Of all the kinds of anime that I review, I will admit that I am not well-versed in discussing boys love/yaoi. But since I’ve made several jokes about the genre in relation to other shows, I suppose I wouldn’t be able to avoid a conversation about it forever. This anime is technically not the first BL series that I’ve watched, but it is the first one that I will be reviewing.
Of the few things I’ve learned from BL, the more forbidden the better. There is something enticing about deviant romance that makes whatever cliché stuff I talk about look so boring! And since this is a series about the (loosely defined) romance between a man and his adopted kid brother, it certainly meets those qualifications, but is still okay to air on TV, I guess.
And yes, there will be kissing.
Super Lovers brings us into the life of Haru Kaidō, a recent college graduate who now works at a host club to pay the bills. And by bills, I mean things like student loans (I imagine) and home owner’s insurance. You know, adult stuff. Oh, and the expenses of his two half-brothers, since his father and step-mother were tragically killed in a car accident. That’s not a joke. That’s the premise.
Life is already hectic for Haru, so there is plenty of room for more responsibilities, right? He’s the older brother, so why not add another member to the Kaidō clan? Well, thanks to a promise that Haru made to his adopted kid brother five years ago, he’s getting acquainted with high school student Ren all over again, because Haru’s biological mother Haruko just got a job at CERN and wants that other son of hers to take care of him!
If I haven’t lost you yet, that was probably the most complicated part of the story. Family structures are complicated these days, and frankly a lot of anime don’t address them nearly as much.
Before I talk more about the Kaidō family drama, I do want to commend Super Lovers for adding other minutia that don’t get addressed nearly as often in anime, manga, or anything else for that matter! When a series is already forbidden by most to begin with, you can practically get away with putting in other things that most people don’t talk about, such as drug trafficking or owning exotic pets such as wolves.
One I would like to focus on a little more is the fact that Haru and Ren are ethnically Japanese, despite Japanese being their second language. Seeing how Japanese is half of my heritage, this doesn’t come as a surprise to me. But for some reason, it boggles a lot of people’s minds (including some Japanese people) that someone with a Japanese name could have no ties to the homeland. I mean, I didn’t have a choice in my ethnicity nor my country of origin, and neither did these guys!
While we’re on the subject of nationalities as opposed to ethnicities, Haru and Ren also come from a country that even some US citizens forget exists: Canada!
Okay, I’ll admit that a lot of these kinds of details in Super Lovers often reduce to stereotypes. But I suppose that’s all part of the humor in this show, I guess.
I would attempt at making things more complicated as I usually do with these elements, but then a lot of humor would be lost.
A lot of elements in Super Lovers may be considered taboo for the social norm, but I think the most taboo might be Haru’s relationship with Ren. And I don’t mean the fact that Haru is the seme and Ren is the uke (that part is obvious).
Whether it appalls you or plays into your fantasies, Haru and Ren are still brothers. Yeah, adoption is a technicality, but romance between them is something that most people would probably think is strange. It also doesn’t help that Haru is a full-grown adult and Ren is still a teenager. Where I come from, that’s just illegal.
Now let’s be honest. There is no funny business going on (on screen) between Haru and Ren, other than I suppose kissing and sharing a bed. This would probably not bother some folks if they were a boy and a girl, especially for those who really like ecchi or hentai anime. But declaring that as a fault of this series still plays into the hand of BL, since BL can also make satirical criticisms of the social norm, including mainstream eroticism. That’s why I say, the more forbidden, the better.
But the main thing that bothers me about Haru is just how pushy he is, as if he’s got some kind of obsession with Ren that won’t go away. Boy or girl, siblings or not, it’s hard for me to relate to Haru because he has such a deep attachment to Ren. Maybe that’s because I actually stay as far away as I can from a lot of people, especially from family. Maybe close physical contact among siblings is normal, but it’s troubling to me.
But as weird as it sounds, I am (sort of) willing to admit that Haru’s love for Ren still has a brotherly sentiment, albeit a highly exaggerated one. Ren often finds himself confused with Haru’s approach, as if questioning whether Haru is in love with him or he’s just being a big brother. Haru is the responsible type who would pick up the slack for all of his brothers, but he especially does this for Ren. Perhaps this is because his half brothers Aki and Shima are already adults. Or perhaps Haru sees a part of himself in Ren that he hopes to provide for him in every way that he can. But ultimately, I think it’s because Ren fills a void that Haru is missing, which I am probably missing a lot of details about, frankly because this is still only half of the story.
A second season is slated for Winter 2017. I don’t think I will be continuing this series, but I suppose at least one thing is true about Haru’s love for Ren in the most ambiguous of ways.
So if you’re looking for a BL series about brothers who express their love for each other a lot more openly, check out Super Lovers.