Yuri Anime: Loveless

December 26th, 2005

You may wonder why I’m reviewing Loveless so long after it aired on Japanese TV, and so long before it debuts as a DVD release here in America. Some of you may wonder why I’m reviewing it at all. The answer to the first is – I forgot about it. The answer to the second is – tune back in later this week.

Loveless is a mostly BL, mostly shota (the boy equivalent to lolicon, i.e., little boy suggestiveness and sexuality…something that squicks me even more than loli does, if that’s even possible) series that runs in Zero Sum magazine which is, incidentally, published by Ichijinsha, the same folks who put out Comic Yuri Hime. When I visited Ichijinsha’s office in April, they had gigantic Loveless cardboard cut-outs and posters. As they portrayed a shota catboy BL couple, I turned a blind eye and never paid it a bit of attention. Well hah on me! Because along with the BL catboys, there was a pair of Yuri girls…with cat ears, admittedly, but I can overlook that. (No, I do not think animal ears are cute. And I hate cats in any case. Bad lesbian! Bad!)

Animal ears notwithstanding, Kouya and Yamato make a strong arc for an otherwise okay series. The basic plot of Loveless as I understand it is that same-sex partners pair to engage in some kind of battle, in which one partner provides power and takes the hit and the other makes the attacks with the other’s power. Among one pair who were, I believe, lovers, the one who takes the hits died. His younger brother wants to know the truth about him, so he takes his dead brother’s place as the partner of an older bishounen who, needless to say, falls in love with his prepubescent catboy self. (The cat ears, btw, are an outward expression of virginity, as far as I can tell. They come off when the person loses the aforementioned. All very creepy and fetishy.)

Into this set-up comes a pair of women, Kouya and Yamato. They have been created(?) and trained to be each other’s partners. They are clearly in love, but terrified of the situation – and of their master. Their arc comprises about one volume’s worth of anime, about three or four episodes, but in those few episodes there’s plenty of soul-searching angst and yuri for any teen catgirl wannabee. And honestly, it’s a pretty decent coming-out/falling in love/starting a life together type story. Especially as their lesbian love is portrayed as what saves them from a miserable fate and sets them off on a free life of their own. A nice change from the more classic Yuri misery that we thought we’d never see the back of.

I’m not saying that this series is worth watching for this arc – but I do think this arc is worth watching for itself. Luckily I may be able to help with this. :-)

Ratings (for the Yuri arc only):

Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 9
Service – 7 (see above lingerie…and don’t forget the ears/virginity thing)

Overall – 7 and worth a look, at least.

For those interested in the manga version of this arc, the series has been licensed by Viz and is being put out in 2-in-1 volumes. Here’s a link to Volume 1.

Send to Kindle

13 Responses

  1. Note: The reason why there are cat ears, is to symboliz their virginity.. If they do not have cat ears, they are considered an ;Adult’.
    Soubi- Ristuka’s fighter unit, is considered an “Adult” because he is earless.
    Ritsuka- The Sacrifice- Is considered a Virgin, because he still has his ears.
    Takeing a way Virginity is saying: “Let’s loose out ears”
    or “I want to get rid of my ears”

  2. Yes, I am and was well aware of that. In fact, I wrote this, which you seemd to have missed somehow:

    (The cat ears, btw, are an outward expression of virginity, as far as I can tell. They come off when the person loses the aforementioned. All very creepy and fetishy.).

    I found it utterly repulsive.

    Thanks for mentioning the least appealing thing about the series.

  3. news says:

    That’s being a little harsh. It to me was a very unique aspect of Loveless. ‘scuse me if I sound fetishy, but who can resist a cuddly and playful little kitten? Then again, there are always people out there…

  4. Enedving says:

    Please do not use the terms “Yuri” and “Yaoi” when referring to this story. Loveless has aspects of BL and GL, Boy’s Love and Girl’s Love, respectively. Yaoi and Yuri are terms reserved specifically for hentai and porn.

    Please use proper terms while making a review. Yours I would not recommend to anyone due to the little knowledge you have shown, and your blatantly biased personal thoughts about moe things.

  5. “GL” at this point, is still a term little used outside one publisher in Japan. Bl is yes, the more commonly used term for M/M stories in Japan, but here in the US, the much more predominant term in “Yaoi” which is used, like “Yuri” to encompass romance as well as explicit sexual stories. “Yaoi” in Japan was, when it was being used, meant sexually explicit pairings of characters from various media.

    So, I use “Yuri” and “Yaoi” here, because they are widely recognized in the west and by far the more common search term than BL. GL is pretty much not used here at all – and not really in Japan either. Ichijinsha uses it. Most women drawing F/F stories use “onna doushi” or “onna x onna” or “josei couple” or some version of that. But a lot of them also use “Yuri” because it’s easy to use, say, type and understand.

    Loveless *is* shota, whether you hide behind the word “moe” or not. (But you win for being the first person to do that for a shota series here. Mostly I get LFBs pretend to not be lolicon by hiding behind “moe.”)

  6. L.L.A says:

    I think love is a term for the spirit; it can’t be judged by society, only by the heart.

    Loveless is a series based on love and perception, not on porn or hentai…so you can’t say it is repulsive or bad.

  7. smudge905 says:

    First of all, if you’re going to do a review on something, make sure you’re paying enough attention to know what the actual plot is. Here you state that:

    “The basic plot of Loveless as I understand it is that same-sex partners pair to engage in some kind of battle, in which one partnet provides power and takes the hit and the other makes the attacks with the other’s power.”

    Kind of true but there are many faults. Including the fact that THIS ISN’T THE MAJOR PLOT! The main story is about the main character (12 yr. old Ritska) trying to find the murderer of his older brother Seimei and trying to gain back his lost memories (which is why he’s always taking pictures, so he doesn’t forget).
    Secondly, not all fighter/ sacrifice partners are the same sex. A good example of this is the BREATHLESS pair (a boy and a girl)

    Another flaw I see in your summary is when you called Seimei and Soubi (his fighter) “lovers”. Since Seimei still had his ears he COULD NOT have been Soubi’s lover (back to the whole ears = virginity aspect, which is important to the story)

    The final thing I will point out is that you state that:

    Seimei’s “younger brother wants to know the truth about him, so he takes his dead brother’s place as the partner of an older bishounen who, needless to say, falls in love with his prepubescent catboy self.”

    Ritska, as I stated earlier, is trying to find his brother’s killers. He is basically forced to take Seimei’s place when he finds out that Seimei left his fighter to him. Seimei ALSO told Soubi to love Ritska. Since Soubi is a fighter, he follows all of Seimei’s orders and that includes loving Ritska.
    True, there is a non-hentai type of yaoi/Yuri involved (judging from the author’s previous stories, it’s something she’s interested in) I will have to admit that there is an awkward kind of perverseness in the Ritska/Soubi paring, but the story should not be condemned because of biased opinions.

  8. Eri Wolfe says:

    i dunno why every one’s complaining about little details; i, for one, thought everything was well said and helpful.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Not much of a description on this review love. A reviewer is supposed to be unbiased and instead talk about depth and or story line, not say it’s suckish because it’s got a genre that doesn’t strike your fancy.

    Either way, the anime is less understandable than the manga. To get the full depth of the story and characters I’d recommend you read the manga.

    The series so much more than same gender love and battles. It’s about answers, trust, feelings, and the psychological aspects that take toll on people’s hearts.

    I’ll admit the fact that Ritsuka and Soubi are roughly 8-9 years apart in age is a bit…weird, but in this case, Soubi who has been told what to do and pushed around all his life either by Ritsu-sensei or Seimei, it’s good for him to be with a loving innocent like Ritsuka who abhors violence.

    Overall I’m disappointed in your review. To be a reviewer means to give the facts and explanations without bias, but simply sate that there is this or that genre and that if you are not fond of this genre that it’d be best to not watch it, even though it is so much more than same gender love.

    Of course, I’m just one single person, I doubt you’ll bother to care about my comment, eh?

  10. Cecilia says:

    I feel like you have missed the whole point of the story. It is true that the age difference is a bit much, but it seems like all you want to do is hate this story without acknowledging that it could be good in any way. The characters have much more depth than most anime characters and it is a much more serious and psychologically centered anime. Also, the cat ears are slightly kinky, but aren’t necessarily meant to be seen as some weird sex thing. I think that they were more meant to show the way virginity is viewed in society. In the manga, the two girls, Koya and Yamato, are a year or two apart in age. The younger one cannot be seen without her cat ears, because it would be against what society would view as normal. Because of this, she has to wear fake cat ears. Another example is how Ritsuka’s 23 (or so) year old teacher is seen as weird and childish for still having her cat ears. I think the writer, Yun Kouga, was probably trying to show how culture views virginity, especially if it was outwardly visible.
    Now, regarding the age difference between Ritsuka and Soubi. I think that the writer was trying to make a point about how love can happen between anyone, regardless of age or gender. Her characters are purposefully androgynous and hard to pin an age on. There is romance between all different types of characters. It isn’t meant to be seen as serious shotacon. Besides, it is more about the actual love. Their relationship could hardly be seen as sexual. In the manga they kiss maybe twice.

  11. @Cecilia – congratulations, you are the recipient of the very first “Fandelusion Pony” for arguing points I never made and overanalyzing a comic book and cartoon. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_NM-kYi1dQkM/SaqxPG0HVAI/AAAAAAAAB8A/d5r5RnfZx5g/s1600-h/fandelusion-pony.jpg Enjoy!

  12. Anonymous says:

    it’s funny cause there is a better review of this series in the comments then the thing you are passing off a review…

    You really shouldn’t review a series you haven’t even read/watched, i mean, you say:

    “The basic plot of Loveless as I understand it is that same-sex partners pair to engage in some kind of battle”

    its like the first episode that you come a cross a male and female fighting pair…

Leave a Reply