Junjo Romantica | 24 Episodes | SUB | VRV
Mature boy-love warning!
So, we’re just going to jump right into this! This anime follows three couples as they navigate their relationships. I thought at first that I wouldn’t like the constant changing of protagonists, but I adjusted and honestly really enjoyed this anime. The switching of characters gives the stories a nice perspective and is a constant reminder that no two relationships are the same.
The first couple and the main protagonists are Usagi and Misaki. Misaki is a high schooler trying to improve his grades so that he can get into his college of choice, however, his grades leave much to be desired. His brother asks his best friend, Usagi, to help him improve his grades. With Usagi as his tutor, his grades improve drastically and he ends up getting accepted into the university that he wanted. Things don’t end there though. Over the course of their tutoring, they fall for each other and in some fun twists and turns of events, Misaki ends up living with Usagi. Things sort of takeoff from there.
Misaki is the one pursued by Usagi and Usagi is constantly letting him know that he loves him. That’s probably their biggest problem. Misaki reciprocates Usagi’s feelings, but he’s the “what are you doing — get off me” type of lover. He almost never tells Usagi that he loves him and that causes a lot of their problems. Usagi is the older one and so he’s more mature in a lot of aspects, but he tends to feel insecure when it comes to Misaki. Which, I felt was completely relatable. Who wants to pursue someone and never hear that their feelings are returned? Especially, when that person is constantly pushing you away and being pursued by other people? They also have the problem of Misaki trying to have a “regular” college experience. He’s living with his super rich and popular older boyfriend, so that idea usually goes right out the window. Usagi is actually pretty controlling too, so there’s also that. It causes Misaki to say some hurtful things to him sometimes, which goes back to problem 1 — Usagi feeling insecure in his relationship with him. I think Misaki also lets people push him around too much, but he’s a flawed character, which makes him more relatable in some ways.
The second couple consists of Usagi’s childhood friend, Hirotoki and Nowaki. Hirotoki was once in love with Usagi, but has since moved on and is in a long-term relationship with Nowaki. They’re the couple who’s been together the longest — like years. They have problems because Nowaki left for the states “with no warning” and spontaneously returned, expecting to pick up where they left off. In reality, he told Hirotoki, but he was so self-absorbed, he doesn’t remember the conversation and gets mad at Nowaki for leaving him. When he comes back, we have more fun twists and turns and the end result is them living together.
Nowaki is the one pursuing Hirotoki. He believes in their love and relationship and of all the characters, is the most open and communicative, in my opinion. Of course, he has his secrets and struggles, but he’s the only one who really communicates with his lover like an adult.
The last couple is Miyagi and Shinobou. Miyagi is a 35-year-old divorced college professor who throws himself into his work at the university along with Hirotoki. His life goes sideways when the younger brother of his ex-wife shows up from school abroad to declare that he loves him. This starts them on an interesting relationship ride. They have the most struggles to overcome and are the couple that’s been together the least amount of time.
Honestly, this is my least favorite couple — for several reasons. First is the age gap — they’re 17 years apart in age. That’s just weird. Second, is the fact that Shinobou is still in high school and Miyagi is a college professor. Third, is the fact that Shinobou is his ex-wife’s younger brother. There’s just a lot of red tape involved in their relationship that makes it difficult to root for them like the other two couples. However, they weren’t the only ones that crossed the red tape. Misaki and Usagi have a 9/10 year age gap and it’s clear that they’re at different stages in maturity, and not just life. Usagi was also in love with Misaki’s older brother for nearly a decade, so that also felt a bit strange to me.
The couples all deal with the different problems — Misaki being unable to tell Usagi he loves him; Hirotoki dealing with Nowaki’s unpredictability; Miyagi dealing with Shinobou and his sudden declaration of love — but they also deal with the exact same things. They all struggle with being able to say “I love you”, with the pursued one making the “first move”, with communicating with each other and jealousy. They struggle with regular relationship stuff.
It’s a romance anime through and through, but I enjoyed it the first two seasons. There’s a third season, but it’s under a different name: Junjo Romantica 3. This anime first aired in 2008, so the quality isn’t that great initially, but it does improve as you watch it. It reminded of Wagnaria in that way. Also, there’s a lot of relic technology in the anime (fax machines and floppy disks) but I thought it was kind of funny actually to see them using them. The characters are very static and have a specific “personality” that they never really deviate from, but the antics they get into and the story switching couple perspectives helps to keep you from getting bored.
I think this is a good anime for boy-love anime lovers. It’s literally nothing but boys falling in love and dealing with crazy situations in their relationships. It’s not heart pounding like Yuri on Ice (my definite fav boy-love currently) or action-packed like Banana Fish (very, very close second fav) but it’s entertaining and amusing and worth a watch if you’re looking for this variety of anime.
The Otaku Couple