Let’s talk awkward.
There are all sorts of lists and articles online about what it means to be socially awkward, including lists that help determine if you, too, are an awkward person. I’ve always been a little obsessed with awkwardness, with what defines being awkward and why being so is such a bad thing. From being ungainly to having some outward reason a person cannot communicate with others, awkward is a label I’ve always found suffocating. And a hundred percent relatable.
I am awkward, and while I used to be ashamed of this when I was younger, I’m now proud of it.
This growing pride in accepting the things about myself others may view as awkward, but I view as entirely acceptable brings me to a currently airing Japanese BL My Beautiful Man and the reason I’m completely invested in it.
Japanese BLs appeal to human emotion in a unique way that manages to feel both cute and deep, leaving a profound impression on its viewers. A live-action adaptation of the BL novel Utsukushii Kare by Yu Nagira, My Beautiful Man is the newest addition to this growing list of impressionable BL releases, and it had me sold at the main character’s honest perception of himself.
About a quiet boy with a stutter who falls instantly in love with the popular and often cold Kiyoi Sou (actor/singer Yusei Yagi), My Beautiful Man spends the first two episodes focused on lead Hira Kazunari and his unapologetic attraction.
Hira Kazunari is the very definition of awkward, and it’s the reason I love him so much.
Kazunari (actor Hagiwara Riku) prefers being invisible, viewing the world through a camera lens. There’s something relatable yet peculiar about the way he distances himself, the way he awkwardly deals with people around him. His narrative monologues take you into his thoughts, into the honest way he expresses himself when no one else is around. Viewers get a no holds barred look into Kazunari’s head, and it’s frankly the reason why I am so enthralled with the series.
Growing up, I always had a hard time communicating with people. Like Kazunari, I tried hard to be invisible, to create a separate world for myself no one could intrude in. Rather than a camera lens, my shield was an ever-growing stack of notebooks and the stories I wrote in them. While I didn’t have a stutter like Kazunari, I did find it hard to find words when forced into conversation. For me, writing what I wanted to say was much easier than actually speaking the words.
Kazunari spoke to me, and his instant connection with Kiyoi did the same. I’m not generally a fan of instant love tropes, but I find Kazunari’s insta crush on Kiyoi to be oddly three-dimensional. Falling for Kiyoi is similar to taking pictures. The growing love is a way to become involved in society despite the need to remain detached from it. Every single time Kiyoi looks at Kazunari, every single time he seems remotely interested in returning his feelings, I find myself holding my breath in anticipation.
Although Kiyoi appears flawless, his beauty undeniable, there’s an awkward part of him that also shines through, a part of him that seems to understand and connect to Kazunari. It’s this part of him I keep trying to catch glimpses of. While Kazunari is an honest, open-book character, Kiyoi is a hidden treasure buried under a well-developed, beautiful facade. Despite all the second-hand embarrassment I find myself working through, I am utterly intrigued by Kazunari and Kiyoi’s connection, by their shared secret, and the hidden, attraction-filled glances.
The first two episodes of My Beautiful Man were precisely what I expected them to be, an awkward trip through first love that doesn’t disappoint in its honesty.
With only four episodes left to go, I highly recommend checking this drama out on Gagaoolala or WeTV. It’s a love story I hope embraces its awkwardness and ends feeling proud of being so.
Rating- 4 out of 5