Anime Review: Super Lovers

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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.

Kiss

And that’s just the first episode!

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!

Haruko

Seriously. Don’t mess with the Haruko.

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!

English

日本人の中ではあまり日本語を話すことができません!

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!

Canada

ええ! (not to be confused with the Canadian “eh”)

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.

Kiyoka

Sigh. I don’t even want to explain how stereotypical this is.

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.

Creepy

Creepy Haru is creepy.

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.

super-lovers-resolveSo 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.

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4 thoughts on “Anime Review: Super Lovers

  1. Romance aside, the real problem is that the plot doesn’t really go anywhere and then they finally add in an actual complication just when the season ends. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this story.

  2. blubeagle

    A little more than a year after this post, sorry!

    In order to really understand how everything comes together, the manga must be read. This anime does a good job with the setup but the manga has so much more detail and characterization. You see how truly broken these two boys are (especially Haru) and the psychological/emotional profiling of how they exist in each other’s eyes and emotions. You get to see how they fix the brokenness in each other and you also get to see how they hurt one another deeply, without being overly clichéd. It’s also interesting to note how, thanks to the lawyer, everyone (pretty much ) knows what is going on between them. The twins figure it out before Haru does and calls him on it! It’s blatantly stated by Ren and the twins (to Haru) that Haru alone, was why Ren even went to Japan!

    Ren was adopted by the Kaidou’s (and Haruko) to be Haru’s ‘other side’ –be it brother, or significant other…his (their) choice. It’s pointed out that they are exactly the opposite side of the same coin and, very cleverly (I thought ), things like them wearing the same shirt (different color patterns) and how Haru (and Ren) both see a commonality in each other through their mutual love of White Fang.

    I love this series and totally think that the manga is awesome. It does a good job understanding the subversive nature of the whole relationship and pretty blatantly states that there are consequences to be had if the relationship were to be reported to the police /social services.

    It’s a deep story and it doesn’t shy from darkness or consequences for actions. That’s why I find myself so attached to it, I think. 🙂

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