The third episode of Super Lovers – “White Christmas” – is clearly an establishment of the dynamic between the four brothers, and it’s actually making me feel a lot better about where this could be headed.
As I’ve said before (repeatedly), I never got this far in the manga, so the dynamic in “White Christmas” with Shima and Aki is completely new to me. Shima seems much more on board with Ren joining the Kaidou family, but we’ve kind of already set up the fact that Aki’s got some resentment and anger management issues going on. Do I see a moving story arc where Aki eventually comes around and accepts Ren? Will the dramatic turn around get me right in the feels? I’m eager to find out. Nothing like a good ol’ character redemption. One thing of interest is that Aki seems to interpret Ren as the one clinging onto Haru, whereas Shima seems to recognize that Haru is actually the one clinging all over Ren. There’s so many layers to the dynamic going on between these four characters I kind of just want to sit back and see what develops before analyzing it too much further. There’s a lot going on here.
I was actually surprised this series decided to tackle the topic of PTSD, especially so early. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. One of the primary protagonists was in a major car accident, but he’d lost his memories so I didn’t think it’d come up. He was triggered by witnessing another accident, though, and his memories of the event began to surface as a result. Not only is this an important topic for a popular narrative to cover with tact, but it also lends itself well to the hurt/comfort trope, which I’m a major sucker for. I can’t stand seeing a character I like suffer if there’s not someone there to provide relief for them. Enter Ren, the “comfort” of this hurt/comfort dynamic, and wow yeah I can see why this pairing is popular. MY FEELS.
One thing about the relationship between Haru and Ren that I don’t enjoy is Haru’s constant surprise kisses on the lips. The initial reason was that he just thought that’s how things were done in Canada (or was that just an excuse?), but they’re in Japan now. Also he can’t even remember all of what happened in Canada, so that’s clearly not a thing anymore. There’s no valid excuse, really, and I find it extremely weird. I mean I know this is yaoi, but come on now, that’s just absurd. But really, that’s the only thing that bothers me. The rest of their touchy-feely nature with each other is actually kind of endearing. Haru is an inherently lonely character. He clearly craves touch and both physical and emotional closeness, but nothing in his life before Ren seemed to satisfy that need. It’s sad, really.
The hurt/comfort dynamic gets reversed, though, as poor Ren gets physically injured by one of Haru’s customers and then attempted to leave because he’d caused Haru “too much trouble.” Ren showing up on Haru’s doorstep unannounced seemed like a selfish act at first, but he clearly felt a great deal of emotional pain over his actions and attempted to correct it by removing himself from the situation. This puts Haru in the position to return Ren’s earlier comforting gestures. Haru jumps on a plane and pops back on over to Canada after Ren in a grand gesture of devotion. This was it. This was the moment the show clicked for me.
Okay you guys, you win. I get this ship, now. I get your feels. I get the squee. I’m on board with this. They compliment each other in a remarkable way and I understand why this has topped charts across the internet as one of the best yaoi titles out there. It’s not my favorite by far (when will we get a Honto Yajuu anime?! WHEN!?), but I understand it now and I’m in this for the long haul. Bring it.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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