There didn’t appear to be any massive time jumps in “Cherry Blossom.” Thank God, because that was getting ridiculous.
“Cherry Blossom” seemed to be tailor-made to ease my initial concerns about the relationship between Haru and Ren. We’re finally shown more active consent from Ren, it’s implied that he’s at least 16 years old, and it’s established that he’s just small for his age. All those nagging doubts that made me stop reading the first chapter of the manga seemed to get chipped away this week and I’m really grateful for that.
So far Ren’s been just sort of tolerating Haru’s touchy-feely behavior, but now he’s actually kissing him back when prompted. Sure, he was threatened with “rice disappearing” from their meals, but that was a pretty idle threat, to be honest, and the context of the scene shows that he actually enjoys this little quirk of theirs. He also outright says he’s “never not liked” kissing Haru. Despite the fact that’s a terrible double negative (I’d love to know what the equivalent of a double negative in Japanese is?), it does show he’s actively into whatever type of relationship they’ve got going on. The poor guy just doesn’t quite know how to handle his feelings, though. He states that his love and Haru’s love aren’t the same thing, but I’m not quite sure that’s exactly true. They might just both be too afraid to actually move beyond their playful flirting into something more serious out of fear of rejection from the other party.
We are also introduced to Kurosaki Juuzen, who seems like a strange enough fellow to get along with Ren just fine. His initial reading of the situation between Ren and Haru is that Haru is Ren’s “foreign” boyfriend. The idea that Haru is less Japanese than Ren is hilarious, considering their upbringing. They both spent a considerable amount of time in Canada, but Haru understands Japanese customs far better than Ren. I guess it’s those light-colored eyes again. They make him stand out.
Kurosaki may not be too far off the mark on the other part, though, even if our duo isn’t aware of it. Kissing just isn’t something friends or brothers do (even adopted brothers), so it’s not exactly that strange of an assumption that they’re partners. Once again, their flirtation gets blamed on them being “foreigners.” Like really, do people think Canadians just kiss each other on the lips at every greeting like it ain’t no thing? How is that a logical assumption? But whatever. It lets them continue their relationship as they see fit, I suppose. I just hope they eventually accept their feelings for one another.
Continuing with the theme of consent, Iku is teasing Haru for his obviously flirty relationship with Ren and gets Haru to confess he wouldn’t be interested in a “kid with very little sex appeal.” Ren overhears this and refuses to speak to Haru for five days, even opting to buy food at the cafeteria instead of eat his homemade bentos. It’s obvious he wants something more out of the relationship than the familial bond, but it’s a delicate relationship and it’s clear he doesn’t want to lose it. He’s lonely, just like Haru, and they’ve somehow managed to find each other to provide the comfort they so obviously need.
I’m enjoying this show so far, and each episode eases my discomfort just a bit more. It’s still not my top five yaoi animes (or top 10 overall including manga), but I can dig it. The characters are very fleshed out an unique. I look forward to the next episode.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel 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 is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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