Let me start off by saying:
- I watched both of these anime at the same time.
- This isn’t quite a Yuri on Ice!! (YOI) bashing, but there will be… words.
- I’ve rewatched both of these anime almost equally so this isn’t coming from a place of “I only watched YOI once and Hitorijime X times and blah, blah, blah…”
I didn’t make this post a blog post because it’s not really a review in my eyes. The purpose of this post is to highlight what I truly believe is not only an underrated BL anime, but an underrated BL manga series as well.
Why do I think Hitorijime is underrated? I ran a poll the other night about which BL anime I should rewatch, and almost no one voted for Hitorijime. That told me that either people liked my other options more (Junjo Romantica 3, Love Stage!!, and Super Lovers) or that people STILL sleeping on Hitorijime and I am sick of it
While I enjoy YOI (and I’m saying that after watching it dubbed), it’s just not BL enough for me. This has less to do with the canon-ness of the couplings and more to do with the fact that at its heart, YOI is a sports anime. Sure it’s acronym looks like the word, but it’s still just one letter shy of being yaoi.
I was speaking about this in my GC and it turned into this conversation about baiting. One of my friends put it aptly: I am a grown woman, and I don’t have time to be baited. And she’s right. I do not have time to invest in these assumed couples just to get matching rings. Additionally, it’s not like there’s extra source material to even try to get some kind of satisfaction. Like, I remember when I was watching the first time and I had to Google if these dudes kissed. When I saw the consensus was yes and that it’s implied, I was simultaneously like kawaiiiiii but also “the fuck is this shit?”
I will say that like the sports anime it is, YOI has a story that grabs you immediately and is fast paced (not just because they be twirling around on ice). There’s a reason I watch it just as much as Hitorijime: it is good, but not because of it being “BL.”
Now, Hitorijime is different. In my Launching FujoshiTings post I go into it a bit, so I’ll expand even further now. For one thing, Hitorijime is solely a BL. That means you gets the kissing, and the hugging, and of course
Hitorijime follows two couples:
My babies, Kousuke (older than Masa by a bit + their Math teacher, hence the subtitle of this post) and Masahiro
and Kousuke’s younger bother + Massa’s BF, Kensuke and Kensuke’s childhood friend Asaya
(These gifs alone should convince you to watch if you haven’t already🥵 ) As you can see from said gifs both couples have canon moments! I was gonna say my catchphrase, if you will, but the only “issue” I have is that the MC’s are high school students; specifically first-year high school students😬 . As such, thier squishier moments aren’t explicit but at least we know that they’re together and can see it with our own eyes!
Additionally, Hitorijime has some of the best couple and character development I’ve read since becoming a fujoshi. Even Ken and Asaya (who I don’t like as much) have decent development, though not as in depth because they aren’t the main couple. Incidentally, they have their own manga that isn’t licensed called Hitorijime My Boyfriend.
Masa and Ken’s friends and family also go through (some) character development in that they are aware of these relationships. There’s a small arc about accepting same sex relationships which I thought was nicely done and makes this series one of the “newer” generation of BL where same sex couples aren’t just blindly accepted and/or a secret.
I could say more, but the series is ongoing and I don’t want to step too much into review territory. The purpose of this post is to make the case that while YOI is good with likable characters, if we’re talking about more “classic” BL, then Hitorijime is the superior of the two.