Ever since I have begun watching anime Ive been on a quest to find an anime that gets being gay without much success. Despite the amount of BL and shoujo ai out there much of it serves to cater to the fetish rather than the actual LGBT person and it is a frustrating genre to explore as being in that demographic. However Yagakimi is the most excellent portrayal of what it feels like to grow up as a gay yet still uncertain high schooler I have ever seen as well as being an excellent personal romance in its own right carried along by complex realistic characters and beautiful artwork and direction. Yuri is not my genre of choice most of the time but I checked this one out on a whim and was immediately struck by how much the show understands the struggles of growing up gay and how all of its characters represent a different facet of that. Yuu starts out disenchanted with the concept of love because despite the urging from her friends and even having romantic prospects dropped in her lap just doesnt have those feelings of heterosexual love that are expected of her and as a result becomes jaded and as a gay guy who went to a conservative Christian high school in Alabama that is a feeling that is all too familiar and not explored by media enough. Nanamis more aware of these feelings but had yet to find a way to act on them until she meets Yuu and when she discovers someone who totally gets that part of her and accepts it she is immediately and easily attached which is again a very familiar feeling. Even Saeki who I expected to do nothing but introduce unnecessary genre is a wellfleshed out gay character who learns the about the spectrum of sexuality and how it affects her personally. The romantic development between Yuu and Nanami is so subtly but effectively explored the more dramatic and landmark moments between them are presented dynamically only by the strength of the direction rather than characters aggressively yelling or crying in that very anime sense. It just feels real in a lot of ways the characters act and behave like real people to an extent there is still some very deliberate animeness to it but Id still call it more realistic than a lot of similar romantic dramas. The way they develop into a fullfledged couple by the end feels so natural except for the sports festival episode which just felt like yuri fanservice for the sake of it and it was a minor bump in the road for me though I do respect that the effects of this scene are noticeable in later episodes but not aggressively so. I am not a big fan of romance anime in general unless I care about the characters before the romance starts and what Bloom into You does that I respect so much is make it a characters first show and then the romance between them is a side effect of learning about them their needs and flaws and how they complement each other. I also think that the direction the show goes in in the later half focusing on the idea of how the different versions of yourself as interpreted by your friends family and lovers combined are what make you whole. I wouldnt say it is quite as monumental in how it explores these themes as Evangelion or anything and the play does seem like a bit of a hamfisted allegory but it feels good and is handled well all the same. On a production level I was constantly impressed by the quality of visuals and direction. The background art is beautiful especially the student council room which feels so comfortable and broken in from how detailed it is. And as I mentioned earlier the dramatic scenes are really carried by the direction visuals and sound design rather than having characters who emote with an unrealistic degree of catharsis. I will say that it is not consistently amazing throughout its definitely a bit frontloaded but if Id call the visuals in the first 3 episodes 10/10 Id say it never dipped below 7/10 at any point in the show. The biggest problem with the show is that it doesnt really give the side characters their time to shine. I love Maki so much and he gets his episode but then kinda just fades into the background. Saeki introduces an interesting dynamic that is explored well enough in the few episodes shes the focus in but she kind of gets cut out of the plot awkwardly without much resolution. Still I would prefer the more subtle way her arc is ended to some kind of explosive misunderstanding love triangle bullshit that I cant stand. And on that note as much as I loathe dumb anime drama and am usually the first to call it out Bloom never got to that point again because of its subtle approach and characters that know how to act relatively maturely and think things out before doing dumb shit. Overall Id say Yagate Kimi ni Naru is one of the best romantic anime Ive seen. Not only because of the strength of its characters and its almost psychological approach to them but especially because of how well it really caters to an LGBT audience in a way I have seen no other anime achieve. This isnt yuri made for the yuri fan though Im sure your typical yuri fan does enjoy it as such but it is a subtle and very well done representation of the gay high schooler and I relate to a lot of its themes in a way I have no other anime.
95 /100
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