Favorite BL Adaptations

There is nothing more exciting than discovering that a favorite book/webtoon/manga is getting an on-screen adaptation, whether it be a drama, film, or anime. The anticipation of seeing characters you’ve grown to love on the page come to life is an incredible experience. Join us at the BL Xpress as we share our favorite screen adaptations and why.

Kdarlings’ Favorites

As an author, I have an innate understanding of how screen adaptations work. Because of this, I am not one of those viewers who gets overly upset when a favorite book, webtoon, or manga is changed to adapt to an allotted time slot or a screenwriter’s vision. Unless there’s a contract between an author and a studio that says otherwise, a writer has little say in how their projects will come to life once the rights are sold. For me, I find the possible changes exciting. What comes to the screen is a screenwriter, director, and actor’s vision, their portrayal of something they found alluring on the page. For them, an author’s work is simply an outline meant to guide them in a specific direction.

KinnPorsche [Thailand]

~Adapted from the novel KinnPorsche by Daemi~

Although the Thai BL KinnPorsche is currently airing, it’s evident that the series itself will make it onto my top favorite screen adaptations. I don’t need a drama or film to follow the books they’re based on, which I know sounds odd because I’m a writer. But technically, once the rights are sold, it’s generally out of the author’s hands. That said, I am seriously impressed by how closely KinnPorsche is following the book. I was all prepared to love it, even wholly re-adapted. But to see how they’ve managed to keep most of the original story while also making it feel new is mindblowing. From the minor support roles to the secondary and primary leads, this is carefully crafted and perfectly portrayed. Thailand is really pulling out the stops this year.

Semantic Error [South Korea]

~Adapted from the web novel Semantic Error by Jeo Soo Ri~

When Park Jae Chan and Park Seo Ham stepped onto the screen, I knew they’d cast this live-action perfectly. Both actors embodied the spirit of what made these two men stand out so vividly in the web novel version. From the tense first meetings to the emotional walls Sangwoo finally allows Jaeyoung to knock down, Semantic Error offers a beautiful, fun love story that sticks with the viewer long after it ends.

Not Me [Thailand]

Not Me is a perfect example of why it’s sometimes essential to take a book and use it as an outline rather than a sacred, unchangeable project. This novel was altered for the screen, but the screenwriters and the director had a vision that turned this story into an on-screen masterpiece. They made it relevant for the times we live in, filling each scene with the injustices today’s society faces. They had a message to share, and it changed many viewers’ hearts and minds. So, for those who have not read the novel, keep in mind that the series and the book are two separate entities that work effectively in their own right.

My Beautiful Man [Japan]

~Adapted from the novel He, Who is Beautiful by Nagira Yuu~

While I admit this is the one project on my list I haven’t read the book it’s based on, I have no doubt I’d feel the same way even if I had. What the writers, director, and actors gave viewers with this Japanese BL is a fascinating alternating POV that allowed me to look at two very different young men from each other’s perspective. And it was beautifully intimate.

Kei x Yaku [Japan]

~Adapted from the manga Kei×Yaku: Abunai Aibou by Kaoruhara Yoshie~

While I know Kei x Yaku is technically a bromance, it’s a well-done adaptation of an ongoing manga that manages to fill the screen with romantic tension amidst a high-stakes crime mystery. And it does it while featuring an openly bisexual character that comes out to his sister. It’s relevant and emotional, even with the typical exaggerated moments often found in Japanese manga adaptations.

Kami-sama no Ekohiiki [Japan]

~Adapted from the manga Kami-sama no Ekohiiki by Komura Ayumi

I cried. And that alone is enough to place this live-action adaptation on my favorites list. Japan has a profound way of delivering humorous stories in deeply emotional ways. Kami-sama no Ekohiiki takes a diverse look at sexuality from varying viewpoints, showcasing that love is love, no matter who is feeling it. There is regret, pain, and confusion in this series, each complicated emotion balanced by underlying humor that makes viewers smile through the tears.

Heartstopper [UK]

~Adapted from the Webtoon comic and graphic novel Heartstopper by Alice Oseman~

As its title implies, this live-action adaptation from the UK truly is heart-stopping. It’s a quick, emotional watch and crucial for teens confused about their sexuality. The gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans representations in this are on point. And I related to every single moment of it.

The Untamed [China]

~Adapted from the novel Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu~

Although the screen adaptation is a bromance and lighter on the violence due to censorship, The Untamed brilliantly portrays Wei Wuxian and Lan Zhan’s epic love for each other. The Untamed is a fifty-episode drama that takes viewers on an emotional adventure, all about sacrifice and loyalty amidst blurred lines of right and wrong. It follows one young man’s rise to infamy and the literal fall that follows. All while the man he loves refuses to give up on him. To love without fail amidst adversity is one of the most beautiful ways to express romance.

Until We Meet Again [Thailand]

~Adapted from the novel The Red Thread by Lazy Sheep~

Studio Wabi Sabi brilliantly brought Lazy Sheep’s novel The Red Thread to life. The emotional highs and lows I felt while reading the book translated perfectly on screen. There is something tragic yet endearing about a love that crosses over from one life to another. Especially when the previous life ends so traumatically. For those triggered by suicide, please note that this drama does include an opening scene that may be disturbing for some. All of the people involved in this production did a fantastic job of bringing the source material to life, and I look forward to seeing them do the same with their adaptation of the author’s book HempRope later this year.

MychelleLove’s Favorites

Love By Chance – adapted from “My Accidental Love is You” by Mame

Love by Chance is my all-time favorite drama, and I was enamored by this so much that I learned all I could. Once I watched the series (both prequel & sequel), I read the novel “My Accidental Love is You” and was once again mesmerized by the story line and also the differences in the series and novel. While the series was warm and endearing, the novel was quite dark compared to the adaptation.

In the novel, Pete’s Father lives in Germany and once he finds out about Pete and Ae’s relationship, he reveals his true colors and forces Pete to shift to Germany for three years. Pete experiences a lot of hardships during this Tim’s and it broke my heart every time Pete’s father tries to harm Ae’s family in retaliation. Pete does everything because of his love for Ae.

I loved the fact that Ae and Pete’s mother stay in touch while Pete is gone. Their connection was heartwarming. Their relationship is true of mother and son. Pete’s mother is an amazing advocate for Pete and Ae’s relationship in the novel.I adored Pete’s mother in the series as well.

Tump, the villain is extremely evil in the novel and I am glad that his characterization was different in the show. The way Tump treats and hurts Pete in the series was extremely mild compared to the novel. In the novel Tump was darker, as he would do anything for money. There is a point in the novel where Ae is almost imprisoned due to things that transpire and this is the darkest part of the novel.

Kengkla and Techno become a couple and there are more details related to their romance in the novel. Theirs is a slow process, but worth waiting for. Their initial sex scene exists, but it is more detailed.

Tin and Can have a very interesting relationship in the series and the novel; this is one story that is closest to the novel. Tin and Can are my favorite characters. They are polar opposite; Can’s innocence is a stark contrast to Tin’s angry persona and yet Can manages to make Tin fall in love with him. They sure make an intriguing couple.

Pond and his girlfriend have a very smaller role in the series but their story is explored more extensively in the novel.

Tar and Tum both come to terms with their feelings for each other and their story was one of the most controversial parts of this series. In the novel, their relationship is explored more tentatively and I truly admire the actors for their portrayal of Tar and Tum.

Other characters made appearances and they are an interracial part of the entire series. I was very impressed with this adaptation and despite the scrutiny and backlash that the show faced (for portrayal of sensitive subjects), Love By Chance is, in my opinion, one of the best adaptations ever!

We will be back next week with the second edition of this feature. So till then, keep watching this space as we bring you more updates from the Asian BL World!

2 thoughts on “Favorite BL Adaptations”

  1. I enjoy reading about scripts as for me that is the key- Untamed and UWMA rule for me due to the characters and plotting.
    Interested to see what next part contains:)
    I also am fond of SOTUS adaptation- it added the secondary couple of M and May and gave them brief but great moments- expanded the friend groups of Kongpob and Artit- which greatly enriched the story- and toned down the viciousness of Artit’s hazing- though that was still hard to watch.
    He’s Coming to Me is another script that I felt was a huge improvement over the novel.

    Like

  2. Color Rush, Peach of Time, Love Stage, Semantic Error, Given and My Beautiful Man are my current favourites. All time greatest series ever produced Cause Your My Boy, The Untamed, UWMA and Make it Right series 1 and 2. Remember when films took a serious subject and made us laugh?

    Like

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