Frankly, this series received several bad reviews, and therefore I was not expecting much from it. As I watched, however, I became more and more engrossed in its story and the continuum.
To appreciate its overall beauty and its outcome, one has to view it as slices of life depicting seven young men’s journeys of finding their ‘soulmates’. Each one is unique; each one different, and most importantly, each tells a complete story. Sure, some are better stories from a scriptwriting point of view, but all of them have the same foundation – LOVE. This series is solely and completely devoted to love and committing to it individually but told collectively. Love is expressed here in surprising ways – sometimes softly, sometimes with difficulty, and often with much pain and agony. So let us look at these stories individually, but knowing they form a whole.
1. Tue and Ake
A familiar story of individuals who dislike each other and then end up finding becoming soulmates. Suppacheep Chanapai (Chap) as Tue and Chayapat Kongsub (Tae) as Ake have the right amount of chemistry to make this ordinary story flow nicely, but not enough to make it fully believable. Both looked like they were kissing hot plates when it came to being amorous. It is obvious that they were completely uncomfortable in doing the kissing scenes. Despite that, they pulled off an ordinary story in a very believable way. The story is unpretentious and weaves around two people who really do dislike each other but secretly are attracted to. While their chemistry is solid as actors playing roles, something was lacking. Too bad; they might have been a standout couple.
2. Sun and Nuea
This is the human version of “Lady and the Tramp”. In fact, there is a great homage to that movie with a noodle eating antics between them that is well worth watching and quite flirtatious. This is a cute story of complete manipulation by a rich student named Nuea played by Natasitt Uareksit (Kit) in seducing his tutor Sun, played by Saran Rujeerattanavorapan (Max) who is hired to teach him English. Sure, it is a bit over the top with sweetness, but they are so likeable and intensely charming, so all is forgiven. They are the best dressed characters (especially Nuea) I have ever seen. The clothes are phenomenal. There is such an endearing passage quoted by Nuea to Sun, “Some one loves some one. Someone loves two. But I love one. And that one is you!”. Come on! Who would not completely melt after hearing that ridiculously corny saying when it was delivered with such simplicity and innocent sincerity? It worked! This story also had a ‘drunk scene’ in it where it would have been very easy for Sun to have taken advantage of Nuea. But he did not. That speaks well for the screenplay and the production as it would not take an easy shot at sensationalism. I loved it. Their acting is very good but for me they lacked a spark, and their overall chemistry was a bit off and not very intense. But cuteness, they had tons of.
3. Mon and Team
This is a story of vulnerability and manipulation which later comes back to haunt the perpetrator with guilt, remorse, and the realization that true and real love was staring right at him. Mon, played by Kornnarat Ongsaranont (Korn) is a naïve stagehand that is enamored and smitten with the lead actor, Team, played by Kunpong Kultanaruangnonth (Gung). Initially, Team plays him like a fiddle and bets with his friend that he can seduce him. He does that but at a great cost. The cost is perhaps the irreparable loss of his soulmate and his true love. In the process of seduction, Team does fall in love with Mon. When Mon is told that Team is simply playing him, he is apoplectic and devastated. That type of deliberative manipulative behavior is almost unforgiveable. To win him back, Team restages the story of ‘Snow White’ (rather creatively) deeply and intensely confesses his lamentation, apologizes, asserts that he truly loves Mon and will never hurt him again. Honestly, I was rooting for them. There is such great chemistry between these two and a phenomenal connection. In addition, they were not afraid to show passionate kissing like they meant it.
4. Thurs and Pae/Pao
Thurs, played by Peerawich Ploynumpol (Pee) is a bit of a charlatan and delves into the occult. He mainly does so to fleece individuals from their money, which makes him a bit of a discomforting character. He finds that there is a spirit of a recently deceased individual at the school swimming pool. Along with with his friends, he tries to conjure up a spirt but there is twist to this conjuring that is unexpected. The spirit gets attached to Thurs. Not knowing his name, Thurs calls him Pao (Nititorn Janruechai), who is unable to recall who he is or how he died. He can only be seen by Thurs, however. Thurs goes to the Temple monk for guidance and is instructed to help Pao find his path as the two of them are somehow intertwined. As they begin to spend more time together, both realize that they are soulmates and their destiny is to somehow be together, even though it seems impossible to do so. Grateful for having his body discovered so he could receive a proper burial, the original ghost conjured by Thurs conjured is grateful. As such, the ghost releases another spirit (Pao), so Thurs can save from a similar fate. Thurs must try to help Pao understand this. While it was not quite Pao’s time to die, he must leave his world in order to return. The spirit of the ghost from the swimming pool helps Thurs realize that both the spirit and human worlds exist in parallel with each other and Thurs can indeed change Pao’s destiny. As Thurs is walking, he helps to save someone from being hit by a car. This scenario resembles Kao death. As the fates determined, Kao’s given name is Kae. Thurs indeed saved his life and now their destiny can be realized and fulfilled. They are in the truest sense of the word, soulmates. This is a deeply spiritual story.
5. Purth and Kaeng
A very sensuous and erotic series. Purth, played by Toru Takizawa amd Kaeng,played by Piyangkul Saohin have a very interesting and lustful relationship hidden from friends and the world. It is the forbidden fruit that both have tasted and neither can escape from. Try as they might, they are completely and utterly drawn to each other. Initially because of sex, but as they become more involved, they realize they are in love with each other passionately and intensely. Since they are both players, they must affirm their commitment to each other by establishing a serious relationship, a foreign concept for both of them and frankly, new as well. This is one of the best ‘adult’ themed series I have ever seen in a BL series. They are intense, real, passionate, sensuous, and refreshingly different. Their relationship is initiated by ardor and lust, and then an awakening that it is so much more than that. They simply cannot live without each other. These two deserve to have a whole series for themselves. Their relationship is incredibly sensuous and raw, but equally beautiful to see as it unfolds.
6. Choke and Sat
This one is my favorite. While the story is not new, it is told in interesting and dynamic ways. The use of animation to explain the back story works (I generally dislike animation). Sat, played by Pumisit Veskijkul (Jaab) is given a Gundam. which grants wishes by his best friend, Choke, played by Son Anantasettakul (Ton). Sat’s major wish is to become one of the ‘in’ members. However, to do so requires a heavy price to pay. He wakes up seven years later, but has lost his best friend in the process. This story told so poignantly and beautifully is the result of that doomed wish. As Sat tries to rekindle their relationship, he realizes he is in love with Choke and now regrets the outcome of his original wish. However, it is too late as Choke, despite being in love with Sat, has moved on and has chosen someone who really will be with him. With profound regret, Sat realizes his mistake and the emptiness of not having the love of his friend, and the loss of his soulmate. Both were right in front of him, but he was too young and stupid to realize it and too impatient to let it grow naturally. But he is given the opportunity through his Gundam to change the outcome. There is such beautiful chemistry between these two and a strong connection. Of course, this story is not new, but it is told with such deep reflection and depth that I felt it and quite literally cried as they exchanged their love for each other. There is also something special between these two that is not overtly done. They do sleep together since they are obviously attracted to each other now as adults. As they do so, Choke pushes Sat’s hand down and it glides down to his penis (we assume). But the pleasure registering on his face and the groans emanating from him are real. No pretentiousness about it. It is adult lustful sex, something that happens so infrequently especially in Thai BLs. Kudos for being so mature and honest about this! One more thing makes this series unique. While there was a lot of (unjustified) criticism that the two intertwined their conversations between Thai and English, I found that mesmerizing and a true work of art. I could compare that their emotions were the same in both languages. Because I do not speak Thai, sometimes I miss the emotional connections in the subtleties within the spoken language. However, their emphasis and nuances of using English was so spot-on, it made this series so much more emotionally fulfilling, I did not have to deduce its meaning; I heard it and felt it also. There was nothing contrived about it, and it seemed so natural. I loved it and so appreciated their deep connection to each other that we could see and understand simultaneously in two languages. Kudos, kudos, and more kudos!
7. Masuk, Tir, and Hia
This is an incredibly thought-proving and sad story that focuses on the depth of heartache and guilt for being responsible of the death of your soulmate. Masuk, played by Talay Sanguandikul (Lay) is a tortured shell of a person weighted down with guilt and an almost unimaginable grief. Tir, played by Nakhun Screaigh (Perth) is the ever-present shadow trying to get Masuk to live a happy life, not dwell on the past and that Masuk wasn’t responsible for his death. And waiting in the wings, with unconditional love, support, and caring is Hia, played beautifully by Phusanu Wongsavanischakorn (Yoon). He is so deeply in love with Masuk that all he is wanting is to occupy just a small place in his heart. An astonishing story told with compelling sensitivity without becoming maudlin. This is a story of an individual with the possibility of having two soulmates. This one was truly emotionally draining to watch.
None of these summaries even comes close to the impact that each of these stories has. Yes, some were much better than others, but this is still, in terms of message, one of the best Thai BLs for 2021. Not all the couplings had good chemistry, and some had astonishingly great chemistry. But these stories deeply reflected what life is all about. Characters who were flawed but deserved an opportunity to find their soulmates. We could relate to any one of them. Underlying all these stores is the notion that they each found their soulmates. And it was destiny that led the path. It was meant to be. This series is simply remarkable in its attempt to show love, and the paths to it are fraught with danger, pitfalls, missteps, and sometimes stupidity. Yet, through it all, love still prevails. This series attests to the existence of a deep and imperishable sense of love. A love not only for each other as individual friends but the brotherhood connection they have between themselves. This kind of intense bonding between males is rarely seen in BLs.
A word about the final episode. I both hated it and loved it but, in the end, came to admire it. I hated all the fluff that came before (I almost stopped watching it). The soliloquies that each gave as to what and who are important to their relationship was one of the best scenes in any BL series I have ever seen. It was told with such conviction, strength, emotion, and sincerity that I cried through most of it. It was one of those magical moments of connections that rarely happens in real life, but when they do, one will remember and cherish those special moments for the rest of their days. (I had my own band of four deeply personal friends where we shared the same intensities). All the while, Tir sitting there, looking forlornly yet with a certain satisfaction that all will be well. Indeed, this scene is simply magical and a cinematic masterpiece. It was written with such a complete understanding of every character in this series that I believed its reality. The actors all did a remarkable job of providing just the right amount of intensity to each of their characters, so much so that none of them deviated far from their characters’ personalities.
Overall, this series left me perplexed. At times it was brilliant and then other times, ordinary and mundane. Yet, its overall significance was considerable. The sum of its whole is greater than its individual parts. It is an astonishing example of synergy. While some segments were dull, others seemed profound. For me, Choke and Sat were an astonishing story of wishes and regrets. Masuk, Tir, and Hia’s story had a despondency yet with a whisper of hope. Puth and Kaeng were a modern day figuration of “Eating the apple from the Garden of Eden” and realizing it was good. But each of you will have your own sense of what touched you the most.
This series must be taken as a whole and not sliced into pieces. Otherwise, it loses its meaning. Overall, this is one of the finest series for 2021 despite the weakness of several story lines and the dreadful last episode. I am sure this will not be on most people’s ‘Best’ lists. However, I gave myself one personal indulgence for the year which I have not used yet. Y-Destiny deserves one free pass to prodigiousness, and I am giving it to them. I genuinely loved this series overall, even if I am alone with my thoughts on this one.
Rating 4.99 out of 5