Before the anime was announced I noticed a certain manga being mentioned here and there. At some point after I noticed this same manga lauded as one of the greatest of all time alongside the lemony soap. Fast forward to 2018 and an anime was announced. Since I never picked up the manga and the Citrus anime showed how much better the story was animated than in comic form I figured the same could be true for the show we will be discussing in this post, Bloom Into You.
Genres: Drama, Romance, Yuri
Number of Episodes: 13
Plot Summary: Yū Koito has always loved shōjo manga and awaits the day she gets a love confession that sends her heart aflutter with bubbles and blushes, and yet when a junior high classmate confesses his feelings to her, she feels nothing. Disappointed and confused, Yū enters high school still unsure how to respond. That’s when Yū sees the beautiful student council president Touko Nanami turn down a suitor with such maturity that she’s inspired to ask her for help. But then the next person to confess to Yū is Touko herself.
One very important thing readers need to know before deciding whether this show is worth checking out or not. BiY is a somewhat slow-paced show. It takes its time building up to the good stuff. Some people may not fully get into it until the third, fourth or even fifth episode. A lot happens but similar to a show like Aoi Hana it is a grounded, complex romantic drama that has a lot to say and makes sure to go over as many details as possible at a steady pace. I will say that BiY differs from Aoi Hana by being a bit faster and steamier.
Before we get to the general review I must point out the most notable aspect of the show, its presentation. When it comes to animation quality I am not very picky. It is the reason why I often keep this part of my reviews short, unless it is worth delving into. The animation in BiY is one of those few instances where I feel the need to go in depth because it is absolutely fantastic. The character designs are quite good to the point that only diehard and ultra picky manga fans would complain (Which they always do). As for everything else…jaw dropping would be the best way I could describe it. The way effects, colors and sounds are implemented throughout the show are top notch, from an instance where it felt like time stopped around the characters or a rainbow flash of speeding colors as a train passes by. A personal highlight was the criminally few first person viewpoint moments. Those were especially cool. Put simply the animators took full advantage of how emotions could be conveyed without uttering a word. Of course the characters spoke but there were times what was going around them said more than spoken dialogue ever could. The same high level quality was present in the music. On the surface it is another vintage “Yuri X Classical Music” combo but here the musical cues have an added effectiveness that must be heard to understand. Also the OP is my favorite of Fall 2018 and the ED is really good. Whether the curious end up liking the show or not there is a high chance they will AT LEAST compliment the presentation.
Now to the general review. At first glance this is another Grade 1 (yuri is the main focus) yuri drama that aired in 2018 about a girl growing more interested in another girl and trying to understand what the feeling inside means every time she sees her. It was present in shows like Citrus, Happy Sugar Life. The difference here is that leading lady Yuu the closest thing (as far as I am aware) to a Demisexual protagonist, which in short means a person who does not experience sexual attraction to someone unless they have formed a strong emotional connection with them. Pretty accurate description of what Yuu struggles with throughout the show. It does less to do with developing a possible attraction to another girl than constantly puzzling over whether she has romantic feelings for Touko or not.
Next up is Touko, the token awesome seitokaichou, meaning super beautiful, intelligent, talented and the cutie everyone wants to woo. Being the one who made the first move Touko is constantly craving Yuu’s taco, her hunger growing the deeper she falls for the cute peach haired sweetie. Fortunately for Yuu she is also able to restrain herself from going too far. This being a complex drama Touko too has her own secrets. Without giving too much away it has to do with the Freudian philosophy.
Then there is the third most prominent character, Sayaka. She is the one I will say the least about. Let me put it this way. There is a chance Sayaka change a yuri fan’s overall worldview. A truly fascinating human being who regimarokokolokettaiiiii-she is a “cursed one”. Huh? What just happened? Oh. Right. Sayaka is quite fascinating.
Besides the fascinating and peculiar main trio the rest of the cast are equally compelling. From minor to important side-characters each one has a story to tell from their relationships with the main trio to their own lives. From Koyomi, Maki-kun and his “straight man” buddy, to a show stealing duo. Readers will know right away who the show stealers are.
The pic speaks for itself. Readers interested in the show need not worry about the yuri. It is there in all its slowly ramping up glory.
From what I have gathered from trusted manga readers, like the Citrus anime BiY follows the manga story to a tee with a few deviations (later chapters coming earlier) here and there and some small plot enhancing anime exclusive scenes. The conclusion is a solid one setting up for a potential sequel. On the date of this review the manga is still ongoing so time will tell if a second season is in our futures.
When it comes to my personal preference I gravitate more towards fun and heartwarming love stories, aka Shiro Yuri. There are some serious and/or dark yuri stories, aka Kuro Yuri I have a soft spot for. Bloom Into You falls somewhere in the middle. It has a fine balance between Shiro and Kuro without one overwhelming the other. Basically this is one of the best yuri anime I have ever seen. Everyone is fascinating and has an interesting story to tell (be it minor or important). The presentation is incredible and the conclusion is good enough to warrant a continuation without feeling like a blatant manga lure. Even so I cannot say it is for everyone. I would say the viewer must be patient, open-minded and most important of all EXTREMELY TOLERANT! If the viewer lacks even one of these then the odds of fully enjoying this show are slim.