Serenata gave me the O.K. to take over in reviewing/recapping Sekaiichi Hatsukoi. Although that means we are jumping from episode 02 straight to 06, hopefully it won’t be too disorienting for you. The plot really isn’t very complicated so it shouldn’t be hard to keep up. Skip to the bottom for my thoughts, the rest is a recap of what actually happened in the episode.
-Episode 06 Review –
After a free trip (vacation) that resulted in a little bit of slacking on Chiaki’s part, the whole department is scrambling to finish and meet the deadline. Regardless of job obligations, he finds himself preoccupied by the little love triangle that he has been caught in. (Although, let’s face it, he doesn’t realize the full implications of this triangle. He thinks that both he and Yuu are in love with Tori, where I believe the truth is that Yuu and Tori are in love with Chiaki.)
So he asks the staff about the situation – hypothetically, that is. He says that it is a plot he is brainstorming for his manga, to try to get their input without admitting that it’s the real situation. Chiaki gets called out on it, though he scrambles to deny it when Yuu hears.
Chiaki goes home after a long day of working himself (and daydreaming, I assume). Tori comes over to make sure he gets some good food, guessing that even during his break Chiaki probably didn’t eat anything. With Yuu there, the atmosphere is tense as always. To the casual observer, it’s obvious that Tori and Yuu don’t particularly get along, whereas Chiaki somehow misinterprets these same signals to mean they like each other.
At Tori’s behest, Chiaki eventually agrees to attend New Years party and mingle with some of the other mangakas and editors. (With the condition that, the only way he will go, is if Yuu accompanies him.) This obviously is a little unsettling for Tori who seems to be a little jealous. Once Yuu leaves, Tori tries to spring a kiss on Chiaki, who pushes him away.
Once Tori leaves, Chiaki is left alone to sulk. He finds it difficult to be intimate with Tori and also stops to consider the implications, still under the impression that both he and Yuu love the same man. So he tries to figure out – does he feel the same for both Yuu and Tori? Or is Tori special?
At the party, Tori whisks Chiaki away when Yuu leaves to get some food and the two go to greet the producers that are adapting one of the manga that Chiaki drew. For Chiaki, who seems a little socially awkward, it is a difficult meeting that leaves him stuttering in response. Afterward, Tori is called away by some women and Chiaki returns to the party with Yuu.
The sting of jealousy eats away at Chiaki, but he reminds himself that Yuu is probably also having a hard time watching those women throw themselves at Tori. (Actually, he could really care less.) In fact, when Chiaki mentions that Yuu likes Tori, Yuu completely kills the misconception: “That’s gross.” He even goes a step further, taking a few jabs at Tori.
Embarrassed at his misunderstanding and fedup with watching those other authors flirting with Tori, Chiaki finally decides to leave with Yuu. As the two make their way out, Tori chases after them, reminding Chiaki that they still have a meeting to do. Chiaki gives him the cold shoulder and leaves anyways. But ever the persistent one, Tori finishes up at the party and follows Chiaki home to finish their meeting.
What ensues is a heated argument. Although Tori is trying to discuss the storyboards with Chiaki, Chiaki is more preoccupied with the fact that Tori smells of women’s perfume. It sparks his jealousy and he slings the accusation at Tori, who deflects it with… a poor excuse. (To his defense, he really is innocent, but the situation looks bad.)
After working out the misunderstanding (and some added [implied] lovemaking that we do NOT get to see) we see the couple early in the morning when Yuu comes over to visit. Tori is making breakfast while Chiaki sits slumped against his chair. (Must have been a rough night.) And after a little teasing, Yuu admits that there is someone that he likes, it just isn’t Tori – but that Tori does know who it is.
My feelings are similar to the ones Serenata expressed in her review of episode 02. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi’s plot, its character – its entire dynamic – it all feels recycled from Junjou Romantica. I know I will have fangirls skewering me with a pitchfork for saying as much, but it has to be acknowledged that the plot feels cliche. That being said, I am trying not to compare it to other shonen-ai/yaoi manga because it is an anime, albeit an adaption.
If I stop and compare it to other shonen-ai/yaoi manga, then there is really no purpose in watching it. Facing the facts, very few shonen-ai/yaoi series get the opportunity to be animated. Remember last year? Togainu no Chi was an utter disaster. UraBoku was, albeit better than TnC, a complete mess. In both of those there was no development, little plot advancement. It was utterly frustrating to go in with expectations and leave with them shattered.
So on the flipside, I have to commend Sekaiichi Hatsukoi on one thing. Even though it is fanservice, it does provide development. (Relationship development, that is, I have yet to see much character development.) I am not usually terribly fond of tsundere-ish characters, but what I like about Onodera is that he came in very jaded and cynical. Immediately I had hopes for the series thinking – this is it, this is what I have been waiting for. As the episodes progress I see I was mistaken.
But until the day when animators decide to animate series like Seven Days and The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese, we will probably only be seeing anime series like Sekaiichi Hatsukoi in the genre (shonen-ai/yaoi). Whether fortunate or unfortunate I suppose is up to the individual. To that end, I will continue reviewing while trying to retain some amount of optimism.