Review: Hitorijime My Hero (anime)

I started this 12-episode show while pet-sitting for my parents and just finished it last night (before leaving to pet-sit for someone else). It’s based on a Japanese yaoi manga series, but this will just be looking at the anime. Because of the lack of sexual content, I’d place this more as a “boy’s love” story or just plain ol’ romance.

Overall this was a sweet/cute story following four guys (two couples) along with their friends. It was an interesting watch, but it didn’t entice me into “just one more episode” until the last four. Part of this is because while the couples aren’t already established as we start, there is a certain sense of “finding” a relationship that was already there, which removed a lot of the emotional build-up between the characters. (Also the first episode confused me as one character’s hair color changes with a time skip and I mistook him as someone else.)

I will warn that the one couple includes a guy who is in first year HS (roughly 16, I believe) who ends up with a teacher (his friend’s older brother). I’m guessing the age gap is 10 years, which in itself is reasonable but at that age can be problematic for viewers. However, the anime does a good job of handling the age gap problems (as well as addressing student-teacher issues*) and their relationship is sweet rather than sexual, as far as we see.

I hope this show is an indication that more yaoi is moving away from the horrific tropes that make up this genre–while it does include many of the traditional motifs of earlier yaoi, it avoids making the relationships entirely physical; there’s no on-screen sex, if they are having sex at all; and while seme/uke visual tropes might be invoked, there is a stronger sense of actually having consent…which yaoi often ignores. There are a few scenes which are callbacks to the time before consent, but overall it’s much improved from…well, pretty much anything from the ’90s and early 2000s.

If you’re a fan of the genre in general, this is worth a watch as long as you don’t go in expecting the reluctant uke and the domineering(/rapey) seme. The dramas are cute, although very low-key; the final arc hit my emotional notes especially, although your mileage may very. There’s a sprinkling of humor mixed in, the dub was well done, and the art for the most part was enjoyable.

While it didn’t blow me away, I can definitely see myself watching this when I want a sweet relaxing show to play in the background.

* The show brings up the student-teacher issue and has it as a dramatic point, although I’m not sure it really resolves it satisfactorily – unless the last few scenes imply something I missed.

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