First Impressions – Junjou Romantica S3

Junjou Romantica - 01_00020

Nisekoi except this one is yaoi

I have a confession to make: Junjou Romantica was my very first Yaoi.  I saw it at my anime club as part of an LGBT themed night along with some incredibly boring Yuri show I can’t remember.  I’d be lying if I said I remembered much about it, but I did watch the first 5 episodes of season 1.  I want to say I reacted positively to the series as a whole, except for the rape-y bits.  So while I haven’t seen the show in years and know absolutely nothing about whatever is going on, I figured why not check back in on everyone’s favorite (?) BL title.

Japan’s (probably) most famous modern yaoi is back! The first two seasons were successful people are starting to have faith in yaoi anime again, so this is the series that contributed to the modern yaoi that have sprung up now including Love Stage. Now that there is season 3, let’s see whether the relationships are actually progressing or stuck in the same yaoi route.


The good thing about this kind of romance story is that it is incredibly simple to figure out based on around three whole sentences.  Usami and Misaki are total snuggle buddies.  Misaki’s job is to say no and want it, Usami is there to oblige.  I know that there is this thing in Yaoi called Seme and Uke, but I can’t for the life of me remember who takes and who receives.  And there is always a third wheel some where, hiding, waiting for his chance to pretend to be a threat to their (possibly unhealthy) relationship; though you are lying to yourself if you think Misaki and Usami aren’t totally snuggle buddies for life.

Apparently in show time its been three years of Misaki living with Usami, though if you told me that their relationship was a new development I’d totally believe that.  You’d think after 3 years of these Boys Lovin’ there would be a point when they do a confession or something?  Both of them are the super jealous type, such that any kind of affection or attention from a third party is immediately seen as an catastrophic threat to M&U.  I honestly can’t classify their relationship as healthy, when any kind of unwanted attention leads to thoughts on monopolization, attempts to shut some off from making friends, or unhealthy obsession with children’s toys.  I don’t care if that is his trait, I still find it weird that Usami has the same decorating sense as my 6 year old cousin.

Junjou Romantica - 01_00025Junjou Romantica - 01_00026

Yaoi 101: every man in this world is gay

Being totally honest, this show isn’t funny in the slightest.  The overreacting humor is annoying, the cut away stile gags are mostly lame.  I definitely don’t come to yaoi when I want to laugh.  I’ll also note that I never really cared for the Junjou character designs.  Something about their eyes, early 2000’s spiky hair, and just general face structure don’t really do it for me.  I know, as a straight male, that I am nowhere near the target audience for this show.  Call me shallow, but I like my romances with attractive characters.

Lastly, I have to talk about the characters.  Again, I assume there has been two other seasons of character development I am completely unaware of.  In their present state, I am really surprised that Misaki can even pretend he doesn’t have feelings for Usami.  We all know that they have made love to each other countless times, the idea that Misaki MIGHT be in love is just plain ridiculous.  At separate points in the episode both lovers try to monopolize the others attention and affection.  I definitely wouldn’t call this a sweet declaration of love, more along the signs of a potential stalker/yandere character.  Its a shame that these guys seem totally defined by their romance, because to me these characters appear to be super shallow.  Am I missing anything by not having watched an episode of Junjou in over 5 years?  Probably, but somehow I think that even if I watched everything there wouldn’t be any major character development going on.

Although the story is still mediocre and cheesy, there are some improvements I liked from this season [compared to the other two seasons]. The first one is the brand new character design for Shinobu and Miyagi. Their sinful relationship developed along with their maturity, and the change in personality and age can actually be seen in their new character design. Shinobu’s baby face actually looks older thanks to his new haircut/design, and Miyagi (still) managed to pull his old age despite of the fresh look he has now. Although Misaki still looks the same (and still stupid also), Akihiko’s design here makes him looks sharper somehow. The art for season 3 is also better than the previous seasons’. I was able to see it clearly during Akihiko’s close-up scenes, especially when he hugged Misaki. Not only the characters look sharper, the art is also more detailed (probably one of the most detailed scenes I have ever seen in yaoi anime). Overall, production-wise, JR have improved. Viva technology!

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the characters (more like the main character) and the story. For the story, I understand why Misaki is still reluctant at times when he’s with Akihiko. After all, he was a straight man who turned gay because of Akihiko. Despite of homosexuality being secretly accepted in Japan, many people still find it hard to come out of the closet due to their fear of being judged by society. Now I know some might find such fear to be ridiculous, but in some places in Asia, that is a serious matter. I understand this because I’ve been living under such culture for 21 years. Being someone who shares a similar culture with that of Misaki’s, I can (somehow) understand Misaki’s concern when Akihiko wants to take things further. And this is Japan too, where society plays a big role in the citizens’ lives (for those who actually want to know more about this and its relation to being an LGBT, read  GTY_Ponzorz’s “Truth and Mask” and Gwynnie’s “Being Gay in Japan.” For a more positive experience though, read Japan Probe’s “Being Gay and Gaijin in Japan”). So I know and can actually relate to Misaki’s worries and “rejection” of Akihiko sometimes (though the rejection part is just a portrayal of being tsundere and being an ex-straight?). I understand. I totally totally understand.

Junjou Romantica - 01_00009

The only good progress in this episode is the un-beamed appearance of the navel 

However, a part of me is frustrated at the lack of progress this series have. More than 10 volumes and still continuing, two seasons and a new one, three damn years, but there is very little development in Misaki’s character. He’s still being a rude ass to Akihiko can’t just spit out the word NO. I mean, I get that he’s the walking definition of the ideal uke, but jesus christ his lack of resistance is starting to piss me off.  Just what the hell has he been doing for three years? He is still the same like how he was in chapter effing one. No mental development, no physical development, not even sex technique development. Still the same ol’ Misaki who keeps rejecting Akihiko but sulks if Akihiko is not paying attention to him. The only thing that changed is how Misaki thinks about coming out to his brother, and that’s because Akihiko asked him. But that doesn’t mean that Akihiko’s character improved. The same goes for Akihiko. You’d think that he would learn after 240 of Misaki’s rejection (Misaki rejects Akihiko approximately 10 times per episode) and change his forceful personality, but he didn’t. He’s still and obnoxious forceful person who has friendship issues to the point where he forbids his “lover” to have friends. Why? Jealousy.

I’m whining about the character because these frustrating aspects of the characters greatly affect the plot. Jealousy and miscommunication have always been the main points of JR’s arcs, and this has been repeating since the first volume of the series. Junjou is an infinite loop of excessive rejection and jealousy, and the characters are not learning from the past experience at all. And it seems that we are getting that again for this season, so…. Yeah…

Other Yaoi Scenes:

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 So Junjou has once again appeared as a Yaoi title that has as shallow a relationship as something like Nisekoi.  That’s fine I guess.  While I rarely watch or read Yaoi, I am in no ways averse to it.  Some shows like Love Stage actually were kinda nice, though I only watched three episodes (Love Stage is in backlog purgatory for me, somewhere in the limbo of not dropped but not motivated to watch).  All in all I will just say that Junjou doesn’t work for me as a romance, and I will leave it at that.  By the way, aren’t there like two more couples in this show?  Is their relationship any healthier than this Misaki and Usami?

So basically, there has been no progress in the character and story. And from the opening, it seems that Ijuiin Arc will be the main arc for this season and good god that’s the arc where I stopped reading the manga because it’s just so….!@#$%^&*(). Unfortunately, I’ll have to bear with it since they’re showing more skin this season, and that’s the whole point of my watching this anime: sexy guys doing sexy stuff. And about the two other couples… One is a relationship that has a 17-year-old gap between the couple, and another is a relationship where the uke screwed the guy out of desperation at first. Sounds pretty healthy to me. By the way, I think I’m going to coax the male writers to watch this like Samsura and write stuff about it? Or maybe watch it together then make commentaries on Skype (text) just like old times? Sounds like a good plan, yes?



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4 Responses to “First Impressions – Junjou Romantica S3”

  1. Samsura says:

    I’d be terrible at live chatting a show. I normally pause the stuff I watch like 5 times per episode.

    For the record, my favorite yaoi title is MW by Osamu Tezuka.

    • anaaga says:

      It’s okkkk what matters is the live watch
      So yes yes yes? Puppy eyes

      MW sounds messed up. Did the guy hook up with the monk again?

  2. IreneSharda says:

    I would honestly have probably gone into this show if I’d seen the first two seasons. But I’m too busy to backtrack. Maybe I’ll just watch the whole thing at a later date. Anaaga seems to give it her slight seal of approval, which is always good.

    • anaaga says:

      Errr I don’t think you should watch this since the characters ans story are really cliche plus annoying. I bear it for two seasons already for the sexy stuff, so I don’t think that’s a good reason to watch it. Watch Doukyusei instead. It’s airing soon, and the VA is Kamiyan:

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