Everyone knows William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but do you know star-crossed lovers Jaime and Cersei Lannister, Yoon Joon-suh and Choi Eun-suh, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar, Estha and Rahel, Tenoh Haruka and Kaioh Michiru, and Shiren and Ragi? Forbidden love has dominated the imagination of writers across eras, continents and cultures – resulting entire genres of Japanese media to sprout up based on it, like yaoi (boys’ love) and yuri (girls’ love). Let’s see if you recognise, or even remember these six tortured couples from television shows, books and movies.

Here’s how we are going to play this game: A) You get one point if you can name the title of the show or book these characters came from, and B) two points if you can explain why their love is illicit. Ready? Get set, go!

1. Jaime and Cersei Lannister

Jaime and Cersei Lannister probably have the most complicated relationship in the whole of Westeros. Credit: The Wrap

Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) probably have the most complicated relationship in the whole of Westeros. Credit: The Wrap

A) Drama series Game of Thrones.

B) After power couple Jon Snow and Daenerys Targayen, Jaime and Cersei Lannister have to be the most famous pair from Game of Thrones. The Lannisters are fraternal twins who are in love with each other, even producing multiple offspring from this union.

 

2. Estha and Rahel

Estha and Rahel as illustrated by Rebecca Rosner. Credit: Annenberg Learner

Estha and Rahel as illustrated by Rebecca Rosner. Credit: Annenberg Learner

A) Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997.

B) Jaime and Cersei from GOT were not the only incestuous pair of opposite sex twins, and neither were they the first. Estha is the brother and Rahel is his sister, younger than him by 18 minutes. The ending of the book culminates with them having sex as 31-year-olds. (Sorry if you haven’t read this and were planning to.)

 

3. Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar

Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack Twist and Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain (2005). Credit: The Telegraph

Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack Twist and Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain (2005). Credit: The Telegraph

A) Award-winning movie directed by Lee Ang – Brokeback Mountain (2005).

B) Jack and Ennis are two men who love each other but because it’s 1963, and because the story is set in conservative Wyoming, they get married to women – while keeping up their tortured and sporadic affair over the course of 20 years. While it made waves in the Western world, Japanese fans were already with the concept of yaoi (boys’ love) – except that Japanese yaoi characters were usually slender and delicate, rather than the big strapping men of Brokeback Mountain.

 

4. Yoon Joon-suh and Choi Eun-suh

Song Hye-kyo and Song Seung-heon starred in this tearjerker of a K-drama. Credit: dramafever.com via IDN Times

Song Hye-kyo and Song Seung-heon starred in this tearjerker of a K-drama. Credit: dramafever.com via IDN Times

A) Korean drama Autumn in My Heart (2000). Remember this one?

B) Joon-suh and Eun-suh were brought up as siblings, and Eun-suh would call Joon-suh “oppa” even when they went out on dates. However, unlike in Game of Thrones and The God of Small Things, Autumn in My Heart didn’t cross any biological boundaries because it was discovered that Eun-suh had been accidentally switched with Joon-suh’s real sister at the hospital.

 

5. Sailor Uranus (Tenoh Haruka) and Sailor Neptune (Kaioh Michiru)

Sailor Neptune (left) and Sailor Uranus (right) in the third season of Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon, Sailormoon S. Credit: Shojo Power

Sailor Neptune (left) and Sailor Uranus (right) Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon. Credit: Shojo Power

A) Anime and manga series Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon

B) Arguably the two most powerful characters (after Sailor Moon) in Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon, racer Tenoh Haruka (Sailor Uranus) and violinist Kaioh Michiru (Sailor Neptune) debuted in the series’ third season, Sailormoon S, as rivals to Sailor Moon’s team. Beyond one gag episode where the other characters mistook Haruka as a boy, the rest of the series openly acknowledges their yuri (girls’ love) relationship.

The English dub of the series, however, explained that they were cousins to disguise the relationship… which cast some of their more intimate scenes in a rather odd light.

 

6. Shiren and Ragi

A) Shiren & Ragi 

B) We can’t spoil this one for you, because the movie is showing this Friday and Saturday (November 23 and 24) at GV Suntec City and Gemini @ Grand, Great World City respectively. I can guarantee you that Shiren and Ragi’s relationship is far more twisted and complex than all of the above couples combined.

Set in an era when Japan was divided in the north and south, and when samurais still roamed the land, the story centres on a “Roran” woman named Shiren (Hiromi Nagasaku), who was born to a northern tribe of assassins, and a young sword fighter named Ragi (Tatsuya Fujiwara of Death Note fame). They must travel to the south to assassinate its king and high priest, a man named Godai who was once Shiren’s lover and victim. (Told you the story is complicated.) She had failed to kill him on her first attempt 20 years ago and now she has orders to complete the job.

Shiren to Ragi will only be screened twice for Geki x Cine, so grab your tickets now.

Shiren to Ragi will only be screened twice for Geki x Cine, so grab your tickets now. Price: $18 per ticket (GVMC members); $22 per ticket (public).

Shiren & Ragi is a 2013 stage play which was filmed in front of a live audience. Considering that there was plenty of action packed into this 171-minute show and that every scene had to be perfectly executed, a lot of artistry has gone into its making. The execution is quirky, too. Despite being a period drama, a man in a dog’s costume appears every now and then to answer to Shiren’s bidding, after which he would skulk in the shadows like Dick Tracy and smoke a cigarette. This movie is Golden Village’s first title in its Geki x Cine line-up and bound to leave an impression on film enthusiasts.

We have three pairs of tickets (worth $36 per pair) to Shiren & Ragi to give away! To participate, simply make a guess to this question: Why were Shiren and Ragi forbidden lovers?

The tickets are for this Friday’s (November 23) screening happening at GV Suntec City, 8.30pm.

Post your guesses on our Facebook post or e-mail to thepopp[email protected]. Contest ends by Wednesday, November 21, 5pm. Winners must respond to messages and be able to make it for the screening, otherwise the prize will be forfeited to another contestant.

P.S. How many points did you score on our quiz? We won’t be posting the correct answer to the last question and you don’t need the correct answer to win! You need to watch the movie if you want the scoop on this forbidden love. ;P

Sources: The Wrap, Wikipedia, Asia Pacific Arts, Shojo Power!, Asia Pacific Arts

 

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