My Watchlist: Current Favorites of June 2021

We are back with the monthly feature on our “Current Watchlist”. The Boy’s Love lane is ostensibly flooded with new dramas that premiere every fortnight.

Since we understand your difficulty in keeping abreast with the latest releases, this article will be your reckoner guide on the ongoing dramas that are worth mentioning. Without further ado, let’s dive into the Asian shores and check out what’s happening!

Japanese BL

Ano Toki Kiss Shite Okeba

Manifesting a flavorful “Soul Swapping” drama isn’t an easy job. We have already witnessed the debacle in Thai BL “The Shipper The Series”. While the Thai adaptation was abysmal and lackluster, “Ano Toki Kiss Shite Okeba” must be applauded for its subtle rendition of BL romance that is entangled with heterosexuality. The storyline focuses on the trial and tribulations faced by famous manga writer Tomoe Yuizuki, as she inadvertently ends up swapping souls with meager worker Tanaka Masao. Their personal and romantic lives overlap, as Tomoe tries her level best to untangle the mess while falling in love with her new housekeeper, Momochi. The main focus remains on the unhindered romance between Momochi and Tomoe/Masao. The show’s beautiful rendition and quality production is indeed praiseworthy. Aso Kumiko as Tomoe Yuizuki is beautiful, free spirited and extremely talented. I was pleasantly surprised with her abashed attitude towards life and her professional ethics. Matsuzaka Tori’s heartfelt depiction of his character Momochi will leave you spellbound. It is the right mix of innocence and bewilderment colliding with intrigue. The star of this show is however Iura Arata, who swaps personalities as Tomoe and Masao. I’m in awe with his acting skills, which are flawless. Embodying Kumiko’s graceful countenance should be a difficult act and yet Iura does it effortlessly. His nonchalant attitude and heartbreaking portrayal of both characters will leave you devastated. Tori and Iura are both comfortable in their own skin, which translates into excellent chemistry onscreen. A classic romcom to remind you of the fact that love is beyond gender or sexuality!

Taiwanese BL

Be Loved in House: I Do

What happens when a bratty team leader meets his new arrogant Director? Sparks fly everywhere as these two inevitably end up falling in love with each other. That’s the base concept of this show and although it isn’t anything new, the drama is indeed enjoyable and worth mentioning. The show is centered around Seisei Studio’s quirky employees and their ongoing feud with new Director, Jin Yu Zhen. On the first day itself, he enforces a single rule which prohibits romantic relationships and marriages between employees, and that the violation of the rule would result in a dismissal. To abolish the rule, the employees of Seisei Studio collude with their team leader, Shei Lei. Shie Lei and Jin Yu Zhen are forced to share the same official apartment and through several disagreements, they finally began to understand each other. We are halfway through the show and the dynamics between the main leads is slowly shifting from antagonistic to mild intrigue. Jin Yu Zhen’s interest in Shie Lie is obvious and intentional. Though oblivious, Shie Lie is slowly warming upto his odd boss and the blossoming romance is exciting. Aaron Lai and Hank Wang have a refreshing chemistry and intriguing compatibility, as evident from their recent interviews and events. While the lead pair are surely entertaining, the second lead couple Yan Zhao Gang and Wu Si Qi are adorable and sweet. Si Qi’s childlike innocence and Zhao Gang’s mature demeanor make an interesting match. I’m invariably invested in both romances as they are different and yet unique in their own ways.

THAI BL

Fish Upon the Sky

After facing a torturous journey of ten weeks waiting for the main leads to be together, Fish Upon The Sky is majorly recalcitrant. The adaptation suffers because of its abyssal script and lack of compatibility between the main actors. Don’t get me wrong, Phuwin Tangsakyuen (Pi) and Pond Naravit Lertratkosum (Mork) look adorable together, but the storyline doesn’t do justice to portraying their chemistry or romance. They get together in the tenth episode and yet Pi’s flagrant insecurities are driving a wedge through their rather delicate relationship. Mork has been doing his level best to win Pi’s affections and trust. Their relationship is unbalanced, where Mork seems to be the only one trying to make things work. Pi majorly comes across as an immature individual and although his fears are understandable, Mork deserves a better boyfriend. The show has been embroiled in controversies and the negative attributes seem to be foreshadowing the positives. The second lead couple are even more confusing, but atleast their affections for each other are consistent. Meen and Duean aren’t the perfect match, but for some reason their apparent differences make this couple seemingly viable. Neo Trai and Louis Thanawin have an unbiased chemistry which is reckoning.

I Promised You the Moon

Classics have an odd way of depicting their character’s heartbreak and reconciliations. “I Promised You the Moon” will not only leave you shattered, but also deeply wounded. The prequel “I Told You The Sunset” delved into main lead Teh’s personal struggles as he comes to terms with his new-found sexuality and accepts his feelings for best friend, Oh Aew. While the first season focused on Teh’s journey as he understands his own inhibitions and grows stronger, the sequel deals with deeper paranoia. As the reconciled couple shift to Bangkok in pursuit of their dreams, reality strikes and they start growing apart. Oh Aew’s confident demeanor falls apart as he grows homesick and Teh is rather ignorant or maybe oblivious of his boyfriend’s inner struggles. The beauty of this script lies in the fact that both characters have invariably settled into accepting their sexuality and there is no confusion on that part. Although this facet is comforting, Teh’s affections for OhAew draw a barrier which evidently affects his acting talents. While OhAew switches courses, finds new friends and sprouts new wings; Teh is still rooted to his old beliefs. This difference in opinion breaks them apart and Teh grows closer to his play Director Jay. While Billkin Putthipong and PP Krit make a compatible pair, the robust addition of veteran actor Oab Oabnithi is rather impressive. The depiction of raw emotions and desires will leave spellbound as you question their forbidden intimacy. The first four episodes have set the pace for future breakup and I’m intrigued with the premise of the finale episode. Teh is on his way to apparent stardom. Will our main couple end up with a breakup, which might pave the way for a future sequel? Or will they put their misunderstandings aside and reconcile? OhAew is a pretty strong character as compared to Teh who suffers from fluctuating emotions. Looking forward to the ultimate surprise or shock!

Y-Destiny

Y-Destiny is the story of seven best friends: Sun, Mon, Tue, Puth, Thurs, Masuk and Sat, each of them have different personalities; according to their birthdays, fate leads them to meet their loved ones. Each story will be told one day at a time. The show premiered to high expectations and although the storylines isn’t exceptional; the drama makes for a decent watch. I have my biases, as some stories are rather better than others. My personal favorites are “Mon & Team” as well as “Puth & Kaeng”. Both these couples have a sensual chemistry and the high tension romance is surely riveting. Korn Kornnarat (Mon) and Gung Kunpong (Team) story focuses on “Casanova Romance” as playboy Team tries to seduce innocent fresher Mon and inevitably ends up falling in love with the innocent Junior. Although similar, Puth (Takizawa Toru) and Kaeng’s (First Piyangkul) romance will make you swoon. Puth and Kaeng have a “Friends With Benefits” relationship, which begins to change when Puth unexpectedly falls for his senior. Both stories will peg your attention because of the fiesty dynamics between the main actors, which will surely set your screens on fire. Don’t go looking for a brilliant script; Copy-A-Bangkok is well known for producing romcoms with a dash of satire and a dose of humor.

Top Secret Together

An underrated script with mega casting, Top Secret Together is an ongoing office romance which depicts the life and romance of five different couples. The storyline majorly focuses on stepbrothers Lukmo and Simai, who are unaware of their relationship. When Simai starts working as an intern at a media firm with best friends Maebak and Phob, he is ordered to intern with Team Leader Lukmo. For Simai, it is love at first sight. While Simai struggles with winning his strict team leader’s affections, his best friends have a fallout because of Phob’s one-sided love for Maebak. The third main couple, Copy and Nambu are rather adorable and flirtatious. It is a joy to watch them together, with plenty of side references to the age-old SOTUS culture. The show has popular real life couple Both Nattapong and Newyear Kitiwhut portraying the role of love advisors. Side couple Plawaan and Nuea’s romance is rather forgettable and I’m not a huge fan. Despite the overlapping love stories, the show maintains a steady pace. Each couple is given equal screen time and watching their blossoming love stories is entertaining.

Pinoy BL

Worth the Wait

The sequel to “Toxic Lover The Series” is a rather rambunctious affair. While the first season ended in major heartbreak for main lead Ethon Kaizer (Aki Torres), the sequel focuses on his romance with work rival Martin (Solo Adriano). Ethon’s love story with ex-boyfriend Bryce was rather lackluster, however his pairing with Martin is exciting. Solo and Aki are really comfortable with each other and their offscreen camaraderie reflects in their onscreen chemistry. The “Enemies to Lovers” trope might seem cliché, but watching Ethon and Martin’s catfights will leave you in high spirits. Ethon hates Martin’s fake attitude, while Martin is rather obsessed with Ethon. He expertly uses the camouflage of hatred to seek Ethon’s attention. The script isn’t well executed, but Aki’s chemistry with Solo is better and much intriguing than his former co-stars. The show also focuses on the GL pairing of Alia Torres who portrays popular designer Asia with famous actress Vanessa played by Kim Gonzaga. Both ladies are gorgeous and they look beautiful together. I’m looking forward to future developments where Ethon might try to understand Martin.

Inn Love The Series

Banking on a variable premise, Inn Love stars popular Cheat The Series actor Migo De Vera with BL fresher VJ Mendoza. With an interesting cast, the storyline focuses on the romance between two characters that are polar opposites. Gino Reyes is a writer working in an advertising agency, who is struggling with finishing the script for an upcoming digital campaign. Alex Delos Reyes is a hot freelance model who is trying to move forward from a heartbreak. The two men opt to visit Tanggap Kita or TK resort which is distant from the city, a place for them to accept possible circumstances. Starting with an unpleasant first meeting, Gino and Alex end up rooming together in the same villa. The current episodes depict the turmoil in the relationship as they often get into arguments. The show hints at a possible love triangle between Gino, Alex and Louise Katindig, the manager of TK resort. The story is well paced and the pilot episodes give a decent introduction of the main characters. I’m looking forward to watching the romance as Gino and Alex grow closer. Whom will Alex choose- Gino or Louise? Will both of them overcome their personal issues and possibly connect in future?

Stuck On You

Ride or Die is popular for dramatic representation of LGBTQ culture and dynamics. So, I had huge expectations with their latest venture, “Stuck On You”. What happens when an emotionally unavailable fanatic ends up rooming with a hopeless romantic diva? This show draws comparison to the current trend of finding love through online dating apps. While the main purpose of these apps remains finding possible dates, the hidden agenda of pursuing sex partners is obvious. After what was originally supposed to be just a hook-up, JM aka @alt.media and Reb aka @trueloveskiss are forced to live together when JM’s locality is closed due to community quarantine. JM is still recovering from his heartbreak and isn’t interested in romance. He only seeks online partners for physical pleasure. Reb on the other hand is innocent and optimistic. The first two episodes were promising and the differences between the main characters is glaringly obvious. While JM is downright hostile, Reb is adjusting and demure. It will be interesting to watch JM’s character development, as Reb breaks through his walls and makes him fall in love again. Will 14 days lead to forever?


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

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