Yeah, I said I was gonna take my name from the first to the last letter. That never happened. Anyone who ever read a post from me or heard me utter one sentence could figure that out. Anyway, I started out with an 80s classic…. wait, no, this is probably not a classic at all. I am not sure anyone has ever heard about it like ever. I only added it, pardon my shallowness, because of MALs tag as a shounen ai.
So, let’s talk a little bit about this first. This is not, and I repeat, not a shounen ai. There, let’s move on (I’ll eventually come to why MAL probably think it is but that’s for a later paragraph.)
Natsu e no Tobira is a romantic tragedy. It sums it up pretty well. Based on a one shot manga from 1976, adapted to an anime in 1981. Really old school.
Marion is a young schoolboy who prides himself on his adherence to a philosophy he calls “rationalism”. Because of his disdain for emotional display, he ignores anything remotely akin to affection. But when he’s entangled in a romantic affair with an older courtesan, his rationalism is revealed to be little more than a cover for his own emotional immaturity. Learning to love, Marion blossoms under his older lover’s care but unfortunately, Marion has yet to learn the true price of the affair.
WARNING: As always when I write about something, there will be SPOILERS.
Dear, sweet Marion… he’s got mommy issues. Not that she is directly involved in this movie but it is clear how he despises her relationship with her new man and how he feels abandoned by her. Even though she actually asks him to come with them on vacation he stubbornly stays back at the boarding school he attends. Well, I am gonna take it that these mommy issues are the root to him denying himself to feel love. Love for anyone really, girls and friends alike. He is rather cold actually. But, during a stupid duel between him and one of his seniors he happens upon a vixen named Sara, who boldly invites him to her mansion. Well, she’s the mistress of a count so technically it’s his mansion.
Sara yeah, she is the aforementioned lover above. She quickly seduces the young boy and after some resistance from him he completely gives in and soon he has fallen in love with her. In the process he badly hurts the girl, Ledania, who he presumably has feelings for. But, as with all feelings before Sara he has denied them, to himself and her of course. Just before Sara picks him up he has rejected the girl. Events after the rejection leads up to him passing out in the rain and he gets pneumonia and for some mysterious reason Sara is there to pick him up. Yeah, I have no idea how it happened but suddenly he wakes up naked in her bed, being wiped down and slapped on the butt by this lady, twice his age.
There are friends too naturally, they do after all go to a boarding school and live close together; Lind, Jaques and Claude. Jaques and Lind fight about Ledania. Well, the whole town’s boys do. She is the most beautiful girl the world has ever set their eyes on. Yeah, like that. Claude is a mystery until the end, he is mostly uncomfortable when they talk about feelings and love, and sex. As is Marion until he meets Sara. The transformation is huge, he is like a slutty little kitten.
Well, Sara gives Marion all her time and sees to all his needs. Until the count arrives of course, then he is nothing to her. I wonder if she might have had the intention of just lure out Marion’s true feelings and get him to relax a bit? Teach him to become a man. Or perhaps she just wanted to fill some empty void she felt while the count was absent.
Anyway, Claude. Sweet Claude, bullied in school but close to Marion. Too close maybe. Here’s why MAL figures this is a shounen ai. Claude has fallen in love with Marion. He knows it’s useless though. Marion is openly flaunting his love for the older woman and Claude is desperate so, well… there is no happy ending really. They find him floating in the river with his wrist slit open. Just moments before he has confessed to Marion in a particularly desperate manner, causing Marion to hit him with a horse whip, straight in the face. Where Sara gently would embrace Marion, Marion instead injure Claude. It’s a cruel reality and it dawns on Marion while he lays with his head on Claude’s chest and cries by the riverside.
While Marion rushes to be comforted by Sara, Jaques confronts Lind, who has been plotting to expose Marion to the count because he is jealous that Ledania is in love with Marion. It didn’t go well, the plotting, because the count didn’t really care. On the contrary, he even praises Sara for taking care of Marion. A heated confrontation leads to a duel between the two young boys. Meanwhile Marion is met at the door at the mansion by Sara and her count. A chock to say the least and he more or less breaks down. Only for a while before Ledania comes rushing with the news of the duel. Marion leaves and frantically screams while he tries to stop the two.
I think you can guess the rest… They both shoot at the same time, Marion gets hit and suddenly fall is here. Lind transfers to another school in Paris, Marion gets badly hurt and returns home only to never return to school while Jaques is the only one left, still waiting for Ledania to answer to his feelings for her.
SPOILER ALERT OVER
The ending is so tragic you can’t help but cry. It is a typical love story with all it’s drama and plotting. I do like the animation, it is beautiful. And the music is perfectly dramatical to each scene. It is typical 80s I suppose, and reminds me a whole lot about The Poem of Wind and Trees. If you want to watch this little gem (Natsu e no Tobira that is) you can find it on YouTube.
One down, 13 to go…