Episode 1 | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 | Review Score – 4.5/5
My Beautiful Man is a Japanese BL ‘boys love’ drama based on the light novel Utsukushii Kare – translating to ‘he’s beautiful.’ It’s a sweet story of opposites attract with a very manga feel, filled with extreme reactions and outlandish characters.
But navigate below the surface and you’ll gaze into the heart of a character-driven exposition pinpointing the desire to be understood. So while Hira, the main narrator, leads the tale it’s his counterpart and focus Kiyoi who brings us to each stage of growth, sprinkling his feelings like breadcrumbs along the way.
In season 1, the two boys meet in their last year of school – Kiyoi the class star and Hira his elected gopher. Hira adores Kiyoi, the one he believes ‘saved’ him, however unintentionally and who captivates all his thoughts. While Kiyoi is the attention magnet, and as we find out, adoration seeker with a backstory all his own.
Kiyoi spots that satisfying fanatical gleam in Hira and desires it with all his being, but always on the down-low. As if he’s giving in to Hira or rewarding him, he graces with his presence. While Hira accepts it all like a blessing, racing around to ensure Kiyoi remains another blessed moment longer.
Season 2 begins with a different relationship – where they ended S1 with surrender, S2 kicks off with a relationship. But we soon see, even though they’re together, the connection hasn’t really evolved. Hira still worships, Kiyoi continues to accept, but now he’s beginning to want something more. A boyfriend. A partner. A future.
Season 2 is filled with Kiyoi learning how to let go of his selfishness in order to convince both Hira and himself that there can be a real future for them – on closer to equal footing. They’ll both have to change to make that happen.
Japanese boys love drama is in no way a new thing – in fact, Japan is where the now overflowing genre started. But this one somehow seems to hit a little differently, even as it wastes time on silly characters and frantic anime-style freak-outs. The richness is in the portrayal of the characters. As actors, clearly these two trust each other. There is so much vulnerability.
Production value of the four 24-minute episodes is surprisingly decent for a sitcom, which often feels like a throw-away or space-filler for a designated audience.
With simple sets and few proper supporting characters, the spotlight is on the two leads, allowing them to take us somewhere deep and recognizable. Led by Riku Hagiwara as Hira and Yusei Yagi as Kiyoi, the two reprise their roles from Season 1.
As one shakes one’s head through the the juxtaposition of random oddness and beautifully tender moments, the title becomes a consideration. It’s actually Kiyoi who sees Hira as his man, while Hira tends to think of Kiyoi in terms like king, star and a god.
‘Man’ is way too close to the ground for Hira to describe Kiyoi. And beauty, well… Kiyoi must see it in Hira to stick around with the guy he calls creepy for as long as he has. Even looking at the direct translation of ‘he’s beautiful,’ it is, as ever, in the eye of the beholder. And completely worth a watch.
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Verdict - 9/10