Romance is an integral part of most shows, be it heterosexual or BL dramas; nevertheless, the fact remains that both intimacy & sensuality is important for romanticization. More so, in Boys’ Love dramas, where the comfort levels of the lead couple is always tested. In today’s feature, our authors will be talking about their favorite BL couples; the ones that stole the limelight and the audience’s hearts!
Krishna Naidu’s Choices
Tian & Jiu (Film Thanapat & Jam Rachata), To Sir, With Love
Definitely one of the most heart wrenching romances of 2022; To Sir, With Love depicts the nearly impossible love story between the main leads Tian (Film Thanapat) & Jiu (Jam Rachata). Apart from their social differences, their gender plays a major deterrent to this romance. We are talking about an era where homosexuality was considered as taboo in Thailand and homosexuals were shunned by the society. In the midst of the turmoil caused by his relentless mother (who is hell bent on getting him married), the drama showcases Tian’s persistence on accepting his sexuality. While most BL dramas sell sex & sensuality; To Sir, With Love has a pretty low-key, slow burn romance brewing between Tian & Jiu. Both Film & Jam have an undeniable chemistry, and their online interactions are equally interesting. The lack of intimacy should seem jarring (after all, it is a BL drama), but the love scenes are poignantly scripted, so you won’t feel disappointed. I’m totally sold on the chemistry and eagerly awaiting their romantic scenes has become my weekly fixation.
Mangkorn & Yai (Mos Panuwat & ISBANKY), Big Dragon Series
What’s the best part about this highly anticipated drama? Not the storyline! Definitely the simmering chemistry between Bank & Mos; it is the only saving grace of this disastrous romance. Based on the age-old concept of the “Enemies to Lovers” trope, Big Dragon Series lends the stage for the cataclysmic relationship between the main leads, Mangkorn & Yai. Yai’s nefarious plans end in both of them having a one-night stand. Important points to reckon- both consider themselves as “Straight” and are majorly depicted as “Players”. It’s a disaster in the making, because Yai’s dormant submissive tendencies are forever at war with his dominant attitude. Mangkorn, on the other hand, is a confused mess, oscillating between his feelings for Yai & family pressures. So, what is the reason for watching this show? Obviously, it’s Mos & Bank; physical intimacy can’t save a sinking ship. However, the couple’s sensual compatibility seems to work in their favor; so despite the abysmal script, audiences are hooked to this drama because of the unbelievable chemistry between the main couple. Both Bank & Mos are really good at embracing their character’s finest nuances and their on-screen interactions are explosive. Their chemistry is smoking hot, combustible and enchanting!
Phayu & Rain (Boss Chaikamon & Noeul Nuttarat)
When this show premiered on the circuit, there wasn’t much buzz about it. Blame the bad promotions or maybe people lost interest in author Mame’s recycled storylines. So, I wasn’t expecting much from this show, except for unadulterated NC scenes. While sex does play an important role in this show, the interpretation was unusually intriguing. Unlike most Mame novels which are littered with abuse or assault scenes, Love in the Air was a fresh breath of air; the novelty could be attributed to the main couple, Boss & Noeul. Their romance was invariably different; sweet, satisfying and heartwarming. Boss & Noeul have a comfortable camaraderie which translates to some excellent chemistry on-screen. Phayu & Rain’s love story redefines healthy relationships; unlike most BL couples, they ACTUALLY talk, communicate and resolve their problems amicably (no excessive melodrama required). Though the script was lackluster, I enjoyed watching this show simply because Phayu & Rain make an interesting couple!
Talay & Puen (Sea Tawinan & Jimmy Jitaraphol), Vice Versa
We had a lot of debate about the credibility of this script; obviously working on a romance set in a multiverse isn’t an easy task (it’s much different from Doctor Strange). Despite the various loopholes that obscure the true meaning behind this storyline, Vice Versa manages to deliver a love story that is both breathtaking and memorable. The credit rests with Sea & Jimmy; when I first heard about this pairing, I was intrigued. While Jimmy isn’t new to BL dramas, Sea was a rookie actor venturing into an unknown domain. Their chemistry could make or break this show’s ratings. And yet, Sea & Jimmy proved that they could orchestrate a romance in the midst of a multiverse turmoil that was both elusive & confusing. Jimmy especially has patented the “Lovesick” look. No one does it better than him. I was so invested in Talay & Puen’s relationship, that I barely noticed the cliches in the storyline. Their chemistry is spot-on and entrancing. I really hope we get to watch Jimmy & Sea, in another drama next year (Yes, I’m kinda addicted to them).
Nozue & Togawa (Takeda Kouhei & Kimura Tatsunari), Old Fashion Cupcake
There is something enchanting about age gap romances, I for one love them. But the trope or even the script isn’t enough to pacify audiences; what plays an important role is the chemistry between the main leads. Takeda Kouhei & Kimura Tatsunari are the best example of the same. Despite their significant age difference, they look compatible together and their chemistry is reckoning. The tone in most Japanese BLs is rather somber; they are more into the art of storytelling and the romance is rather slow burn. So, when I watch a Japanese BL, it is rather for the storyline than the lead actors. Old Fashion Cupcake was rather innovative because the scriptwriters actually paid more attention to developing the relationship between the main couple. An office romance is often underrated, but Takeda & Kimura make you believe in this unusual love story that slowly blossoms with time. Nozue & Togawa are two different individuals; they have their own strengths and vulnerabilities, yet they fit together like the pieces of the same puzzle. Togawa’s daring attitude compliments Nozue’s shy nature; there couldn’t be a more perfect couple in the Japanese BL industry!
Ji Ho Joon & Seo Jae Yoon (Kim Ji Woong & Yoon Seo Bin), Roommates of Poongduck 304
I wasn’t exactly enamored with this pair in their first project, Kissable Lips (there might be many that beg to differ). Granted, Kim Ji Woong & Yoon Seo Bin make a handsome couple & their fan service is top-notch; yet as a BL couple, they failed to grab my attention. And then, Roommates of Poongduck 304 happened! Now-a-days, I spend most of my time stalking Idol Romance’s social media handles in the hopes that they might announce a sequel or even a new project for this couple. A different storyline certainly turned the tides in their flavor. Whilst there was nothing wrong with the vampire romance in Kissable Lips, the show seemed like a pale imitation of Twilight. Roommates of Poongduck 304 gives them the chance to showcase their acting talents; a better script obviously gave them the breathing space to hone their skills. Also, Kim Ji Woong & Yoon Seo Bin are one of the very few Korean BL couples that are unafraid of intimacy or fan service. They have a fiery hot chemistry and are quite comfortable enacting passionate scenes. I’m definitely looking forward to their new projects in 2023!
Seeiw & Cake (Earth Katsamonnat & Santa Pongsapak), My Only 12%
There were a lot of speculations and doubts when this pairing was announced. Some were still hung on Earth’s amazing chemistry with his former co-star Kao Noppakao (Until We Meet Again) while others were worried about Santa & Earth’s significant age difference. There were catcalls and unwanted foreclosures; but the deterrents were put to rest when Santa & Earth made their official debut as a BL couple in the short miniseries “7 Project”. Their performance was much appreciated, and it turned the tide in their favor. Avid fans excitedly awaited the premiere of “My Only 12%” and they weren’t disappointed. Embracing the finer nuances of their characters, Santa & Earth led the narrative in an intriguing manner. Their chemistry was unbelievably natural; with time, it is only getting better and more realistic. This closeness can be attributed to the camaraderie they share; despite being a slow burn romance with a recalcitrant trope, Santa & Earth gave a topnotch performance, delivering Cake & Seeiw’s emotions perfectly. It’s quite difficult to find BL couples who don’t shy away from intimacy. Santa & Earth are so comfortable in their own skin. This coupling is sinfully delicious!
Kang Seo Joon & Han Ji Woo (Son Woo Hyun & Kim Kang Min), To My Star 2: Our Untold Stories
I still remember watching a promotion video where Kim Kang Min proudly announces that Seo Joon & Ji Woo are one of the best male couples in the BL world. Fast forward to 2022 and the claim still holds true. Although To My Star 2: Our Untold Stories was devastatingly heart wrenching, the fact remains that Son Woo Hyun & Kim Kang Min are inarguably one of the best BL couples in the Korean industry. Despite their invariable age difference and work experiences, they click. Their close friendship translates to great chemistry on-screen (fiery hot). While Son Woo Hyun is adept at portraying Seo Joon’s vulnerability, Kang Min is best known for embodying Ji Woo’s difficult nature. Despite the ample differences in their personalities, Seo Joon & Ji Woo are a match made in heaven. This couple’s popularity can be gauged from the fact that even if they aren’t paired together, avid fans still get excited over their bare minimum interactions (definitely talking about their recently concluded drama, Golden Spoon). Here’s hoping that To My Star gets renewed for a third season. We are kinda addicted to them!
Taohu & Nut (In Sarin Ronnakiat & Job Thuchapon), The Miracle of Teddy Bear
Although Taohu & Nut don’t end up together (the ending was awfully dreadful), their love story leaves a deep impression on your mind & soul. There are very few romances in the Thai BL industry that can be categorized as phenomenal, and The Miracle of Teddy Bear is one of those. Although the show is based on a supernatural concept, it handles quite a few prudent issues (mental health, homophobia) quite tactfully. In Sarin & Job were afforded strong characters that were impressionable. Nut’s struggle with his sexuality and his traumas associated with parental pressures were rendered realistically. Taohu, as the resurrected teddy bear, is adorable, honest and kind. The focal point of this drama is the somber chemistry between the main leads; there is no unnecessary skinship and despite being slow burn, In Sarin & Job must be applauded for embracing the struggles and turmoil faced by the characters. This story hinges on a romance that slowly blossoms into an eternal memory; definitely one of the best romances in 2022!
Kinn & Porchse (Mile Phakphum & Apo Nattawin), KinnPorsche
Undoubtedly one of the leading romances in 2022, KinnPorsche won worldwide appreciation and acclaim. The popularity rests on the shoulders of the main couple, Mile Phakphum & Apo Nattawin. KinnPorsche depicts the impossible love story between two people from completely different backgrounds; Kinn is a mafia Prince, arrogant and atrocious, Porsche is a bartender, trying to make ends meet. They are worlds apart and yet their clashes were epic (because the makeup sex was phenomenal). With the inevitable delay in the pre-production stage, KinnPorsche was already in news before its premiere. They stuck gold because the casting was picture perfect. But looks can’t be the defining factor when you are selling mass hysteria; Mile & Apo literally guide the narrative with their explosive and unadulterated chemistry. Their NC scenes were beautifully executed and tactfully orchestrated. Mile & Apo make an ethereal pairing; their offscreen camaraderie is as strong as their on-screen presence. Avid fans are eagerly awaiting the announcement for a sequel and so are we!
10. Syn and Nuer, Cutie Pie
I can’t say too much about Syn and Nuer’s relationship based on what we actually got to see in Cutie Pie, they deserved far better than the glimpses we got into their relationship. Especially when the series spends too much time, in my opinion, on pointless conflicts between Kuea and Lian that could have been resolved if they bothered to have a single conversation instead of scheming behind each other. In between all this, we get maybe three scenes in total where Syn and Nuer go from the awkward guy/confident guy trope-to-enemies-to-friends-to-lovers. Those three scenes were, however, cute enough to put them on this list, and I would love to see Yim Pharinyakorn and Tutor Koraphat paired together again.
9. Tofu and Nut, The Miracle of Teddy Bear
This couple is a little bit of an oddity for this list, because (spoilers ahead) Tofu (In Sarin) and Nut (Job Thuchapon) don’t actually end up together in a heart-breaking ending that I am still understandably salty over. The show did have messy writing and their characters, especially Nut’s, were pretty inconsistent, with the way he would be affectionate and then turn sullen in the next scene. Not to mention the fact that the ending tried to show how they were never meant to be together in the first place, with Tofu more of a placeholder for Nut’s actual love. All that aside, I included them because of what may have been, a possibility that I hope gets realised in a future series.
8. Name and Em, Remember Me
The series is ongoing at the time of writing, so I will be a little cautious with my excitement for Name (Title Teshin) and Em’s (Man Supakrit) relationship (and I’m only three episodes in so I really hope I don’t end up disappointed), but so far, they have done everything to make me root for them. Even more than Gun and Golf, I end up looking forward every scene they are going to be in, whether they do something as simple as glance at each other and smile. Name, in particular, has Em (and me) under control with his innocent charm.
7. Vegas and Pete, KinnPorsche
Vegas and Pete are the embodiment of the bad-boy trope. You tell yourself you are not going to fall for (root for, in this case) them, but before you realise it, you are entangled with them with no way out. Vegas (helped by Bible Wichapas’ charismatic portrayal of course) was one of the breakthrough characters of the year, and his relationship with Pete (Build Jakapan) was unhealthy for sure, but to a viewer, it was also capturing. Even before Vegas’ redemption arc and their happy ending, despite everything he had done in the series, I was hooked to the edge of my seat every time he and Pete sizzled with their chemistry on screen.
6. Akk and Aye, The Eclipse
The Eclipse was one of my most anticipated shows this year, both for the interesting-sounding plot, and the fresh dynamic that First Kanaphan and Khaotung Thanawat promised to deliver. While the writing itself was a bit disappointing, especially towards the end when it got too convoluted to resolve nicely, Akk and Aye were the standouts I had expected them to be. They are confused and messy teenagers in love, and their chemistry with each other managed to work despite the messy writing.
5. Nozue and Togawa, Old Fashion Cupcake
It’s rare to get a show about an older couple, and even rarer for that older couple to be as sweet as the desserts they consume over the episodes. Old Fashion Cupcake is a very light-hearted and bingeable show, thanks in large part to the central relationship of the series between Nozue (Takeda Kouhei) and Togawa (Kimura Tatsunari). Their goals and sensibilities and their relationship are quite different from some of the other couples on the list, and they make for a calmer (can’t forget to mention sweeter) addition.
4. Si Won and Da Woon, Blueming
I will never shut up about how underrated Blueming is (it deserves way more appreciation!). The show tackles issues of insecurities and lack of self-worth, which create the crux of the tensions between Si Won (Kang Eun Bin) and Da Woon (Jo Hyuk Joon). Cutting away a lot of unnecessary drama in a tightly-compact series, we are introduced to these two, who clearly have a lot of issues to work on even excluding their relationship. We only get a glimpse of their journey and it is understood they have a long way to go, but in those snippets, surrounded by melancholic vibes and blue toned art design, we get to see these two struggling individuals learn to love each other (and themselves).
3. White and Sean, Not Me
Not Me was already going to be one of my favourite series of the year (I am taking some liberties here because it technically started in 2021, but bear with me). I knew I was going to love it even before it released, solely for the fact that it was an OffGun series. For the uninitiated, Off Jumpol and Gun Atthaphan are BL veterans. They can charm their way out of even a badly written plot, so it was a cherry on top that Not Me was fantastically written even without the addition of their charm. They give life to Sean and White (and Black) and in the midst of a highly engaging and action-filled plot, they continue to give us butterflies.
2. Jae Young and Sang Woo, Semantic Error
It wouldn’t be too out of place to say that they have changed the game for K-pop idols in BL series. What was once unheard of (if you had told me only 2 years ago that active idols would do BL, I would’ve laughed) is now getting more and more popular, and Park Seo Ham and Park Jae Chan’s blazing chemistry both on and off screen is to thank for a great deal of it. I don’t think I can add more to why they deserve this spot, better writers than me have written a great deal more on it, but what I must mention is that everything about it, from the casting to the writing, came about at the perfect time to shake up the BL industry, and we’re all better for it.
1. Seo Joon and Ji Woo, To My Star 2: Our Untold Stories
The latest, and arguably one of the best additions to my list, To My Star’s Seo Joon and Ji Woo already had my heart with their first series. To be honest, I had been putting off watching the second season for months because I was so afraid of the tribulations they were going to face after already getting together. They don’t have some big “villain” who interferes with their love, nor do they face unnecessary misunderstandings that could easily be resolved with a simple conversation. Their struggles stem from their own insecurities, something we realise never really went away even after they started dating. The way that it’s hard for them to explain why they broke up in the first place, exactly what is keeping them from being with each other despite the obvious love they share, how sweet they are once they do get back together, and the nuance with which their relationship was depicted is why they are my favourite couple of the year.
In the BL world, everyone has their own favorite couples. The couple that makes you smile, laugh, cry and celebrate when they become the said couple. I have a lot of favorite couples, and here I’m listing my top ten. I will explain why these actors are my favorite couples. I enjoy a good BL couple without the hype or drama. I watch their chemistry on and off the screen and my top 10 have chemistry both off and on screen. It is the genuine friendship and a true connection they share which is beautiful!
Dunk Natachai Boonprasert – Daonuea and Joong Archen Aydin – Khabkluen – Star in my Mind
Joong is one of my top ten actors of all time. Joong and Dunk are exceptional together. I love their chemistry on and off-screen; so playful and you can see they care for each other. Dunk is such a good partner for Joong. Jong and Dunk complement each other. I would love to see them both in another series together.
Gun Atthaphan Phunsawat – Black/White and Off Adulkittiporn – Sean – Not Me
Gun and Off have been a favorite couple since Theory of Love. They work well with each other and make it look so natural in Not Me that I was blown away by the talent of Gun playing both White and Black. Gun and Off naturally complement each other. Their acting never looks faked, forced, but they are simply breathtaking. Whenever I have seen a series they were in, they were always my favorite couple, buddies whatever role they played. Both are extremely talented and genuine. I will always follow them both.
Earth Teerapat Ruangritkul – Pete and Fluk Chatchawan Jitraxtham -Bas, also as Kim and Mek, Scent of Love and My Secret Love
Earth is another favorite of mine. Since 2Moons2, I have watched him grow and become an incredible man. When I watched Scent of Love and once again fell in love with Earth and also Fluk. Chemistry is very subtle but present. When I watched My Secret Love, I was again impressed with their chemistry. They played off each other’s strengths very well and I for one would love to see them work together again.
Fame Chawinroj Likitchareonsakul – Tawan and Fluke Pongsakorn Wongpian Mork – My Ride
This was one of my most anticipated series I had been waiting a long time; the way Fame and Fluke brought Tawan and Mork alive, I was definitely pleased. Tawan, being the sweet, shy, naive person, was played exquisitely by Fame while Fluke played Mork with a humor and sincerity that was amazing to watch. They had a unique chemistry on screen that was a pure delight to watch. One shy and one bolder, but still a combination that would delight audiences. I would love to see these two in another series.
Meen Nattakrit Hamontri – Tiew and Rossi Nontakorn Chatchue – Mork – On Cloud 9
These were one of my favorite couples from 2022. I have seen Meen and Rossi in a few other series – Once in a Memory Series and I fell in love with Meen and Rossi. I was overly excited to see them together again, and I was not disappointed. The on screen chemistry is quite intense and more natural for me. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this series, as their eyes were very expressive. I believe this is what makes Meen and Rossi the perfect couple. I honestly hope for more from Meen and Rossi in the future. One look and you will love them as much as I do!
Park Seo Ham – Jang Jae Young and Park Jae Chan – Chu Sang Woo – Semantic Error
Park SeoHam and Park JaeChan make a fantastic couple. They seem like true opposites but fit like puzzle pieces. Park S and Park J played their parts with such talent and they were perfect for this series. On and off-screen, they kept the chemistry and the mystery going. You never knew what Jae Young was going to do next to get Sang Woo’s attention and when Sang Woo finally gave in and accepted Jae Young’s feelings, it was a dramatic moment. I would love to see Semantic Error 2 – Just to see how they are getting along and if Sang Woo is still annoyed.
Kim Ji Woong – Kim Jun Ho and Yoon Seo Bin – Choi Min Hyun – Kissable Lips
Kissable Lips was an amazing supernatural series. I was ecstatically excited about this one. Ji Woong and Seo Bin are very comfortable together and their chemistry, though subtle, is believable. They played off each other’s emotions with such an expertise that it made me feel they have been working together for much longer than this series. I love the way they would look at each other because you instinctively know what they are thinking.
NuNew Chawarin Perdpiriyawong – Kuea Keerati / “Kirin” and Zee Pruk Panich = Lian Kilen Wang- Cutie Pie
Zee has been my favorite actor, since Why R U and I have seen him emerge as a talented and amazing actor. When I watched him play with NuNew, I witnessed magic again. Since Zee is very a loving person; pairing him with NuNew was a pure genius. They worked well together and you can see their friendship, both on and off the screen. They had their comical, sweet moments, sad-serious moments, and they both played this well. Zee impressed me with how he took to this role. There were times he made me giggle, times I yelled at him, and at times I just wanted to hug him. NuNew is the cutest person and his smile can melt your heart, his tears made me cry. I hope they work together again; I will be in the front row cheering them on.
Nut Supanut Lourhaphanich – Phob and Plan Thanawat Koosuwan = Phat – Something in my Room
I loved their chemistry and playfulness. This was such a lighthearted series that the interaction between Nut and Phat was such a pleasure to watch. These two made me laugh more times in this series than any other. Their chemistry was there from scene one and stayed until the finale. Another supernatural series about which I was excited; the show was delightfully executed because of Nut and Plan’s chemistry. Their interactions were natural and pleasing to watch.
Nut Nutchapon Rattanamongkol – Prakan and Karn Kasidej Hongladaromp – Tua Phee – Dear Doctor, I am Coming for Your Soul
Yet another supernatural series about a Grim reaper and a human falling in love. Their onscreen chemistry was undeniable. They fit together like pieces of the same puzzle, and you could feel every emotion they portrayed. They also played off of each other’s strengths and made it seem natural and not forced. You can see their feeling just by watching their expressions. No words were needed and I love that for all actors. Nut and Karn played their parts extremely well; their chemistry was mind-blowing and so amazing to watch
These were my top 10 couples of 2022. I do have many other couples and it was very hard to choose my Top 10. I love watching these couples as they make look effortless. I do not dwell much into the private lives of any actor/actress. I love to watch on-screen chemistry and see friendships evolve. I can’t wait to see what 2023 brings as far as the BL series is concerned. 2022 was a phenomenal year in BL history. 2023 can only be even more amazing!
Keep watching this space for the next update!