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Title: Bronze (sequel to ZetsuAi 1989)
Genre: Romance / Shonen-Ai
Credits: 1996 Minami Ozaki, Margaret Comics, Youmex, Shueisha, Madhouse

Skysenshi's Description: Koji Nanjo loves Takuti Izumi so much that he's willing to risk life and limb just to make sure that he would never lose Izumi—mind, body and soul. But forces beyond their control are threatening to take this love away. Izumi has a soccer career to take care of and Koji is one of Japan's most loved singing sensations. Can what they have withstand the pressures of their individual responsibilities? Or will they finally realize that they truly are not meant to be.

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Average Rating:

skysenshi (10.24.2002)
Yes, it's so cliché...but...
The summary I've written above is basically the same formula that every romance story follows. So how come it effectively drove me round and round in circles? Starting from its predecessor ZetsuAi 1989, one can hardly miss the boy-meets-girl-boy-loses-girl-girl-loses-boy-live-happily-ever-after-ending template. The difference is that, of course, it's not about "boy and girl" but about "boy and boy" AND that both "boy and boy" are a completely neurotic pair; it's a wonder that they aren't both locked up in a mental institute. Truly, I have never in my life encountered such a confusing anime couple…and let me warn you, I have seen more than a thousand anime titles since the 1970s.

The feature starts out with an exceedingly fluffy scene where Koji declares how much he loves Izumi, has mad passionate sex with him, and then wakes up in an empty bed. What I can't understand is that Izumi actually left a note, saying that he'd be back from Italy within a week, but Koji utterly blows everything out of proportion. He goes into such a fitful rage that sends him spiraling into a hospital bed. At this point, I find myself at a loss as to whether I should laugh at the results of his clinginess or cry because it's just tragic. Izumi's callousness, however, takes the decision off my hands. I did cry. A little. Both for Koji pathetic state and Izumi's ridiculous way of coping with his past.

Now comes the perplexing part. Izumi can't seem to decide whether he wants Koji alive or dead, near him or away from him. Koji suffers the same fate. It doesn't help that the problem never ends. Both men's careers are threatened so they resolve to stay away from each other. Izumi goes to Italy and Koji recuperates from an accident that cost him his voice. Izumi does it for his own personal growth…Koji does it in the name of love—both of them blaming the other for all the misfortunes that came their way. Enter Koji's heartless brothers, who'd do anything just to make things more miserable for poor Koji. More confusing tug-of-wars ensue. Ah, I love a good conflict.

What's nice about this sequel is that some of the supporting characters actually show a bit of depth in terms of personalities. Katsumi, Koji's manager, who didn't seem to be anything but calculating and cold in ZetsuAi 1989 is actually just a little mischief maker who cares about his charge a lot. While I've always thought that he has the hots for Koji and wants nothing else but to separate our two lovebirds, I was surprised to see that he would be the catalyst in reuniting our indecisive protagonists. Serika, Izumi's sister, who was portrayed as nothing else but a die-hard Koji fan in ZetsuAi, shows that she isn't a wallflower whose role is simply to look pretty. In Bronze, she shows a lot of spirit, and even a bit of a violent streak. We now know that at least she can fight for her principles.

The first thing that really struck me when the VHS started playing was that in terms of art, I prefer ZetsuAi over Bronze. Everything in Bronze is elongated. Long faces, long noses, long chins, long hands, long limbs…long…Hm…Do you think they're also long down there? Sometimes I'd feel like I was watching Plastic Man instead of a serious shonen-ai. At other times, the art would remind me of Utena and Fruits Basket. Koji and Izumi's hottest scene here looks so much like Utena and Anthy's yuri scenario in Utena Movie (See Otaku Fridge for reference), except you have two gay males in lieu of two lesbians.

The music is calming, just like in ZetsuAi. I liked their soundtrack so much that I even finished the end credits just to hear the ending theme in its entirety. I only wish I could have heard more of Koyasu Takehito sing more of Koji's songs.

Art/Animation: 6 Story/Plot: 8 Characters: 8 Sounds: 8 Ecchi Level: 5