Masahiro Setagawa doesn’t believe in heroes. With his dad out of the picture and his mother just as likely to bring her work (read: lovers) home as to spend all night out with them, he knows that there’s no one to come save you when you’re in trouble. To that end, he’s thrown his lot in with a group of thugs, doing their bidding if only to have a place to belong. Then one night, after the notorious Bear Killer (a man in a weird T-shirt who takes down thugs) attacks his gang, Masahiro meets Kensuke Oshiba in the park with an abandoned kitten. Masahiro helps Kensuke take the kitten home and feed it, only to discover that Ken’s older brother Kousuke is the Bear Killer himself! A year later, Masahiro and Kensuke are starting high school. Masahiro has cut ties with his former associates, become friends with Kensuke, and finally found the hero he’s always wished for in Kousuke. But with Kousuke set to become a math teacher at their high school and Kensuke’s old best friend Hashiba suddenly returning, do the boys have any hope of a normal high school life – or love?
Source: Anime News Network
Vrai is a queer author and pop culture blogger; why can’t we have nice things. You can read more essays and
All right, all right. You fine people support us and justifiably expect content in return. So content you shall have, even if this show doesn’t deserve it.
There are many branching points in this premise where it could’ve become a serviceable show. It could’ve been about the main character’s struggles to stay away from the gang he fell in with during middle school. It could’ve been about his troubled home life and his difficulties disclosing that to a potential partner. It could’ve been about his best friend, who is clearly smitten with an estranged childhood friend (because these shows regularly insist on including a relatively healthy couple but hiding them behind the garbage). It would’ve still had fairly mediocre art and murder-weapon-grade yaoi chins, but it would’ve been all right. But it is none of those things.
Nope. This is a show about a teacher fucking a student.
Y’know what, I’ll be generous. If the author really wanted to keep the “forbidden romance” angle, it could’ve been about a college student who wants to fuck his professor. That would still be highly unethical, but at least both parties would have fully developed frontal cortices and equal legal standing. But no. This is about a high school teacher fucking his high school student.
Why can’t we have nice things?
Seriously, there is good BL out there. Stuff that involves consenting adults and good writing and functional proportions (okay, the last point may be a stretch). But that content rarely, if ever, makes it to animation. Instead, we get anime after anime replete with assault and abuse treated as if they are displays of adorable romance.
And it is somewhat unique to the BL genre. Yuri and hetero shoujo have their share of awful tropes dressed up as fetishes—look no further than this season’s abominable Netsuzou Trap—but there are also enough positive examples that a viewer doesn’t have to drag their tongue along the putrescent barrel leavings of the genre in hopes of finding consumable content. For whatever reason (I have a theory involving the societal acceptability of the Class-S “phase” allowing more consensual yuri romance than the violence- and transgression-based assumptions of BL, but that’s for another day), a show like Flip Flappers is infinitely more likely to come along than a show like Yuri!!! on ICE.
We deserve better. Queer audiences deserve better. Hell, fujoshi deserve better than to have the masculinity-proactive/violent, femininity-reactive/malleable gender roles force-fed to them in yet another form. The continued privileging of these types of inherently unequal, abusive relationships shows only contempt for female audiences and fetishizing unto dehumanization of queer existence. And I am sick to death of it.
Fuck you, Hitorijime. And good job, Amazon Strike. Your blatantly anti-consumer practices have successfully snagged one series which deserves to be buried at the very depths of the ocean.
In short: I didn’t care for it much. Please watch Samurai Flamenco instead for all your queer hero needs. Its creators might be embittered cowards, but at least the show was sincere.
Read the ANN Preview Guide review.
Vrai is a queer author and pop culture blogger; they’re getting too old for this crap. You can read more essays and find out about their fiction at Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories, listen to them podcasting on Soundcloud, support their work via Patreon or PayPal, or remind them of the existence of Tweets.
Want to see feminist reviews of more anime by more people? Make it possible for us to pay multiple people to review each show by becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month!