Sasaki and Miyano Episode 8, “I Realized” recap and review — it’s the hug that makes this perfect

I have to admit, I was waiting for Sasaki and Miyano, Episode 8, “I Realized“.

After all, I did read the manga this week, so knew what was coming in that final scene and, let’s just say, it didn’t disappoint.



In fact, nothing about this entire anime so far has disappointed, as it has stuck to the manga so well.

But, with its gorgeous animation, utterly beautiful art style, lovely piano music soundtrack and perfect voice performances, has also absolutely surpassed it. (And can I mention those fabulous scenes of the cat — because it’s things like that that make this anime so perfect!)

So, here we go — Sasaki and Miyano, Episode 8, “I Realized” recap and review. Or thereabouts.

Sasaki and Miyano, Episode 8, recap

All of Episode 8 was building up to that final scene, and building up in such a way that it made those last couple of minutes so incredibly touching when they finally arrived.

Throughout the episode, Miyano is beginning to realize he might have feelings for Sasaki that go far beyond just friendship but, as he isn’t sure what “love” actually is, he is still finding it difficult to get there.

 

That’s why Sasaki and Miyano Episode 8 begins with Sasaki’s friend Ogasawara forcing Miyano to get on the phone with his girlfriend to talk about Boys’ Love fiction.

Because Miyano is still confusing real love with Boys’ Love in manga, and it’s making him even more unsure about his feelings for Sasaki.

But what’s very sweet about that scene is Ogasawara’s girlfriend then shows up at the school gate, punches him, lays her head on his shoulder and then walks off with him arm in arm.

See… love is complicated, and Miyano needs to see that.

Related: When in the manga does Miyano tell Sasaki he loves him?

Miyano’s confusion is still obvious when he is walking with Sasaki later on, and Sasaki asks him “Are you self-conscious?” about them walking together and Miyano replies, “Yes” because “I’m figuring things out”.

And this is what makes the whole story of Sasaki and Miyano so damned sweet.

Because, even though Miyano’s emotions are all over the place, he still isn’t running away, he isn’t pretending Sasaki’s confession never happened, and he isn’t treating Sasaki any different than before.

Instead, while his emotions might be a jumbled mess, he is still trying to figure out how he feels and how he should respond to Sasaki’s confession.

Sasaki too, while getting increasingly frustrated as his feelings for Miyano grow, is still treating him with respect and allowing him the time to figure things out.

 

The rest of Episode 8 is taken up with Miyano getting ready for the school culture festival’s cross-dressing competition, and being dressed in a woman’s kimono by the student council chairman Hanzawa.

And it’s during that time,while he is alone with Hanzawa having a dress fitting, and he can’t stop thinking about Sasaki, that he asks for advice about “love”.

How do you know when you’re in love with someone?

And, as Hanzawa goes through all the things that usually occur when you love someone — you want to spend time with them, you want to hold their hand, you want to have them only spend their time with you — and then Miyano almost makes a comment about Sasaki, being perceptive, Hanzawa adds one more important thing.

“They say love is being unable to keep someone out of your mind”.

 

But it’s the final scene of Sasaki and Miyano, Episode 8 that is so darned sweet.

As Sasaki locks the door and walks into the room where Miyano is, and then asks him “If I asked you to, would you not enter the cross-dressing competition?” — because Sasaki is so in love with Miyano he wants everything about him all to himself.

And as Miyano stutters his reply, and then is grabbed in a fierce hug by Sasaki who cannot contain his love for his friend any longer — only to be startled, and then to begin to hug him back.

 

Sasaki and Miyano, Episode 8, “I Realized” review

The Sasaki and Miyano anime adaptation is so beautifully done, it’s hard to know where to even begin.

But what firmed it up for me this week was the way that final scene was filmed.

From the hesitant and embarrassed way Miyano behaves when being caught dressed as a girl by Sasaki, to Sasaki’s almost rude comment about Miyano being swayed by his friends to enter the cross-dressing competition, then immediately apologizing as he realizes how nasty he sounded, to the way the soft light comes in through the window and plays around the two boys as Miyano walks by Sasaki and Sasaki reaches for his arm.

That loveliness continues as Sasaki grabs Miyano in an enormous hug and, as we see Miyano peeping over his friend’s enormous height, the camera fades in and out — suggesting Miyano’s vision is also fading, as he himself is overwhelmed with his feelings for Sasaski.

Anime studio Studio Deen has turned an absolutely lovely manga series into something that is truly spectacular.

The color palette, the misty, hazy. romantic way so many scenes have been filmed, the beautiful art style, the music illustrating all those overpowering feelings as they rush in, and the wonderful performances by Sasaki and Miyano actors Yusuke Shirai and Soma Saito, I could not love an anime series more if I tried.

And all done in a way that so many of my gay friends would absolutely love.

As they so often tell me, while heterosexuals always seem to equate gay relationships between two men as nothing more than lots and lots of sex, in reality they are just as much about those intense feelings you have for another human being as is any heterosexual relationship.

If only straight people would realize that.

And that’s what Sasaki and Miyano does here — shows what love is like between two young men. The scary emotions, the rush of feelings, the inability to sometimes control their actions, the obsession of thinking about that other boy over and over again.

All done in such an incredibly sweet and hopeful way, you just want these two to get together already.

Watch Sasaki and Miyano Season 8, and all the previous episodes before it, via Funimation.

And again, it is such a damn pity Funimation managed to grab the licensing for Sasaki and Miyano as, if it had been on Crunchyroll, it would have received a much bigger audience outside Japan.

Order the Sasaki and Miyano manga series via Yen Press.

Related: Ichigo Sunset‘ is that fabulous Sasaki and Miyano ending theme and, man, I want a full-length version, don’t you?

Michelle Topham