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.
The controversial BL anime is back for a second season, and I am really glad to see it return. I’ve really grown to like the four brothers and their relationship dynamic. I’m now returning to the second season after reading a decent part of the manga and now I’m wondering how this season will portray certain scenes and story plots that I know are coming and how the two mediums will differ from one another. Due to the detailed content within the manga and how the first season was paced I know that there’s going to be more than just the average difference between them.
On the surface, Super Lovers just looks like a BL love story about a grown man and a teenage boy. Once you read the synopsis about it being about an older brother and his adopted younger brother, than it just seems like a tasteless incest story that panders to an audience that craves stories about “brotherly love.” This shounen-ai story on the other hand isn’t a pandering, fanservice, BL story that only exists to cater to its female audience. It is a story about family relationships and what they mean. Are you really apart of a family if you’re adopted into it? It’s also a story about self-worth and acceptance, which is something generations of continued to struggle with.
I think the main difference between season one and this season is Ren. You can see that he is growing up and becoming quite perceptive and insightful. He is starting to become curious about things and he’s also craving independence on a few levels that Haru isn’t really ready to allow him. Though Ren often has an old head on his shoulders, he still looks very young and can be quite naive over certain things such as social boundaries and inappropriate questions. He is starting to see behind the veneer of Haru’s smile but questions himself when he sees he army of women that are constantly trying to chat his handsome oldest brother up. On the other hand, Haru is struggling with his own demons. He has never quite recovered emotionally from the car accident he was in that killed his parents and often hides his feelings so well from everyone, including himself, that he usually doesn’t know what he’s feeling until it’s too late. With the help of Aki and Shima, the brothers are able to help and support one another through difficult times.
I’ve always enjoyed the artwork in Super Lovers. There’s a lot of detail that goes into the faces of the characters, singular strands of hair, eye detail and clothing. It also makes things comic and cute when the artwork detail changes to something more rudimentary, like when Ren is giving someone a flat look, or when one character hits another for saying something stupid. I’ve also noticed that the camera goes in and out of focus sometimes when Haru and Ren are having an intense conversation. It’s quite an effective way to show the impact of what is being said and how the character is having difficulty focusing. I don’t think it was used in the first series, but it does show that the anime is coming into its own and taking its own steps in becoming slightly separate from the manga.
Super Lovers isn’t the sort of anime that forces a couple together, shows unpleasant nonconsensual affection, or has a thin plot. It is trying to be more than just a shounen-ai anime. It still shows cute boys with flower borders and slow pans, but has a serious story about family, identity, and overall belonging. It also doesn’t take itself too seriously and has clever funny moments as well. All the couple moments you do get in the show are harmless, funny, and for the most part purposeful.