Doukyusei or Classmates follows the developing relationship between two high school boys, Rihito Sajō and Hikaru Kusakabe. What started out as choir rehearsals turned into something deeper and meaningful. While Kusakabe appears secure about his sexuality, Sajō hesitates to dive deeper.
Rihito Sajō is a quiet and intelligent student at Touichikou High School, an unexceptional all-boys high school, where he is tutored for the school’s choir by classmate Hikaru Kusakabe. They begin dating after Kusakabe impulsively kisses Sajō, and grow closer over the course of the year; Kusakabe rebuffs a romantic advance on Sajō by music teacher Manabu Hara, and Sajō attends a concert where Kusakabe performs as a guitarist. On the day of his mock college entrance exam, Sajō suffers a panic attack and reveals that his transfer to Touichikou was prompted by low test scores caused by his anxiety. Sajō takes the exam with encouragement from Kusakabe, and the two affirm their desire to remain together.
There is a feeling of rawness and sensitivity in the way this anime is drawn and how it progresses in its narrative.
As we go along watching how the two youngsters develop their relationship – from mere classmates into friends and finally as reluctant lovers (at least to one of them) – you will notice the depth of the dialogue. Also their actions and reactions toward one another and the people who interact with them.
There is this sense of hesitation or bias on the part of Kusakabe’s bandmates. They are not accepting what is obviously a deepening relationship between their friend and someone who is different. I think the word “different genre” was used. That sort of personal bias (whether with malice or not) gives this anime a serious albeit political tone. However, it was presented in a candid and casual way.
For me, the exploration of the guys’ relationship is more than enough for the movie to flourish. It had the audience captivated already.
Says a reviewer at MyAnimeList:
“It really just doesn’t live up to modern standards of progressive ethics. In fact, it just falls into all Yaoi content I’ve seen so far, just an infestation of zero consent and very close to just highlighting “rape” in a positive light.”
I beg to disagree. Yaoi caters to a particular audience. It is meant for enjoyment and for fantasy. It’s up to you to separate your own set of ‘realities’.
I think of writing a review as a reaction and not telling the creator how to do their job. A critic can either like or hate the product, yet why would go as far as asking the author to dismiss topics such as rape or forceful interaction? The fact about being politically correct and espousing the ‘right manner’ of sexual conduct appears to me as being arrogant and self-serving.
Doukyusei suggests what a young guy would do given the relationship he’s pursuing. Whether he makes the right decision is up to the character. That’s why we are applauding certain characters and dismissing others. That’s the fun of watching and reviewing. To enforce someone’s concept of what is right or wrong is uncalled for. If you don’t like Yaoi, you could find the sort of anime that would make you happy and entertained.
Doukyusei (Classmates) – 同級生, for me, is both entertaining and an amazing piece of work.
Banana Fish and Given are two BL anime we highly recommend!
An old-timer BL fan way back in 2007. I started out loving BL after watching the Takumi-kun series from Japan, went on collecting BL manga, and watched old BL anime such as Junjou Romantica and the likes. Love of Siam allow me to transition into Thai, while Amphetamine gave me glimpses of Taiwanese BL magic. I love to write reviews and I’m one of the administrators of Psycho Weird.