Sasaki to Miyano – 01

「初めて。」 (Hajimete.)
“First Time”

A wholesome and cute show about how a relationship can flourish from the most unexpected of places.

「初めて。」 (Hajimete.)
“First Time”

Here it is! The anime I was most anticipating this Winter 2022. Sure we have Shingeki, Sono Bisque, Akebi-chan, and Kimetsu. But there’s something special about this one. And I am really looking forward to it.

Having been privy to some of the manga, I really enjoyed this first episode because it cleaned out some of the kinks and made it polish and shine. Sure the animation might not be spectacular like CloverWorks, but there’s mastery at work thanks to the long animeography behind Studio DEEN. Besides the VA’s made a wonderful job, I especially liked the subtleties Shirai-san brought to Sasaki. And Saitou-san makes a great job bringing across this delicate awkwardness to Miyano, that is ever so present in the manga.

First time for everything

Let’s just admit it, right off the bat, when you ask your kouhai for manga recommendations and they just so happen to be BL, and you just so happen to be into, well that’s not exactly straight. I believe that’s the true trope here. Both of these boys, because they are boys, let’s not forget they are in high school, are straight. Or at least straight presenting. When Miyano, Yoshikazu (Saitou, Souma) takes a gamble with one of his senpais after he asks for some manga recommendations. Miyano inadvertently lends out his newest grab, a BL detective manga. And after Sasaki, Shuumei (Shirai, Yuusuke) the senpai in this story, ends up reading and finding out he might enjoy it. He now possesses strange anxious feelings towards Miyano. But both of them are straight, right? I mean everyone is straight until they aren’t.

So Sasaki tries to discuss the manga’s plotline out in the open, which causes Miyano to have somewhat funny and strange reactions as this is an all-boys school and wants to keep as low of a profile as he can. All boy’s schools can be especially hards for boys who want to formally enter into a relationship. Furthermore dating in high school for LGBTQ+ youth is even especially hard. This is the time of sexual awakening when for the first time you start developing crushes and feelings towards other people, whether it’s in the same school or not. And having to deal with them yourself.

So even though Miyano tries to teach Sasaki about the do’s and don’ts, sometimes he just can’t help himself. Like being overly touchy with Miyano, but Miyano pushing him away. It’s not that he doesn’t like his touch, is the fact he does that makes him remove his arms from his body. But longing for that feeling would mean having to accept it, to him and to the world, and that can be a scary thing. Coming out is a scary thing. Which all but falls flat on Sasaki, but Miyano being an avant BL reader might already know how difficult it can be, and how society will react to them. So he pushes Sasaki away. Sasaki doesn’t seem to think much of it though.

You don’t need to be a gay dude to read BL, I know tons of straight guys who do so, but most of the time is out of morbid curiosity, not because they seek to see themselves represented in a media so popularly enjoyed by so many people.

The fun in this series comes from the fact that it’s atypical for a BL, focusing heavily on the wholesome aspect and the slow build-up of the relationship. But – It doesn’t mean it undermines what it’s trying to accomplish and normalize.

The fact they’re in high school means a lot to me because, well gay people exist! And most of the time the realization comes when everybody else does. But so many times it has to be pushed back, or looked away from, pretend it’s not there! I was looking forwards to Sasaki to Miyano because it’s a paradigm breaker, it’s a stereotype killer. Or it’s a fudanshi’s wet dream. Whatever side you want to be on.

Sweet vs Sour; Seme vs Uke.

You can already tell who’s who, and who has what role in this relationship, it’s abundantly clear. Sasaki is the forward seme who has no idea what’s going on, he lives in his own little world and uses every opportunity to get closer to Miyano playing hot and cold with him, trying to make his advances abundantly clear. And Miyano is the uke who doesn’t want to accept his role, when Sasaki offers to hold the umbrella Miyano abundantly refuses (power play situation) until Sasaki plays it off as something he wants to do in order to pay him back. Although it might have all been a dream. I especially liked that the first rays of sunlight after the storm came through when Miyano offered the umbrella. A very nice touch!

Sasaki doesn’t especially like sour things and buys a 100% all-sweet plum juice drink, while Miyano can’t stand sweet things. Because of this, there’s already a backlash from Miyano’s side, they’re not an instant match, at least not one that is plastered all over the wall. Instead, they’re more like a light and dark situation, yin and yang, but their feelings for each other might take longer to pronounce. Overall I really liked this premiere of Sasaki to Miyano and think it’s doing a great job so far at adapting the manga into TV form, it was really such a trip watching a manga I wholeheartedly enjoy and think of as nothing but wholesome, in animated form.

Cheers for more!

Author: FJ

A young fantasy writer during the night, motion graphics and illustration during the day. Currently living in Mexico. Aspiring to make a feature film.

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