BL dramas/movies often lead us on journeys where you find yourselves relating to one of the characters.
We feel their pain and desperation, understand their confusion and concur with their thoughts. In many instances, their life/love stories mirror our own and we empathize with their situation. In today’s feature, our authors will be talking about the BL characters they relate to most; the ones that inevitably influenced them with their adventurous spirit!
There are characters we love and characters we relate to in dramas/films/books, and they don’t always go hand-in-hand. If anything, it’s the characters we relate to the most that are usually the ones we’d get along with the least in real life. It’s the characters that mirror us the most that also hurt us the most because it feels personal. For me, there are five particular characters from BLs that I relate to on that level: Da On (Light On Me), Black (Not Me), Porsche (KinnPorsche), Si Won (Blueming), and Hira (My Beautiful Man). All for different reasons. Because I’ve written about why I relate to Da On and Black in the past and having covered why I relate to the other two in reviews, I’m going to focus this write-up on Porsche and what it is about him that calls to me.
He is not an idiot.
There, I said it. The one thing about Porsche that really digs itself into my skin is the perception that he isn’t smart. He’s spontaneous, emotional, and a little clueless at times, but he’s certainly not stupid.
And it’s all because I know exactly where he’s coming from.
Porsche isn’t unintelligent. He’s in school and he’s studying, but it’s the world itself that has ultimately been Porsche’s teacher.
And that’s where it gets personal.
My mother was a high school dropout. She didn’t finish school but she was one of the most intelligent women I’ve ever known. She raised me to be the person I am today, and she had no formal education. She could write, but not well. She was a big reader, and I think a lot of the world she knew and the world she understood was through books and her own life experiences rather than through organized education and that was a way better teacher for me than anything else ever could be.
And I feel like that’s the case with Porsche. The world and his circumstances are his teachers because he had to raise his brother on his own. Even though he is in school, he hasn’t had a lot of time to focus on that. A lot of what he’s learned about life, love, and the world has been through the brutality of the streets and through debt collectors coming in to try and strip away each new earning. And in order to protect his brother, he puts himself through a lot. He doesn’t have much time to use his brain because on the streets you have to think more with your feels, with your instincts. These are the same instincts that made Porsche realize instantly that there’s a mole inside the Major family. The same instincts that made him tell Kinn he believes it’s an inside job (ep 3).
Sometimes our instincts and feelings are much more adept than knowledge. Knowledge only goes so far. Feelings are limitless.
And I relate to this because I’ve been there on the streets. I’ve been homeless. I’ve lost both of my parents, and I shared these experiences with my twin sister. While she isn’t technically younger than me, unless you count the one minute separating us, I felt a lot of responsibility to protect her the same way Porsche does with Chay. I still do.
Like Porsche, I think more often with my feels than I do with the knowledge I’ve gained through school. Like my mother before me, I am an avid reader and I’ve got many past experiences to rely on, many experiences to base how I look at things. Feelings are what allow others to look at the bigger picture. Sometimes that means missing the small details, and missing those small details can make one seem less intelligent than they really are.
I grew up moving from home to home, from sleeping in a car to sleeping in dilapidated buildings to living in low income housing all while putting myself through school and working. And because of this, I understand Porsche’s point of view and his quick temper. Mainly because it’s much easier to jump into your feels when you’ve only ever had your feelings to rely on.
There’s an open honesty to Porsche’s quick temper that is refreshing. While it would be better at times for him to step back and think about things, he’s relied so heavily on putting his emotions out there that he lives inside those emotions. No one ever has to wonder how Porsche feels. He throws those feelings in your face and says, “Now what are you going to do with this?”
As much as I hate to admit I tend to be that way, I totally am. From the way Porsche jumps to conclusions to the way he hurts, I get it.
I especially get his love for Kinn.
Now is probably time to point out that while I relate the most to Porsche in KinnPorsche, Kinn is my favorite character. There is something about Kinn’s repressed, guarded emotions that calls to me. And because I see so much of myself in Porsche, I believe this is also the reason why he’s drawn to Kinn. As much as it hurts to be drawn to someone so guarded, it’s hard not to want to be the one who breaks down those walls.
Porsche is an empathetic person. He feels what others feel deeply. He takes outside pain and places it on himself. Like the time Porsche looked away when Pete and Ken were teaching Mes a lesson for not meeting his debts.
Empathy is something I understand, something I struggle with and probably one of the main reasons I’m such an introvert. I feel things deeply, but I’m also grateful that I do.
But as much as I wear my emotions on my sleeve, as much as I feel for others, I hate for others to think I’m weak. I hate to be pitied for my past circumstances, and I see that in Porsche.
I also relate to how hard he loves. It’s probably no surprise that an empathetic person with a hot temper can love someone else so deeply. Being empathetic means taking on someone else’s pain. It means understanding someone on an elemental level, and it’s scary to be that way. Even when Porsche wants to place a divide between himself and Kinn, even when he needs that divide to allow himself time to understand his own feelings, he has a hard time putting up walls.
Being with an empathetic, emotional person can be one of the most rewarding but frustrating relationships. So, because I relate so deeply to Porsche and how he is, I can also understand how nerve-wracking being with Porsche must be for Kinn. I find myself amused by their interactions because I’ve seen it mirrored in my own relationships.
Porsche is not easy to love, but you will be hard pressed to find anyone who loves you harder than he does. And I feel that to my soul.
I also get his need for affection. When you’ve lived your entire life being someone else’s protector and someone else’s safe place, you start to yearn for that same affection. Porsche is Chay’s protector and safe place, and while he’s received love in return from his brother, he wants someone to take care of him. Porsche may be Kinn’s bodyguard, but when it comes down to it, Kinn is really the one protecting Porsche. To the outside viewer, it seems like Porsche is being continuously hurt rather than being protected, but people have different, sometimes unseen ways of protecting the ones they love.
There isn’t anything Porsche wouldn’t do for his friends and family, even if that means getting stomped on himself. But this is also the reason why the person who truly loves him, the man Kinn becomes, would go to any depths to save him.
I see that with Kinn and Porsche. I get their relationship. I get their conflicts. I even get the whole mafia thing. I won’t delve too deeply into my own family for reasons, but my maternal side of the family was often involved in crime. This may be why I find mafia dramas so addicting. No one outside my family ever wanted to go to one of my family reunions growing up and that’s because the reunions often mirrored the Theerapanyakul family dynamic. Only a lot less money.
And I know the pain of being related to someone addicted to gambling. My father was a gambling addict, and before he died, he was the reason my family always had to hide from debt collectors.
Seeing Porsche hurt over his uncle’s betrayal and the responsibility he had to take on because of that was personal for me. Everything about his character feels personal.
Take away the drama, the mafia, and even the storyline, and that leaves only Porsche. He’s a character I get on a deeply personal level, which means we’d probably irritate the hell out of each other in real life.
I can imagine myself being drunk with him, the two of us debating who has the most debt and who was affected the most by their parents death while exchanging pictures of our siblings and ranting about our equally frustrating love lives.
And I feel like we’d end the night on an alcohol-induced entwined hug and lots of air kisses ala the Pete/Porsche moment in Episode 4 before waking up with hellish hangovers to question our seriously complicated lives all over again.
This is a tiny one compared to my previous lists.
Most of the time, I’ve found them hard to relate to BL characters personally. So, those on this list pleasantly surprised me. Of course, this list will also have a special mentions section because that’s how I’m built (insert single-tear-smiling emoji).
Mitsuomi from Restart After Come Back Home
One of the main reasons I relate to this character is his relationship with his father. When he first refused to follow the path his father wanted him to follow, their relationship probably took a turn for the worse, especially when Mitsuomi moved to Tokyo. His father may have seen this as an act of betrayal, and the process of thawing culminates only towards the film’s end long after Mitsuomi returns to the countryside. Needless to say, I’m sure many of us wish our fathers were as accepting as Mitsuomi’s father when it comes to queerness.
Charlie from Heartstopper
I got invested in Heartstopper because of a wonderful queer friend who introduced me to Oseman’s Loveless and Solitaire, which already had extremely relatable characters and scenarios. Charlie’s anxieties quite felt like my own, and the need to apologise, and the attacks, among other things (not going to spoil here), were so relatable that there were times when I found it harder to keep reading. He’s a cutie, though, and while I may still be bitter about the whole ‘BL’ thing on Twitter, Charlie will still be close to my heart.
Oh-Aew from I Told Sunset About You
The red bra. I have to say nothing else for a whole bunch of us to understand what it signifies. Oh-Aew struggles with questions of gender and sexuality pretty much had me floating in a pool of tears. I love the whole journey he takes to find himself. He also reminds me so much of my younger self, back when I actually had crushes (or thought I did, only to realise that they were aesthetic and/or platonic). The knee-touching scene may have seemed childish to some, but it somehow made sense to me (I don’t think I’ll ever know why). I also feel like so much of his anger and frustration towards Teh is understandable—I’d like to slap the man silly myself.
There’s not much to say in this section, but I just wanted to mention one name: Prince from Sky in my Heart (2022). Although I’m still uncertain about how much I like the series, my expectation of this character has been exceeded (the first trailer may have been misleading in this case). And it’s definitely not his looks or riches that make him relatable (man’s way too pretty for that). It’s how exasperated he is with Mek’s character, Kuafah. I’m not even kidding—the expressions on his face whenever Fah says/does something ridiculous (especially the cringes and the winces) mirror mine every single time, and there could be nothing more relatable.
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!