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ZetsuAi 1989 ZetsuAi 1989 ZetsuAi 1989 ZetsuAi 1989

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Title: ZetsuAi 1989 (Desperate Love)
Genre: Romance / Shonen-Ai
Credits: 1992 Minami Ozaki, Margaret Comics, Youmex, Shueisha, Madhouse

Skysenshi's Description: Koji Nanjo remembers that the has had the longest crush on Takuto Izumi, dating back since the 5th grade, when he first saw the wild intensity of Izumi's eyes as he drove the soccer ball into its rightful place in the goal. Years later, Izumi would find him drunk, unconscious, and feverish, lying on his back amidst garbage bags. Izumi takes him in, but keeping himself emotionally distant. Koji, on the other hand, seeks to learn more about Izumi and why he finds himself attracted to the dark soccer player with each passing moment. Secrets begin to unravel themselves and Koji is faced with wanting to tear at Izumi's dark past…and the wound that has festered inside of him for the past ten years.

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Average Rating:

skysenshi (10.24.2002)
Scary obsession.
I have only seen ZetsuAi (Desperate Love) 1989 the OVA and have never touched any part of the manga, save for a few previews and covers. For an obviously profound story that is compressed into a 45-minute feature, ZetsuaAi 1989 OVA stands pretty well on its own. It doesn't have the hilarious moments of the novel that I've beheld in passing, but it has a coherent storyline supported by rather well-developed characters. For a newbie who has never read the complete manga, I found the story to be dark, compelling, and utterly devoid of humor. And in some instances…scary.

Koji Nanjo struggles with the realization that he is a man who is falling in love with another man. Once he's accepted his "fate", however, he starts going out of his way to make sure that Izumi is in good hands. This sense of guardianship, which is unusual for someone who is only 16 years old, extends to Izumi's family, specifically his sister Serika. Since Izumi has a lot of major issues—all of which deeply rooted to the fact that his mother murdered his father when he was 5 years old—Koji seems to be everywhere, making sure that all the ruffles in Izumi's life are ironed out. At the expense of his health and his flourishing JPOP career.

Somewhere in the middle of it, Koji's behavior frightened me. The way he puts himself in danger (getting between a roaring truck and Serika) and making himself sick (standing in the rain for hours, waiting for Izumi) make me feel a combination of pity and disdain. Shonen-ai may be created for mush-loving girls like me, but Koji's obsessive nature, which completely transforms him from being cool and unfazed to a lonely lovesick fool, hits a delicate spot. I've had gay friends who have passed on (before their time) because of this particular affliction. Koji's talks of death and love, complete with bloody imagery, were downright unnerving and I find myself assailed by many unwelcome memories.

So is there any resolution to the story? The ending is quite the cliffhanger, with Koji's heart hanging out in the open, waiting for a positive response from Izumi. Fortunately, its creators decided to release the sequel Bronze, four years after ZetsuAi was animated. I suggest you watch Bronze if you're looking for sweet closure.

As for the animation and art, they're surprisingly good. The characters don't look fruity, although they could really do something to improve those bodily proportions. Perhaps add more shape to the men's butts? Koji reminds me of Zechs Merchise (Gundam Wing), while Izumi is like a mix of Heero Yuy (Gundam Wing) and Rukawa (Slam Dunk) in both looks and personality.

One thing I can commend ZetsuAi 1989 for is the exceptional vocal prowess that Koyasu Takehito displays. Takehito does Izumi's voice, but he also sings all of Koji's songs. Talk about versatility. Oh, and if the name doesn't ring a bell, let me just ask if you know Zechs Merchise (Gundam Wing), Ryousuke Takahashi (Initial D), Hotohori (Fushigi Yuugi), Touga Kiryuu (Utena), Aya Fujimaya (Weiß Kreuz), Sakano (Gravitation)… Squealing much?

Art/Animation: 8 Story/Plot: 8 Characters: 8 Sounds: 9 Ecchi Level: 4