Jessi’s Corner

Jessi Siebert, Contributing Writer

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In the last issue, I wrote about negative representation, but that isn’t why I started writing these columns. There are plenty of people pointing out every instance of bad representation, so you really don’t need me to tell you about it over and over again. Instead, I want to focus more on the positive aspect of representation in media, why it is important, and why it isn’t as bad as some people might lead you to believe. 

 

For those who are new to reading this column, or those of you who need a quick reminder, I want to go over how I determine if something is “good representation” and I do this via three criteria. The first is accuracy, the second is positivity, and the third is reliability. I’ll go more into detail about what each one means when it gets to that point. For now, I need to introduce the media at hand. 

 

This week I want to focus on positive representation for a group that is surprisingly underrepresented; lesbians. There is a very small amount of lesbian representation in media, even less so positive representation. That’s why I want to talk about one of my favorite short anime series, Bloom Into You.

 

Bloom Into You is a short anime series that ran between October and December of 2018 and was based off a manga series. At the time of writing this, the series is not finished, rumored to have another season in late 2020. It follows a character named Yuu Koito, who wants nothing more than to have an exciting love confession happen to her. However, when it finally happens, she doesn’t feel much of anything. She eventually bonds with another student, Touko Nanami, over not being able to feel anything when confessed to. However, Nanami finds she’s falling in love with Koito, and confesses. Koito still can’t feel anything related to it, but is willing to try anyway.

 

With the short synopsis out of the way, I can get into the grading.

 

Accuracy: 3/5

Every experience is unique, and not every relationship starts the same. From what I’ve watched, and what I’ve experienced, I can say that it matches somethings very well. Nanami’s sudden realization, flirtatious attitude, and overall personality is very fun. She also tends to get flustered very easily, which honestly is exactly how being a woman loving woman (wlw for short) is like. Koito, however, isn’t the best representation of what it’s like to be a lesbian, and that’s because she may be a-romantic. If that is, in fact, the case, then she represents what I feel a-romantic people are like very well. I’m not aro, so I can’t say for sure, however. 

 

Positivity: 4/5

There are some very questionable events in the story, things that border on creepy or nonconsensual, but I believe that has more to do with cultural differences than with representation. Overall, however, the story is nothing more than two highschool girls having a normal relationship, with highs and lows. That is very important to show, everything good and bad. Showing that any LGBT+ couple can have just as much of a normal relationship as anyone else can is a very uplifting and amazing message. Also, nobody dies, so that’s a plus.

 

Relatability: 4/5

I already touched a bit on how relatable Nanami was in the “accuracy” section, but that isn’t a bad thing. An accurate character will tend to be a relatable character, especially one that is the main focus of the series.  Nanami is flirty with Koito, but can’t take what she dishes out. If that isn’t the literal lesbian mood, then I’m not sure what is. But beyond just their interactions with each other, they’re amazingly relatable in the way they so desperately want to flaunt everything they have, but can’t. It’s a bit heartbreaking to think, but it’s still not exactly the most socially acceptable thing, and their struggle between their relationship and the secret they have to keep is solid and real.

 

Overall: 11/15

Overall, Bloom Into You does an excellent job of being a real, down to earth series focusing on two girls and their evolving relationship. I can’t tell you too much without getting into spoilers, but the title of the anime gives me hope for what happens going forward. I highly recommend watching it. I felt myself getting so attached that any embarrassing moment had me hiding my face. It’s an excellent anime to watch and great representation.

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