Production Studio: Studio Deen
Was this provided by the publisher? Yes
More Info: Anime News Network
Renowned novelist Akihiko Usami always gets what he wants. And what he wants happens to be Takahashi Misaki, a recent high school graduate with a superhuman tolerance for sexual harassment and a chin pointy enough to put an eye out. The two barely exchange greetings before Misaki finds himself in bed with the eccentric writer. Indeed, having lost his innocence and common sense, Misaki hastily agrees to be Usami’s roommate under the guise of study buddies. Thrust into these unfamiliar circumstances, Misaki constantly reminds himself that they are both men. Of course, that doesn’t seem to matter to Usami.
Despite the sound of its title, Junjo Romantica is not a romance about an unlikely couple warming up to each other. Rather, it’s about three vaguely intertwined couples, each with a different back story but a similar core dynamic who, after a few confessions, are ready to defend their love from whatever external force the plot feels like throwing at them. While the series primarily focuses on Usami and Misaki, it does still squeeze in the two other couples, resulting in a fairly diverse set of characters. From the tragedy stricken Miyagi and Shinobu, to Hiroki and Nowaki learning to balance work with love, each couple stands out enough from the others to be memorable if not likable.
The series straddles the line between gag comedy and pornography, or rather it merges the two, where Misaki’s sexual encounters effectively become a running joke. The bit gets more ridiculous as Misaki’s number of suitors begins to increase, while he continues to be as oblivious as ever. Still, between the tawdry sexual exploits are more laid-back gags about Usami missing a manuscript deadline or being too rich for his own good, which wouldn’t feel out of place in a typical slice of life show.
Even though the sex scenes are clearly the end to which the rest of the story is merely the means, the series does have enough going for it to separate it from pure smut. The comedy, along with the cheesy charm of each couples’ chemistry, make it an anime that can be enjoyed for more than what it offers at face value.
That said, the same praise cannot be applied to the character designs.
Junjo Romantica recycles the same two basic designs for all of its characters, making it genuinely difficult to tell some players apart from one another. This issue is so bad that one character had to have his color made more vibrant in one episode, in hopes of making him distinguishable in certain shots.
Let me be honest in saying that this isn’t an anime that everyone will enjoy. Junjo Romantica is not for those uninitiated to Boys Love, nor is it for those scandalized by sexually explicit material. Those looking for a more typical romance tale will also be disappointed. Still, if you’re a fan of massive hands and classy suits, and just can’t get enough of boys that can’t get enough of other boys, then Junjo Romantica is the show for you.