They say you never forget your first love. While that might be the case for some, others know the harsh reality of what it means to have loved and lost. First love is often a compelling, unforgettable, and powerful emotion that we all experience at a young age. This young love experience happens when our hearts are still innocent and pure-before we ever get to taste the bittersweet pill of heartbreak. As we grow older we often reminisce on old sentimental memories, sometimes this leaves us yearning for our unfinished love from long ago. The allure and tender memories of first love drive many to seek out this feeling once more in hopes of being reunited with the warm embers of enchantment and rapture. A tepid emotion that every human craves from the day they are born.
Doukyuusei is one of those stories. A story about first love, growing up, and trying to navigate “what is to come next” after high school. Doukyuusei revolves around Rihito Sajou, an honor student who got perfect scores in every subject on his high school entrance exam and Hikaru Kusakabe who plays guitar in his band and is popular amongst the girls. These two boys would have never crossed paths if it wasn’t for their schools upcoming chorus festival. One day Hikaru offers to help Rihito prepare for their upcoming chorus festival and the two begin to talk. As the two meet after school, they feel one another’s sound, listen to each other’s voice, and begin to harmonize as their hearts beat together. It starts out slow but soon their feelings for one another grow and in just one moment they both realize that it is love.
Sajou and Kusakabe’s love grows steadily along with the changing of the seasons. Kusakabe’s emotions are frivolous, pure, and direct causing Sajou to hesitate at first, but he gradually opens his heart. The boys are learning about each other as they also learn about themselves and support one another during this difficult time typical to youth (i.e. navigating school and what it means to be in a same sex relationship). First love is an experience that is all consuming-so each person is always on each other’s mind. When you fall in love with someone this is the person you want to spend all of your time with, so time with your friends is often set aside. We see this happen a multitude of times when Kusakabe ditches his band to help Sajou with his singing skills.
First love partners can be highly sensitized to each other. This allows both people to become hyper-aware and alert to subtle interpersonal signals. This hypersensitivity can make each individual to become easily hurt by small slights from each other. There can also be a sense of desperate attachment. The joy of having each other is overshadowed with the idea of fear and the sentiment of losing each other. Conflicts such as issues of freedom and possessiveness, honesty and deception, trust and jealousy, togetherness and separateness, satisfaction and sacrifice may also play into the relationship as well. We can see Sajou become jealous of Kusakabe when he goes to see his band play live for the first time and a girl asks for Kusakabe’s number at the end of the set.
Then the roles are reversed when Kusakabe chases after Sajou in an attempt to show him how much he truly means to him.
As an article over on Psychology Today states, “Love is risky because the person we love the most can hurt us the worst. Love that feels like forever does not necessarily last forever. And we can’t always measure the other person’s love for us by our love for them.” The weight of this statement really comes into play when Kusakabe finds out from their teacher that Sajou has applied to a college in Kyoto without him knowing. Kusakabe is hurt that Sajou didn’t tell him directly and this reflects when they get into a fight about it before summer break. Sajou then counters that Kusakabe isn’t thinking about his future like he should be and Kusakabe claims that maybe they really don’t know each other like they thought they did.
And that is the tricky thing about love; love can be fickle, unpleasant at times, and suppressible. Falling in love comes with risks and the reality of it all is that most high school “in-love” relationships do not last. People fall out of love, we are presented with new challenges, different paths, and opposite directions to take. There is no pain-free way to bring a first love relationship to a close. At least one person is going to end up feeling injured when the other is ready to move on. Many people feel hurt, helpless, betrayed, abandoned, or rejected when their first love dissipates from their life, but you always have to remember that there is other life after your first love. Love comes in many shapes and forms. Your idea of love can be shaped by a multitude of people that may pass through your life. Love doesn’t fit into one type of mold.
Luckily for Kusakabe and Sajou they get a happy ending in the movie (we don’t get to see their lives outside of high school…which would have been a great little tidbit to throw in at the end). The boys come to their senses and apologize to one another over summer break. Kusakabe helps Sajou make it to his mock exams on time and we get a sweet little moment and kiss between them in the last few minutes of the film.
My inner fujoshi hopes that Kusakabe and Sajou had a long happy ending well after high school and into college and maybe even beyond that (I think I’ll go read the manga now and see if they did get that happy ending!). As Imran wrote in his article titled 10 Reasons Why We Never Forget Our First Love, “Love is always special, but your first love moves you in a way that is inherently unique. It introduces you to feelings you have never had before, for better or for worse, and is accompanied by a sense of wonder, intrigue, and excitement. Even though your first love may not have lasted, it will be a part of who you are for the rest of your life.” While your first love might be unforgettable, that doesn’t necessarily make it the “right type” love for you. The biggest reason why first love has such an impact on our lives is because it will always be known as your only first love. The first of any event that happens in your life may only come once in a life time, making that moment or feeling special in its entirety. No matter who you love later in your life, or how you change over time, your first love will always be the first for the rest of your life.
Disclaimer: All imagery and photos come from searching for them on the internet. I have no claim or right to them. If I find any links I will always post them (this usually entails fan art or any other work affiliated with an artist).