But it really shouldn’t be a surprise. Umibe no Etranger aims to break stereotypes. It aims to break the notion that family must always comes first. That society’s discriminating laughter must be tolerated. And even worse, that gay people should change themselves and marry the opposite sex even if it won’t make them happy.
But more importantly, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The movie thematically spells it out for us.
Mio is known to be straight before while Shun is admittedly and unapologetically gay. It couldn’t be more blatant than this. But if this isn’t enough, let’s look at other clues as to why we shouldn’t be surprised that Mio is the seme.
Mio pursues Shun, he comforts the older man most of the time
Although there are times when Shun is the one who takes the lead, there are also a lot of times when Mio initiates the kiss. Of course Shun avoids those kisses if he can. Both characters aren’t known to be inexperienced. In the bed scene, both of them admitted that they have been with women before.
So when you look at the way that Mio actively pursues Shun, it makes sense that he’ll take charge. This reminds me of the old SasuNaru vs NaruSasu arguments wherein a lot of people will insist that Naruto should be the seme, only because he was the one who chased and successfully brought Sasuke back.
The logic is the same here.
Shun ran away from his bride, an omega personality in the making.
There are multiple clues to this. When Mio returns to Okinawa, Shun has never been active in pursuing a relationship. Meaning, he expects Mio to “court” him, rather than the other way around.
Shun’s Tsundere personality
If the omega vs alpha comparison doesn’t sit well with you, Shun is a stereotypical Tsundere. I know the movie should be about breaking stereotypes but when it comes to character archetype, Shun, fits the criteria quite well.
He ignores Mio and pretends to be busy with his work. But when Mio finally confesses to him, we can see it lit a spark in him. This was when he quickly ran to Mio and dragged him to the hotel. Now even if they didn’t do it right there, it illustrates Shun’s personality quite well.
He acts cold to the person he loves but the ice instantly melts when Mio declares he “doesn’t want a girlfriend”. I think that was the tipping point for Shun and he decided right there and then that Mio really is serious when it comes to him.
Of course he still reverts to being a Tsundere afterwards and there’s this misleading scene where he’s the one he leads Mio to the hotel. But I think it can be explained by Mio’s inexperience.
Mio respects and gives Shun space, acting more mature
This is an archetype of a typical seme- someone who gives their uke space and even respects their uke’s hesitation. So in this way, Mio is acting more like how a top would when it comes to consoling an impulsive bottom.
This isn’t the first time that Mio gives Shun his space. When Sakurako asks who Mio is, he first introduces himself as a friend, before Shun stepped in and told her that he’s his boyfriend.
That’s a sign of maturity on Mio’s part.
Mio respects Sakurako as Shun’s ex-fiance
Although Mio loves Shun, when he knows that Sakurako is Shun’s ex-fiance, he didn’t try to rub it in her face that he and Shun are now together.
In fact, he even chased her after she ran off to the woods and comforted her at the beach. His maturity astounds even Sakurako, asking him why he is “NOT such an awful person”.
Sakurako finds Mio’s maturity alluring and in this sense, even when he is her competition, she finds it now impossible to hate the younger male.
Mio schools Shun on the importance of Family
When Sakurako brought the news about his father’s condition, it was Mio who acted more maturely. He tells Shun how it’s important to meet his family.
He even lied and said that he’ll be okay. He wants Shun to visit the family before the father passes away. This is a huge sign of maturity, much more so for a 20 year old like Mio.
It indicates emotional maturity and rationality in the face of challenges.
Mio kissed Sakurako after she requested Shun
Yes he was mad after, but the fact that he took the kiss rather than allowing Shun to kiss her is an act of defense. And this is the final straw, the final act that would cement him as the prime alpha of this relationship.
He’s willing to put himself in the front line to avoid “staining” Shun. Of course Shun reassured him afterwards that he wouldn’t kiss her, but the fact that Mio did this is an act of sacrifice, sending a clear message to Sakurako that “he’s my man and in order to get to him you’ll have to get through me first.”
Wrapping it all up
Mio acts more mature and grown up in a lot of the movie’s scenes, more so than the older Shun. This is a reversal of much of the stereotypes in BL where the younger partner is more impulsive, less understanding and prone to emotional outbursts.
Mio might get jealous from time to time but he doesn’t put up a seen. He gives himself time to cool off before returning to the loving boy… no… man he really is.
So what do you think? Still surprised that Shun is the uke? This movie breaks a lot of stereotypes and we should all be thankful for it. It’s a fresh take on a stale genre that has repeated the same behavioral patterns that has permeated the word of BL throughout these years.
Well that’s just one man’s take. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section below. Thanks. 🙂