Heating Up/Application For First Love
What They Say:
Yuu has always loved shoujo 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, Yuu enters high school still unsure how to respond. That’s when Yuu sees the beautiful student council president Nanami turn down a suitor with such maturity that she’s inspired to ask her for help. But when the next person to confess to Yuu is Nanami herself. Has her shoujo romance finally begun?
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Following one of the strongest pilots of the Fall season, Bloom Into You had its work cut out for itself coming into week two. With Touko’s semi-confession already out in the open and Yuu still teetering on the brink of becoming her campaign manager, the series has already established itself as rather plot-heavy in comparison to many other shows of the same genre. But will it be able to keep this up for an entire cour? I mean, we’ve already delved deep into the possible (And probable) themes for the series, so the only thing left would be to embellish on them, correct?
Episode two sets out to do just that. While its counterpart made waves through its beautiful scoring and luscious backdrops, this newest installment of Bloom Into You shines a more vibrant light on how Yuu has perceived recent events, while not straying from how Touko has perceived the same ones. Before that, however, we’re graced with arguably the best new opening of the season in Riko Azuna’s “Kimi No Furete.” If you haven’t caught the episode yet, I advise that you go into it wearing a sweatshirt as both the OP and ED are almost sure to give you chills. But, moving on, the relationship between our two protagonists hasn’t gone through any drastic changes overnight. One person who is undergoing a few changes, though, is Touko’s best friend and future vice president (Assuming Touko is elected the next president), Sayaka Saeki.
It’s clear immediately that Sayaka doesn’t exactly approve of Touko’s selection for campaign manager. She makes no attempt at hiding it either. But, as best friends typically do, Touko catches on right away and actually has a solid explanation for why Yuu was chosen and not Sayaka herself. While the reader may have ascertained certain ‘feelings’ that may be clouding Touko’s judgment, the official ‘on the books’ explanation of this is that having Yuu on board will pretty much reel in all of the first-year votes. It’s actually a really solid strategy in the grand scheme of things. No other candidates have taken on a first-year as part of the campaign, so if Touko didn’t have a leg up on the competition before, she surely does now.
Politics isn’t the only area where things are heating up, though. Episode two sees two drastic changes in the relationship between Touko and Yuu — the first of which is something that has come a bit faster than many viewers may have anticipated. The second, however, is what will propel the series forward while still managing to clear up some confusion about Yuu Koito and the asexual identity as a whole. Touko confirms her feelings for our wonderful orange-haired heroine in the form of a sort of…self-rejection. She’s figured out that Yuu doesn’t view her romantically, but still wants to maintain her feelings as its the first time she’s ever felt ‘fulfilled’ in her life. The sudden announcement takes Yuu by surprise but, even though she obviously can’t reciprocate her senpai’s feelings of romance, she doesn’t hate them. This prompts Yuu to accept Touko’s proposal of an ongoing, unrequited love that will, hopefully, bloom into something more one day.
A great follow up to a great pilot, episode two hits all the right spots while adding a phenomenal opening and ending sequence. Not only are the characters developing at a rather comfortable pace, but the overall quality of the animation and sound design sit amongst TROYCA’s [small] portfolio as some of their best work to date. With a story just as sentimental as its centralized themes, Bloom Into You remains the highlight of the Fall season in my book. Please, for the love of Yuu, watch this.
Episode Grade: A-
Streamed By: HIDIVE