You could read the above linked articles to get the story, but in case you were waiting for the very end to decide whether you want to watch, the basic premise is Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi covers the stories of three first loves. The main couple are Ritsu Onodera and Masamune Takano, and the series (first and second half) mostly focuses on them. The other two couples are related to them in terms of work, but are separate affairs. For fans of Shungiku's previous work Junjou Romantica, there are also tie-ins to that since it takes place in the same "universe," so to speak (Sekakoi seems to take place before Junjou). It's not quite the same time, but you could catch lots of references.
Since this show has been getting recaps by me on Annotated Anime, I won't be doing a full on summary here of the entire second half. I will give my thoughts, though, and gush about all the warm and fuzzy feelings.
While it's true that I've been flip-flopping on how disappointed or non- I am that the anime is "safe" rather than including the sexy bits, now that I've seen it through the end I definitely appreciate that aspect a bit more. I could see that the studio was going a bit more for drama and background rather than focusing on things that are "current" with the main couple. The other two couples were a little more wild, but Ritsu and Takano have a special relationship because they had dated in the past and reunited at the beginning of this story.
The last episode emphasized this by coming completely full circle in giving us Takano's point of view of what occurred in the prologue episode of Ritsu's introduction and how he fell in love. Most of the series is focused as "Ritsu no baai," or, Ritsu's Case. Takano's comes up later in the manga and I wasn't expecting it to make it to the series. Then again, I wasn't expecting much after the penultimate episode since Ritsu finally had given in, so there wasn't any more drama to add to it.
It's nice to get different sides to the story, and I especially loved that we even got one episode about Ryuuichiro and Asahina, who are characters in Junjou as well as Sekakoi and are featured as the mini story "Junjou Mistake". I was surprised by this then and am still surprised by it now, since it's unexpected to take an episode away from our main stars to bring up a relationship about some side folks. It gives us a lot more context for Ryuuichiro's character, though.
Overall, watching the anime has been a genuinely pleasant experience and I feel like it actually encourages one to read the manga, watch the anime. And for those that like a little more sexy time in their lives, listen to the drama CD. The animated series didn't lose anything by the filtering as I had initially thought.
Since Junjou was only two seasons just the same, I'm going to guess there won't be a continuation of Sekakoi. It's a little disappointing considering there is plenty of material to work with, and I've always wanted to see a new series focusing on the side characters a little more, but I doubt it'll ever happen. The closest we got was Junjou Mistake and then Takano's introspective end to the series that I loved to watch. I didn't particularly like the bits where they flashed back to their high school days throughout the middle, but this episode didn't bother me since it mostly focused on cool-looking young Masamune (rather than freaked out and baby-faced Ritsu). What also helped: Takano isn't whiny at all.
I'd say this is an anime to watch for all boy love fans, especially if you're into the pure romance aspect of it. There aren't any distractions that shallow up the drama, spotlighting what's great about the manga and cutting away screen time from what could just be more dialogue. Lots of dialogue. It's not really normal for there to be so much introspective chatter in BL, is it?
Though they haven't been licensed out of Japan, there are several other manga and stories that Shungiku Nakamura has produced, so I'm interested in seeing if there'll be more of this style in our future! I would like to say that Junjou and Sekakoi have both been pretty popular, and for an author to get not one, but four seasons worth of BL anime to their manga is pretty impressive. It helps that the stories are just so sweet, but I'm just happy it isn't a bogus boys love video game adaptation. One big thing that Junjou and Sekakoi have going for them is they both follow their manga almost to the exact T. It's about as perfect an anime adaptation can get.
Have I gushed enough already? Photo Gallery: (6 images)
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