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 loveboth 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
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
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.