe I just love these guys together so much that I don’t want to see any kind of attacks against their love ahah
Yeah, they definitely hitting the cliches and tropes this episode. I think overall, I’m still really enjoying watching this show and I really would like to see Junta and Takato get a happily ever after, but there’s no getting around the fact that episode 5 is a little bit a problem and it will all come down to how they continue it in episode 6 as to whether it is a serious red flag or just a momentary mis-step for the show.
Yeah, I agree with you. I once read somewhere something like this: It is completely ok to use coincidences and things that are just there to make a character to enter in some distress. However, it is not ok to do the same thing to take them out of that distress. So, we will see! I hope that in the next episode we will see Takato punching Ayagi’s face! I know that he won’t press any kind of charges because he is an actor in Japan and he’s afraid of losing his career and things like that. However, I do hope that Ayagi is not able to do anything to Tanaka when he seems to be passed out from drunkenness… I mean, that’s just… cheap porn story –’
So, I really hope they are able to come back and make me love the series right away in this next episode!
I think that about wraps this chat up then, unless you have any final points you’d like to raise.
Nope, I think this is all eheh it was nice chatting with you 🙂
Thanks Arthifis for joining me on this one. I really enjoyed the chance to discuss Dakaichi and the characters and I think that I have a lot more to think about with Takato’s character now. Looking forward to when we come together again in a few weeks and hopefully we both don’t rage quit the show at episode 6.
For now though, I think we need to go over to your blog to discuss Goblin Slayer.
Thank you for having me and I couldn’t agree more! I was really looking forward for this talk since I had so much in my chest I wanted to share about Dakaichi with you, so these are always a lot of fun eheh
Well, I won’t rage quit! The most it can happen is that it will go to my Horrible Anime quest pile ahahah I look forward for our next talk in few weeks! ^^ And yes, time to come to my place and discuss a little bit about Goblin Slayer eheh
Thanks to everyone who joined us for this conversation. We’d both love to know what you think of Dakaichi so far so be sure to leave us a comment, and remember to check out our chat about Goblin Slayer over on Arthifis’ blog.
For those who missed the announcement for this collaboration, Arthifis and I are working together this season to have periodic chats about two anime. Over at Arthifis’ place we’ll be covering Goblin Slayer and you should definitely check out that post once you are done here because we had a lot of fun discussing that first episode as well. In about four weeks we’ll be back with an update on how we feel both series are going so hopefully you’ll join us again later in the season. For now, join us as we meander through our thoughts on episode 1 of Dakaichi (or Dakaretai Otoko 1-ni Odosarete Imasu), the events, the characters, their necks, and the music.
Hey Arthifis! It is great to have you on my blog today to discuss Dakaichi – I’m being harassed by the sexiest man of the year (to only be referred to as Dakaichi from now on).
Hello Karandi! Thanks for having! I’m so freaking excited to start this conversation going! I just have to say that I’m surprised with this one 😀 And, finally, just only one word to refer to the Anime show ahah uff!
So, I have to ask because you went in without knowing much about this one, what are your thoughts? You mentioned being surprised. Surprised good or another WTF kind of moment?
This time it was a good surprise ahah I went into Dakaishi with the idea that I enter any kind of Shounen-Ai anime. That it would be all kind of tropes, that someone would just be basically raped and transformed into gay person, that there would be distinctively a top and a bottom (talking about relationship top and bottom, not sexual) and all those tropes that we all already know. The only one being out was the age gap, because they clearly look adults xD.
Yes, I think I’d be out of this one if they were meant to be high schoolers. While I’m not naive enough to believe high school students don’t engage in actual sexual relationships, I really wouldn’t be comfortable watching that so the age of the characters is actually something I really appreciate.
Yeah… I know what you mean. I’m ok with love stories with high schoolers. However, I know that this one is going to be very sex heavy, so I think I wouldn’t be very comfortable watching.
The fun thing about this episode though is that more or less until the middle of the episode I was still on the dark about some of the tropes. Then I saw “the getting drunk” scene and I though, ok this is going to follow the same tropes, and then it got a pleasant turn and… I don’t know what to think anymore ahah.
What about you, do you think this is following the visual novel / manga (can’t remember which one right now) good?
I read the manga online a long time ago and while I was excited for an adaptation because I really like Takato’s character, specific details escape me. One thing they definitely changed though is the getting drunk scene because the manga took that a lot further and dove into the no-consent trope we see in so many of these types of stories.
I think the anime made a really smart decision by having Junta show a tiny bit more restraint and that gave us the fairly pleasant moment at the end of the episode where he actually asked permission. Okay, I had a really great time at the end of the episode and really loved that scene.
Thank god the Anime changed that scene then!!! It would just kill the show for the season for me…. You did? Why is that?
I just really liked the way they framed the scene with Junta down on his knee looking up at Takato… Okay, I’m hopeless and I fell head over heels in love with this couple and I want them to be together forever. I take it that the scene didn’t have the same impact on you?
Oh, no! It DID! Probably should have added a smile in the last phrase ahah I was just curious to know what were your reasons! I’m a sucker for romance, you know? What other way could be for me to be binge watching season 12 of Grey’s Anatomy if not for that? Ahahah.
However, we are already talking about the end before even speaking about the beginning xD So, let me just pull as back for a bit if you are ok with it xP.
That’s probably a good idea. Though like with most romances we get our pretty standard character introductions and initial interactions and as you said it isn’t until that mid-point with the drinking scene where things really kick off. However, I would love to know your thoughts on the OP?
Yes, maybe that’s true… And probably these are just the most bland and cliche characters from Shounen-Ai. However, since I don’t get to watch many shounen-ai/Yaoi anime shows I really liked these characters xD.
*browses anime-planet to remember the name of the guys* – DONE!
Ok, let me start with Takato. In the beginning we get this hyper mega self righteous and obnoxious character which seems to think is the best in everything. But, contrary to most Yaoi shows I’ve seen (and dropped right away) it does not take much time until we are shown that he was able to get there through hard work since an early age. Yes, he is cocky and thinks he’s the best, but, at the same time we can clearly see that he does have some small indications that he also suffers from lack of confidence. Which from there creates, from the bat, a complex character who thinks that he is in the top of the world, but, at the same time, needs his levels of popularity to actually feel confidence… Am I making sense to you? xD.
Yes, that makes perfect sense (and just so you know, when you called Takato bland earlier I nearly declared war then and there). I really love his character because he’s got this front that just oozes control and confidence all wrapped around this mass of raging insecurity. The very fact that he needs the affirmation of keeping the ‘most huggable man’ title is hilarious when you consider all of his other achievements and yet it means so much to him. He’s really interesting and I love his internal monologues during the first episode where he’s trying to figure out what Junta is actually after because he assumes that everyone spends as much time over thinking things as he does and he assumes Junta has some kind of angle.
That said, I’m not so fond of Junta. I just see him as very much someone to play opposite Takato. What about you?
Hmmm… That’s actual a nice point you said there! Yes, it’s true… Junta is just the opposite of Takato and it can be seen as the easy way to go for a romance. But, you know what, from my irl experience, I really think that opposites attract! You just need to spend a day with my boyfriend and I to see that. And, to be honest, for me it’s not a really bad thing. It just means those 2 people complete each other.
So (And remember I don’t know nothing about what is going to happen), I think Junta will still need some time further to shine. From what I’ve seen from this episode, I feel that Junta will be the person that will Takato to grow and become a happier person. Maybe it will fall out more bland because the story seems to be told in Takato’s perspective, but I just fell in love with Junto… I mean, after there was a permission involved, of course xD.
But, well… To be honest, I’m more into the Tatako side while my boyfriend is more into the Junta side… So, of course I would love Junta ahah.
For me, I like Takato because he is someone who thinks things through and where they are going. He isn’t always a nice person and assumes other people are equally as self-interested. But he is a thinker and a planner. I really appreciate that character trait. Junta, as Takato points out, is someone who reacts to the situation and the scene and just plays on his feelings. That drives me crazy being around people like that because I can’t predict where something is going. So, I think my personal bias is getting in the way of any appreciation of Junta. Though he did look adorable asking for permission.
That and I noticed you dodged my question about the OP earlier.
Ups sorry, not so much dodged, but more got carried away ahah Well, I can definitely understand that… And know that you put it in that words… I think I’m probably Junta and Takato is my boyfriend xD Although, I overthink a lot nevertheless and he is a more happy person than me xP But, well we are not characters of a Shounen-ai, so of course we are going a little bit more complex ahah.
That said, since this OTP feels a bit like home and my relationship I would say that I loved it of course xD.
Ok… Nevermind… I read that wrong, you are asking me about the opening LOLOL Hmm… Give me a sec to check (I always pass those on because of spoilers and I forgot to watch it >.<).
I’m going to be honest, I hope you don’t start a war *gulp* I really liked the music, but the visuals just seemed generic to me xD What about you?
I don’t think I remember the visuals all that much (oh yeah, the guys were crossing the street at one point). I wasn’t paying that much attention, mostly because I had a major ASMR response to the start of the song in general. It just sent tingles up and down my spine and got me really hyped for the episode. However, that will probably wear thin after the first few times listening to it so I’m not entirely sure how I’ll feel about it after the whisper power wears off.
Then again, the ED just made me smile. It was just so boppy and silly and the dancing were all just there.
Yeah, I completely agree with you! I liked both musics, and that is saying a lot because I normally don’t like op and ed songs that much (I know, kill me now xD).
On another note, I would like to ask you if you think they went too far with this episode when it comes to story. I mean, of course you already know what is going to happen, but still…
I know this is something that we are seeing more and more. With so many Anime shows coming out nowadays you need to grab people attention from episode 1. However, I feel that it would be better for the Anime (looking into an all episodes kind of thing) for them to postpone the first sex scene a little bit. We can also see this in Bloom Into You. I think I would prefer a little more back and forward between the characters, have some time to start loving them and THEN have the confession thing. This way, I just can’t help it that the rest of the show will be a game of dog and cat and turning on and off relationship, which for 12/13 episodes may stop being interesting to watch. What do you think?
Normally I’d fully agree. I’m not that big on needing to show the sex for a relationship to be a relationship in a story anyway and I’m more concerned with how the characters interact than how far they get in terms of getting physical. However, going in to something like this, it kind of is the kind of story where it doesn’t get going until these characters have entered this kind of physical relationship. And, no spoilers, but you’ve got a seasoned actor and an up and coming star engaging in a same-sex relationship when one suffers from massive insecurity and the other feels he has something to prove. I’m sure they’ll find ample conflicts to keep us entertained for at least the next 12 episodes (or let’s at least hope so).
Still, it is an interesting point that more and more anime seem to be diving into more physical aspects of relationships earlier in seasons (Citrus was another example that came immediately to mind). I mean, I get we’re all a little tired of the impossible blushy couple that don’t even hold hands until episode 26 or later but I’m not sure every romance needs to dive in full speed ahead either.
In this case I was talking about in a more general way, not only sex related Anime. At least for now Bloom Into You does not seem to go portray sex scenes… But, we never know xD
However, I think you are right! I think that it will take some time until they find some kind of balance. I do know that the Romance type of Anime I loved the most had the characters to enter into a romance more or less in the middle of the season and then continuing the story from there 🙂
But, yes, please… Between episode 26 to episode 1, I prefer the later. I don’t really have the patience for the back and forward and miscommunication formula nowadays xD
But, well, that topic can be a good theme for another post since it would take a lot to write about xD
Any other thoughts on the episode before we bring this to a close?
YES! I’m sorry, but I have to bring those necks! I mean, I know this is personal opinion, but why the hell did they thought doing neck shadows like that a good way to go!!! I mean, the animation overall is good, but those necks… Damn those necks really take a lot of it! What do you think about that particular aspect?
They are really hideous. My personal theory is that they are designed to stop too many fans falling love with the otherwise fairly attractive main characters. I have no other theory as to why they would do that. It is bad. Just bad.
Going to be honest, it will take some time for me to be able to accept them and not think about it while watching the series… It’s a bummer though! But, well, that’s the last thing I wanted to talk about xD.
Well, I had a great time discussing the episode. This is not my normal kind of anime because we don’t get this kind of anime released on a mainstream service all that often so I usually don’t get to see these until well after they have been released, so I’m actually really glad to be reviewing it with someone because it is helping me to think through my thoughts on the episode. I hope you enjoy episode two. I’m just going to give you one word – honey.
Me too! It was a lot of fun! I also don’t really discuss this type of Anime shows. Just because I would always be bias due to the tropes presented in the most of them, and for that, I already have one rant about it on my blog and one rant is more than enough xD.
It also brings a completely different light discussing it with you. As you said, it helps me to think through what I thought about the Anime, but also see things that I hadn’t seen for myself which is awesome!
Thank you! I’m really intrigued to see how they are going to come up after this episode so I’m probably going to watch it today XD I need to see if I catch up with all the episodes that have been coming out this week lolol.
Can’t wait to get back together with you in the near future to continue discussing the evolution of the show eheh
I’m really looking forward to it. Thanks.
Thanks for joining us and if you would like to add to the conversation be sure to leave us a comment below and if you haven’t yet, be sure to go and check out the Goblin Slayer post over on Arthifis’ blog.
This is part of a series of re-posts of older reviews on 100 Word Anime. The original review came out in June 2016 and can be found here.
My overall impression of this anime isn’t great and that hasn’t really changed since my first viewing of it or during the second season. To be honest, this is kind of one of those shows you watch because you really want more or a particularly genre but given how little there is you just kind of watch anything that is available. While there are certainly warm and touching moments and some really interesting dialogue exchanges there’s just too much sitting around and waiting for one of the many emotionally stunted characters to say or do something that should have already happened.
Outside of the main relationships, everything that happens in the plot happens because of narrative convenience, including amnesia, success in business with very little risk, admission into school, friend appearing, mother returning to Japan. While each of these events is plausible in and of itself, they really feel forced on the characters to make them act in certain ways because the plot demands it.
Last time I reviewed this I steered away from really getting into the age gap, and to be honest I’m not going to debate the morality of it in the real world, because quite frankly it isn’t appropriate. Is it problematic for a work of fiction to establish a relationship like this? Well that entirely depends on how far you separate fictional what-ifs from real experiences and some people will find this distinctly uncomfortable and so would be better off steering clear. I will admit, I find Haru very hard to take seriously as a character because of some of his choices and general lack of impulse control but ultimately that is a minor nitpick in an anime full of other general issues.
Starting with the problems (and that way I can end on the positives):
01. Haru and Ren’s relationship doesn’t get a fair chance to develop in a cohesive manner. The time and continent jumps, and then the other characters who distract from this central story line just mean that everything about their relationship seems forced. Okay, some people are more concerned with the age difference and the fact that Haru is technically Ren’s key carer and with the power imbalance there is a lot wrong with the relationship in the first place. As I said above, I’m not getting into that one, but asking me to accept that Ren somehow imprinted on Haru as a child and just never got over that, despite having very little reason to continue feeling that way and even after being exposed to a larger group of people, just makes no sense. Granted, people do get fixated on others, but Ren’s level of mindless devotion is at times disturbing (more so then anything else about their relationship).
02. Haru’s brothers are all but completely unnecessary to the storyline and their characterisation is inconsistent at best. Is Aki actually angry with Haru? Apparently but then somehow he gets over it, except when he forgets he is supposed to be over it. Shima is little better when at times he seems all knowing and other times is just completely dense. And while a lot of what Haru does early in the season is so his brothers can all live together there just doesn’t seem much reason for this to need to happen. Particularly as the story then finds endless ways to send Aki and Shima off to school or work and remove them from the story. Just remove them in the first place and have them drop by when the occasion calls for it.
03. Haru’s mother, Haruko. Okay, Haruko needs her own entire post focussing on truly bizarre things anime parents sometimes get away with. Playing it off that she is super smart and probably has some master plan doesn’t make her a good mother. Or even a decent human being.Haru was hospitalised after returning to Japan and his parents were killed. He was not welcome in the house that took in his brothers. Why on earth would Haruko not do something to support her child in this situation? Why is he having to work as a host to save money to send his brothers to school? And even before then, who tells their kid they are dying in order to get them to fly by themselves to another country? Wow, she is horrible. Her final return at the end of the series did little to endear her to the audience or win her any points for mother of the year, either.
04. The pacing. After the initial time jumps and back and forths this anime settles into a very slow and languid style of story telling where time just doesn’t seem to be moving at all. That wouldn’t be so much a problem if the characters were interesting enough or if there day to day had some memorable moments scattered about but essentially they go to school or work and come home. Oh, I forgot, they found a dog.
05. Finally, the visuals. Normally this is not usually an issue for me with anime unless there is something particularly unusual about character design but I found the constant disappearing faces and vacant eyes when they weren’t doing a close up on a character really disconcerting. Again, not something that normally bugs me, but in this anime, when so much of it was characters sitting around talking so there wasn’t much else to distract, this really bugged me. I’ve read a lot of reviews with people saying how beautiful this anime is, and at times it really is; but that makes the times when it isn’t stand out more.
You might think from that I hated this series, but that isn’t actually the case. At no point did I want to drop this show even on a second viewing. I did however want it to speed up a bit and maybe have a little bit more happening in each episode. So what is good about the series?
01. Ren. That might seem odd but Ren is a character I found very interesting. The best parts of this anime were the parts that dealt specifically with the trauma Ren had encountered prior to Haru and his adjustments to Japan and then to school life. What I particularly like is that Ren’s development as a person (not his relationship with Haru) seems fairly logical and cohesive. There aren’t sudden 180’s in his personality but there are small changes that build up over time. Even Ren engaging in conversation with some of the sub-characters was usually interesting but would have been better if I’d cared just a little bit more about the other character.
02. Haru opening the cafe. Right, so his instant success is not particularly believable (no matter how many friends offer a helping hand) when you consider how many small businesses fail, but this move was a good one for Haru’s development. It showed him growing up and having an increasing sense of responsibility and allowed him to actually be in the story rather than at work or asleep. In terms of narrative devices the career change worked really well and seemed to fit with what we knew of the characters at the time.
03. The tone. This anime plays its story seriously and while there are sad moments and dark moments, mostly it has a very sweet tone. It feels consistent without abrupt changes in the writing style or music and while this does at times make it feel a little bit flat you aren’t suffering from the emotional whip-lash some of the other shows have given us this season.
On balance there are less positives here than in the problem list but that isn’t a deal breaker. Watching this through it flows nicely if slowly and it tells its story affectively even if there are occasional distractions and detractors from it.
That said, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend watching Super Lovers. Even after the second season, there just isn’t enough going on with the characters and the plot and progress is pretty glacial. There’s certainly better out there to watch.
After season one’s fairly atrocious start, Spiritpact slowly grew into a semi-decent story. Then season two came onto the scene and it is almost as if this story has finally found its place.
I really didn’t think much of the delivery of this story back in season one. In fact, my review of it pretty much points out that most of season 1 is pretty tragic:
Despite everything wrong with this show from a production and writing point of view it is telling a really compelling story (it just isn’t doing it well).
But that compelling story that was hidden under the mess that was season one’s delivery was enough to make me go back to season two when so many other shows (The Silver Guardian and Hitori no Shita I’ve just left on hold to binge at some point when I get really bored). Because underneath everything wrong with season one, the characters really won me over and I wanted to see their story.
And that is where season two – Bond of the Underworld – has excelled. It cut out so much of the clutter and the unnecessary. The comedy elements that were almost a complete failure on every occasion barely appear at all. The focus is narrowed down to three central characters and their interactions and while the background of the complex inter-relationships between these families and their roles are still there, it really doesn’t matter. Not to the main characters and not to the audience. The fact that two of the characters we’re focusing on are actually already dead doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference to how well crafted these characters have become (and believe me, I didn’t see myself claiming You Keika was a well crafted character in any capacity during season 1).
This focus is expressed clearly through the OP. While the music isn’t great (not bad just not particularly good), the connections between these characters are made clear and this is the focus of what is explored in these 12 episodes with an antagonist in the form of the brother of one of the dead characters who at times seems to want revenge, at others power, and at the core just seems really ticked off about his brother’s fate.
For those who like a little bit of shounen ai, this season will deliver a fantastic relationship driven drama as You Keika attempts to understand Tanmoku who in turn is trying to come to grips with the death of a former body-guard/friend/potential love interest. These characters interact in the present world as well as walk through the memories they have of the past and learn to see each other in a different light and also learn more about themselves.
What that means is not a lot actually happens given we spend multiple episodes just memory walking, but those memories are integral to how these characters have been forged into the people we met in season one and facing these memories helps these characters to find who they are going to be and to reaffirm their place and purpose.
Visually this season has stepped it up a lot. While there are still the very occasional chibi moments, with the vast majority of the stupid comedy cut out and the focus on character driven drama, there seems to be far more effort in making these characters actually look like characters. There are also a lot of close ups of faces in this season. Still, fight sequences and spiritual powers are quite adequately done. They have been better portrayed in other series, but compared to season 1, there’s a massive improvement here.
Basically, if you endured season one but decided not to go back to season two, I’d urge you to reconsider. This season is superior to the first in so many ways and the story it tells is moving and sweet. I really hope there is a season 3 of this at some point as I’d love to know what the story has in store for these characters next.