A Review by Christopher Kinsey
It was my anniversary a few days ago. Yes, two wonderful years with my lovely wife. Ups and downs, twists and turns, and of course the future lying ahead. It’s a great feeling and has been very rewarding. So in celebration I decided to review something that may connect with the Japanese mindset of marriage.
When it comes to the wedding customs themselves, there seem to be two paths people take. A western style wedding that is pretty much like our own, and a Shinto style traditional wedding. The former seems to have a lot less pomp and circumstance, but the latter is almost as complex to me as an orthodox Jewish ceremony. They go as far as to change wedding outfits up to three times. I have to tell you, traditional Japanese dress is complicated enough to need attendants for both sexes. I know my wife wouldn’t have stood for it.
Well of course the next step if the honeymoon and of course getting used to one another. Unlike here in the States, it’s still pretty unusual to be living with someone of the opposite sex before marriage, no matter what harem anime may teach us. That is the focus of our anime today. A young couple that has just gotten married and don’t really know where to go from there. Don’t worry, it’s not a porn anime… I think. The box does indeed say “16 and up”. That’s always a red flag, and it was obviously made for titillation. This does not bode well…
Anyway, the couple is inexperienced in these matters because of the societal values that can produce tentacle anime and deep shame about anything sexual. Sounds fun, one moment please.
Hey, how are you doing? Listen, it would be real swell if you could get together this Saturday and have a sexual revolution, OK? Let the ladies do what they want, and let the people know that they can have sex without the societal shame. And do it soon, because the rest of the world and I, well, we think it’s not healthy. Sure, we do have some good times laughing at your strange pornography and game shows, but it’s not healthy for the kids, you know?
So if you could get on that ASAP we’d appreciate that. Yeaaaah.
P.S.- It’s high school. Let the damn kids relax a little.
Dean The Adequate
Now that we have that settled, let’s dig into Step Up Love Story.
Well the opening animation telling me to watch in a well lit room is a turn off. It has a cell phone image of a cutesy drawing featuring characters from Jungle De Ikou. Firing rage thrusters!
Lesson 1: Masturbation/Sex- Yes that’s the actual episode title. We begin with some footage from a videotape about a woman confessing her sexual habits, then pan out to find there’s a dude watching it surrounded by packed boxes. He proceeds to zip up his fly WAIT WHAT? Talk about hard up.
We’re instantly zapped back to the events of two days ago where our heroine, Yura, is working at a travel agency. Meanwhile, Makoto is at work and trying to wriggle out of his bachelor party. Jumping right back to Yura…
OK, just one second. Why do so many anime begin with so many jump cuts. A few lines are exchanged and bam, whiff, next scene/character introduction. It gets sickening, really. Let’s continue.
…Yura is walking around her and Makoto’s meeting place when she’s propositioned by a “Survey taker” who immediately asks her about her sexual habits and if she’d like to star in an adult film. It is also made mention that she’s 25. Frankly if it wasn’t for their jobs I’d have assumed they were both the standard 14-18 year old anime protagonists. Anyway, after a barrage of these questions it’s never mentioned ever again. Que?
Rushing outside to meet Yura, Makoto is similarly propositioned to give up sexual secrets to a tartly dressed lady who doesn’t even tell Makoto her name, but claims “Don’t make my older sister unhappy.” Well Makoto doesn’t get it, but I do. And frankly if that’s Yura’s sister wouldn’t he have met her by now?
Anyway, he rushes to the meeting spot in a montage and is of course enraptured by Yura, because the DAWWWWW music starts playing. So we cut once again to Yura getting into a western style wedding dress, then Makoto showing up and they chatter about the days events and of course their nerves. This is pretty universal, really. What isn’t usual is that Yura’s sister was actually the lady from last night, Rika. She pops in and says hello. We then find ourselves at the reception and they flashback in a montage to their dating days. More DAWWWW music plays on.
As things are wrapping up, Makoto hits the bathroom real quick and hears a commotion from one of the stalls, and he hears someone getting lucky in there. Of course instead of moving on he has to listen in, but it’s Rika boffin’ some random dude. He finally rushes back out before getting caught listening and rushes for the next costuming change. They then receive their wedding gifts and the reception ends.
SHOWER SCENE. Oh it’s Makoto. Tastefully standing ¾ turn from the camera. Huzzah. He steps out in his pajamas and heads out… to find poor Yura asleep already. Again, this is understandable. I don’t know of anyone who was knocking boots after being part of a formal wedding of any sort. And then another “Though Square” pops up. These things are like scene changing eye catches that have some sort of sappy saying on them like “We’ve come so far together” or anything you’d find about love and togetherness in a Hallmark card.
The next day Yura is unpacking a few things and finds the tape we saw in the beginning. She is, of course, confused, shocked and watches in abject horror and embarrassment for a while. So of course, Makoto shows up while the movie is playing. Awk-ward… Well it jumps to Makoto fantasizing about tonight’s events, sexy lingerie and dirty talk, but in reality Yura shows up in plain old pajamas and he’s sporting wood. She is embarrassed, of curse. It’s the proper way to feel, don’t you know?
Makoto begins to disrobe Yura like he’s disarming a bomb and she just gets more and more embarrassed until they turn off the lights. And then… SEX. It’s pretty much the Cinemax version of any love scene you’ve ever seen, with that Japanese cartoon zest. They use no shots of the actual act (thank goodness) and visual substitutions like Makoto's fingers pressing a puddle, etc. Thank goodness! And they learn it’s their first times. Luckily the unfamiliarity is a bond to them as more DAWWW music starts playing. This is kind of embarrassing to watch. It’s just plain awkward. Oh but Makoto finishes first thrust. But it’s OK, assures Yura, they’re just getting started, right? And that’s the end of the first episode.
Lesson 2: Kiss Kiss Kiss- There is a lot of disclaimer in this episode. Not just warning to watch in a lit room, but what to do if you feel sick and how this is a work of fiction blahblahblah. There is also a rapid recap of the entire last episode.
Well apparently, Makoto still has his problems. He’s getting his, she’s not getting hers, and it shames him. Because, you know… an orgasm doesn’t count unless they’re actively humping. Although he does mention going down on her, she of course gets embarrassed… ARRGH WHAT KIND OF ANIME IS THIS?
Anyway, the next day Makoto’s getting ready for work and they talk about their plans for this evening, dinner with Makoto’s parents and Yura’s meeting a friend and then out of nowhere LONG FRENCH KISS. This anime seems to bounce between boring and creepy pretty rapidly. Anyway, he walks out trying to cover his boner, because he might as well be in high school.
At work, we meet Kikuchi. Makoto claims familiarity with her from before. Back at home Yura is tidying up when she gets a phone call from her sister, Rika. Now while Rika is chatting about with a friendly hello… she’s receiving a bit of crotch kissing from an unidentified person. What is with this woman? Anyway, Rika delves right into concern for her sister’s sexual health.
Back at the ol’ office, Makoto runs across someone in the break room, who seems to have feelings for him. But Kikuchi stops in and it breaks up quickly, but Kikuchi then asks to meet Makoto after work. Strange… Anyway, he gets a visitor, Rika again. And once again she’s looking after their sexual health n the most obscene way. She then gives a full recount of ways to tender and erotic kiss. She then announces she has a date with “boyfriend number four”. S-L-U-T. He then gets a text message from Kikuchi about a meting place. Weird…
Yura’s at her meeting with her friends and they’re talking about their marriages. For some reason the subject turns to if their husbands can get boners. What a one track mind this anime has. But at work, Makoto remembers where Kikuchi would know him from, middle school. They would help each other out with homework, but she’d get pissy over any little mistake. But we jump right back to Yura and the ladies reenacting “Sex in the City”, if that show was enacted by horny twittering 14 year olds. Meanwhile Makoto is in the same place to meet with Kikuchi, but she’s waiting in a hotel room upstairs. Hello? Red flag you fool, RED FLAG!
So Makoto meets with Kikuchi while Yura and her friends head to the hotel room right next door for a blowjob lesson. What? Ladies, when you decide to talk about sexual matters at a fancy café, do you decide to have educational courses later on the veranda? If so, pixplsthnks. Well while Makoto reminisces, Kikuchi disrobes. Apparently she wants Makoto’s seed, but doesn’t want to marry. And of course the ladies have sent down for some bananas and are showing Yura the ropes. This is some of the creepiest stuff I’ve ever watched, and I watched Chobits.
Back with Makoto, he tries his best to dissuade Kikuchi from boffing him. But she is adamant, saying she would love and marry no man. But alas Makoto is successful and it all ends in tears. I’m actually glad no extramarital affairs took place. This is the only proof this isn’t a hentai. By now he would have been banging her, his wife would have walked in, and they’d have double teamed her.
Well they finally end up at Makoto’s folks’ house, having dinner, then having sex in his old room. They try out their newly learned techniques, again showing nothing… thank goodness. But Makoto’s sister hears all that lovvin’ in the next room and starts rubbing one out. Man this anime just keeps getting creepier and creepier.
Second Season Part 1: White Lovers- The episode begins with a bit of an explanation of Makoto, Yura, and their neighbors. The Yabuki’s live next door, and they haven’t had sex in a year. And on the other side is Makoto’s cousin, Kyoko. She is a gynecologist, 30 years old and still a virgin. This does not bode well…
Yura is watching a nature show, and Makoto wanders in and starts a bit of lovvin’. While the nature show plays on and their neighbors listen… Classy. The Yabuki’s show up the next day to invite the pair on a vacation to Hokkaido, instead of telling them to keep it down. Kyoko promptly invites herself along… why?
We cut to the creepy really quick. Makoto heads to the restroom on the plane flight to Hokkaido. And for no good reason, Kyoko follows him in. Before I get to how creepy this is getting, let’s talk about airplane restrooms.
This bathroom on this plane is HUGE. It’s about the size of a small bathroom in a house. Also, do the locks not work on Japanese planes? I know on several planes some of the bathroom features won’t function without the door closed.
Anyway, Kyoko follows Makoto in straddles herself up on the sink area, and starts touching herself. CREEPY! And then Makoto’s screwing her… this had better be a dream! Oh thank goodness, it is. Kyoko’s dream, actually… wowzers.
But we go back to the mundane when they stop and chat a bit before loading onto a bus. We then montage about the sights they see before they decide to go snowboarding while the Yabuki’s go skiing. Back at the resort they find the walls are really thin. So they head down for a bite to eat. There Makoto learns that the outdoor bath is supposed to be unisex. Makoto daydreams about all the ladies who will be out there, but alas it’s but a dream.
So back at the hotel room Makoto and Yura try their best to be quiet, but even muffled moans attract the attention of everyone else. Afterwards Yura looks outside to find a pair of foxes like were on the nature show. Huzzah.
The next day they head to the zoo. While nabbing a bit of coffee from a vending machine and spills it on a lady. In an apology, they take the couple to a nearby tea shop. The couple is getting married next month. Then they talk about the ladies breasts. Again, is this normal?
Anyway, that couple is also staying in the hotel, so all the ladies rush off to take a bath. Then a bit of fan service filled steam room. Then all the couples have a bit of a drinking session, and during it Makoto has a kind of orgy daydream. The hell? Man what happened to the shy Makoto of before? Well afterwards Makoto and Yura head to the baths and find the new couple having sex. Whoa. Yura hen demand s they rush to their room and have some hot love as well. Noise be dammed.
Finally they fly home, where Kyoko laments about not having a man. When will things work out for her. Lulz.
2nd Season Part 2- Yura in Costume- This episode opens in a trendy portion of town. Makoto and Yura are meeting up. They go on a little date, as husbands and wives often do from time to time. Of course while shopping, they have sex in the changing room… oh wait another perverted dream of Makoto. Man this guy was pent up! He’s just one big sexual fantasy after another after banging his wife for the first time.
The next day Makoto comes home to find Yura in a sexy sort of waitress costume. A quick aside, the stereotypical sexy waitress outfit in Japan is based off a particular style used in a restaurant chain, “Anna Miller’s”. It’s a sort of family dining chain that’s in Hawaii and Japan. Well anyway, Yura feels bad for not working anymore so she has gotten a part time job. So Makoto immediately imagines Yura linking up with a better man.
Meanwhile, The Slut, I mean, Rika’s back! She meets up with one of her many boyfriends at his parent’s house, and they have the place all to themselves. Rika wants nothing to do with it, but the dude has a coupon for “Love slave for a day”. What a mix up! Ahahahahaha… heh.. aho.. hee…ha. Want to see my pencil trick?
OK, better now. Makoto’s back at work, talking about Yura’s desire for work with a co worker. He begins to see the advantages to this, but is still concerned for the pervs who show up at such a restaurant just to see ladies in the uniforms. Of course Makoto jumps into Makoto-vision and has yet another sexual daydream about his coworkers.
But back with Rika the dude has dressed her in a nurse’s outfit and they fool around for an uncomfortably long time… Luckily we quickly cut away to Yura at work. And Makoto shows up for some chow on his own. And then, back at Rika, she’s now in only an apron. And then, back to Yura. Gah! This is getting ridiculous! Pick a scene!
Anyway, while Yura goes about her daily business, Makoto gets stressed out trying to cover her “assets”. We ONCE AGAIN cut back to Rika who is dressed as a racing queen. But Makoto gives her a call. Later that night he finds the first pratfall, she’s tired and won’t have sex because of all the work.
So tomorrow, he considers the ethical dilemma of Yura at work. She likes it, but he’s jealous of the nasty nasty uniform. Then for some reason he finds himself daydreaming about Yura as an airline stewardess and getting it on in ultra first class. But he’s snapped out of it by a co worker who catches him dressing up his virtual wife on the computer.
Well Rika shows up at Yura’s work to find out what’s going on, aaaand that’s about it. So Makoto immediately thinks the worst about the situation. And his fears are upped when he finds that Yura isn’t home, but in reality she just has to work late. But his cousin, Kyoko, lets him wait at her pad. They discuss the situation and find Makoto’s jealous, but ladies don’t like to work around just women so he just has to accept it. Yura’s running very late, and feels ashamed for having to pick up pre packaged foods.
The DAWWWW music plays and they decide that it really doesn’t matter. So for a bit of fun at home Yura wears the Anna Miller’s costume for a bit of role playing. And at the end of it all she decided to stay at home, cook and clean. BACK TO THE KITCHEN! Feh.
In Conclusion- This anime is awful. It just bounces back and forth between being very boring, very creepy, and softcore porn suitable for Cinemax. I like the nods to those little events that make up your wedding day, but afterwards every character either degenerates into a slut, is preoccupied with sex, or delves into the absurd with no payoff in comedy. This useless exercise may only have a use for 14 year olds looking for a tit fix. If you are going to make a hentai, make a hentai. If you’re going to make a comedy about marriage, make a comedy about marriage. This was just… arrrgle!
And to think I was going to dedicate this review to my wife. Well screw you “Step Up Love Story”. Wait… that’s what you want. I hope you get impotent you sorry sack of crap!