Final Thoughts: Junjou Romantica (OVA)

Junjou OVA

When I heard Junjou Romantica was getting an OVA, four years after the sequel aired, I was a bit shocked, to say the least because I really wanted a Sekai-ichi one. I guess it only means somewhat trashy yaoi is doin’ well over there in Japan. Since I haven’t had an opportunity to really talk about Junjou before, I figure now might be a good as time as ever so that you all have an idea of where my needless bashing opinions regarding certain aspects of the show are coming from.

Once upon a time, having just finished my first yaoi/shounen-ai, Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi, and liked it, I decided I might as well check out the other (in)famous series by the same author, tentatively believing that it might have some of what I liked about Sekai-ichi. (It was only later that I discovered someone else writes the story for Sekai-ichi, which explains a hell of a lot.) So, I plopped down,  watched both seasons of Junjou Romantica, and thanked the heavens above that my first yaoi had been Sekai-ichiJunjou Romantica isn’t terrible, per say–although I know some probably consider it to be for justifiable reasons–but it does have its fair share of annoyances that tended to hurt my viewing experience. For instance, it tends to spend more time on angsty drama and sex than it does actually building up the relationships between its characters. There was a bit of build up, but everyone felt a tad shallow and unlikable which is quite a feat considering the fact that the show split it’s time between 6 guys (three couples: Romantica, Egoist and Terrorist.). All in all, Junjou Romantica wasn’t, by any means, the best thing I’ve watched. It was alright, though and I enjoyed bits of it (no, not the sexy time bits), so, when the OVA announcement came, I quietly resigned myself to watch the darn thing. Surprisingly, the OVA was kind of fun to watch with little time to revert back to the dumb drama that plagued the series.

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The one episode OVA starts off with the Egoist pairing (go figure) and…surprise, surprise, Hiroki is still a bit of an asshole while Nowaki remains a bit of the eager to please and cheerful person I remember him as. Although I’ve forgotten most of the fine details when it comes to the show, it didn’t take long for me to be reminded why I had such problems with this pairing, most of which center around Hioki who, despite spending years with a guy, knows next to nothing about him. Thankfully, Hiroki wasn’t given enough time to grate on my nerves too much with the short segment basically boiling down to the  two go on their first trip. One of the more “sentimental” moments in the segments that, albeit a bit awkwardly worded, was nice in that Hiroki has another one of his “Oh, Nowaki’s actually a pretty great guy, huh?” moments which don’t happen as often as they should. Through this segment was probably my least favorite, thanks to a deteriorating opinion, it did make me a laugh at the end which counts for something.

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Next came the Terrorist pairing and, in a pleasant twist, I found myself enjoying their segment a great deal which is unusual since I remember not liking them much in the series. It wasn’t the age difference between them that bothered me, so much as  how rushed and sloppy their story felt. I never quite understood You or Shiobu whose moody demeanor tended to irk me.  Not to mention there was also the issue of the dead girlfriend/crush… Maybe it’s because the whole dead-girl-I-liked issue didn’t come up or because I hardly remember anything about the couple besides that, but either way, I found myself actually drawn in by the small issue that they were having at the time. In a nutshell, Shinobu is having a small fit of insecurity regarding the large age difference between him and You (17 years) and tries to make himself appear more mature, but it quickly told by You that he shouldn’t worry about it because he likes Shinobu as is. Now, Shinobu isn’t my favorite character, in fact, the kid can be downright annoying at times, but his genuine worry over how young he appeared was kind of endearing. The segment, in general, I thought was sweet and it was nice to see a couple who I hadn’t really cared for before have a bit of meaningful drama that actually served a purpose.

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And, as if DEEN was making sure you watched to the end, the last segment centers around the Romantica couple which should be everyone’s favorite. In the series, they were certainly mine probably because they actually did stuff together other than fight and have sex…although they sure did an ungodly amount of the former. Regardless, I was a tad surprised to see that the segment spent most of its time focusing on a time before Misaki and Usagi hooked up, although it’s a bit hard to tell since Misaki is always so iffy and willy nilly regarding his relationship status. As with all things revolving around Misaki, the short was silly, but sweetly so. We also got to see some of Misaki’s brother again and learn more about how he and Usagi became friends. Though Misaki has a tendency to get on my nerves which his constant whiny attitude, whenever he (or Usagi for that matter) was genuine in showing affection, it always came off as a bit sweet, especially since he can be pretty earnest when he wants to be. The segment wasn’t particularly terrible or great, but felt rather normal for the couple, especially, at the end which starts a scene anyone who sat through two seasons of scenes like that will recognize.

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All things considered, the OVA was alright, if not a bit boring. Basically acting as a bit of fanservice  for anyone who actually liked the series, it’s pretty harmless and is meant to only bring back some fonder memories. One of the pluses of the OVA coming out four years after the second season, though, is that the animation got a noticeable upgrade and looks comparatively better than its predecessors (Usagi now has an okay chin!). If you liked Junjou Romantica, you’ll probably enjoy this short OVA since it doesn’t leave itself much time to get annoying and is kind of funny, although if you’re looking for some sexy time, you’ll probably be disappointed since it’s only implied. If you haven’t watched Junjou, start out with Sekai-ichi because it’s not as “hardcore,” necessarily, and generally handles its relationships with more tact (aka they get some nice development). If you’ve already watched it and are wondering whether or not to watch it’s (in)famous cousin, I can’t say I’d recommend it, simply because it’s such a tedious, frustrating watch.

Now that Junjou got its OVA, DEEN, hurry up and give me another Sekai-ichi OVA already.

3 thoughts on “Final Thoughts: Junjou Romantica (OVA)

  1. Too bad Junjou Romantica is my first yaoi. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi is definitely way better that this one when it comes to romantic development. And oh, I hate Misaki.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the OVA because of its new and refined art :)

    • Thank you for commenting!

      Yeah..Sekaiichi’s definitely superior in the romance department. I’d even go as far as to say that it had more enjoyable chacters too.
      Hahahaha, you opinion of Misaki is something I agreed with during the series. He was so whiny. He whinsd and complained his way through those two seasons. Did you have any “favorite” characters?
      The nicer animation was definitely a nice motivator when it came to me actually sitting down and watching it.

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