My Watchlist: Current Favorites of November 2021

While the world battles the new Covid-Omciron variant and third wave seems to be eminent, the Boy’s Love World is still churning out scrumptious new content.

As we step foot into December, let’s rewind and check out the currently on-air shows in the month of November. The entire team at BL Xpress have been tirelessly working to keep you abreast with exclusives and updates related to the Asian BL diaspora. As such, let’s check the latest listings and find some quality content to share!

Thai BL

Bad Buddy The Series

This runaway hit has turned the “Wheels of Fortune” spinning in the favor of tech giant GMMTV. While the pilot episodes were predominantly set against the backdrop of family rivalry, our main leads Pat (Ohm Pawat) and Pran (Nanon Korapat) are much more than that. This show is a rather rambunctious conversion of a daredevil Romoe and his cautious Juliet. The comparisons are inevitable and yet, OhmNanon have added their distinct flare of persona to these roles. Director Backaof Noppharnach’s adaptations are always well executed and Bad Buddy isn’t an exception. The show’s success reached a new pinnacle after the last week’s “Rooftop Confession + Kiss Scene”. As appropriately stated by the fervent fans- ” I don’t know how to get off the rooftop, my soul is entrapped there”. Most GMMTV BL shows are bracketed by the lack of intimacy between the main couple; but Bad Buddy has the added advantage of having a seasoned veteran actor onboard. Ohm doesn’t shy away from the physicality of his character role and his amorphous chemistry with Nanon is enviable as well as inflammable. We are certainly looking forward to many more weeks of “Falling in Love” as our main couple transcend boundaries set by their familial units and group of best friends.

☆ I absolutely love Pat’s sniffing habit and the fact that he LOVES Pran’s smell.

☆ Ohm Pawat and Nanon Korapat were recently featured in the latest edition of popular magazine Posh Thailand. We are sharing a few stills of these very hot men, who dare to question the status quo!

Baker Boys

It is raining adaptations at the GMMTV fortress and I’m not even complaining. Adapted from the manga “Antique Bakery” by Yoshinaga Fumi, Baker Boys is the third remake of this popular work. While the Korean and Japanese adaptations were equally famous, Baker Boys is gaining global recognition because of its distinctive casting. Helmed by GMMTV stalwarts Lee Thanat and Singto Prachaya alongside Pluem Purim, Foei Patara, their characterization remains true to the original manga. There are slight differences in the script; but they are discernible. The masked chemistry between Punn and Weir is engaging. While Singto plays an unapologetic gay with ease, Lee’s Punn is charming and indecisive. Krathing’s (Pleum) obsession with sweets and boxing is played off well with the right amount of fervor. The storyline mostly banks on the “Serial Killer” angle, but I’m hoping we get to learn more about each of the characters in the upcoming episodes. Yes, they are damn addictive!

Paint with Love

Tae Darvid and Singto Prachaya make an unusual couple in this office romance. I wasn’t sure if this factor will work in their favor or put them at a disadvantage, but the former seems to be the obvious conclusion. While Tae plays the moody abstract painter Phab, Singto’s Maze is calculating and workaholic. I was actually awestruck by Tae’s depiction of the subject. This is my first time watching him play a ruffian character. Singto on the other hand is becoming a staple diet, with two of his shows on-air. The second leads Nueng (Yoon Phusanu) and Tharn (Yacht Patsit) make an interesting couple. While Tae, Singto and Yoon are well known BL actors, this is the first time that Yacht is playing a gay character. The first episode was slightly slow-paced, but the next episodes seem promising. Phab’s stubborn nature and Maze’s bossy attitude will definitely create huge problems in their near future. This spicy antagonism will undoubtedly add a flavorful twist to their “Contractual Relationship”.

☆ Tae Dravid and Singto Prachaya featured in the latest editions of popular fashion magazines, GQ Thailand and L’Officiel Thailand!

Taiwanese BL

Fragrance of the First Flower

This miniseries is one of those slow burn romances, that indiscriminately test your patience. While the pairing is refreshing and promising, the distinct lack of chemistry isn’t. This show follows the time leap romance between Yi Min (Zai Zai Lin) and Ting Ting (Lyan Su). High school lovers, separated by preconceived notions and fear; reunite years as they open their minds to possible reconciliation. Time and tide wait for no one, unless you are deeply in love and kind enough to forget their past mistakes. Yi Min finds herself caged in a lackluster marriage with an inattentive husband. Her son’s autism is a constant fodder for arguments between them. So when she coincidentally meets Ting Ting at a wedding, old flames rekindle. Ting Ting understands Yi Min much better than her husband and provides the requisite emotional support. The storyline lapses through a constant back and forth between past and present, as their relationship is reconstructed. The premise seems intriguing, but it seems to drag in some places and that works against them. The scriptwriter tenous efforts to highlight the prejudices faced by the LGBTQ community is truly commendable. Not hoping for much, but a “Happily Ever After” would be satisfactory.

Japanese BL

Kieta Hatsukoi

My current favorite, I’m literally obsessed with this show. A breezy high school love story littered with cute misunderstandings and adorable hijinks. The show owes its phenomenal success to the unassuming chemistry between main leads Michieda Shunsuke and Meguro Ren. While the drama does a pretty good job depicting the blossoming romance between their characters; equal importance is afforded to the second lead couple Hashimoto Mio (Fukumoto Riko) and Akkun (Suzuki Jin). Hashimoto and Akkun have the best caricatures of LGBTQ supportive roles, in the history of Japanese BL. I’m actually quite sad that we are in the finale week already. Watching this couple fall in love, while facing teenage angst and confusion, was relatable. I’m looking forward to their official date this Saturday, as the show completes its run. Pretty sure, there will be broken hearts littered all over the social media. I mean, their first instance of “Hand-holding” led to a media frenzy; so their date deserves equal amount of celebration and fanfare!

My Beautiful Man

Adapted from the novel “He, Who is Beautiful” by Nagira Yuu, My Beautiful Man features Hagiwara Riku and Yagi Yusei in the lead roles of Hira Kazunari and Kiyoi Sou. Hira is literally at the bottom of his class, unpopular, kind of invisible. He masks his awkwardness and mostly avoids social interactions. The much needed and anticipated twist happens when Hira inevitably falls for the beautiful Kiyoi Sou. As against the socially inept Hira, Kiyoi is the ruthless “King”, popular amongst the girls and rules the top brass of their class. As his feelings grow, Hira devotedly serves Kiyoi in the hopes that Kiyoi might notice him someday. Frankly, I find the pacing a little odd and the storytelling is awkward. I’m yet to see any kind of noticeable chemistry between the main leads, but things might change in this week’s episode. So, I’m going to reserve my judgment until that. I’m still looking for a reason to fall in love, hopefully the storyline might improve in the upcoming weeks.

Sankaku Mado no Sotogawa wa Yoru

Zero-G Studios adaptation of popular manga The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window, Sankaku Mado no Sotogawa wa Yoru ensures the riveting dynamics between the main leads Kousuke Mikado and Rihito Hiyakawa. Mikado is blessed with psychic powers to see ghost spirits, an illusion he desperately wishes to avoid. These powers put him on the path of the powerful exorcist, Hiyakawa. Hiyakawa is mostly portrayed as an eccentric character who doesn’t follow social norms. These two have a tricky yet erotic relationship, which is mostly downplayed. Despite that, Hiyakawa’s obsession with Mikado remains at the forefront as they work together to exorcise trapped spirits. While I was disappointed with the lackluster live-action movie, the anime lives up to the expectations. As Hiyakawa and Mikado crawl deeper into the rabbit hole of curses and rediscover their forbidden connection, the mysterious Sensei (Erica’s Boss) becomes the main reason of discord between them. I’m certainly enjoying the progression, as our main couple team with formidable players like Erica Hiura, Kazu Sakaki, Keita Mukae and Police Detective Hanzawa to uproot the evil Sensei’s treacherous existence.

Chinese BL

Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire

Adapted from Priest’s web novel of the same name, Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire is a Chinese BL supernatural thriller. In collaboration with Bilibili, Shenying Animation have articulately adapted this forbidden romance between a centuries old Emperor Sheng Lingyuan and Xuan Ji, Captain of the Center of Management and Prevention of Abnormal Phenomena and Special Species. The anime is set in a futuristic era, where a small percentage of people called “Special Abilities” have skills and powers normal humans do not possess. When Sheng Lingyuan is unexpectedly awakened from a deep slumber, Xuan Ji is forced to use his fire powers to subdue the Demon and protect the world. Thus begins the battle of good and evil, as Xuan Ji and Sheng Jingyuan slowly grow closer and strive together. The CGI effects are topnotch (as expected from a Bilibili production) and Sheng Lingyuan’s caricature is riveting. His friendship with the antagonist Aloujin will leave you wounded, while his fascination with Xuan Ji’s intellect is engrossing. I’m totally in awe of their dynamics and dying to watch them act as work partners in the upcoming episodes!

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

One thought on “My Watchlist: Current Favorites of November 2021”

  1. Kieta is so sweet and fluffy- no obnoxious shippers or people screaming as a “cold prince” struts through.

    I enjoy the Baker series also- especially Singto and the actor play Pooh. The other two leads are fine- but wish they had a bit more nuanced, comic flair- especially Lee as Punn. I also wish they had made it pure fluff and dropped the journalists/childnapping story- it seems awkward and jarring here.

    Bad Buddy has incredible acting by the two leads and capable direction to make up for a so so story (endlessly fighting “friend” groups and rebuilding a….bus stop!

    The anime sounds intriguing- I’ll have to check it out:)

    Like

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