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Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi Review

Ok, I know what you’re thinking, but just hear me out. I’m not a yaoi fangirl! With almost every yaoi I’ve seen, the writers write a story around the project being yaoi rather than write a story that complements yaoi. I was going to write this one off as something like those shows that claim to be “homosexual progressive” when really there’s no plot or conflict anywhere insight, almost like they just threw something together as if to say “look! We’re not homophobic! We have these characters!” even though the characters in question don’t have any characterization and aren’t backed by any story plot. However, one day, AnimeAngel120 dared me to watch one episode of one yaoi of her choosing, and this was what she picked. All I could say about that is props to her for knowing me well enough to show me a yaoi anime that has a compelling love story and isn’t just yaoi for the sake of yaoi.

Now, let me summarize the story to explain what I mean.

Ritsu Onodera is the son of a highly credible and successful editor and is even the owner of an editing company. However, to get out from under his father’s shadow, Ritsu leaves the company his family owns and applies instead to a different editing company. While his application was for the literature department, so he’d edit and send off literary works, the only availability is in the Shojo Manga department that’s run by Masamune Takano, who was Ritsu’s not-so-sweet-highschool-sweetheart. After clearing the misunderstandings that lead to their 10-year-old breakup, Masamune promises that he’ll make Ritsu fall in love with him all over again, so they could pick up where they left off when they were dumb teenagers. At the same time, another manga editor, Yoshiyuki Hatori, begins dating in secret with his childhood friend and editing client, Chiaki Yoshino, and another one of the manga editors, Shouta Kisa, falls in a superficial love with one of the sale clerks who’s the most successful selling his projects, Kou Yukina.

First off, let me just say, I admire how this show tackles three separate popular love story scenarios, the “previously dated back together” couple in Masamune and Ritsu, the “childhood friends” couple in Yoshiyuki and Chiaki, and the “love at first sight” couple in Shouta and Kou. However, while all three are there and are well done, each having just enough screen time to properly establish each couples insecurities and strengths, it is mostly Masamune and Ritsu who take center stage. The way that it’s set up actually reminds me of old soap-operas my mother used to watch when I was young, like Days of our Lives; with each episode, you don’t really know which love story you’re following, but they’re each interconnected. Example, there would be one episode where Yoshiyuki leaves the office early because Chiaki is falling behind on his deadline when Ritsu is freaking out about missing the deadline. The next episode, it shows that Chiaki got sick and couldn’t work. (I can’t remember if that’s actually how the episode flow is, it’s just an example.)

I guess I should give a detailed review on each of the main characters. Warning now, this may contain spoilers, though I’ll try not to spoil too much.

Ritsu definitely reminds of a type of tsundere with a hardened shell. With his past relationship with Masamune, he hasn’t allowed himself to love anyone to nearly the same degree, though, he comes across as almost mean-spirited a lot of the time. Too often, he forgets that words have consequences and he’s reminded multiple times that his actions contradict his words and other actions, sending very confused and mixed messages to Masamune and Takafumi (Masamune’s protective college friend). While the audience can see the consistencies of his words and actions (due to the show being through his eyes when it focuses on his love story), it doesn’t change the fact that outwardly, he sends mixed signals and red flags. He’s still a likable character because of his work ethic and the few times he’s allowing himself to have a relationship with Masamune.

Speaking of, Masamune isn’t near innocent either. After he hears why Ritsu ran away and never came back, he dedicates every free second to prove to him that the love they have is real. Countless times, he invades Ritsu’s personal space, even crossing the sexual harassment line multiple times. Still, his determination to get Ritsu to fall back in love with him is actually admirable. He doesn’t single him out at work, but he also very clearly cares about him and encourages Ritsu to at least meet him halfway as, either a work superior or just a friend and neighbor.

With the second couple I wanna talk about, Chiaki and Yoshiyuki, are more like sweetheart falling in love instead of one side being in love and pursuing someone who has stated that he’s not interested. Chiaki and Yoshiyuki both tell each other that they love each other constantly. However, the love triangle they’re in is a little annoying. Chiaki has a friend from his school days, Yuu, who’s also pursuing him. Yoshiyuki is jealous of all the time Chiaki wants to spend with Yuu, all the while, Chiaki doesn’t understand why his childhood friend and lover doesn’t like it when he goes on a trip with his school friend instead.

With the third couple, Shouta and Kou, honestly, I feel their relationship is phoned in and kind of boring. I mean, it’s so phoned in that Kou literally says (paraphrasing) “I’m really a straight guy, but for you, I’ll go gay.” Plain and simple, they’re cliched and boring to me, I don’t even really want to talk about them honestly.

But what did you guys think? Did you enjoy the “ex-couple back together” relationship in Ritsu and Masamune, the “childhood friends” love triangle in Chiaki, Yoshiyuki, and Yuu, or the “strangers love at first sight” couple in Shouta and Kou? I personally enjoyed the first/main couple, but I want to know your thoughts (also, I promise, I’m not going to turn this blog into a yaoi/fanservice site; this is just a one time thing because I felt the need to review this specific anime, that just happened to be a yaoi). Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a beautiful rest of your day~!

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