Loveless: Virginity and Gender Performativity

Loveless (anime based on the ongoing manga series by Yun Kouga, a dojinshi turned manga writer) tells the story of 12 year old Ritsuka Aoyagi, a high school student who after the death of his older brother, Seimei, undergoes a form of amnesia in which he is almost entirely reborn as a new person. As his mother no longer sees him as the “real” Ritsuka, this leads to parental abuse, and subsequently, psychological issues. One day, he meets the mysterious 20-year-old Soubi Agatsuma, a friend of Seimei’s. This story takes place in a fantasy-esque world in which some people are born as fighting units. The general population is unaware of this fact, but these pairs (also known as spell casters and sacrifices) are apparently made before birth. Ritsuka only finds out about this new world one week before Seimei dies in which he reveals his true name “Beloved” to him. Ritsuka does not know what this means, but after meeting Soubi, Ritsuka is thrown into a battle with him and Soubi partnered up (Soubi as the spell caster and Ritsuka as the sacrifice). However, as Soubi and Seimei were meant to be a fighting unit (their true names are both “Beloved” and Ritsuka’s true name is discovered to be “Loveless” in the first battle), Soubi’s fighting with Ritsuka is seen as “disgusting” and “unnatural,” especially because it is said that when one’s sacrifice dies, the spell caster should also die. The pervasive themes within this series are memory, loss, trauma, and what love really is. Continue reading