I guess I’m a little late again to review this. However, with this one, I believe you might want to take your time to properly indulge, but also digest, what you’ve just watched.
All her life, Yuu has wondered about the romance depicted in all the shoujo manga she’s been reading, hoping that one day, she’d experience the same.
After witnessing student council president Touko turning down a confession with such ease and maturity, Yuu can’t help but ask Touko for advice, which leads to the two bonding over the fact that they both have never experienced love before. However, things take a sudden turn, as Touko confesses that she might actually start falling in love with Yuu.
As stated in my First Impression post, the confession that basically sets the stage for the story to unfold happened a little too suddenly for my liking. Of course, this all had to happen within the first episode, in order to convey to the viewers what this show would be all about, but even knowing the source material, I felt a little startled—probably also thanks to the wording that seemed a little different than what I had read in the manga.
I guess I just started out this review a bit awkwardly by criticizing one of the most important scenes of the whole show, possibly giving off the impression that this anime adaptation started off weak, but trust me, this is the only bad thing I can actually say about this show.
After diving into this, at first glance, kind of odd-looking love story, we’re met with one of the most intriguing, complex, and stunning-looking yuri romances ever displayed on TV.
I was actually very pleased to see that the anime follows the events depicted in the manga quite closely. In my eyes—and I’m probably speaking for quite a few yuri fans here—the manga this anime is based on is one of the best, if not the best, yuri manga running right now. So seeing that the adaptation would stick so closely to something that I feel is already so very close to being perfect is quite the relief. Now, add the fact that the animation quality and the art style shown are both pretty much on point, and we’ve got ourselves a very promising-looking anime adaptation. And guess what? Sound-wise, my praising just continues, as both the voice-acting, as well as simply all the music used in this anime, are just top-notch, making it so very easy to fully indulge in this story.
And speaking of which, I might have praised the looks and sound of this anime quite a bit, but the true treasure can be found in the story and the characters. I guess, despite 2018 being quite rewarding for us yuri fans, what Bloom Into You showed us was something new, or in other words, a pretty unique yuri love story. We’re not met with the usual route romances would take. Our protagonists don’t just meet, fall in love, and that’s it. No. This one is far more complex, with pieces of drama sprinkled here and there. Touko is definitely the one character that stands out the most, as her way of experiencing romance is very complex, and in a lot of ways, her needs and wishes towards her target of affection are contradicting, as she can’t have the person she loves love her back. Her whole character is mysterious and seeing how she deals with her feelings can be both interesting yet frustrating.
Seeing that we get a character like Yuu as the other half of this odd couple is simply a great choice. Yuu might seem a bit plain at first, but thanks to her way of being able to see past Touko’s mask, she picks up on the problems Touko deals with quite quickly, establishing a bond that works between the lines of being friends or lovers. I enjoyed seeing how Yuu would simply go along with all of Touko’s selfish requests, especially once you notice that Yuu might not be able to keep her part of the deal – that being that she won’t fall in love with Touko. It’s actually quite the interesting mix, as you can’t help but be happy for Yuu finally finding love, even if it might not be like she pictured it, and yet it’s also heartbreaking, as it’s made painfully clear at a certain point that this is just not what Touko wants.
Now adding in side characters like Sayaka as Touko’s best friend, and I’m now not only rooting for the more obvious pair but now also for her and Touko. As a character, Sayaka wasn’t that one person that would always be added in romances to have some kind of threat to the main pair, no. Sayaka is more of a supporter on the sideline that has been there for Touko a lot longer and would possibly be an even better match for her than Yuu. Seeing her backstory with her first girlfriend, how she got to know and fell in love with Touko, and also how she tried to get help from another gay couple is the cherry on top that just completely sold me on this anime, and even though I know she will probably not turn out victorious, I sure hope Sayaka will find someone awesome, too.
I guess I lied a little up there when I said I would only have one bad thing to say about this anime, as I will now add something else. But, oh well, it’s nothing major and rather stands as a reminder that a second season could happen anytime. What I’m talking about is the ending of the show. Seeing that the whole story built up to the play that the student council would perform, it’s quite disappointing to never actually see it happen, especially since the whole idea behind it is pretty much genius. I would have loved to see it actually play out and see how the changes Yuu pressed for might impact Touko. But I guess that’s for a second season that I really hope will actually happen sooner or late~
All in all, I think as the last one of the “Big Three” (Citrus, Asagao to Kase-san., and Bloom Into You), Bloom Into You definitely impacted the community greatly, in a good way. I hope that alongside the other two, some changes will happen that will hopefully lead to more pure yuri shows in the future.
It’s such a strange journey to get to this point.
I got into the Yuri fandom via Kannazuki no Miko/Mai Hime. And throughout it, we’ve gone through this transition (at least in terms of Yuri Anime). From the fanservice, to the slow and subtle (Simoun, Aoi Hana, even Sakura Trick to an extent), then the explicit (NTR: Netsuzou Trap, Citrus, Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid) to the wholesome (Kase-san and Bloom Into You).
It’s been a bumpy ride, but I’m glad we’re here.
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Now I wonder, what’s you’re favorite? Personally I enjoy having such a nice kind of mix – 2018 was actually only missing some yuri with a bit of action and we would have seen pretty much everything in one year alone.
I…. I’m not sure I’d call Sakura Trick subtle.
I hope we get another season – I want to see the star couple grow both personally and in their relationship.
And the adult couple was interesting in its own way. They were totally cool, and the teacher was similar in her approach to *this relationship* to a woman I knew growing up – Lori loved Deb, but she wasn’t “especially attracted to women” in the same way that our teacher here states.
To me it felt like this show pointed up that relationships come in many unexpected shapes and that was refreshing.
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Refreshing is actually a pretty accurate way of putting it.
Also were Lori and Deb a thing and are they still together? 😛
What strikes me the most about Yuu and Sayaka is how diverse their attitudes toward Touko are (they certainly understand her the same – perfect in appearance, but keeping her vulnerabilities hidden).
Sayaka’s struggle is an expected one in yuri – being a girl in love with your best friend who is also a girl. It’s not only in her decision to keep her feelings to herself, but in her conversations with the other side characters that let you ride along with that. Whether it’s confronting the bitter experiences of the past with her ex, or the more light hearted and insightful talks she has with Riko the shop keeper, you certainly understand what she is going through.
With Yuu on the other hand, gayness is not even an issue within their relationship, not in their conversations or really in their internal thoughts of themselves. The struggle for Yuu is the actual fact that she is in a relationship to begin with and her somewhat aro nature, as well as the restrictions Touko places upon her. Even her confrontation with Maki is all relationship and feelings specific.
It all makes sense from a story perspective, with it this way there is no overlap in either of their struggles, they have two different sides of feelings to deal with and narratives to follow.
And in this way Nakatani divides them up maybe too well. I have to wonder if Yuu isn’t appreciated as much by some since she gets only the relationship side of the struggle, while others might relate more to the gay struggles of Sayaka and the way she perceives her feelings as one sided.
Ugh, it’s really tough to talk about Bloom in the context of the anime without referencing the manga 😛
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Nicely put together shade!
I guess, I’m more intrigued with Sayaka’s gay struggles, or let’s just say her side of the story .While it may be being a little less relatable to me, seeing her struggles make me feel and want so much more for her.
Her struggles, as insignificant as they might seem to some, are pretty damn heavy and I can’t help but rather root for someone like this and not for… well Yuu…
Sorry Yuu… 😛
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One disagreement here… I don’t think Sayaka’s struggle is with being gay; she very much seems to be at ease with that. Its much more a concern that she might damage her relationship with Touko and loose a close and cherished friendship. Perhaps she is a little shy about talking openly about her sexuality, but I definitely dont feel that she has any doubts.
(Note: I got that impression the very first time I watched the series last year. However! Having finished the manga and the first Sayaka light novel, I feel like my impression is pretty solid!)
I was so distracted at the beginning by the extremely warm color palate (pink hair, pink uniform, pink petals, pink air, lol), I’m glad I stuck with this one because the interactions between the adult couple was justification enough for watching this show. It’s probably the best representation I’ve seen in yuri. It gives me hope that I’ll see more like that.
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I’d be totally fine with simply a second season and more of this couple in it. Though, I think that there are quite some manga around that can depict a relationship between adult women quite well~
imho best yuri ever by far (not counting kase san, because it’s just an OVA).
Without arguing about the plot, almost every yuri anime before was low budget stuff. Bloom into You has a good visual, good soundstrack (including two insert songs); furthermore, there is also a 13th episode and most of the episodes run during the ending, proving the studio wanted to invest their time and money.
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Very true, we rarely see this much money put into a yuri show. I hope that actually paid off in the end, as I’m sure we would all appreciate seeing more of that in the future too.
Your review of Bloom is excellent, best that I have seen on the Internet, and I agree with everything that you said!
As IamAsian (youtuber) said, “Bloom is a romance that actually feels romantic!”. The Bloom Anime series Season 1 now complete, is so incredible, that it blew every fuse in my romance portfolio! These days movie makers idea of romance is the Tennessee Williams-Eugene O’Neil-Arthur Miller route with loaded dysfunctionals and perversions galore as if a couple hopping into bed and making like the three toed Aardvark is the very epitome of romance, where Touko and Yuu just lying in bed together, Yuu playing with Touko’s hair, and Yuu’s lips ever so slightly quivering, blew a Kaiba hole right through me.
Bloom actually feels romantic! The purity and innocence of love is so clear as day in Bloom where all the characters are of very high caliber. There are no dyfunctionals or perverts in this story such that if these were real people, I would want them as part of my intimate circle of friends! As Touko says to Yuu in the manga CH08-Page 18, “Love always gives without asking anything in return.” which is the very opposite of perversion.
I am not sure if you noticed the very last scene with the very last piece of dialogue in Season 1, EP13, the very end after the credits. Touko and Yuu are on the train, the sun is softly setting in a golden late afternoon, and Touko has fallen asleep. Yuu says one of the most pedestrian of all lines, in “Senpai, we need to change trains now.” This dialogue ends Season 1. Doesn’t sound like much as text.
But the voice actress of Yuu, Yuuki Takada says something of magnificence, perhaps one of the best spoken lines in my recent memory. Do not pay any attention to the literal text. You would need to listen very carefully to her Japanese voice where she suddenly shifts register, tone, and mood and that is where the entire Season 1 of Bloom is brilliantly summarized in its last line. For all 13 episodes of the Anime, Touko has put a fullcourt press courtship into Yuu, and Yuu has begun to respond. Ms.Takada’s voice just drips with love and romance as we clearly hear Yuu’s true and honest feels and that Yuu has indeed fallen in love with Touko.
The Anime Bloom could end here if necessary. Anime EP13 types to Manga Ch24, and the Manga is now as of this writing at Ch37 which leads to the current problem. As we stand now, there is not enough story for a Season 2. Ms. Nakatani has said that the story will come to an end this year (2019) perhaps around December. So the Anime side of the story has a problem. They cannot storyboard a complete season with just 13 Chapters and more to come. They need to know how the story will end. I have not seen that they even have authorization for a Season 2, but it certainly seems likely. Bloom is very popular, but how the dynamics of the Anime business in Japan play out is difficult to forsee.
But for this fan, I truly hope so. Season 1 hit the ball out of the park in center field no less, and if the story ends satisfactorily (unlike Citrus), a Season 2 could end one of the most beautiful of Romances in modern storytelling! After all, Season 1 ends in an unresolved triangle. Will Touko now reject Yuu because Yuu has fallen in love with her? Will Touko reject Sayaka who has fallen in love with her? I don’t want anyone of the MCs to be hurt because I love all three of these characters, but triangles can be very hurtful to someone, and sometimes to all three. So how Ms. Nakatani will pull the rabbit out of the hat, dissolve the triangle, and leave the story joyful for all involved, is very intriguing.
I hope for a Season 2 but if not, Season 1 still will remain a wondrous and remarkable run, as Lena K. has said.
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Thank you 🙂
And nice review yourself! I gotta say, the last episode was one of the, if not the best episode in my eyes and the train scene you wrote about plays a big role in that.
I gotta say, both voice actresses just did a superb job in portraying these characters and I really, REALLY hope that the right people will notice the quality of this anime and get us a second season.
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And thank you! Yes that last EP 13 was an afternoon delight! The aquarium date reminds me of being out with someone you love, and having just the most wonderful time together. It was a great EP, best way to finish. You probably already know, but just in case I will mention it here. The voice actors for Yuu and Touko, Yuki Takada(Yuu) and Minako Kotobuki(Touko) are also singers, and they are the ones singing the ending song, “Hectopascal” written by Michiru Oshima.
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neat, didn’t know that. Also my heart breaks for Sayaka, doesn’t her first girlfriend basically say it was just a phase?
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Yes, she does say that it was only a phase, and then rejects Sayaka! I really like Sayaka even though she has rich girl syndrome, somewhat elitist, especially talking down to Yuu. I hope as Ms Nakatani is finishing her story, that Sayaka finds happiness because she has such endearing qualities and I also hope we get a season 2 to finish the anime.
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That’s rough. I was really glad that she found the cafe owner, though. She is definitively the most aware of the challenges of her sexuality and really needed someone to tell her it’s okay. I am wondering if the cafe is/will become a hub for young lesbians?
For myself I’m really glad they dispensed with the confession early. It’s not the heart of the story for one. Putting aside the cliffhanger I think… well… everything having to do with the play is pretty weak. I also think they went too hard on using internal monologues. I’m torn on Sayaka I like her and her subplot but it has NO business in this story. At least it hasn’t added anything that wasn’t already a part of Toukos internal struggles. She well and truly feels like a third wheel and I’d very much prefer it if her story was done more as a spin-off after being flushed out.
Far too often Sayaka is just repeating things Yuu has already established about Touko. She feels… redundant. Yeah in truth you could trim the cast in half and lose nothing but with Sayaka it FEELS worse because we actually do spend a lot of time with her. She’s about the only character who gets a whole episode dedicated to her and looking back it just feels as if her story is going to build to nothing. Sayaka’s problem is that her existence is the feeling you get when you’re walking upstairs and there is one less step than you think there is. It just leaves you with this empty and unsatisfied feeling “phantom story syndrome” I’d like to call it.
She’s not really adding anything to the lead couples story arc nor is her side of things flushed out enough to stand on its own. I hate it.
Bloom into you is a critically flawed show but… its still one of the best Yuri to ever be made. In a way that thought leaves me feeling more melancholy than joyful. This is… the peak… the cream of the crop… Dammit.
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Very nice review! At this point, late april 2020, I’ve watched through the series 5 times now, and finally got to read volumes 6-8 of the manga. I dont know if there will be new people ever coming back to read these comments so I will avoid spoilers, but.. the ending of the series exceeded my expectations by lightyears. I daresay this is the *best* romance story in any visual medium in a very long time, and will be incredibly tough to top.
I think it would be an utter crime for it to not get a second season. Also, Im sad that we wont get any more of the manga
Glad to hear the story doesn’t end in “rocks fall, everybody dies” =). That would have been a rather jarring tonal shift. Now back to hoping for a season 2.