Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai Review
Yokozawa Takafui no Baai is based off the series of light novels that are related to the Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi manga (I recommended the SekaKoi anime in my first Yaoi Recommendation series here). It takes a character in SekaKoi whom I was originally didn’t like for his somewhat antagonistic nature towards the protagonist and makes him into an incredibly sympathetic character. Yokozawa is given a surprisingly fluffy domestic story of his own that has made him one of my favorite characters in the SekaKoi franchise. The pairing of Yokozawa with Kirishima Zen has been dubbed ‘Trifecta.” [Note: An earlier review gave an incorrect origin for this pairings name and has since been edited] Kirishima also has a young daughter, Hiyori, and together they form a charming family unit filled with adorably sweet domesticity.
This OVA starts during the Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi episode 2×11 after Takano makes it clear to Yokozawa that he’s in love with Onodera. I would strongly recommend watching SekaKoi first so you can understand the complex relationship between these three characters, but there’s a good enough summary through voice over than you can dive into this OVA on its own. I think it’s also interesting how drastically different I feel about Yokozawa from SekaKoi and from his own series. He’s a tsundere type character, which means he often comes off as cold to others, and he’s also a major rival for Takano’s affections, which makes him somewhat of an antagonist in SekaKoi. When you look at him through a different lens, though, he’s just a heartbroken man who fell in love with someone who was in love with someone else. He only comes off as an antagonist because SekaKoi isn’t told from his perspective. Once you look at things from his view, it’s all rather tragic.
When Kirishima enters the picture, Yokozawa’s own story begins to take on an entirely new life of its own. At first it seems that Kirishima is blackmailing him, which really didn’t endear me to this couple at first. Technically he is blackmailing him, though what he has on him is not nearly as bad as he made it out to be and he’s being underhanded for the greater good anyway. My initial discomfort quickly evaporated when it became clear that Kirishima was really trying to help Yokozawa move past his heartbreak in the best way that Kirishima knows how. He admits that he likes to mess with proud people, so he gets to not only tease Yokozawa, but actually help him recover from an emotional period of his life in the process. I don’t think this type of play would work with any other characters, but it works for them.
The best thing about this story, is that it’s not just about them. This isn’t just the story of Yokozawa and Kirishima developing feelings for one another. There’s three major players involved (four if you count the cat, Sorata). Kirishima’s 10 year old daughter plays a huge part in the story. Her existence comes as a surprise to Yokozawa, but it doesn’t take long for her to bring out the rarely seen softer side of him. Kirishima even quips that if he’s good with children, he must be good with pets, too. Yokozawa says that’s because children and pets see the person for who they really are inside, inadvertently admitting that he’s a bit scary at first glance, but does have a soft spot inside of him.
Yokozawa’s relationship with Hiyori has a major impact on his character development. He immediately starts helping take care of her, earning him the teasing title of ‘mama’ from Kirishima. He helps her cook, wears a frilly apron at her request, makes sure she is on time for school, and even helps her do her hair. If you’d only encountered Yokozawa in Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi you may never have suspected he’d ever do these sorts of things. This is the big ol’ softy under the scary ‘bear’ persona that everyone sees at first glance. This is the part that Hiyori sees. Kirishima, on the other hand, sees both sides of him an loves him unconditionally. Yokozawa tries to warn him away saying that he aggravates people and comes with baggage, but Kirishima is persistent that he loves every part of him.
The family unit that these three forms is unique in the Yaoi genre. It’s domestically fluffy and adorable and uplifting. I enjoy SekaKoi, but the Trifecta pairing adds something to the universe that’s remarkably heartwarming in a sea of relationship drama and hurt feelings. It’s a mature relationship and far healthier than most that get depicted in the genre. I hope they create more movies based on the books because there are a lot more stories to tell.
After the credits role, we’re treated to some extra Valentine’s day fluff involving all of the SekaKoi pairings. Each pairing carefully tries to navigate how to give each other chocolate, which is traditionally given by women to men on Valentine’s day in Japan followed a month later by a return gift from the men. As all of the pairings on the show are male pairings, this tradition can get a bit murky. Yokozawa gets around this by making chocolates with Hiyori and giving Kirishima what he supposedly made for himself. It’s a very tsundere approach to Valentine’s day.
Outside of Kirishima and Yokozawa, my favorite pairing in the universe is Yukina and Kisa. Having even just a couple more minutes of them was an absolute delight. In this case, Yukina made Kisa some chocolates and all he wants in return is a kiss or for Kisa to tell him that he loves him. All Kisa can mumble out is that he loves his face, which is pretty par for the course for Kisa. He’s never been in love before and can’t quite get over the hurdle of actually saying it. But he surprises Yukina with a kiss in public, complete with slow moving wind in their hair and dramatically romantic music. Yukina, in all his princely beauty, hugs Kisa and suddenly everything is sparkly and romantic in a way that’s only befitting of the oh so beautiful Yukina. Their segment was so sweet I may have teared up a bit.
Onodera and Takano have things a bit more complicated on Valentine’s day. Takano pretty much expects Onodera to give him chocolates, but of course Onodera, like Kisa, has a hard time admitting to his feelings. Instead, he invites Takano over for curry and slips some chocolate into the meal. Takano finds out when he walks into the kitchen and sees the chocolate sitting on the counter, which sends Onodera into a flurry of embarrassment. I really love these characters, but sometimes I want to reach through the screen and bop them on the head for their inability to communicate with each other. As Onodera and Takano are the main pairing in this universe, their lack of communication is particularly frustrating. I suppose that’s what sustains the series, though. Once all their feelings are out in the open, the series will pretty much be concluded. Then perhaps we can give Yukina and Kisa a spin off on their own? Or perhaps just let Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai run forever? These would be great options.
I know I’m going to be called out for not mentioning Hitori and Yoshino, but it’s really hard for me to say much about them. In my very first Yaoi Recommendations Series, I had trouble finding positives about their relationship. At the time I just didn’t enjoy it much because I didn’t like love triangles, but now that I’ve been pulled more into the fandom and have learned more about them I can see their relationship for the problematic thing that it is. Even these few minutes devoted to them here demonstrated Tori’s extreme jealousy and forcefulness against Yoshino. Let’s just say that when I rewatch SekaKoi, I tend to skip their episodes. They aren’t sweet or even remotely healthy. But they are part of SekaKoi so they were… present.
Besides my Tori and Yoshino woes, I think this movie was absolutely fantastic. It lived up to my expectations and I hope it performs well enough that they’ll consider making more. The SekaKoi universe is one of the most enjoyable fictional universes I’ve ever immersed myself in. There’s so many different and unique characters that an abundance of spin off material doesn’t feel remotely redundant. If you’re left wanting side characters to have their own series, that’s a sign that these characters are written well and on a very relatable level. I’m glad that Yokozawa has been given a chance to shine both in the novel series and now in this movie. I’m looking forward to what else this universe produces.
Author: Angel Wilson
Stephanie “Angel” Wilson is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and has essays published in Fandom Frontlines.
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