Super Lovers – Season 1

Super Lovers – Season 1

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Haru Kaido is a high school student that ends up having to go to Canada, tricked by a message that his mother is in a critical condition. There, he is suddenly introduced to a boy named Ren and told that he is now Haru’s little brother. Ren is a wild child who doesn’t listen to anyone, preferring to live outside with a pack of dogs rather than in a house, and Haru desperately tries his best to take care of him. It seems that there is some secret behind Ren’s birth. Then, just as Ren was starting to become attached just to him, Haru is met with a certain tragedy that causes him to lose all his memories of that summer – including the promise that he made to Ren. Five years later and having moved to Tokyo and become a host, Haru finds himself reunited with a grown-up Ren wanting Haru to fulfill the promise he made: to let Ren live with him in Tokyo.

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Super Lovers is a BL anime that met with quite a bit of criticism when it was introduced to Western audiences because the concept of shounen ai is not as well-received over here as it is back in Japan. The trouble is that people have been enforcing their cultural story attributes and ideas of morality on an Eastern story-telling style. There’s nothing sinister at play here and things are very much based around developing bonds and finding yourself rather than any rash conclusions leapt to by severe Western attitudes. I kept this one in my queue for a few reasons: it was different, I heard lots of people raving about how good the manga was and how they tried to keep things as close as possible to the original storyline and because I found myself being quite the fan of Love Stage!! and was eager to check out the next instalment that had made its way across the pond.

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Just by watching the first episode I could tell that there were some solid foundations for a great story being set up. The reason Ren is wild is because he has been abused (with cigarette burns on the soles of his feet) and so, with his usual happy attitude, Haru tries to coax Ren out of his shell by being gentle and kind. Slowly but surely, a bond is formed between the two which is broken when Haru has a terrible accident giving him that ‘anime amnesia’ trope that we all know so well.

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Because Ren is young (and is drawn to look even more so), this is where the main criticism comes from. Having not read the manga, I am intrigued to see how the writing and production will navigate through these tentative points safely in order to not produce something that more people might construe as unsavoury. However, I can’t fault the writing or storyline so far, which is focusing on the four brothers coming together again and how they adjust to having Ren around, but only time will tell to see how things are handled further down the line, perhaps.

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My intention is to see Super Lovers through to the end and I hope that it overcomes the stigma that it has already received over here before any actual episodes were released. The art and animation was of a noticeable high quality and it was refreshing to see more realistic-looking characters and take a break from the usual supernatural/sci-fi onslaught and have something a bit more down-to-earth (sometimes literally) to watch. The pacing and the scenarios so far have felt natural and it feels like we are joining Haru and Ren as they get to know each other again after so many years. Life in Tokyo is a lot more complex than a cabin out in the Canadian woods, as I’m sure they are about to find out.

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I’m keeping a close eye on this one (mainly because there mere mention of it caused so much uproar – it’s got to be good if it has so many people climbing up on their anime soap-boxes). The portrayal of what is actually quite a broad cast of characters is amazing and it is one of this season’s anime that has me the most gripped. It’s the unorthodox yet surprisingly realistic story, watching the characters grow and seeing the dynamics of their relationships change – subtle shifts that make things even more intriguing. The manga is currently ongoing, so I also wonder at what point they’ll wrap up the story and will there be a satisfying ending…