Sunday, October 7, 2018

Bloom Into You Episode #01 Anime Review

I can't reach the star.

What They Say:
Yuu has always loved shoujo manga and awaits the day she gets a love confession that sends her heart aflutter with bubbles and blushes, and yet when a junior high classmate confesses his feelings to her...she feels nothing. Disappointed and confused, Yuu enters high school still unsure how to respond. That's when Yuu sees the beautiful student council president Nanami turn down a suitor with such maturity that she's inspired to ask her for help. But when the next person to confess to Yuu is Nanami herself. Has her shoujo romance finally begun?

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Okay, listen up guys -- I'm going to do my best to contain my excitement in this pilot review, but the fact of the matter is that I'm still bouncing with joy over how this was even adapted. I first encountered Bloom Into You through the Seven Seas' manga release back in January of 2017 (The review is still floating around here somewhere) and immediately fell in love. Yuu Koito isn't your traditional yuri protagonist. Sure, she's cute, aloof, and doesn't immediately reject the idea of girl on girl relationships, but the one thing setting her apart from the rest is that...well, she's sort of incapable of feeling romantic feelings at all. 

Now, I'm all about some good, old-fashioned girl on girl tongue wrestling. But what a lot of people are beginning to forget (Thanks to series like Citrus and Sakura Trick) is that a lot of the time, you can't just start these stories off with makeout sessions. Much like in reality, real relationships take time to...bloom. See what I did there? Either way, Yuu's struggle (Which drops a plethora of hints at a debatable asexual preference) is one that is already interesting, if not objectively captivating. Back that up with one of the school's beauties and student council vice president, Touko Nanami, coming into the picture and we've already got a strong foundation for a yuri coupling. The new girl and the beautiful senpai has been a shoujo-ai staple for as long as I can remember, but it isn't very often that one of them is almost entirely disinterested.

Despite being an episode built from the bottom-up to emphasize Yuu's feelings on romance, the series pilot does an exemplary job in setting the stage for the rest of the anime. In just fifteen minutes (Before an extensive post-credits scene), we've already been familiarized with the two girls we're going to be following and are free to formulate our own ideas of how their relationship may develop. It's a wonderful example of 'show don't tell' philosophy that relies more on self-reflection and awkward silence than vivid descriptions of why the characters feel the way they do. It's no secret that love works in mysterious ways, but it's also no secret that, oftentimes, it doesn't work at all. Bloom Into You is a shoujo-ai series detailing that exact notion. Right now, we have no idea how anything is going to work. But the beauty of its themes will be brought to light in due time, much like how we learn lessons in reality. 

This isn't a show about girls' love, it's a show about figuring out who we are.

Apart from heavy thematic implications and well-written characters, Bloom Into You has plenty more to offer. At this point in the Fall season, I've watched somewhere between eight and ten new shows. This looks better than the vast majority of them. Even though they haven't been around as long as many of their competitors, studio TROYCA is proving once again that they aren't ones to be messed with. A vivid color palate, extraordinary lighting effects, and fluid animation rivals the beauty of the world in which all of these things inhabit. When you add an intimate original score from the likes of Michiru Oshima (Snow White With the Red Hair/Little Witch Academia), all of these aspects are heightened exponentially. I know it's still early in the life of this adaptation but, at the current time, I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this. It's everything I wanted and, moving forward, I'm excited to see where it takes us. 

In Summary:
Remarkably balanced and surprisingly intimate, Bloom Into You offers a unique take on the yuri genre featuring a debatably asexual protagonist. Gorgeous animation and an entrancing soundtrack work as the perfect backers to further thrust us into an already-immersive experience. Watching the relationship between Yuu and Touko unfold is going to be one of the highlights of this season for me. And if you share any interest in the shoujo-ai genre, I highly urge you to accompany me on that journey.

Episode Grade: A-
Streamed By: HIDIVE

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