My Beautiful Man – Season 2 Episode 3 Recap & Review

Episode 3

My Beautiful Man Episode 3 focuses squarely on Hira’s perspective as he attempts to fulfil his king’s wish by winning the young photographer’s competition.

Koyama notes that his photos of Kiyoi have something special, as it seems like photographer and subject are in their own world. Impossible, he reflects. And unfortunately, because of Kiyoi’s job he can’t submit them.

At home, Hira can’t stop taking Kiyoi’s photo, particularly his serious face. Kiyoi avoids the camera and tries to chat with Hira about normal things, remarking that the tea olives have fallen.

Outside himself, Hira narrates that they’ve surpassed an autumn of immaturity, now entering a winter of judgement.

The next morning, he realizes just how far apart they are. Kiyoi is the promising young celebrity and he’s still riding his creaky bike from his school days.

Then he finds out that he didn’t make it through the first round of the photo competition. Failing the one thing he thought he was good at, he spirals. Koyama offers to get him an intro to the head photography judge but Hira declines. He doesn’t want to hear why he’s failed.

Feeling even further from worthy of Kiyoi, Hira recalls losing him in high school and despairs. Then heads home to cook a huge meal.

Kiyoi misunderstands – perhaps they’re celebrating? But it’s more of an apology for not meeting expectation. Kiyoi tells him to keep entering competitions, keep trying, not to psyche himself out. Hira is shocked, having expected anger.

As they’re relaxing the next day, relatives turn up at Hira’s house. And he’s forced to explain why a he’s got a celebrity in the house. He’s a fan, obvs. But they’re friends. Yes, that’s it.

That evening, Hira explains that he’d felt uncomfortable saying they were friends. But they’re having two different conversations.

Thinking he means he felt bad not admitting they’re boyfriends, Kiyoi kindly notes that Hira’s mother will be happy to know he has a friend. Hira assures he doesn’t need to worry about his parents, promising they’ll never cross paths.

Never? Kiyoi shatters. He can’t believe that Hira doesn’t understand his feelings. And Hira digs deeper as he explains that he’ll never understand Kiyoi, doesn’t want to understand him – cause that would drag his star down to earth.

Broken hearted, Kiyoi realizes that there’s no future for them. Hira’s frozen when he hears Kiyoi wishes he’d never fallen in love with him. Wait, what?

Instead of chasing after Kiyoi, he crumbles. Just like he did in high school.

The Episode Review

My Beautiful Man Episode 3 and we’ve got only 1 more left. This instalment puts us back in Hira’s frame of mind, as it takes a drastic, speeding-train, down-hill crash.

Hira is a lesson in overthinking and the dangers of low self-esteem. To the point where he can’t fathom what’s right in front of him – his boyfriend. There by choice. Seriously, how long can one reasonably expect another person to wait? Kiyoi has been rather patient, trying to build Hira up. But Hira’s losing the man he loves because he can’t love himself. It’s self-fulfilling, isn’t it? He’s manifested his way to the bottom.

Although we’ve been heading in this direction, it’s this definitive conversation after Hira’s cousin’s visit that seals it. He confesses that he’d claimed they’re friends, even though he felt uncomfortable saying it. Kiyoi is touched – like Hira is about to affirm their future – the one thing he’s been waiting to hear.

But the two are having completely different conversations. And when Kiyoi figures out that Hira didn’t mean boyfriends – when he claims he’s not on Kiyoi’s level enough to even be friends – you can see his little heart break. Top it off with Hira claiming he’ll never have to meet his parents – key to a relationship with a future – he’s done. He’d actually thought they were getting somewhere.

This piece is beautifully done. But somehow this episode isn’t as compelling as it could have been. While the acting is spot-on and emotional, the storyline seems fragmented and chunky. Maybe the writers are balancing pulling in funny moments from the light novel or providing an emotional rest. Maybe they’re trying to cover too much ground in too few episodes. Yet wasting valuable run-time on the weirdness of Kiyoi’s fan club…doesn’t seem like the right choice. Who could be weirder than Hira anyway?

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