Though I’ve traveled through many different anime genres, I tend to stay away from yaoi/BL (boy’s love) series. I don’t have anything against the concept itself, but these series tend to attract a fanbase that not only is misogynistic, claiming every terrible thing that could be said about a woman is inevitably true, but also one that fetishizes relationships between men to the point where even gay men are uncomfortable. Furthermore, in the series that I have been exposed to, it seems like parts of these issues are incorporated into the stories themselves, and really, I don’t want to wade through looking for the one series that isn’t going to piss me off. However, pictures have been floating around on Tumblr about this one film that seems to be everything I could want in a love story that also happens to fall in the BL genre: something slice of life-y with relatable characters, a lack of sexual harassment, no bashing on women, and a banging soundtrack (if you like soft, acoustic music).
Doukyuusei (Classmates) was originally a manga penned by Asumiko Nakamura back in 2006, but was made into a film earlier this year due to the manga’s popularity. The story focuses on Rihito, an honors student, and Hikaru, an expressive guitar player. While it seems as though the two have little reason to interact, Rihito’s inexperience with singing allows him to accept help to prepare for the school’s chorus festival when Hikaru offers. From there, the boys grow closer and realize that they’re falling in love with each other.
It seems from the trailer that Rihito struggles with how to handle these new feelings, probably never thinking that he would fall in love with a boy. However, despite his struggles, the trailer never makes it seem as though he thinks being gay is inherently “bad” or “disgusting”, so hopefully through all this soul-searching we’ll be able to skip right on by the “suddenly everyone is homophobic” side-conflict. In fact, it does seem like the boys may have more than themselves to support them during this time: presumably Hikaru’s band and maybe one of Rihito’s cram school professors. I don’t know much, but I’m really hoping that the two aren’t isolated with their fears.
Though the story seems somewhat dramatic, the way Doukyuusei is presented makes me believe that there’s a happy ending for our two leads, and I’m always here for happy endings for my LGBTQ+ characters. If you’ve already seen this, please hold back on spoiling anything! I’ll have a review up later this week, so if you have something to say just hold on to it for a couple of days!