What They Say:
Love has never been so complicated. Things are more difficult than ever for Haru and Ren Kaidou. Between trying to figure out where their feelings lie and what kind of relationship they want the last thing they need is a troublesome figure from Haru’s past! With words left unsaid and tension growing between them, will love be enough to hold them together?
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track only, no surprise there, encoded in stereo using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The show is one that has a couple of outlandish reaction moments that go a little bit bigger but largely they keep to fairly straightforward dialogue material throughout. That means that this is a fairly mellow release in general that accomplishes what it needs to by serving the material well with good placement throughout as needed and a clean and clear problem free encoding. It’s not a show that stands out but it has good use of the instrumental score to swell things at times and the opening and closing sequences get a bit bigger in terms of feel and scope. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2016, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78;1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The eleven episodes are spread across two discs with eight on the first and three on the second. Animated by Studio Deen, the show adapts the look and style of the manga well with good character designs that go into a lot of detail at times and a really well done real world kind of background environment for everything to exist within. Colors look good throughout and the solid feeling for it all works well, allowing the detail to come through in character designs and the standard normal world looking backgrounds to feel rich enough without being overdone.
The packaging for this release comes in a slightly thicker than standard Blu-ray case with an O-card to wrap it all up in. The case has the familiar key visual of Haru and Ren together set against some bushes that certainly sets the tone but I like that the case itself has a different piece of artwork we didn’t see often with the two outside again but just enjoying time together and with the puppy. The colors for both are good and I continue to like the design of the logo with its flair and still simple elements. The back cover for both the case and the o-card is the same as we get a nice country-home kind of feeling to it with a good breakdown of the premise and a few nice shots from the show along with another good key visual. The episodes included are clearly listed as well as the extra. The technical grid breaks down the information for both formats clearly and everything is easy to read and accurate. While there are no show related inserts with this release we do get artwork on the reverse side that uses more of the Japanese cover artwork to good effect that can be reversed easily.
The menu design for this release keeps things simple as expected with a static image and some soothing colors that riff on the cover and artwork well enough to blend it together right. The main visual of bringing the two leads together close is what we had for most of the promotional period originally so it’s no surprise to see it used here, zoomed in at that. THe clouds in the background are nice and it draws in the trees just enough to add a little more to it. The logo is clean and nicely placed with the nod to including the OVA and the navigation strip along the bottom is a simple white piece that has the basics, made even simpler due to the lack of language options. It’s an appealing looking menu that sets the tone well and it’s functional both as the main menu and the pop-up menu during playback.
The only extras in this release include the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the first season of this series and OVA landing in the spring 2016 season, the second season of ten episodes plus OVA arrived in the winter 2017 season. That it has the same format works well as it doesn’t quite overstay its welcome though it still struggles with certain things. Adapting Miyuki Abe’s work, which is still ongoing as of this point, we don’t quite get closure here but it definitely feels like we make progress. And that’s something that I like about a number of the boys-love genre properties in that they do accomplish that more often than not, even if there are a lot of ups and downs along the way. Just in the admittance of feelings alone it moves further than most romantic comedies in the mainstream do and that presents new challenges for the cast to deal with.
The first season wasn’t something that really made me feel uncomfortable for most of it simply because as good as Haru was with Ren he also clearly recognized that Ren was an eight-year-old and treated him that way, mostly just enjoying spending time with him because the two are more alike than they realized. With the five-year leap and the change in Ren coming to Japan that made things more complicated for Haru but they’ve all managed things quite well, especially with help from Aki and Shima. The complication that we get with the start of this season, the cliffhanger from the first, was Mikiko wanting Ren back because not having any of her sons with her is really getting to her. And considering Ren’s age that’s even more understandable. But Ren doesn’t want to go back because he clearly wants to be with Haru.
The problem that ends up spread over the course of this season is communication. Shock, I know. Haru doesn’t want to be a complication in Ren and Mikiko’s relationship so he doesn’t want to ask Ren to stay even though he wants to and Ren misreads the situation completely because he’s a thirteen-year-old kid and doesn’t know any better. Frankly, the majority of the problems that exist in this season is because he is that age and can’t express himself right and tries doing things to fix things that simply makes it worse and worse. It doesn’t help that it’s all emotion based, repressed as they feel like they are with him, and Haru tends to repress his emotions as well, resulting in him papering them over with the happy version of himself that he presents to the world. That works when it comes to his cafe but it doesn’t work when trying to deal with his home life. Admittedly, he is right in this to a degree because he’s protecting Ren in his view and kids should be shielded from some of these things – just not all things.
But again, Ren’s a kid and none of this should be happening anyway. The “adults” are problematic in this kind of situation because you have the twins basically being okay with it and encouraging it in their own way and then there’s the slow introduction of Natsuo, Haru’s cousin, who is making a more forward play for Ren without Haru knowing about it. This is like a more subversive version of the trope of your usual group of ruffians picking on the cute ladies and trying to get her to go to an undisclosed location with them. Here, Natsuo is clearly in predator mode and it’s only because someone else sees them and fills Haru in on it that it doesn’t happen. But it gets more complicated because Haru’s being upset about it has Ren still feeling distant toward him while wanting to be with him in all forms – which Haru does push back on because he’s scared for a range of reasons. With Ren having learned about sex more fully recently, and probably not right, that leads him to his next big stupid teenager decision.
Ren approaching Natsuo for sex so that he can get experience so that Haru will be more interested in him is the usual kind of convoluted teenager thinking that you’d expect. Of course, Haru reacts badly and that sends the whole thing into a tailspin but leads to them getting much closer than they should. The series doesn’t go all in visually but the squick factor simply increases a good bit during this season and it’s made worse by nobody really sitting Ren down and just getting through to him about what he’s doing. Haru’s too close to it, the twins are simply enablers, and Natsuo’s just a spoiler in the mix. It’s the kind of show where so much of what goes on here just shouldn’t have happened. There’s ways to do it but I just don’t think they did it right.
The first season of Super Lovers played out better than I expected it to be based on the visuals that I had seen without being exposed to the manga, but I knew things were simply going to get more complicated in the second season. There’s a good bit more uncomfortable moments and interactions in this season from a Western point of view of things but I was curious to see just how they’d handle it all. Fans of the original work will likely be pretty pleased and I’m glad that they’re able to get the property released and in their collection as Funimation put together a good monolingual dual format release. These shows continue to be niche (and leave me wishing they’d get to something more mature, modern, and 21st century in story content) but there was no skimping here with the quality of the animation and its physical presentation in this release.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Running Time: 275 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.