When Sasaki to Miyano was first announced back in November 2020, it was exciting to see a new Boys Love (BL) TV anime in the works since there had been a dry spell for the genre ever since 2020 ended. We reviewed the first volume of the manga when it was released and concluded that it wasn’t too exciting, but had the potential to make a good series, depending on narrative choices.
Now, over a year later we see the first season come to a close, and… our opinion couldn’t be any worse than it is now.
Sasaki to Miyano is about a shy fudanshi (a boy who enjoys boy’s love manga) and his confident, friendly, and somewhat hot-headed senpai. In teasing Miyano for his feminine face, Sasaki warrants a few comments that quickly establish he had no idea about BL or doujinshi. Maybe if he shopped at J-List he’d be less of an airhead in that regard.
Regardless, Sasaki randomly asks Miyano to loan him a manga to have something to read during his downtime, and on a whim Miyano throws whatever BL manga he has on him, thinking he’ll get it back the following day in disgust. To his surprise, Sasaki returns it with a smile and asks to borrow the next volume Miyano has. The story continues with meetings on stairwells and around hallway corners to exchange BL manga and compare titles. The whole joke of the series is that they are BL fans unaware that they are the stars of their own BL story… and then the series does absolutely nothing new and enticing with this.
Every overdone trope is still there from the generic “what is this feeling” line to the “but he’s a guy” panic without doing anything new, different, or at least comically remixed. The joke runs stale after three and a half episodes, and Sasaki and Miyano’s chemistry feels flat and disengaging for almost the entire series. Most scenes, in the beginning, are Miyano rambling about various BL manga titles while Sasaki’s thoughts cloud over everything, questioning his feelings while fawning over how cute Miyano’s face is.
It isn’t until about halfway through the series when they start to show more of themselves than just liking manga, but it’s to a minimal degree that only offers surface-level relatability. Most of the time, Miyano acts so surprised to see Sasaki standing up against all of the two people who harass him for being a fudanshi or for being so relaxed and making an effort to learn about his interests (BL manga is seemingly the only thing Miyano cares about).
Sasaki to Miyano does have moments where it is wholesome and cute, such as when Sasaki comes down with a cold and Miyano takes care of him. However, most of the golden moments come from both characters’ respective friend circles. Funnily enough, most of Miyano’s friends get better development. They have more realistic dialogue and interactions that reads like a real friendship than Miyano does with his love interest for 80% of the series.
Episode five heats things up when Sasaki confesses his feelings for Miyano and they start d-IVING into the longest, most drawn-out arc of Miyano questioning his feelings, sexuality, and relation with his senpai. Cue the “I’m a virgin still! What do I do about sex” panic attack. Funny that such a moment even happens with a character whose entire free time is spent reading erotic manga. After 100+ books I’d imagine you’ve at least understood sex to a minuscule degree, but apparently not.
Of all 12 episodes, it really feels like only five or six can’t be missed. Most scenarios feel like they are implemented to stall scenes of any real relevance for as long as possible. Even funnier is that the characters are constantly aware and make note of the passage of time. The series clocks out with Miyano taking over six months before finally returning Sasaki’s feelings in the final episode.
By the end of the series, twelve episodes feel like a chore to get through. If you made it to the end it was either because you were painfully desperate for something to watch or you actually enjoy anime designed for people who think ketchup is too spicy.
On a more positive note, it was nice to see a series that didn’t pull from a lot of creepier and darker tropes that result in piles of uninspired colorless tragedy-porn. Still, Sasaki to Miyano is just as soulless, but with brighter colors and slightly more comedic cross-dressing.
Nevertheless, Sasaki to Miyano has received worldwide popularity, in Japan especially, and a new anime was announced to have been greenlit at the end of season one. Needless to say, we will probably be skipping it.