Koji Nanjo, a young rock star, falls in love with soccer player Takuto Izumi. Koji eventually learns that Izumi's mother killed his father out of severe and intense love. Izumi took all the guilt for his father's murder and refuses to go pro because of fear that his past will be discovered by the media. Izumi detests Koji's company and encouragement and severely dislikes the attention from the press, but Koji cannot stay away for he soon realizes that his love for Izumi is very similar to the love that Izumi's mother felt for his father.
The decision to start Zetsuai was a random one for me. I am not the world’s biggest yaoi fangirl, not that I am somehow morally against or disgusted by the subject matter, but I always attempt to try new things. I really did try to go into this with an open mind but sadly this turned out to be exactly the kind of tripe I was originally expecting. As an anime in general this may be the worst drawn and most poorly designed show I have ever seen.
The story starts out with a flashback of our hunky lead reminiscing about a football hunk from his childhood. Excuse me will I clean my keyboard after spilling my tea laughing at that statement. I lied; there is nothing hunky about our girly man leads. Back on point, the lead Koji Nanjo is a super famous and popular musician who insists he isn’t gay, despite having these thoughts about this footballer. Coincidently the now grown footballer, Takuto Izumi picks up the passed out and drunken Koji from a rainy alley and nurses him back to health. I’m sure this kind of thing happens all the time. Straight man picks up a drunkard from an alley and takes him home then sleeps lovingly with him on the same bed. What a nice man.
Actually this illness, and let’s call it what it is; IT’S A COLD! It’s not life threatening! For the most part healthy young men do not drop dead after getting wet and developing a small fever and the sniffles. However this is a recurring theme in this anime. I would guess that at least 60% of the story takes place in a hospital or in someone’s sickbed. I know, I know, I am sure this is supposed to drive home some kind of splendid drama or titillate me with the promise of healing buttsecks.
All this being said there is some decent drama beneath all the sickness and gay-angst. Sorta. Kinda. Koji moves from a man who claims he isn’t gay to a flaming symbol of gay pride in the span of 10 minutes. Most puzzling we are supposed to believe that it was the look in Izumi's eyes that so captivated him when he was younger. Towards the end though the drama is fairly interesting as Koji tries to get his feelings across to the emotionally damaged Izumi. The story doesn’t really end satisfactorily but it isn’t horrible. It doesn't change the fact though that Koji is an obsessive psycho and there is nothing to make you think either one of them have any real feelings for each other besides what they say. Additionally the sports action and portrayal of the music industry is unrealistic to say the least. Yaoi fans looking for a lot of guy x guy action are also not likely to be satisfied either. There is very little intimacy between the "lovers" and absolutely zero chemistry and nothing that is even close to being called romance.
The cast for Zetsuai is small and pretty much keeps to its two leads. They are both underwhelming as characters. Izumi attempts to be played as this macho and manly athlete. But he comes across as a heartless brooding asshat. Yes, he’s had it rough. He is haunted by the murder of his father by his mother and her attempted murder of him. Because of the societal rejection of him as the son of a murderer he is understandably scarred emotionally and distant from people. He is moderately sympathetic as a character because most of what happens to him or has happened in his life is really through no fault of his own. I suppose the most inspirational thing about his is as a warning to people on why you shouldn't pick up strangers in the street and take them home with you.
Koji on the other hand is equally passionless. Though what exactly he is messed up about is anyone’s guess. I find it quite laughable that someone with so little interest in anything could ever become a successful musical artist. The only time he shows any real passion about anything is in playing the pining man-wife type, while he tries to force himself on Izumi. He is a complete psycho and his antics get more and more over the top the more desperate he becomes.
What can I say about the art? Well it is without a doubt one of the most horrible things I have ever subjected my eyeballs too. This kind of thing is precisely why I don’t watch this genre. If you want to see two women together why not just watch a yuri anime? It seems 99% of yaoi artwork is a rip-off of CLAMP designs. The guys are way too feminine, with long girlish nails and fingers, long silky hair, and thin faces with knife like pointed chins. Either the artist really loves Jay Leno or this is supposed to be attractive. Additionally the characters are supposed to be 16. Despite the silliness of that when it comes to the story, these guys don’t looks like they are 16. No way in hell. It’s not just the character designs that are hideous, the backgrounds and settings are just as bland and uninspired. I suppose I should give it a bit of a pass being that it is from almost 20 years ago but I can’t see this looked good ever. Even a cave artist would have thought this looked like shit.
Perhaps the only thing worse than the art is the music. Wow. I can’t believe we used to listen to this trash. If you want to reminisce to the good old days of hair bands and trite lyrics and corny keyboard sounds then maybe you will get a smidgeon of value. As hair bands go Mötley Crüe rocked, this is more like listening to Nelson. The acting performances are equally uninteresting and unmoving.
Overall Zetsuai 1989 is an anime that should be avoided by all but the most undiscriminating viewer or yaoi fangirl. I would say you could watch it for the lulz but you should love yourself more than that. The only thing it really has going for it is that it’s a million times better than its epically shitty sequel. read more
All I have to say is that the sound that the Takuto makes while going down the rail was enough to make this anime worth watching. I was utterly uninterested in everything until that tiny scene and it really made my day.
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