This week we return to the genre of yaoi: male gay romantic and erotic fiction normally aimed at women. It is also a series that proves, to quote an old expression, that you should never judge a book by its cover.
Super Lovers first began in 2010 as a manga by Miyuki Abe, and the anime version of the series began last month, currently 6 episodes into its 10 episode run. The series is notable because of the comments it attracted before the series began, with some people worrying about what sort of content was going to be in the show given how based on the advertising images of it, like the one above.
The series begins in Alberta, Canada, where a guy named Haru Kaido is visiting his biological mother. He himself was adopted by another family, becoming the eldest son of a family which already had a pair of identical twin brothers. During his visit he learns that the family has adopted yet another young boy, named Ren, who is a wild boy who mainly likes exploring the local wilderness, including the wolves. It is Haru’s job at first to civilise him: a slow process but the two eventually become close, with Haru even kissing him and promising that Ren will eventually live with him back in Japan. However, when Haru returns back home he is picked up in the airport by his adoptive parents, and on the road trip back the end up in a car crash. His adoptive parents are both killed, and Haru remains in a coma for a month. When he wakes up, he has memory loss, resulting in him forgetting about Ren.
Five years later Haru is now having to work in a “host club” (a place where attractive men entertain women, see also Ouran High School Host Club, N0. 3) in order to make ends meet and put his twin brothers, Aki and Shima, through school. A lawyer then meets up with Haru to tell him about Ren, who is now in Japan having obeyed Haru’s promise. Haru now has to act as Ren’s legal guardian, despite not remembering who Ren is, and thus not being able to inform Aki and Shima about his existence. However, it is not long before Haru is expressing the feelings he once felt for Ren again.
As expressed earlier, the most interesting aspect of Super Lovers is how people first reacted to the show, particularly in the west. The series was picked up for streaming by Crunchyroll, they promoted it with images from the show, like the one posted above. As you can see, in the picture Ren is still clearly a young boy. Because of the age of Ren and the fact that this series was a yaoi, many people complained to Crunchyroll because they believed that the series was going to be paedophilic. However, all that happens in the first episode is that they kiss, and then the series moves forward five years, so Ren’s age becomes less of an issue. Also, as both Haru and Ren are adopted, the relationship is also strictly speaking not incestuous.
Other elements of interest include the relationship not just between Haru and Ren, but also their relationship with Aki and Shima, whose reaction to when they learn about Ren being another adopted brother differs considerably at first, with one not liking it at all and the other being more understanding. There is also the comedy in the show, most of which comes from Ren trying to get to grips with urban, Japanese life. For example, he learns about the raccoon dogs that life in Japan, and believes that Haru’s landlord has one. What he actually has is a Pomeranian dog. There is also a scene in which Haru kisses Ren, but Haru makes Ren angry during the kiss and thus bites Ren’s tongue, causing to cough up a comically large amount of blood.
The best thing to be said about Super Lovers therefore is that it does surprise you. You are at first worried about what the show is going to be about, but once you enter the end of the first episode and move onto the second, all becomes clear.
Super Lovers is streamed online on Crunchyroll.