Anime Lounge #04: Junjou Romantica 1

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Series: Jun­jou Romantica

Episodes: 1–12

Premise: Jun­jou Roman­tica is bro­ken up into three sto­ry­lines: Roman­tica, Ego­ist and Ter­ror­ist. Roman­tica is the story of main cou­ple Mis­aki Taka­hashi and Aki­hiko Usami, who are brought together by Misaki’s older brother, Takahiro, so that Aki­hiko can tutor Mis­aki for col­lege entrance exams. It hap­pens that Takahiro announces at the meet­ing that he is get­ting mar­ried. Aki­hiko Anime-Loungeand Mis­aki are upset for dif­fer­ent rea­sons: Mis­aki, because it means he is los­ing his brother some­what after the death of his par­ents; Aki­hiko, because he is in love with Takahiro. Romance com­mences, with a reluc­tant Mis­aki along for the ride. Ego­ist focuses on Nowaki Kusama and Hiroki Kamijou’s devel­op­ing rela­tion­ship. Nowaki is con­sid­er­ably younger than Hiroki, who is a clas­sic Japan­ese lit­er­a­ture pro­fes­sor. Thus, their rela­tion­ship cen­ters on their every­day strug­gle to be a cou­ple on equal foot­ing. In Ter­ror­ist, Yo Miyagi and Shi­nobu Takat­suki become reac­quainted after the end of Yo’s mar­riage to Shinobu’s sis­ter. Shi­nobu is in love with Yo, but Yo doesn’t take him seri­ously. The result­ing rela­tion­ship between the two is inter­est­ing and deals with their pasts as brothers-in-law and their age dif­fer­ence. One pro­tag­o­nist in each cou­ple knows of another in another cou­ple. For exam­ple, Aki­hiko was in a rela­tion­ship with Hiroki and Hiroki works with Yo.

Is it worth watch­ing?: Yes. If you love roman­tic sto­ries, this is prob­a­bly for you. A word of cau­tion, though: If you do not like yaoi, do not watch because the series’ rela­tion­ships are all between men. If you can get past that, you’ll come to love the char­ac­ters and their rela­tion­ship struggles.

Break­out char­ac­ter: Aki­hiko Usami. I love how the char­ac­ter moves from strange to endear­ing as he strug­gles to get Mis­aki to real­ize that he loves him and that their rela­tion­ship is des­tined to be. He’s funny yet smart, and he’s equal parts strange with an obses­sion with bears in general.

Fun­ni­est episode: Episode 4 — “Fear is often greater than the dan­ger itself” — Mis­aki gets drunk off choco­lates and falls asleep cud­dling Akihiko’s shirt. This shows Aki­hiko that Mis­aki loves him but isn’t ready to admit to it.

Where it’s going: The sec­ond series focuses on the tri­als and tribu­la­tions of the three cou­ples and intro­duces other char­ac­ters that will become the focus of spin­off series.

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