Asian BL Dramas: My Current Favourites

We are introducing this new “Feature” on The BL Xpress, wherein we will discuss the currently on-air BL dramas that our team are watching. This watch list will be updated depending on the schedule of new shows as they are added. Rest assured, because we will feature only the “Best Rated BL Content” on this page. So, that you can join the ranks and enjoy some classic Boys’ Love Romance!

CHINESE

Word of Honor

Currently, the most talked about Chinese BL on the social circuits, Word of Honor has thrown all pretense outside the fence. Amidst rumors of stricter censorship, this show has managed to toe the line and dip its feet into the vibrant LGBTQ culture. The scenery is beautiful and the unhinged romance between the main leads Zhou Zi Shu and Wen Ke Xing is aptly portrayed by popular actors Zhang Zhe Han and Simon Gong. This low budget drama which faced major problems in the production stages, has singularly turned the “Wheels of Fortune” for the streaming portal YouKu.

Adapted from the novel “Faraway Wanderers” (天涯客) by Priest, the storyline focuses on the journey of Zhou Zi Shu (Former Chief of Prince Jin’s exclusive assassin organization) who is counting his final days after resigning from his position. Under unavoidable circumstances he ends up protecting the orphaned heir, Cheng Ling (of the Mirror Lake Manor Sect) and meets Wen Ke Xing, a mysterious martial artist. Both of them end up escorting Cheng Ling until he is safely returned to his Uncle’s Manor. On the way they learn about the legendary treasure “The Glazed Armor”, that will give its owner ultimate power over jianghu.

The wuxia drama is currently listed as “One of the Best Chinese Bromances” and the analogy is rather loosely used. Because ZZS and WKX’s relationship can be easily described as romance. Although ZZS is still in the denial mode, the poor guy can only resist so much of WKX’s flirtatious advances. Their romantic banter is topnotch and most of their martial arts fight sequences look like synchronized dance moves. The audiences are being treated to a daily overdose of sensual overtures as both ZZS and WKX try to dig deeper into each other’s hidden secrets. It helps that the actors Zhang Zhe Han and Simon Gong share a healthy camaraderie off screen, which translates into explosive chemistry onscreen. The subtle touches, unhindered staring and flirtatious dialogues are the main reasons for the popularity of this drama. It is actually refreshing to watch a BL adaptation that is true to its original context and doesn’t undermine the main lead’s romance!

Thousand Autumns

Thousand Autumns (山河剑心, Qian Qiu) is a Donghua, based on a Chinese web novel of the same name, written by Meng Xi Shi (梦溪石). BL culture in China is currently recycling popular Gay novels into live-in action dramas or Donghua adaptations. Most Chinese BL animes are portraying their main leads homoerotic relationships with an unabashed sincerity and although they aren’t sexually explicit, we can still count on them to be politically correct.

Thousand Autumns follows the romantic entanglements between Shen Qiao, the Chief Disciple of Mount Xuandu and Yan Wushi, the Leader of the evil Huanye Sect. Shen Qiao is heavily injured while fighting with an enemy sect and Yan Wushi saves him. Shen Qiao loses most of his memories and vision but despite that his other senses are sharp. Taking advantage of this situation, Yan Wushi uses dubious methods to force Shen Qiao to accept his tutelage. However, Shen Qiao realises that his true identity is entirely different and decides to return to Mount Xuanda to rediscover himself. Thus begins a “Cat and Mouse Chase” where Yan Wushi follows Shen Qiao as he embarks on his return journey and keeps protecting him, while hiding in the shadows.

This Donghua is quite interesting, simply because of the vibrant characterization of the main leads. I’m a huge fan of Chinese animation shows because of their high quality CGI effects and this anime is another example of the same. Yan Wushi is styled in such a way that his arrogant demeanor overshadows his protective stanch. Shen Qiao on the other hand, plays the part of a righteous Sect Disciple quite well and although he doesn’t remember much of his past life, his current martial arts levels will leave you bewildered!

THAI

A Tale of Thousand Stars

I’m not a huge fan of GMMTV’s BL dramas and yet this show managed to surprise me. The story focuses on Tian, a spoiled rich kid seeking redemption, after being granted a “Second Chance at Life” by his heart donor Torfun. Feeling indebted, he learns more about her life, interests and inner desires. Hoping to fulfill her dreams, Tian follows into her footsteps and enrolls as a Volunteer Teacher in an underprivileged village. There he meets the strict Forest Ranger Phupha and tries hard to win the villagers trust as well Phupha’s admiration. Along the way, our pampered prince falls for the extremely handsome Chief Phupha and as they grow closer, Tian’s perspective about his luxurious life begins to change inevitably.

The success of this BL adaptation is hugely attributed to the underlying chemistry between the main leads. Earth Pirapat and Mix Sahaphap share a seven-years long friendship and as such they are totally comfortable  portraying the romantic interludes between the two characters which are diabolically different. The fact that their off screen banter is even better than their onscreen love story is an added advantage. #EarthMix is one of the most trending hashtags on most social media handles and their popularity stems from the fact that both Earth and Mix share a healthy relationship.

My reasons for watching this drama are very simple. Although I don’t belong to the fandom, this show managed to tug at my heartstrings with its brutal portrayal of harsh realities. Tian’s journey of self discovery is relatable and watching him fight his inner demons while trying to redeem his callous past is an enjoyable experience. Tian’s sensual chemistry with Phupha is enough to set the screen on fire and each week the audience’s are treated to a rambunctious feast that is a delight to our senses. Earth and Mix have literally embodied their roles in entirety and I’m looking forward to their character development.

Lovely Writer The Series

There aren’t many Thai BL dramas which focus on the prudent issues plaguing the Entertainment Industry. “Casting Couch”, “Interpersonal relationships” are just the tip of this iceberg and we have barely skimmed the surface. Lovely Writer focuses on the alleged affair between popular BL author Gene and the main actor of his book’s adaptation series, Nubsib. The show has managed to garner positive ratings, because of its ambitious storyline and stellar star cast. The drama is particularly well-known for throwing alot of shade to the regressive adages related to popular BL culture as well major problems related to the LGBTQ community. Kao Noppakao’s charming personality adds to the charm and his character Nubsib’s mysterious allure piques your curiosity. Up Poompat “Gene” on the other hand portrays the role of an overtly harassed author quite well. The expectations that are laden onto the shoulders of famous BL authors is realistically portrayed and Up embodies their frustration.

The sparkling chemistry between the main leads is refreshing and provides the much-needed relief from the heavy issues that are delicately addressed. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the first two episodes as our main leads grow closer and develop feelings for each other. Hiding behind pretense, their feelings are unclear, but that makes this romance so much more intriguing! Before this show started airing, I had my own doubts about Kao’s chemistry with Up. After witnessing his explosive chemistry with Earth Katsamonnat in Until We Meet Again, I had my own reservations. But both Kao and Up managed to break through the previous comparisons and have set new parameters for BL couples. I’m utterly enthralled and looking forward to the next episodes.

PINOY

Meet My Angel

Starring popular Pinoy BL actor Enzo Santiago and rookie actor Kaleb Ong, Meet My Angel is a highly strung emotional journey of HIV+ positive patient, Damon with suicidal tendencies. Damon is an atheist and does believe in the existence of Heaven and Hell. His disbelief is however questioned when suddenly one day, his Guardian Angel appears out of nowhere. Angelo’s continuous efforts help Damon realise his self worth and as they grow closer, Angelo inevitably falls in love with Damon.

Directed by “Amore BL Series” fame Jodi Gracia, Meet My Angel is a modern take on a classic fairytale while using Pinoy BL as a viable platform. Although the chemistry is low-key, since only two episodes have been aired, the show certainly has alot of potential. Kaleb Ong as Damon in particular portrays the nuances of his character quite well. The self loathing, hatred and depression accurately betray every HIV+ patient’s mental sufferings. Enzo Santiago’s Angelo on the other hand is truly understanding of his ward’s inner struggles and does his level best to vanquish them. Certainly a riveting romance that is truly inspiring !

Padayon The Series

Produced by Dilat Productions, this show is certainly one of its kind. Focusing on social issues like sexual abuse, mental health problems, divorce, gender discrimination, bullying, this BL series highlights the socio-economic divide in the modern society. Newcomers Ian Rosapapan (Kai) and John Padilla (Andre) star in this classic spring romance that sheds light on the Filipino jeepney phaseout. Padayon literal translation means “onward” or “to continue” and as such the daily lives of Filipinos will be discussed in lucid details.

The pilot episode was interesting and left a deep impression, as we get a better understanding of our main character’s. Kai and his Mother work for the overtly arrogant Andre as his family’s housekeeper. The spoiled kid is currently exiled to the countryside by his Father due to their personal differences. While Kai represents the lower class of the society, Andre is a classic example of an arrogant brat, who looks down on everyone. Their social differences are as clear as the daylight and I’m hoping for a better understanding of the characters in the next episodes. Will Andre get off his high horse and become friends with the responsible Kai?

KOREAN

You Make Me Dance

An intriguing new romance between a university student majoring in contemporary dance and a loan shark! Starring Won Hyung Hoon and Chu Young Woo in titular roles, You Make Me Dance traces their journey of self discovery and love, as they became each other’s support system. The soulful music and the beautiful choreography obviously leaves you speechless and vying for more. Song Si Oh as the naive university student manages to grab your attention as soon as the character is introduced. His graceful moves coupled with his passion for dance make a long-lasting impression. Behind Jin Hong Seok’s cold exterior lies a kind heart, that gets intrigued with Song Si Oh’s naivete. This love story will be ridden with struggles and jealousy, but I’m sure that our main leads will traverse past those difficulties to protect their fledgling love story.

UPCOMING DRAMAS ON MY WATCHLIST

Killer And Healer (Chinese)

The currently on-air Chinese Bromance “Killer and Healer” follows the “violent” cop Jiang Yue and good doctor Chen Yu Zhi as they support and redeem each other during troubled times. They are polar opposites -one kills while the one heals.

Synopsis- Jiang Yue Lou who heads the Jingcheng Police Station appears to be neither good nor evil. Smugglers tremble at the thought of him. While investigating an opium case in Hong Kong, Jiang Yue Lou encounters doctor Chen Yu Zhi. Chen Yu Zhi discovers that Jiang Yue Lou has manic depression. From his initial refusal to undergo treatment, Jiang Yue Lou eventually opens up to Chen Yu Zhi. Despite their values being as different as day and night, they become close friends. Meanwhile, warlord Zhan Jun Bai, tycoon Zhao Jing Ming and rogue gangster Zhou Huo continue to make trouble and even attempt to put Jiang Yue Lou to death. At this time, the secrets from the past also rise to the surface.

I have been waiting since ages to watch this drama, because of its interesting premise. Although the show premiered unexpectedly, the anticipation hasn’t lessened. The show is currently airing on MGTV’s YouTube Channel. The only hiccup is the unavailability of English Subtitles, which is a major constraint for most international audiences. The Channel’s admin has however assured the audiences, that the subtitles will be added very soon.

We Best Love: Fighting Mr. 2nd

The sequel to the hugely successful Taiwanese Drama “No. 1 For You”, takes place five years, after Zhou Shu Yi and Gao Shi De graduate from college. Their story will unfold as they juggle work responsibilities and personal life at the same time.

Zhou Shu Yi and Gao Shi De had break up because of unspoken misunderstandings and this show focuses on their reconciliation after possible trials and tribulations that might leave you wounded. The show’s producers have promised that the current season will portray the main lead’s relationship with alot of angst and as such the audiences are waiting with bated breaths to watch their favorite couple reconcile. Starring popular actors Sam Lin and Yu in main roles, this show is possibly the most anticipated BL drama on streaming portal WeTV. While the prequel was heavily biased towards the main lead’s romance, the sequel will highlight the delicate relationships between the supporting couples as well. Fingers crossed!

Keep watching this space as we bring you further updates from the Asian BL World!

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