Sasaki and Miyano Episode 1 “First Time” review and recap – utterly lovely and so romantic

Sasaki and Miyano is a yaoi anime that has really taken off with the fandom this year. Primarily as both main characters are so lovable.

So much so, with four episodes of the first season out, the anime currently has a 7.88 score on My Anime List, with more than 72,300 people watching it.



Now, I am late to the yaoi party as a viewing of the first 10 minutes of the first episode left me cold. But, a couple of scenes from Episode 3 that popped up in my YouTube feed were hilarious, so I’m back for a proper full 12-episode viewing.

And, if I am committing to watching the anime right through, I might as well review it and recap it. Right?

Here goes then…

 

Sasaki and Miyano Episode 1, “First Time” recap

The anime kicks off with Miyano seeing a student being beaten up by a group of boys at his high school but, as he musters up courage to stop the beat down, another student appears and deals with it.

The ‘senpai’ is Sasaki, tall where Miyano is short, red-haired where Miyano is dark, outgoing and full of self-confidence, while Miyano is neither.

Several months later, and the two boys are firm friends — although it is Sasaki who pushed the friendship and not Miyano –with Sasaki asking Miyano, a huge manga reader, for a recommendation of what to read.

In response, Miyano thrusts a manga in a store paper bag at him and says “Read this, but don’t show it to anyone, and treat it like it’s a toxic substance”.

Hell, grabbing that bag and ripping it open would be the first thing I would do.

Of course, as Miyano continues with “I just like reading that kind of stuff, but it’s not like I’m like that…”, if Sasaki hadn’t been interested before, he certainly was now.

 

Sasaki being Sasaki, he also has to talk about the manga the day after at school.

A manga that, as you can probably guess, is an offering from the Boys’ Love genre. Something shy Miyano definitely doesn’t want discussing at school where others may be able to hear.

But what is interesting about Sasaki’s reaction to the Boys’ Love story is, while he acknowledges the BL part of the manga, he is fascinated with how the manga protagonist dealt with his problems and how he moved through them to a satisfying conclusion.

Miyano is amazed he understood this about the book, and that he liked it.

But as he gushes about being happy Sasaki loved the manga, Sasaki is having another reaction. Noticing Miyano is incredibly cute, and responding with “Oh damn”, as he realizes he is developing romantic feelings for him.

 

The easiest way to deal with those feelings then?

Ask Miyano to lend him more manga. That way he will learn more about the Boys’ Love manga Miyano likes, and be able to develop an even closer relationship with him.

Soon Sasaki is bringing Miyano homemade cookies, and other boys in his class are noticing how close the two have become. Something that is a problem for Miyano, as he doesn’t want others to know he loves Boys’ Love manga.

Nor does he understand why he is suddenly getting so much attention from Sasaki.

Meanwhile, Sasaki wants to talk about BL manga all the time, making it difficult to keep his illicit hobby in the shadows.

The anime then flashes back to the day of the fight, and we see Sasaki realizing for the first time that he’s interested in Miyano, and wanting to see him again.

Then pushing it away with “but he’s a guy”, thus leaving us with the sense he maybe doesn’t realize he has feelings for boys rather than girls. Just as much as Miyano hasn’t realized it about himself yet either.

 

Back at school and Miyano comes to Sasaki’s class to give paperwork to Hirano, a friend of Sasaki’s, and a boy who is on the school’s discipline committee.  It is then Sasaki walks towards him and grabs him by the shoulders, testing Miyano’s body to make absolutely sure he is a guy.

Because, of course, those feelings he is having for Miyano are beginning to bubble to the surface faster and faster, and he is confused by them.

By the end of the day Sasaki is stuck at school, as it is pouring down with rain and he forgot his umbrella.

It is then Miyano appears and asks him if he is taking the train. If so, he can share his umbrella.

Soon after, Miyano arrives at Sasaki’s classroom door with a new manga for him to borrow and also gives him a chocolate that makes him feel sick.

Feeling terrible about not checking the ingredients on the box of sweets, he goes to get Sasaki a sweet drink he knows he likes. Just so he can get rid of the chocolate taste in his mouth.

 

That sends Sasaki’s memory back to a day when he was beaten by the same guys who had started the fight at the beginning of the episode and, while he was sitting outside in pain deciding not to go to his classes, Miyano sees him and rushes off to get a Band-aid to help him.

Sasaki’s feelings for Miyano then begin rushing to the surface as he thinks about how cute his face is, how soft his hair and how his hands are small and delicate.

“He’s so kind and earnest”, he thinks.

As he laughs about how sweet Miyano is, he says to him “You’re so cute, Mya-chan. Do you want to go out?”

“Huh?” responds Miyano. “You’re joking, right?”

And that’s where the episode ends. With Sasaki realizing he “likes” Miyano, and Miyano still oblivious.

 

Sasaki and Miyano Episode 1, “First Time” review

Yep, now I get it.

I get why so many fans are drooling at the mouth over Sasaki and Miyano.

Because it’s the characters and how likable and even lovable they both are, how they treat each other sweetly and how, while neither of them believes themselves to be gay, both are doing things in their lives that are definitely heading them in that direction.

Miyano, obsessed with Boys’ Love manga, but denying he has any feelings for other boys at all. Sasaki looking at Miyano just like he would a girl — “His face is so cute, he’s so sweet and kind, his hair is so soft”.

Related: Sasaki and Miyano holiday key visuals are absolutely gorgeous

By the end of Sasaki and Miyano, Episode 1, however, it is Sasaki who has realized his feelings for Miyano are more than just ‘friends’, while Miyano is more interested in the fantasy Boys’ Love characters in his head than in considering being in such a relationship himself.

But what sets Sasaki and Miyano apart from many other anime series in Winter 2022 is both the story and the art style.

The story takes a burgeoning gay relationship and, instead of looking at gay relationships as all about sex as, let’s face it, that’s what society thinks they are all about, it looks at them from the perspective of feelings.

Teen boys falling in love with each other because they like the other boy’s personality, they love that they take a hobby they enjoy seriously and are passionate about it, and they adore how cute and sweet and lovely the other person looks when he talks.

In other words, no different than any burgeoning relationship between a teen girl and a teen boy, as that’s what love really is.

Falling in love with the person they are and how they make the other person feel, rather than thinking about heading into bed and jumping their bones.

Something so much of western society is about nowadays, as teenage love is sexualized far beyond what it usually is, and as teens themselves are sexualized far beyond their years or their maturity.

Related: The Sasaki and Miyano opening theme song is so cool — listen

As for the Sasaki and Miyano art style, it is utterly, utterly gorgeous.

With character design by Maki Fujii, art direction by Mayuzumi Masaki and color design by Imari Katsuragi, it is one of those anime you want to stop at every frame just so you can take a screenshot.

A screenshot of  how beautiful the characters’ faces are, how attractive the way they stand or slouch is, and how hazy, romantic and sweet the background scenery has been drawn.

All in all, after my initial hesitation over the first 10 minutes of Episode 1, upon re-start I can easily give the first episode of Sasaki and Miyano a solid 10 out of 10.

And now I am desperate to move onto Episode 2 just so I can watch this wonderful romance unfold.

Meanwhile, the first episodes of Sasaki and Miyano are streaming on Funimation.

The Sasaki and Miyano anime is based on the manga series by Sho Harusono. You can buy that series in English through Yen Press.

 

Michelle Topham