Japanese boarding school hothouse

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Although I could tell that it was aimed at the young teenage girl audience of bishonen manga (Japanese beautiful boy graphic novels), I liked most of “Boys Love” (also known as “Schoolboy Crush”),  a 2006 movie directed by Kôtarô Terauchi.

Mamiya Taishin (Kotani Yoshikazu) is a single copyeditor for a Japanese celebrity-covering magazine whose first assignment as a reporter is to interview androgynous, long-haired male model Kisaragi Noeru (Takumi Saito) about the latter’s art (drawing and paintings).

Still a schoolboy, Noeru is far more sexually experienced than the very proper and easily shocked Taishin. Noeru is promiscuous (a reason will be supplied along the way) but falls in love with Taishin after seducing him. Noeru teaches Taishin to swim and Taishin teaches Noeru to box. Both look good in their Speedos, and Kotani Yoshikazu’s naked derrière is frequently on display (showing genitalia, or even a stray pubic hair are forbidden by Japanese censors).

The reformation of Taishin alarms his bespectacled good student schoolmate and would-be lover Chidori Furumura (Matsumoto Hiroya). As long as Taishin was sleeping around, Chidori could believe that he was the one to whom Taishin came back, the one who did Taishin’s homework, etc.

Knowing how Japanese romances usually end, andthe Japanese view that living happily ever after is less beautiful than death, I had forebodings. Even though I saw it coming, I hated, hated, hated the ending.

Not that I’d claim there was anything at all original about the love of a good man reforming the wild ways of a widely shared sex object (male or female). Still, I enjoyed the uplifting romance that took both young men out of shells of different sorts and origins. And both of the leads are very attractive—easy on the eyes of those who like to look at attractive young males. But at the risk of repeating myself, I hate the ending!

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On the (Picture This!) DVD bonus features, the director and each of the stars make a point of announcing that they are not gay, which did not keep them from reteaming to make “Schoolboy Crush” the next year (2007; also released as “Gay Love 2,” BTW.) .

©2016, Stephen O. Murray

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