「困らせたくねーのに。」 (Komarasetaku nē no ni.)
“I Don’t Want to Pressure Him”
A bleeding heart.
I don’t know what’s going on anymore, and I’ve lost all hope for this series. That’s the sentiment I walked away from within this episode. As you might have noticed I disabled comments for last week’s bout, mainly because I made some claims that I didn’t want disproven. Writing about this show has been mainly about sharing my experience as a gay man, comparing them with what the show has to offer, and looking at those experiences objectively, however, I’ve come to the realization that those experiences simply will never mirror that which Sasaki to Miyano is presenting.
I was always the quiet kid, the one who didn’t fit in, the one that was bullied for being different, but never actually knew why I was different. I knew I admired other men, I knew that other men were attractive and that’s something I couldn’t deny myself. All of my friends were usually female and when those same female friends asked me to hang out with the boys, I would find it difficult and be unable to stand in their circle, there was this unsolicited pressure to our friendship, anxiety that rose from within, and I wasn’t sure why that was.
One time a boy stood so close to me, shoulder to shoulder, I was visibly shaking as if the temperature had dropped to 14Fº (-10Cª). It was the middle of summer. In that same experience, I found out his friends had set him up in order to obtain a cheap laugh, my heart dropped to my stomach.
I never had a best male friend, all my friends were female, they would cast me out to talk about bra’s and periods, literally asking me to leave them alone for the duration of our break. I was left to wonder about the school grounds by myself, not really thinking much of it, I was used to being alone, I’m an only child after all.
Soon I did make a connection with another guy, he had autism and also preferred to be alone, I didn’t see it at first, thinking of him as another friend, we connected over video games, we liked the same stuff, after all, he also liked anime and manga. So there wasn’t much of a bridge to cross, things weren’t awkward and our conversation flew without many pauses, we soon sort of became inseparable. I would go over to his house, he would come over to mine, his brother soon entered our friendship, for him it was like an anchor shifting him to the real world, people complained of how close we were, but that soon changed as he told me couldn’t be friends with me anymore because his dad had said so. My heart broke into a million pieces.
He on the other hand continued to play whatever game of pretend he had come up with on that day, with the now-defunct group of male friends I had been cast out from. All because his absent father had figured out I was gay. He never apologized, years later I took a programming class with him, as he was unable to stand the pressure, bullying, and relationships of our old school as he had chosen the same path they did. It’s just what everyone does. The public image of the school you go to is very important for people in our circle. It’s a reflection of how others see you.
Because of his transfer, I ended up taking the same class with him and had to shyly ask the teacher not to partner me up with him. She looked at me like I was crazy. A school psychologist tried to mend our relationship, I found it awkward and uncomfortable, I extended my hand, after 15 minutes he finally shook it, I walked out of that room knowing I was never going to talk to him again. Another school teacher pulled me up to a room and questioned me if there was something that she needed to know.
On a superficial level, being gay is sticky, it gets you into unwanted trouble just for being you, for wanting to express something that you feel just because you feel it. On the other hand, it might force you into a relationship with someone you don’t really want to date, just so that other people assert you as one of them and you’re able to live a normal life while burying deep down those feelings you solely wish to express. Without fear or prejudice.
On a deeper level, being gay is like starting with a handicap in life, you might get 12 or 14 years of being naively happy with your child-like wonder, but soon you find out the world is against you and will ask you to conform. An expression of love for the same sex is soon seen as a rebellion against society as a whole, and the norms it implies by living in it.
Sasaki to Miyano fails to reflect the queer experience.
I’ve come to realize that there’s little of Sasaki to Miyano that reflects or applies to me for that matter, and I came into this review trying to find exactly that. But it has disappointed me one and time again. It’s not because the series is bad, it’s because it fails to mirror and ring anything true to the LGBTQ+ experience between two men. It fails to even utilize the proper language to set up a romance between Sasaki and Miyano. Instead, it’s more interested in making girls squeal over the slightest touch, it presents an unrealistic portrayal of sexuality and makes Sasaki play the long game. A straight man does not even consider the possibility of thinking about something like Sasaki’s proposal therefore I’m disappointed that it’s unable to talk about such things in a manner that represents and allows others to understand and empathize with queer characters.
They don’t have to kiss, they don’t have to hold hands, they don’t even have to touch, but utilizing the proper language to develop these characters beyond their cardboard cutout of a shell, would have been greatly appreciated. Nevermore – for some reason I fail to understand, beyond simple obsession – it does not. Regardless of what viewers want or personally think of their unique biases against romance.
A little research goes a long way, however, all of this is starting to feel useless as the original mangaka will never be able to read this as it is in English, and I don’t personally think she cares for western fans’ opinions on the show. I just wish more queer stories would see the light of day, and not have the necessity to fetishize or stereotype queer people into a mold. Further causing erasure against queerness. Is it not okay to express that Sasaki is unsure about his own sexuality and has fallen in love with Miyano against his own will?
This story would have been fine if it was about Miyano questioning his sexuality, and Sasaki being open about being Bi or Pansexual. But it didn’t take that route, and there’s nothing I can do about it, but complain about it on the internet and share my personal story as well.
Sasaki to Miyano hides under the surface of familiar yaoi tropes and swipes under the rug any way to discussion about its main subject, that being; Sexuality is fluid and there’s no one way to approach love.
Regardless love is about two souls coming together, regardless of gender, nationality, or economic background. Love is love.
I will also be posting more personal stories alongside this show, as I think it’s unfair to stop reviews just because my personal biases are telling me to halt.
I will also be opening comments in this post once again, but I’m not a big fan of people telling me how to feel about this show, or if this or that discussion didn’t have anything to do with sexuality. These are my interpretations and you getting angry over them will do no one good. I will not be deleting comments, but I might close them once more in the future.
Full-length images: 36.