Off the top of my head I decided to talk about Loveless today. I wanted to get at least one post in before I go on vacation and I’ve recently re-watched this series. Loveless is a shonen ai (boy’s love) series, but they don't stress it. It's part of the plot but the series isn't shonen ai for the sake of being shonen ai. So basically the story isn't about two guys in love. The plot line is complex and that's just one aspect of it.
The title character of Loveless is a 12 year old grade school student named Aoyagi Ritska. Ritska is struggling in his life for two major reasons. One, his beloved older brother, Seimei, has recently been murdered and two, he has no memory of his life prior to two years before the series starts. Along with that, his mother is not completely sane and randomly attacks him with sharp, broken objects. The story begins with Ritska transferring to a new school and meeting his fellow students. After school that same day he meets an adult who has been waiting for him, named Agatsuma Soubi. Soubi introduces himself as Seimei’s friend, and attaches himself to Ritska.
From that point Ritska’s life changes. It seems Soubi and Seimei were students and partners in a secret school which trains youngsters to fight with magic and occasionally actually creates those young fighters. The fighters fight in pairs and each pair carries a single code name. One member of the pair is the fighter and the other member is the “sacrifice”, the member who takes the damage as the fight progresses. The sacrifice member normally controls the actions of the fighter. The school, called Nanatsu no Tsuki, trains the fighting pairs to activate a fighting system that isolates them in an environment separate from the real world, where they can carry out their battles. Soubi was Seimei’s fighter and their code name was “Beloved”. After Seimei’s death, Soubi approaches Ritska to take Seimei’s place, even though Ritska’s code name is “Loveless” and he doesn’t appear to have a matched fighter, and even though, unlike most of the pairs, there is a considerable difference in their ages.
Ritska and Soubi, even though not technically a matched pair, take on a progression of increasingly strong fighters, and defeat them. Along the way Ritska tries to discover why and how Seimei died, rightly assuming that Seimei’s death is related in some way to Nanatsu no Tsuki. Soubi is less than helpful in this endeavor, refusing to answer any questions about the school.
There are a lot of unanswered questions at the end of this short (13 episode) series, and since it was developed from a manga, most of them are probably answered in the manga. The questions include: Why doesn’t Ritska have a matched fighter if he has a code name? Why did Seimei send Soubi to Ritska, and more to the point, is Seimei really dead? What happened that caused Ritska to lose all his memories and how is Nanatsu no Tsuki involved with him, or he with them? Why does his mother claim that he’s not Ritska? Basically, why does Ritska come out on the short end of everyone’s stick? Besides the basic plot line of magic battles and trying to find out more about Seimei, Ritska does a pretty good job of dealing with a world that makes very little sense. The people who created this series capture that sense of dislocation and bewilderment quite well. Along the way, Ritska begins to learn to accept himself, whoever he may be, and accept that people can be friends.