This year has been pretty iconic in terms of the classic BL production (although the deadly coronavirus did try to dampen the excitement).
Transcending across borders, the BL genre is fast galloping into global stardom. The main purpose of today’s feature is to announce the winners of the “Top 10 Asian BL Actors (Jan-Jun 2020 Edition)”. Last week, we conducted an online poll which listed twenty BL actors from all over the Asian Subcontinent. After a weeklong tough competition, we bring you the results of this close contest. We are presumably surprised with the results and I’m pretty sure that our readers will feel the same. So join us on this joyride as we lift the curtain over the “Grand Reveal”!
10) Mix Sahaphap (A Tale of Thousand Stars)
Playing a rich spoiled kid on his way to self discovery, isn’t an easy job. But Mix Sahahpap overturned the tables when the poignant newcomer took the tailored role and bought it to life. The character was challenging, had difficult nuances and layers which Mix depicted to the best of his abilities. His sensual chemistry with co-star Earth Pirapat was refreshing and much appreciated. While Earth has decades of acting experience under the belt, matching unto his exuberance isn’t an easy task. However, Mix rose to the expectations and the popular onscreen couple make an enviable pair, much loved by the Thai BL fandom. Adapting a BL novel into commendable product requires a great deal of planning and even better performances by the main actors. It needs a close understanding of the script and an actor who can deliver the lines with finesse. Mix delivered on both accounts to herald the dream’s popularity into global stardom. He is currently playing the supporting character of Muang Nan in on-air drama “Fish Upon The Sky” and fans can’t help but swoon over his perfect features. Here’s hoping that we get to see the dynamics actor in another BL main role again!
9) PP Krit (I Promised You The Moon)
This red-haired diva is currently breaking hearts with his touching portrayal of main lead Oh Aew in the ongoing miniseries “I Promised You The Moon”. When the show’s teasers were released, everyone was skeptical about the premise. True to the title, this season promises utter devastation and teenage curiosity mixed with rebellion. While the first season focused on main lead Teh’s inner struggles as he comes to terms with his sexuality and accepts the forbidden feelings he has for his best friend, the sequel choose to highlight Oh Aew’s insecurities. PP Krit must be applauded for portraying the subtle nuances of this character so well. After shifting to the city, Oh Aew faces numerous challenges whereby he questions his life’s choices and ambitions. IPYTM also shines the spotlight on the couple’s difference of opinions as they grow further apart, with Oh Aew trying his level best to hold onto Teh. They are walking onto different paths and PP Krit is doing an excellent job depicting Oh Aew’s raw emotions and vulnerability.
8) Zhang Zhe Han (WOH)
Some characters are branded as legends because of their inspirational journey and strong demeanor. Zhang Zhe Han’s “Zhou Zi Shu” is one such character. The daredevil leader of the assassin organization “Window of Heavens” is not only formidable but also deadly. There are very few who survived to tell the tale, after challenging him to a duel. Zhang Zhe Han’s portrayal of this wuxia hero was realistic and natural. His onscreen chemistry with co-star Simon Gong is praiseworthy and they make the perfect couple off screen as well. The easy camaraderie they share translates into excellent performance onscreen, which has skyrocketed this Chinese BL’s credibility and ratings. Zhang Zhe Han was commendable in his depiction of the wounded assassin leader who acts as a faraway wanderer while awaiting his death. Zhou Zi Shou’s expressive eyes convey his emotions and feelings much better than his words do. Zhan Zhe Han embodied ZZS’s strengths as well as his weaknesses. It isn’t easy playing a BL character in a mainstream Chinese drama, yet Zhang Zhe Han did it convincingly and without qualms.
7) Sam Lin (We Best Love)
Taiwanese BL “We Best Love” became a trendsetter, because of the tumultuous depictions of raw human emotions and relationships. At the centerfold rested the main couple’s romance, heartbreak and reconciliation. The prequel “No.1 For You” was based on “Enemies to Lovers” trope and gave ample opportunities for Sam Lin to level the ground with his nuanced acts. The first season focuses on Gao Shi De’s earnest attempts to win his love interest’s attention and affections. It was sincere, honest and devoid of any expectations. Sam Lin took the character role at hand and give it a realistic twist. Even faced with Zhou Shu Yi’s hostile attitude, Gao Shi De never gives up on loving or admiring him. Not an easy feat, especially when paired opposite a prickly character like Zhou Shu Yi. This love story was addictive, encompassing and Sam Lin’s chemistry with co-star Yu set the screens on fire. Popular as “SamYu”, Sam shares a comfortable friendship with Yu and can be often seen helping him during the interviews as they field difficult questions. Handsome, socially likeable and an excellent co-star!
6) Yu (We Best Love)
While the prequel highlighted Sam Lin’s acting talents, Yu got to prove his acting chops with the antagonistic portrayal of a vengeful Zhou Shou Yi in the sequel “Fighting Mr.2nd”. Misunderstandings separate the lovable couple and the sequel was focused on Zhou Shou Yi’s revenge game as he tries to tear through Gao Shi De’s defenses. The reconciliation was marred by animosity and frustrations, as both find their way back to each other. Zhou Shou Yi is definitely not an easy character because he always guards his thoughts. Entirely unpredictable, Zhou Shou Yi is the very definition of a difficult, spoiled rich kid. Despite that veneer, underneath he craves attention and love. He is defensive but also entirely in love with Gao Shi De. It was interesting to watch the tug of war as Zhou Shou Yi battled his emotions and ultimately failed. In real life, Yu has a very cheerful personality and is completely opposite to his onscreen persona. So, it is indeed commendable that he was able to this play diffident role with such an honesty and conviction.
5) Simon Gong (WOH)
Playing a flawed character who keeps tiptoeing on the precipice of good and evil is a diffident job. Most Chinese actors refrain from accepting BL shows again, as they try their level best to avert the Boy’s Love tag. Putting those actors to shame, Simon Gong rose to fandom with the announcement of playing a BL character for the second time (he played the main lead role in BL adaptation Advance Bravely before). His gutsy attitude translated to daredevil acts onscreen as he vehemently portrayed Wen Ke Xing’s micro expressions and flirtatious attitude. Playing this character role is especially difficult, because of the various gradients the role demands. Wen Ke Xing (WKX) is the dreaded Chief of the Ghost Valley, currently trespassing the human realm to seek revenge from the heroes of the martial arts world for his parent’s untimely death. While the show majorly focused on his unbidden romance with childhood senior Zhou Zi Shu, Simon Gong was applauded for his earnest efforts to depict the character’s strength as well as the abundantly existing flaws. WKX is indeed invincible and yet he is vulnerable as well as emotional. The director of this show recently commented on his desire to rope in the entire cast for another drama. Fingers crossed, because watching these two handsome men romance each other will be a dream come true!
4) Charles Tu (HIStory 4: Close To You)
If you are Taiwanese BL fan, you can never forget the “HIStory franchise” or Charles Tu’s recent enactment of main lead Xiao Li Cheng. His uncanny depiction of this character role managed to bypass the controversial statements that ravaged the show’s credibility and obstructive storyline. While majority of the fandom are still debating the pros and cons of the forbidden “Stepbrother relationship”, Charles Tu’s performance was like a fresh breath of air in the midst of this stalemate. Xiao Li Cheng is goofy, pretty oblivious and incredulous. But he loves with his entire heart and is respectful of his partner’s choices. While the comic timing was huge relief, Charles Tu’s onscreen chemistry with co-star Anson Chen is blazing hot, sensuous and undeniable. They both share a unspoken connection off screen and are closer than most Taiwanese BL couples. Xiao Li Cheng will always be a memorable character because of his daring portrayal of “Versatility, Sexuality Acceptance and Healthy Relationships”.
3) Ian Yi (Killer or Healer)
I’m frankly quite surprised with the results, but I do understand the charm surrounding this character. Ian Yi’s perfect depiction of Dr. Chen Yu Zhi’s somber composure and kind nature will always be an unforgettable experience. His predictable romance with Police Chief Yue Lou was underrated and draws comparison to modern day Chinese romances. This show is an example of the evolution that is slowly overhauling the strict Chinese BL restrictions. Chen Yu Zhi is docile, grounded and has medical expertise that precedes the existential knowledge of the Republican era. Ian Yi perfected Yu Zhi’s caring nature and compassionate demeanor. Their romance was the main attraction of this crime thriller with an abysmal storyline and shocking ending. You can actually gauge the couple’s popularity from the mayhem that was created after the show ended on an unexpected note. Fans complained about their favorite couple’s separation and Chen Yu Zhi’s character became iconic even in death.
2) Mao Zi Jun (KAH)
Jiang Yue Lou’s uptight attitude and honest convictions are the characteristics that mark this role as defiant and charismatic. Mao Zi Jun did a convincing job portraying Jiang Yue Lou’s hot temper as well as his obvious affections for love interest Dr. Chen Yu Zhi. Yue Lou’s unbridled desire and love were always reflected in Mao Zi Jun’s portrayal which set this role apart. It was entirely shocking and unprecedented. Jiang Yue Lou exhibits violent tendencies because of suffering from depression. This character exists in an era where mental disorders weren’t studied or treated. As such, Jiang Yue Lou often faces difficulties accepting this reality or Yu Zhi’s advice. Mao Zi Jun embodied Yue Lou’s fears and insecurities. Apart from Simon Gong, Mao Zi Jun is slowly making waves in the Chinese BL fandom. While his ardent depiction of Jiang Yue Lou has won global appreciation, he recently finished shooting for another BL adaptation “The Story of the Bat”. Here’s hoping that Mao Zi Jun manages to spin the same magic with his next BL drama as well!
1) Anson Chen (HIStory4: Close To You)
Anson Chen is indefinitely the winner of this online survey, garnering votes as well attention from eons of fan following. Rightly so, because his character role Teng MuRen is an enigma. As the introverted Ice Prince who is vulnerable, Anson Chen won hearts with his handsome looks, formidable act and strict demeanor. His combustible chemistry with co-star Charles Tu was applauded as they redefined “Healthy Relationships”. Xiao Li Cheng and Teng MuRen are currently one of the most celebrated couples in Taiwanese BL and this can attributed to their comfortable relationship offscreen. Popular as “ChengRen”, Anson and Charles never shy away from PDA and that makes them a dream couple. While amazing chemistry does drive the story forward, the main character’s individual performance also means a lot. Anson Chen’s drew praise when he betrayed Teng MuRen’s changing emotions while trying to adjust to his new sexuality. Most teenagers face this problem and Anson’s portrayal became a shining beacon to those who struggle with confusion and fear societal rebuttal. Teng MuRen’s romance with Xiao Li Cheng borders on mutual respect and understanding. Frankly, he is one of my favorite actors in the current generation and definitely deserves the Crown for his perseverance.
We will back with more exciting and exclusive BL contents, so keep watching this space for future updates!