Yagate Kimi ni Naru translates to “Someday, I will Become You,” but it’s known in English as “Bloom into You.” It features a central shoujo ai romance, and is a slice-of-life/ drama set in high school. Bloom Into You aired in Fall 2018 and was animated by studio TROYCA. I wasn’t sure if another yuri show would be worth it after the disappointment of Citrus in Winter, but to my surprise, this show became one of my top 10 yuri series. First let me provide a story synopsis in case you need a refresher. Then I’ll cover a brief and general review. Finally, I will present five reasons why Yagate Kimi ni Naru succeeded in being an unusual but classic and memorable shoujo ai.
Yuu Koito has never been able to understand romantic love, but she wants to experience it, so she’s excited when someone confesses his feelings to her. However, even after hearing the “love confession,” Yuu doesn’t feel her heart fluttering or thumping, doesn’t blush, doesn’t feel warm inside, and overall just doesn’t feel like all the girls seem to in shoujo manga. She feels nothing.
In highschool, Yuu becomes friends with student council president Touko Nanami because it seems like she also lacks reactions about love. This isn’t quite right, though. Touko has no feelings for others who want to go out with her, but she quickly falls in love with Yuu, another girl. When she hears this, Yuu feels a little disappointed and unsure. She reluctantly agrees to stay by Touko’s side, but firmly adds that she feels no romantic or sexual attraction. How will their friendship play out?
Yagate Kimi ni Naru‘s story was a bit weak in concept, but beautifully done in execution. To me, the art seemed excellent, picturesque and full of gentle colors and natural tones. Nothing in particular about the instrumental OST stayed with me, but I liked the opening and ending songs, and the voice-acting was terrific. As for the characters, they were the highlight of the show. Some weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been, but they were developed enough to satisfy me. My enjoyment of Yagate Kimi ni Naru ranked high, a full 10/10. Overall, the series deserves an 8/10.
Next, let’s look at why Bloom into You is such a highly unusual but outstanding shoujo ai series.
1. The show features lesbian characters and at least one asexual character
Some fans think Yuu is asexual in orientation. Those who identify as asexual are not ever interested in sex, if they even take part in it. They may simply choose to never have sex. That doesn’t mean they can’t fall in love, of course. Plus, it’s possible to be intimate without being sexual. Hugs, cuddles, and (depending on the person) kisses are usually how an asexual individual shows romantic affection. Yuu might be asexual since it seems like she never becomes sexually excited, no matter the situation.
While Yuu’s orientation is contested, it’s pretty clear that supporting character Seiji Maki is asexual. He isn’t interested in being with anyone and isn’t lonely. He provides more detail on his feelings during his conversation with Yuu by the window in episode 4. Main character Touko seems to be lesbian, but could be bisexual or polysexual for all we know. In the series, she is only ever interested in Yuu, not any other boys or girls who seem to like her. Sayaka Saeki has feelings for Touko, and her only relationship was with another girl a few years earlier. Most likely, Sayaka would indentify as lesbian. Suguru Doujima is a straight individual, always trying to get involved with girls so he can ask them out.
It’s refreshing to see such complex depictions of different sexual orientations in a shoujo ai.
2. The main relationship isn’t goofy and it’s more than just cute
You see a lot of silly shoujo ai out there where either the relationships are played for laughs or they just lack any sense of sincere romance. In addition, there’s a lot of mild shoujo ai that’s just there to be cute. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the cute kind of shoujo ai like Yuru Yuri or Sakura Kiss. I love those shows! (And Sakura Kiss does have more to it than cuteness in its last quarter.) However, sometimes, I want to see shoujo ai with more thorough and meaningful relationships. I felt that Yagate Kimi ni Naru did a great job with this. It had the atmosphere and nuances of a real relationship.
3. Bloom Into You contains relatively few of drawn-out sensual or kissing scenes.
Some yuri or shoujo ai shows focus too much on sensuality and sexualization. One example is Citrus, a Winter 2018 anime. Much of the potential depth of the story was lost because of the sheer amount of make-out scenes and slimy kissing. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t necessarily dislike yuri shows that do this. (In fact, I’ve gone out of my way to watch a few hentai yuri shows that are much more explicit.) But I think it’s fair to say that shows focusing on sexual intimacy don’t have as much depth. With Yagate Kimi ni Naru, however, the kisses and close hugs are perfectly balanced with the right amount of character development and emotional significance.
What relatively little sensual content there is in Bloom Into You is consensual. There are plenty of cases in shoujo ai where a kiss or a raunchy act is pushed by one of the two main girls even though the other one objects. This isn’t nearly as much of a problem in yuri than in hard-core yaoi, so maybe I’m nitpicking here. Still, for me, it was nice to see Yuu setting boundaries with Touko.
4. Yuu and Touko’s relationship status is vague?
Though it’s pretty obvious by the end that Yuu is falling in love, she has no romantic interest in Touko in the earlier parts of the series. This is something I’ve rarely seen in shoujo ai anime. Even though they’re not “official,” Yuu allows Touko to dote over her and sometimes hug or kiss her if they are alone. Even when they are basically a couple near the end, they don’t have the same dynamic as most girl couples in yuri. The element of not exactly being a romance right away makes the show more interesting.
5. The supporting character Sayaka Saeki had an empowering story.
One personal reason I loved Yagate Kimi ni Naru was the character of Sayaka Saeki. When she was younger, a girl asked her out and they entered a lesbian relationship. That girl ended up suddenly dumping Sayaka and then pretending like it never happened. In the present, Sayaka is interested in Touko, but she still gets sad and frustrated over her first relationship. In episode 8, she runs into her ex-girlfriend, who is now dating a man and saying that what happened with Sayaka was just a foolish fling.
At the height of insensitivity, the ex apologizes for pulling Sayaka into an inappropriate relationship, and says she hopes she hasn’t ruined Sayaka by getting her interesting in girls. To my surprise (and admiration), Sayaka stands up for herself. For her, that relationship was more than a fling; it was deeply significant. Liking girls was also not a fling. Sayaka continues to be attracted to girls and isn’t afraid to imply so. In as polite a way as possible, she tells her ex she’s glad things are over because now she knows what kind of person the ex truly is.
When Touko comes by to meet her, Sayaka takes her by the arm, snuggles close to her, and walks away– looking back at her ex just for a second, to say rather smugly, “Farewell.” Take that, bitch! xD