I should start this off by saying I really, really do enjoy yaoi. It gives me something that is very difficult to find anywhere else, and I love it for that. But. That love is not unconditional. Like any genre, there are less than savory aspects that I would rather ignore. Of course it’s the manga that revel in those cliches that make me cringe that actually get animated. So. Here we go, the things I dislike (so far) about Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi.
There are certain things you find in pretty much every yaoi manga ever. At some point one (or both) of the leads will say “But we’re both guys” like it is some great revelation. In some cases, it is, but mostly it just illustrates that he is not Gay. He just has gay sex (more on this another day). There will be blushing, usually from the uke, but that is not set in stone. And, more often than I would like, there usually is some sort of sexual harassment, if not outright rape.
Let’s take a look at that last one as it applies to Sekai-Ichi. Episode 2 has an obviously unwanted/unexpected kiss—pretty straightforward sexual harassment. But in the context of the show it is meant to 1) enlighten Onodera and 2) show us Takano still loves him. Of course! It makes perfect sense. Then in episode 3 things escalate to full on rape. There might not be any penetration (here is where the fangirls collectively sigh in disappointment), but you don’t need penetration for sex, and consequently rape.
So why does Takano rape the person he supposedly is in love with? Well, in yaoi-land, rape comes in two flavors, generally: 1) rape that must be defended against, and 2) rape that shows he’s in love. Basically, when he rapes you, it means he’s in love, so much so that he just can’t control himself around you. Because that’s the only way to express love, with sex. It’s not like they could just talk or something, nope. It must be physical.
I will refrain from going down the sexism angle there (because that is a whole post by itself, let me tell you), since I want this to be more of a primer, if anything. Probably am not succeeding there. But onwards!
So why doesn’t Mr Rape Victim (the show calls him Onodera, if you’ve lost track) report this to the police? Because he *gasp* might have enjoyed it! Which totally makes it okay, because sex is just a method of physical gratification. No trust or intimacy or emotions, nope, just physical sensations. So rape + enjoyment = not rape (this will be on the quiz). And, as is often the case, it is the rape that makes our protagonist realize his own feelings. Cue happy ending with puppies and unicorns beneath a rainbow.