In episode 11 of Sasaki and Miyano, the serious topic of appearance and acceptance is explored, but it also shows that BL still has many ways to deal with the reality of LGBTQ issues.
Kodoani.com – Warning: the following contains spoilers for Sasaki and Miyano, Episode 11.
One of the ways the Boy Love genre has always been seen in Japanese culture, and to some extent for Western fans, is that of a fantasy genre. Of course, it’s still a subgenre of romance, but most of the stories take place in a world where relationships between boys aren’t really considered exceptional or even rare. rather. They just happen naturally and no one notices, which is great but not necessarily realistic. Sasaki and Miyano are aiming to incorporate some realistic ideas about feelings, and now with Hanzawa’s character, it deals with the issue of acceptance. But in the end, the series remains a fantasy story where everything is resolved fairly easily and painlessly.
Hanzawa was quite instrumental in trying to push Miyano forward with his emotions. In episode 8, he explains to Miyano what love means, and in episode 10, he once again tries to push Miyano to a romance by reading his Tarot cards. At the same time, Hanzawa has always been a difficult character to read with his eternal smile and mysterious yet profound sayings. This caring attitude towards Miyano is speculated by some to have complicated feelings or even become Sasaki’s potential rival.
But episode 11 reveals that Hanzawa is in fact outspoken, and his strange attitude towards Miyano and Sasaki isn’t because he has any romantic feelings for either of them. He was very supportive because his brother was also openly gay. Their mother was just quick to make sure she could still have some grandkids from Hanzawa and immediately continued as if she was afraid to talk about it in depth. In this day and age, it is more and more acceptable to accept mixed relationships, but most parents still don’t really know how to deal with it properly. They also worry about potential social implications. That’s why when she heard Hanzawa speak straight, her voice sounded lighter.
This is probably why Hanzawa felt confused and a little annoyed by the whole thing at first. It was a natural reaction because the family discussion was so simple and quick, but Hanzawa needed time to process it and he never got a chance to talk about it with anyone. As such, he begins to act a bit hostile towards his brother, which could easily be mistaken for bigotry. But after seeing Sasaki and Miyano together, Hanzawa realizes that he is only worried about his brother, and wants him to be happy. This was also how he felt about Sasaki and Miyano.
In fact, everyone in Sasaki and Miyano accepts our main couple’s relationship, even though they’re not officially a couple yet. Even the puzzled-looking Tashiro was perfectly fine with Miyano and Sasaki’s relationship, and just casually assumed they were dating. Now it seems that the only person who is concerned about the look of dating another man is Miyano.
People’s acceptance is great to see, and it’s certainly something our society is ultimately striving for. Unfortunately, this has yet to be the case, especially not in a relatively conservative society like Japan, as Hanzawa’s mother’s reaction is subtly alluded to. Given the smooth tone of the entire series, it’s understandable that a head-to-head confrontation of bigotry is difficult to deal with. But at the same time, there’s a missed opportunity to dive deeper into the more practical aspects of coming out. At the very least, the positive description of acceptance provides a good template for how to deal with this problem for people who may find themselves in a similar situation.