So today I don’t have an internet connection (I think it’s because I haven’t paid my pocket wifi for 4 months now..oops *blushes*), I decided to watch something, whatever movie/series I have previously saved on my laptop to kill some time. I ended up with Ikoku Irokoi Romantan (A Romantic Tale of a Foreign Love Affair) and Junjou (“Pure Heart”), a BL (boy’s love) anime OVA and Japanese movie, respectively.
I’ve saved these two a looooong time ago, but I never had the time (and courage, of all things, what the hell) to watch them. After reading lots of BL mangas and watching some OVAs, I still get ticklish (gross! nyahaha, kidding) whenever I see two boys doing their thing..what’s more, when you’re watching them, it’s fun, because they’re “literally” moving! Kyaaa~
You see, they’re two different things, reading BL manga and watching a BL movie/OVA/series. Mangas usually show the explicit side of things, but they’re static, unlike OVAs and movies (invisible penis, everyone?) In OVAs, you can really see some action, but they are usually restricted by you know, censorship reasons and other stuff, so they ended up being a little more wholesome than the original source (which is a shame).
And in my opinion, this is biased, thinking that animators/directors go all out with hentai and yuri (girl-to-girl) stuff, while they seem to cringe every time they see two cute boys doing it. Boo. Corny people.
So, let’s start with A Foreign Love Affair. Spoiler: NOT ENOUGH SMEX!! 😀
It just dawned on me that this was an adaptation from a manga by Yamano Ayane..so that explains why Ranmaru looks like Akihito (from Viewfinder). So stupid of me. But yay! I really love the art, and of course it’s Yamano-sensei, so we can expect a well-drawn manga from her as always. But unlike her Viewfinder, and Crimson Spell, this one is a little..well, fast-paced. This is supposed to be a one-shot, but for me for a one-shot, it’s too fast. Waaay too fast. It’s like the manga is the actual storyboard of the OVAs. It’s like seeing the manga becomes colored and the characters moved out all of their own. I know it’s a hazy explanation, but that’s the smartest I can come up with. Hey, I’m not a legit reviewer here. But the first thing I noticed is that it’s too fast.
Well, I did see the OVA first, and as I’m watching the second part, I’m reading the manga. And yup, i will not change my decision, it’s really too fast. The pacing of the manga, I mean. Shall I take this work as Yamano-sensei’s early attempts at BL? Will that explain the fast pace, the not-so explicit sex scenes? The uke, Ranmaru, who is the third boss of a yakuza family, acting out like a girl all of a sudden after a steamy hot night (which we did not see, ugh) with Alberto Valentino (the seme)? I really do not know. Unfortunately, I cannot check the details of this manga/OVA online right now, poor me, so I have no idea when Yamano-sensei created this one. All I know is that the OVA was released in 2007. Maybe I’ll do it sometime.
Of course, no one’s perfect, but this OVA has its good points. I already mentioned the art. It’s superb. I really, really like it. The fact that the art on the manga and the OVA are almost the same, i.e., the characters really resemble the original is a huge plus point for me. And they were drawn on a very detailed way (erm, not as detailed as Kamon Saeko’s or Inariya Fusanosuke’s level, but hey, it’s gorgeous) that you will feel that they really spent some time in perfecting those details.
And I think, as a common practice by mangakas and anime directors (you see, a lot of anime series/movies that are like this), the ending for this OVA is open-ended; it leaves a lot of interpretation.
So the Q&A with me, myself and I ended up like:
1. Does it mean that they ended up together? No, Ranmaru is already married to Kaoru.
2. Did they file a divorce? I don’t think so, it will cause a huge uproar in the family.
3. Did they just spend their time visiting each other as often as the could? Maybe. Because in the manga, they ended up visiting on each other’s country..who knows how often they are planning to do it, no?
In the OVA, only the white-suit guy (ugh, I forgot his name) who had an unrequited love for Kaoru knows about Alberto and Ranmaru. In the manga, even Kaoru knows about it, and is a little disappointed that Al ended up with her husband, not her (wohoo!); but I guess she’s still happy for him in a way..
So, what’s the ending, really? I won’t tell, just watch it and decide. It will leave you wanting for more.