"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Reviews in Brief: Embracing Love: Cherished Spring (anime)

Finally! Another Review in Brief after a looong hiatus. Maybe it'll become a regular feature again.

Embracing Love: Cherished Spring is the first installment of the anime adaptation of Youka Nitta's Haru wo Daite Ita. The story is unusual for BL anime in that it deals with the trials and tribulations of maintaining a relationship rather than the normal story line of connecting.

Kyousuke Iwaki and Youji Katou are adult film actors who want to break into "legit" film. Iwaki lands the lead role in a feature film, beating out Kato in the auditions; Kato lands a supporting role, and falls in love with Iwaki during the shooting. Kato winds up moving in with Iwaki -- Iwaki is aghast, but acquiescent. And then another film actor, who had to leave Japan because of his own gay love affair scandal, turns up in a role opposite Kato -- but his eye is on Iwaki.

What's interesting in this one, aside from the gorgeous drawing (more later on that) is the way character moves the story. Kato is wide open, somewhat of a bad boy, and a media darling -- he knows how to play the interviews and how to get to his fans. Iwaki is the quiet one, ducking publicity when possible, afraid that Kato doesn't really love him, and determined that Kato is not going to find out how much he cares for him. He's also older than Kato, and feels at a disadvantage both for that and because of his history in adult films.

The visuals are more than a little appealing. The animators have stayed true to Nitta's style, which is unique among mangaka doing yaoi. Spare and reductivist, it's nevertheless very expressive and appealing. I have to confess, though, that I find cartoon sex iffy -- it's never arousing, and often ludicrous.

It's my second DVD purchase (the first, of course, was Loveless), and I'm glad I bought it. It's distributed by Kitty Media. The DVD contains a couple of special features, including trailers from some of Kitty's titles.


Director: Yoshikata Nitta
Script: Mami Watanabe
Storyboard: Yoshikata Nitta
Episode Director: Naosumi Ishizuki
Music: Sousaku Sasaki
Original Manga: Youka Nitta
Character Design: Hirotaka Marufuji
Art Director:
Mitsuharu Miyamae (ep 2)
Noburo Numai (ep 1)
Sound Director: Nobuyuki Abe
Executive producer: Masaki Kobayashi
Saburou Oomiya
Toshiharu Tanada
Animation Supervisor: Hirotaka Marufuji
Casting Management: Kouta Suzuki (81 Produce)
Music Director: Atsushi Yabe
Music Production: Akira Yoshikawa
Production Assistant: Eiko Torikai
Theme Song Performance:
Shinichiro Miki (ED)
Toshiyuki Morikawa (OP)


Shinichiro Miki as Youji Katou
Toshiyuki Morikawa as Kyousuke Iwaki
Chihiro Suzuki as Yukihito Sawa
Kazuhiko Inoue as Nagisa Sawa
Ken Narita as Katsuya Kikuchi
Kentarou Itou as Kazunari Urushizaki
Chihiro Suzuki as Staff B (ep 1)
Haruhi Terada as Female Reporter A (ep 1)
Tomokazu Sugita as Reporter B (ep 2)

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