There wasn’t a whole lot that was getting me excited this season but Bloom Into You was a huge exception. Having really enjoyed what I’ve read of the manga, I had very high hopes for this anime adaptation and I even declared it as my most anticipated anime in the Season Preview. Really, I think the staff at TROYCA would’ve had to try really hard to mess up and thank goodness, they didn’t. So far, this anime is off to a great start.
Bloom Into You centers around two girls: first-year student Yuu Koito (Yuuki Takada) and student council presidential candidate Touko Nanami (Minako Kotobuki). At first, both girls are seemingly unable to experience the feeling of love and that connection compels Yuu to consult with Nanami over a confession from a boy she’s still weighing in on. With encouragement from her upperclasswoman, Yuu finally decides to decline the boy. All seems good until the end of the episode throws the quite the curveball where Nanami reveals to Yuu that she’s fallen in love with her. What inevitably follows is an exploration of how these two grapple with their relationship to each other.
Immediately, I find both Yuu and Nanami really appealing characters. Let’s first talk about the former. I can’t help but read Yuu’s character as asexual with how she feels isolated from her friends about her romantic issues and instead connected with Nanami’s own initial disinterest in pursuing a romance with either boys or girls. And even when Namami confesses to her at the end, she still doesn’t feel a thing and instead looks befuddled. Whatever the case may be, there’s a lot to relate with Yuu’s feelings of romantic uncertainty especially in a time as awkward as adolescence. Not making her immediately attracted to Nanami is also an interesting angle to take for a shoujo ai protagonist and also has the potential for some compelling, maybe even atypical relationship drama.
Nanami, meanwhile, also makes a strong impression. I’ll admit that her confession is very awkward. Even if appropriately so, you’d think she’d be more considerate about how to go about it since she just witnessed her classmate decline a romantic relationship after putting much thought into it. It still works though in how it affects Nanami’s role. Given that Nanami’s mature personality, I honestly expected Yuu to fall in love with her and have her not readily reciprocating those feelings. Having it work the other way around adds a very compelling angle to her character. Despite being the one giving advice in this episode, Nanami soon realizes that she is still just as unsure about romance as Yuu once she discovers her newfound attraction to the latter. Now that she is in love, she doesn’t know what to do. Her actions in the post-credit scene are indicative of that; she tells Yuu to forget what she said but later still tries to be closer to her by inviting her to join her class election campaign.
If there’s another thing that I enjoy about Bloom Into You‘s premiere, it’s the tone. Without a doubt, this is taking a very methodical approach to things. This series doesn’t jump straight to the kissing and sexual intimacy like other shoujo ai stories do (looking at you, Citrus). Even during its climax, it doesn’t go in that direction despite it being easily able to with how tempted Nanami looks. Instead, time in this episode is squarely dedicated to establishing the main characters’ stance on love, either through Yuu’s internal monologue or her observations of Nanami’s personality.
The direction also merits some commenting. TROYCA’s visuals are quite lovely to look at in general but I do find the bright lighting and realistic backgrounds really suiting the tone and theme of the series. Some scenes also have some clever execution behind them. I particularly really like how Nanami is revealed, the frame largely around a first person perspective through Yuu’s eyes and Nanami’s character design getting partially obscured by some plants really accentuate Yuu’s curiosity towards her peer. Another highlight is how the anime presents the same character’s feeling of isolation at one point; stylistically putting the girl and her desk underwater far away from her classmates as a way to denote her discomfort.
Overall, this is a terrific first episode. I’m not entirely sure if I’ll keep blogging about Bloom Into You but I doubt this will ever be leaving the watch list at any point. I can’t wait to see how Yuu and Namami’s relationship unfolds.
Thanks for reading!