The mind boggles - by all accounts and purposes, Junjou Romantica looks and smells like one of the worst anime ever. It's clogged with clichés and nothing really happens except for three random couples falling in love, confusing each other about how they feel, and then having off-camera sex to make up for it. Heck, other than to fill more episodes, I can't even see the point of presenting three couples in stead of just one since every story runs along the same formulaic lines. In the end, having nothing fresh to provide, Junjou Romantica boils down to being mediocre at best...
... and yet, at the same time, it's embarrassingly entertaining. Every scene may be as predictable as instant gravy, but a certain self-effacing quality to the comedy means the entire product comes across far more endearing than it deserves to be. At its best, the story will follow Misaki's comical dilemma as he alternates from loved-up moping to exploding with spastic facial expressions. Besides that, the conflicts and misunderstandings (as corny as they are) still manage to tug at the heartstrings on occasion. In particular, Miyagi's characterisation during the concluding arc goes a long way to give Junjou Romantica an emotionally satisfying finale.
I guess some anime are just made to confuse the critical mind; while Junjou Romantica may be far from substantial, it has still done its job of leaving me with a smile on my face.
Overall, the animation looks pretty, with the backgrounds utilising appealing pastel colours and lots of soft focus to give that dreamy romantic feeling. The disappointment lies in the boring and sometimes ugly bishounen designs, and the static movements. However, to be fair to Junjou Romantica, its visuals are as good or as bad as that of the vast majority of romantic comedies of the same era.
While not necessarily impressive, the opening and closing themes are satisfyingly catchy. Alas, the rest of the score is a lot like background traffic - you probably wouldn't notice it even if it was gone.
Where the voice actors are concerned, everyone appears competent enough to make something believable out of the hackneyed script; however, the best vocal performance easily belongs to Misaki, who brings some fantastic comedic moments to the table.
I must say that these characters are growers; although I wasn't impressed by them at the beginning, I now remember them with fondness. Whilst stoic in the extreme, Usami deserves some basic respect because of his genuine affection for Misaki, and Misaki himself turns out to be more endearing than annoying. That said, the overall shallowness of the cast means they will only be remembered for as long as it takes the next romantic comedy to come and sweep me off my feet. I say this with good reason:
Most of the protagonists lack the common sense that they were born with. Seven episodes in, after lots of hand jobs and heavy breathing, they will still utter mindboggling denials like ‘It's weird for a guy to be with another guy!' Not to mention that the lovers almost never approach their relationships maturely; in stead of talking things through, they communicate by cutting across each other's sentences, making long, languid glances down the soft focus lens, and, when all else fails, resorting to sexual assault.
For those hoping to satisfy their cravings for bishies, Junjou Romantica only brings disappointment. None of them have anything fresh to add to the already stagnant bishounen gene pool - each couple is comprised of a petite, doe-eyed virgin and an obscenely tall masculine aggressor. Again, the Miyagi-Shinobu pairing at the end is probably as good as it gets; not only is their romance believably tense, but Miyagi's ironic sense of humour and tragic background strikes a decent balance of pathos and wit.
This is definitely a case of the sum being greater than its parts. Whilst technically flawed with clichés, I find that the effects of these flaws are neutralised by the strong comedic flavour. In fact, the comedy is so well accomplished, that it positively gives Junjou Romantica a weird kind of charm. I think almost anyone not put off by gay romance will enjoy Junjou Romantica; not to mention that it would make a great introductory title for anyone wanting to get into shounen-ai.
This show is totally the best Shouen-ai show. It has great characters that you have to love. You really want them to be happy and the world just keeps getting in their way. Even if you don't like boy-on-boy if you give this a chance you end up changing your mind because this shows pulls at your heart and will make you believe in love and destiny. It shows you that even if you loss someone you loved there is always someone else who may come alone who you can find happiness with. It also shows that even if things seem to fall apart or have no structure everything does come into place and happen for a reason. This show is very addicting and you will be caring about the characters constantly. Each character is totally unique to the others on the show but they all have a tie into each other showing that what you do can effect others. Anyway I think this show was amazing and is really worth the watch!
I LOVED Junjou Romantica.It was a really well done story.There was a lot of romance which I loved the most and the characters were sweet and gentle.My fav couple was Usagi and Misaki.I didn't really look forward to the others but I still liked their story lines.They were also all good looking and that's what I usually look for.I don't like when other animes like this one put a beautiful boy with a not so beautiful boy.Overall I LOVE this anime.I've watched it numerous times over and over again because it's so good.If you watch it and want a season 3 look in one of my blogs that has a link to a petition.Watch this anime!!! XD
For all you yaoi lovers WATCH OUT!! This anime will grab you by the heart and take you for a ride! (And a fun one at that!) Let's just say that I had been skeptical about boys' love when I first learned about it. If you are into the hard, only sexual, hardly any plot to them boys' love stories, then this anime is not for you! IT ACTUALLY HAS A STORY BEHIND IT!!! (Although, at some points, I must admit, I did want them to show more love, or have more of a story to it, but...)
Anyway, it follows three stories of three separate male couples who do have slight connections with each other, but not enough that they are all friends and meet up. It's just to round out the anime. The main story follows the love between Akihiko Usami and Misaki Takahashi. Usagi-san, Misaki's nickname for Akihiko, is a famous author and Misaki is a college student. They are ten years apart and start living together from Usagi-san being best friends with Misaki's older brother who just got married. There love, although it may seem a little on the pedophile side is pure, pulls at the heart strings and very warming. I absolutely adored their relationship, although I did want more love out of them at times. (Maybe that's just my inner pervert speaking...)
The second coupling was of Nowaki Kusama and Hiroki Kamijou. Nowaki is four years younger than Hiroki and studies to be a doctor while Hiroki is an English professor at a college. Hiroki is Usagi-san best childhood friend and used to love him. When Nowaki and Hiroko first meet it is before Usagi-san met Misaki and Hiroki was just getting over Usagi-san's unrequited love. Nowaki's and Hiroki's relationship is not as in depth as the main story, but what you see is purely satisfying to the heart. They do have bumps in their relationship at times, but it is clear that they love each other, and they always make it known. (Unlike the very rocky trail of love for Misaki and Usagi-san.) I did want to see more of their love because I absolutely loved their characters and loved seeing them get all lovey-dovey because it was so pure. (Haha. I keep using that word "pure", but that is the feel that this anime gave off for me...even though one wouldn't think boys' love is pure...) Oh, and this feeling fits because the title of the anime is "Pure Romance".
The third story is very short. I didn't quite know how to feel about this one because it was so short and awkwardly squeezed in there, I felt. It was between You Miyagi and Shinobu Takastuki. Miyagi-san is a colleague of Hiroki's at the college and is seventeen years older thatn Shinobu who is still a high school student. Yes, I know, PEDOPHILE!!!!! It was a very strange, awkward story of love from the start, and personally, I don't know if it was needed. I still enjoyed the characters, but I feel like it was just put in their to fill more space. If they were to make it better, they should have included more about their relationship. The transition from a thirty-year-old essentially straight man suddenly falling for a much younger boy in a matter of three episodes was a little overwhelming. And although, the plot of how they met was good, the lack of depth in this story caused me to still second-guess it.
But, overall, I must admit that I absolutely LOVE this anime!!!! I have yet to come across another BL anime or manga as good as it. Stories such as Haru Wo Daitieta, although much shorter or Okane Ga Nai, were nowhere near as exciting and heart-throbbing as this anime. I became so attached to it that I tend to go back to it and watch it over and over. The art, in my opinion is fantastic--very crisp and sharp. The sound is very good, and, as I said, I fell in love with just about all the characters, except for the obviously annoying side characters that you will meet such as Isaka-san, Aikawa-senpai, and Usagi-san's older brother and father. So, for those of you who enjoy yaoi romance, and need a pure display of love from it, watch this anime. It has plot, development, and will just about satisfy you, even with its small slip-ups. And, even if you're not all that into yaoi, I recommend this anime so that you can step outside your personal bubble and have a change of pace. It will be a good place to start because it is not as intense in the love scenes as other yaoi animes, which to some fans is very annoying. But, as you watch it, you too will feel a pang in your heart, just watching them. I know from experience, because this anime was the first yaoi one I had watched, and it cleared all of my doubts away. So much so, that when I tired of all the other yuri, non-homosexual, or stereotypical yaoi romances, I always come back to this to clear my head and get a taste of what they like to call "Pure Romance".
After Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi, I was feiending for another lovely yaoi. I liked Studio Deen, so I figured id stay with them and watch another of their most popular. I was pleased with this show, and also a bit disappointed because the characters weren't as good in this one. I think maybe my expectations were too high. This is not to say it was bad at all, in fact it was quite good, but judging it agains S.I.H. I much prefer that one.
Story: it has three different love stories linked up together by work. The main story between Misaki and Usami is really good. It's my favorite of the three and these characters are the most fledged out of the six main. There were also some great episodes in their arc. The second and third pairings were good, but neither got a lot of air time which made them less memorable. Overall, I'm extremely happy there's a part two...maybe that will make me love this series more by getting to know the other characters better.
Animation: beautiful as always. Some characters look a little too much alike, but other than that, the art is lovely.
Sound: I loveeeee the opening theme and Usami's voice actor is my fav of the show. All the japanese voice actors are great and the OST music is pretty.
Characters: again reiterating what I said earlier, the characters weren't as developed as I would have liked, therefore their storylines weren't as emotional. The one about the widower got to me, and some of the Usami/Misaki ones though. Overall, I look forward to more development in the next season.
As a whole, it was good, but my high expectations we're let down a bit. Onward to season two...