As part of last season’s shows, Doukyuusei slipped through my radar mainly due to it not being aired on the various anime streaming services I follow, but I managed to track it down just a short while ago and I have not regretted it. Doukyuusei is a short, hour-long movie that combines some great animation with a sweet romance to produce a truly entertaining Boys Love film. For fans of Boys Love I really can’t recommend this enough.
For anyone interested, here’s a quick synopsis:
Rihito Sajou is an honor student who got perfect scores in every subject on his high school entrance exam. Hikaru Kusakabe plays guitar in his band that performs at live events and is popular among the girls. These boys would have never crossed paths. But one day Hikaru offers to help Rihito prepare for their upcoming chorus festival and the two begin to talk. As the two meet after school, they feel one another’s sound, listen to each other’s voice, and begin to harmonize as their hearts beat together.
A-1 Pictures really showed what they were capable of with this film. Combining a low amount of detail with highly fluid animation created something that was different yet very interesting visually. In doing so, they created what felt like a very low-key and relaxing mood throughout punctuated by short bursts of energetic movement. From an artistic standpoint, Doukyuusei brought a new and different style to an otherwise homogenous-leaning genre. The backgrounds, while lacking any significant amount of movement, provide a vibrant and warm backdrop to the story playing out in the foreground. This ultimately adds to the feeling of nostalgia that pervades the high school setting.
And while the backgrounds lack movement, the characters make up for it three-fold. A-1 Pictures focused heavily on a minimalist style, looking to bring more attention to their great fluid animation that really helps cement this film as one of my favorite BL romances. The character designs are loose and simple, wispy even, but their movements through the static backgrounds add a striking contrast that emphasizes the animation as a whole. But when the moment calls for it, the art becomes detailed, producing a sense of dramatic romance and drawing attention to the littlest movements and details.
The animation wasn’t the only aspect that kept me hooked however, it was the truly heartfelt story of adolescent romance. Far too many times I see romance anime and manga delay the characters getting together in favor of drawing out every piece of drama as long as they can. Then there will be stories where the main identities of the characters are heavily tied to their relationships, lacking outside interests that help make them well-rounded people. In Doukyuusei, Hikaru is a member of a band that is fairly popular and loves to play the guitar. Rihito is a straight-A student but has been struggling to get into the college of his choice. These outside influences provide opportunities for the characters to both support and conflict with one another. Not only do the conflicts and drama revolved around their relationship, but also around their outside interests. Ultimately, Hikaru and Rihito wind up being some of the most well-rounded characters in BL.
At only about an hours length, Doukyuusei manages to make the most of their limited time. Rihito and Hikaru come together to help each other with their singing and wind up quickly falling for one another. There is no orchestrated delays to prevent them coming together, no frustrating misunderstandings, just one simple kiss under the moonlight. The problems and conflicts they face relate directly to them being a gay couple or to their outside interests and plans for the future. It was a nice break to get away from jealousy-riddled drama and get back to the basics of what makes a good romance.
If you have the chance, I would definitely consider checking Doukyuusei out. A simple google search will turn up a few places to stream it from. Then let me know your opinions in the comments below!