“I will love you forever.”
“I love you to the moon and back.”
“I love you so much.”
“I love you with all my heart.”
There are thousands of ways to say “I love you.” Countless poems, stories, and screenplays are written about love, the number of love stories so infinite that there seems no possible way for a story to be completely original. But there is certainly a way to make it feel like it is.
Adapted from the novel Eien no Kinou by Eda Yuuri, the Japanese BL Eternal Yesterday, starring actors Komiya Rio and Inoue Sora, gives a whole new meaning to “undying love.”
A story about two boys with polar opposite personalities who become unlikely friends, Eternal Yesterday starts out feeling like the typical ‘opposites attract’ storyline but quickly veers into the unexpected.
The unexpected comes in the form of the outgoing Yamada Koichi (Komiya Rio) and the evident deep, protective feelings he has for his anti-social classmate Oumi Mitsuru (Inoue Sora). From the moment their eyes meet, Koichi is drawn to Mitsuru, and he doesn’t hold back from showing it. While being protective of someone is a sweet gesture, especially in romantic relationships, there is something special about the way Koichi guards Mitsuru. He not only protects him from possible physical harm, he also constantly compliments Mitsuru. He openly relays Mitsuru’s positive traits to those around him, as if he’s a walking billboard sign advertising why people should like Mitsuru. It’s an endearing thing to watch and experience. It’s endearing seeing someone build another person up without any ulterior motives.
This protective, endearing quality is why Koichi’s death in the first episode is so shocking. In a quick ‘blink of the eye’ moment, Koichi is hit by a truck while protecting Mitsuru.
Only he doesn’t die.
Despite severe injuries and a heart that doesn’t beat, Koichi stands up, brushes himself off, and remains next to Mitsuru.
This undead, living corpse moment is when the true scope of this drama hits home. Eternal Yesterday isn’t a typical romance. It’s the story of a boy who loves someone so hard, who fears not being there to protect the boy he loves so much that he overcomes death to keep ‘being’.
In only two episodes, Eternal Yesterday reveals a tragic tale that feels impossibly bleak while also being inconceivably heartwarming.
It may seem like an exaggeration to say that Eternal Yesterday feels like moving poetry, but it’s subtle tragic beauty speaks to me the same way a gothic romantic poem would.
The question now remains. How long can Koichi and Mitsuru’s love keep Koichi alive? As the world around them changes, will the love they share, the love they haven’t even revealed to each other yet, be enough to overcome death?
Love is something that never dies. When I was younger, I used to daydream about undying love, about the kind of romance that lasted forever. I’d devour books seeking the heart-racing moments that left me wondering what that kind of love would feel like.
Nothing prepared me for heartbreak. Nothing prepared me for actually feeling loss, and learning through losing that love hurts as profoundly as it excites. When death comes, it does not come lightly. It barges through the heart, leaving it empty and wanting. As time passes, the grief doesn’t get smaller; the person feeling it simply grows bigger around it until the grief becomes a part of them. The lost people are still with me, a flame of love I carry in my soul. When I’m lost, that love lights the way for me.
In Eternal Yesterday, it feels like Koichi is lighting the way for Mitsuru, as if the living corpse he’s become is the love neither can let go of. And I’m preparing myself for the time when actually letting go is a thing they may have to do.
Unlike previous Japanese BLs, I have not read the book this drama is adapted from, and I admit I’m excited about going into this one blind. But I’m also prepared to cry.
For a drama about a special undying love that captures the heart in unexpected ways, check out Eternal Yesterday on Viki and Gagaoolala.
Rating- 4 out of 5