Wave!! Surfing Yappe!! (WAVE!! -Let's go surfing!!-) is a cute little slice-of-life/sports anime with melancholic moments always being overcome by friendship and surfing. Some boy-crazy fans might be drawn to the cast of boys with a myriad of looks and personalities to fawn over. BL lovers already know the nature of sports anime, which tend to have some gay moments to get excited about and thus would turn to Wave!! Yet, in a much more serious tone, Wave!! gives us AND takes away a very promising MxM relationship yet still carries its importance throughout the anime. While it may not be listed as a BL, here’s why we believe Masaki’s affection for Sho was an honest attempt at portraying homoromantic feelings.
-- Spoilers Ahead!! --
Sho Motivated Masaki in a Way No One Else Could
All up-and-coming sports legends have their own idols they look up to, but there’s usually some background interest or experience in the sport to at least give credit to why they care. Masaki has been surrounded by amazing surfers having lived in Oarai his whole life and even his best friend is an incredible surfer. Masaki spent many a morning walking Isokichi, his pet corgi, along the beach so he would have seen how cool surfing can be even with constantly turning down Nalu’s invites. To think that his best friend of years couldn’t get him to even try as a bonding experience yet Masaki instantly changed his mind after meeting Sho tells us that there was something beyond just the surfing he was hoping to get involved with. Masaki was able to ignore or laugh off Nalu but Shou’s words always touched him very deeply.
Nalu is his oldest friend but is still not the person Masaki’s mind goes to in times of trouble or joy. If Sho were just a friend that had passed away, Masaki would probably not have him in the forefront of his mind all the time nor find such inspiration in him despite the talent Masaki sees every day. Everyone else around him, Masaki wishes to surpass. Sho is the only one he wishes to emulate so he can feel closer.
Masaki Has Close Relationships; This Is Different
Masaki is also not a stereotypical cold guy that is only moved by one person. He has and maintains very close male relationships throughout the show so far. While in the first few episodes, Nalu was his main companion (excluding Shou) later, he spends most of his days with Kousuke and Yuta. Even as these relationships ebb and flow, Masaki makes time to keep up with all of his friends and takes advice and recommendations from them. Naoya’s obsession with Miruru infected Masaki to some extent.
Perhaps because he knows Masaki so well, Nalu immediately notices the difference in how Masaki acts around Sho. He asks Masaki several times why things would suddenly change, only earning him flustered or dismissive answers from Masaki. Nalu eventually gives up, knowing that their relationship is just different. When Masaki nearly drowns literally and figuratively in his grief having lost Sho, it becomes painfully clear what his feelings were. Masaki wouldn’t have felt so indifferent to his own life having the support system he did unless he felt Sho was the love of his life. Perhaps most telling is Masaki asking Nalu what he was to Sho. The three of them were always together, but Masaki is only interested in knowing if he was as special to Sho as Sho was to him.
Everything Relates Back to Shou
No distance or time diminishes Masaki’s feelings for Sho. The ocean, of course, reminds him of Sho but it goes beyond that. When trying to encourage others, Masaki brings up Sho. He simply cannot imagine a more perfect person in both surfing and life. When Yuta loses his way, Masaki doesn’t use his own love of surfing as an example, he uses videos of Sho. Meeting the world-renowned Fuke has Misaki tell him, to his face, that Fuke reminds him of Sho. Even at what could have been his moment of death, when Nalu dives beneath the waves to rescue Masaki, it’s Shou’s face he sees.
Instead of giving us a cute, fantasy-inducing relationship to follow through the anime, we’re left with potentially one-sided romantic feelings that Masaki carries on long after Shou’s death. His devotion to Sho is both melancholic yet inspirational. It’s nice to see it laid out so obviously without any jokes or implied discomfort from any of the other characters. What did you think of this couple that never was? Let us know in the comments!