Takumi-kun Series 1: And The Spring Breeze Whispers (2007) is a movie that speaks volumes about the early works of the BL genre.
Takumi Hayama (Yanagishita Tomo), a student of all-boys Shido Academy, lives his life trying to avoid people and running away from a past which is engraved in his brain. He does not like human contact and recoils even if any other person touches him by mistake. His first year of high school went without there being any major events. His second year, however, changes his life forever. Being the centre of attention from the first day, he gets many shocking revelations one after the other. From being liked by two of the most popular boys in school and then being the reason for a bet between them,which will decide who gets to pursue him, his second year of high school is everything he did not want it to be. But life is often funny that way and peace is never an option, mostly for Takumi. There are two main characters in the movie, the quiet, shy kid Takumi Hayama and the popular and America-return Giichi Saki/ Gii (Kato Keisuke).
First things first, the movie is based on the Yaoi novel series by Shinobu Gotoh and was first published in 1992. So, coming from the age where BL was still relatively new, the problematic points in the movie can be understood, but still not ignored. This movie is the first in the series (there are four more movies). The review is strictly about the first movie only.
It can be said that the book was published when BL, as a genre, was still at its roots, at the foundational stage; where it was written by female writers for female audiences and catered to that audience only. It is only in recent years that the situation has changed and the rules are not that strict. The plot of the movie is not bad. I even liked it. It has everything a BL lover would want. A simple romantic tale about two boys, one popular and one who likes to hide behind shadows. A traumatic past, mature acceptance and an eventual happy ending. However, there are many things in the movie I did not like. The distinction is that being one of the first live-action Boys Love Highschool series Takumi served is essentially their model. It inadvertently contributed to the development of a favourite subject and location within the BL Live Action genre. But even so, it is troubling.
The plot of the movie is not that bad. But there was no development. Within ten to fifteen minutes of the movie, Gii confesses his love for Takumi, but there was just no chemistry. Takumi refuses to believe Gii first and so did I, because the confession came out of nowhere. There were many plot holes as well, which made some scenes not make sense at all. There is no explanation as to how they ended up being locked in the music room. We see somebody hit Takumi, but how did Gii reach there? And why was he covered in bruises? There is a scene where Gii is just staring at a photo, and there is almost no explanation as to who the people in the photo are. Gii and Takumi know each other from before but I could not understand how.
Takumi clearly has a traumatic past because of which he avoids human touch at all costs. His previous roommate, was aware of his situation and his new roommate who incidentally turns out to be Gii, also figured it out on his own. Takumi was sexually abused by his older brother when he was in the second grade and it scarred him to the point where he could not handle anybody even touching him by mistake. In the movie, after he grows up, he almost gets raped twice and both times the perpetrator gets away with it. Nobody reported it to the authorities. In fact, in the end, Gii places a bet with the guy who tried to rape Takumi to leave him alone. The fun fact here is if Gii loses, Takumi will ‘belong’ to the abuser and he can do whatever he likes with him. Takumi is not even aware of the bet and when he does get to know about it, he goes further and says that he can handle whatever is thrown his way, even if it is abuse, but if it ‘saddens’ Gii, he cannot handle it. Things like this kept happening in the entire movie, and I was frustrated beyond repair. Gii thinks that Takumi needs saving from everybody and takes it upon himself to protect him. Takumi accepts his behaviour without questions. When Takumi suggests that they stop hanging out in school in front of everybody as it raises unnecessary questions, Gii is enraged and yells at Takumi, “Isn’t it normal for me to hang out with the person I love?” At that scene, I felt the looming question in the air “Did you consider if I am comfortable hanging out with you or not?” Takumi does not ask this, but for some reason, I felt he wanted to. Or maybe it is just my imagination.
But there are still moments in the movie which prove why BL as a genre is addicting. Even though the demons Takumi is haunted by are scary, he still manages to overcome them as he starts to recognise his feelings for Gii. The more he falls for Gii, the more he is scared. He is scared that when Gii realises what happened to him in the past, he would leave him. That is what a victim of abuse thinks. That their body is not pure anymore. As if their scars run deep enough to taint their soul. Because the abuse cuts deep. That is what Takumi thinks as well. He tells Gii what happened in the past, what his brother did, what made him quit the violin and how his brother’s death affected him. Gii accepts him, with open arms and tells him that whatever happened in the past was not his fault. Their love for each other seeps through the screen at these moments. In the end, we see that Takumi has forgiven his brother. If not forgiven, then definitely has left the events of the past in the past.
My final verdict is that you can obviously watch the movie. There are a few problematic points, but it is one of the earliest works of the BL genre and, from a heritage point of view, this movie serves as the base work of many other BL live-action works. And as just the foundation, the movie can be watched.
Rating- 3 out of 5