'Bloom Into You' is the Perfect Romance for LGBT Rep

It happens all too often where a show will have two characters who are implied to be LGBT-- but only ever implied. And even if the show does have representation, it does so at the risk of being a fanservice device, especially in anime. Bloom Into You, a slice of life romance anime which aired last October, said "screw that" and gave us several compelling WLW (women-loving-women) characters along with a heartwarming story and beautiful cinematography/animation.

Yuu Koito has always dreamed of receiving a love confession that would make her heart pound, as if in a love song. When one of her best friends asks her out after their middle school graduation, Yuu doesn’t feel anything like that. She delays her response to him and enters high school confused until she meets upperclassman Touko Nanami, who at first seems to know what it's like to have never been in love. But then, Touko tells Yuu that she thinks she’s falling in love with her. Yuu accepts Touko’s feelings even if she can’t return them and stays by her side. As their relationship develops and they learn more and more about each other, the series asks the question of what it really means to be in love.

The lead characters turn out to have more to them than meets the eye, as do some of the supporting characters. Sayaka Saeki is Touko's best friend, who has been harboring romantic feelings for her but won't confess because she knows that Touko will never see her the same way. At first, she's presented as a sort of rival character for Yuu but is shown to have more depth later on. For example, part of her arc is that she was in a relationship with a girl when she was younger who never really took their relationship seriously.

That's one thing I really appreciated about this anime: it seems to understand what being gay is actually like— it’s more than just some hot ladies making out on-screen. Part of Sayaka's arc, for example, shows that being LGBT isn't just a phase, and actively pushes back against that notion. Further, Yuu faces subtle homophobia from her family and the constant fear that she’ll be caught with Touko.

On the flip side, one really neat thing about Bloom Into You is that it has positive gay role models! One of the girls’ teachers is in a relationship with the owner of a coffee shop that the characters often hang out at after school. It's really cute how these older characters take on a sort of "mentor" role for the younger ones.

Bloom Into You is a slow-burn romance that perfectly captures the ups, downs, and complications of love. If any of that sounds interesting to you or if you just like gay rep, you should totally check it out.