TV Review | Why ‘I Will Be Your Bloom’ (君の花になる) Deserves Your Attention
“I Will Be Your Bloom is a poignant and uplifting series about the rise to success of a boy band. It also has a wonderful and meaningful LGBT representation. On top of that, it has a fantastic ensemble cast and features J-pop songs that will make you dance and sing through the night. 8LOOM will win your heart without a doubt.”
I Will Be Your Bloom (Kimi no Hana ni Naru / 君の花になる) is a Japanese drama that aired on TBS at the end of 2022. And it arrived on Netflix at the beginning of the month for people living outside of Japan. The series consists of 10 episodes of 45-ish minute each.
This series is about a boy band called 8LOOM composed of 7 members. This band is struggling to become popular. Asuka Nakamachi (played by Tsubasa Honda) used to work as a teacher but after an unfortunate set of events she had to resign. She suddenly begins a new job as the housekeeper of 8LOOM’s dormitory. She then meets her former student Dan Sagami (played by Fumiya Takahashi) whom she had inspired to not give up his dreams of singing. As the housekeeper, she has to cook, clean for them and also lifts their spirits. From there, Asuka starts to ecnourage which helps them to find confidence again and reach their full potential.
This story is as much about 8LOOM than it is about Asuka. Both start their journey broken and both help each other going through their struggles. In fact, this is a powerful and uplifting series about second chances. It perfectly balances the joyful moments with the dramatic ones and the inspiring ones. I watched this series over the course of a few days, but if I could I would have watched it in one go. This series is so captivating. And you immediately feel invested in the characters, the same way that you would feel with characters of a series after 5 seasons. All the characters have the same goal for 8LOOM but as the series progresses we also discover their personal dreams. This makes you root for each and everyone of them.
Moreover, this is a 10-episode series. So this means it has a beginning, middle and ending. By the time you reach the final two episodes, you will need tissues, a lot of tissues. Many things happen in these episodes and you can tell you are nearing the end. They are deeply moving. Thus, these are sad tears. Though, there are happy tears as well. It is a mix of a lot of emotions. Without a doubt, the end is absolutely satisfying.
THE WORLD OF IDOLS
Last year, I reviewed Heroines Run The Show and Phantom of the Idol which were anime about Japanese Idols. But with I Will Be Your Bloom, it is a live-action series which can explore that subject differently. It does an incredible job on that part too. Indeed, it explores different aspects of what it is like to be an Idol group.
FINDING YOUR PLACE
Each member needs to be fully dedicated to 8LOOM because it represents so much work. It is time consuming. However, it infringes on their personal dreams. Thus, they cannot fully be happy. Being an Idol means making hard decisions. This series beautifully dives into that. In fact, 8LOOM can only lead them to a certain point. Sometimes, it is important to take some time off for your own well-being.
Besides, being part of a band means you are one person among a group of many. And some shine more than others. Undoubtedly, this makes some characters question their place and their usefulness to the group. This happens to Daijiro Naruse (played by Ryubi Miyase), Eiji Ichinose (played by Rintaro Hachimura) and Takara Onodera (played by Coki Yamashita). They deal with that struggle differently but they all find the support they need and the place they truly have within 8LOOM.
Furthermore, being an Idol means being devoted to your fans, entirely. And this can be a problem. Indeed, Dan’s blooming relationship with Asuka turns into a scandal because of a single picture. This actually takes enormous proportions with fans feeling betrayed by Dan and the group. However, when you think about it Dan did not do anything wrong. He was just having a tender moment with the person he loves. And that wasn’t a kiss, they were holding hands. This affects Dan’s role in 8LOOM and Asuka’s job who has to resign.
That is an unfortunate turn of events because Dan and Asuka should have the right to love each other. But the world of Idols is cruel. This series makes an incisive and smart critcism of that aspect of Idols. Dan refusing to apologize is a powerful stance. I think it was important that the series addresses this issue. This is definitely something that should change and the more we talk about it, the more we can usher things to a change.
On top of that, I Will Be Your Bloom does a wonderful job with LGBT+ representation. I had already wrote a feature last year on how Japanese anime do a better job at LGBT representation than American studios. And watching this live-action series, I thought American studios should also take example on this one. Indeed, this series portrays queer characters in a genuine way and doesn’t fall into clichés. It doesn’t throw in the homophobia or other cliché storyline. It just shows characters the way that they are in everyday life. Plus, seeing characters from our community in a series about a boy band is even more meaningful. There are 5 queer characters including 4 that are among the main characters.
First, Takumi (played by NOA) is bisexual. He is a member of 8LOOM. I talked about it with Heartstopper but bisexual representation is often forgotten especially when it comes to men. So having Takumi being bisexual is something great to see. There is a heartwarming scene where he talks about dating men when 8LOOM gathers to inspire Dan for his love song. And Yukiya Furumachi (played by Keito Tsuna) adds that he didn’t know that people could be attracted to both men and women before knowing Takumi. Beyond that, he is such a loveable and fun character. He is the caring member of the group who is loved by eveyrone.
Then, we also learn that Takara, the leader of the group is aromantic. This is definitely something that is almost never addressed on screen. So I would say it is quite refreshing to see a character like Takara. He talks about this during the same scene I mentioned above and in another scene. I think that people who see themselves as aromantic should be happy to see themselves here. Takara is an interesting character who goes through the struggle of finding his place within 8LOOM. There is a lot of guilt within him. While, he can so easily see the strengths of his teammates. Little by little, he realizes where he belongs. He is a unique leader.
Finally, there is another member from 8LOOM who is part of the LGBT community. It is Naruse. Throughout the series, he always supports Dan even when it comes to Dan falling in love with Asuka. When you look at this bond from Dan’s perspective it feels like friendship. However, when you think about how Naruse acts, it tells a different story. When he actually sees Dan and Asuka together, he has a reaction that speaks a thousand words.
And it is during his confrontation with Dan in episode 9 that he reveals his love for him. That love made him commit mistakes like hiding Asuka’s message or asking Asuka to resign. But he also made these choices because he cares about 8LOOM. There is a double conflict within him. This scene is absolutely heartbreaking, a lot happens at the same time. Obviously, this is a non-reciprocal love. Dan loves Naruse but as a friend, not in the way that Naruse expresses his love. So Naru ends up remaining the supportive friend he has always been for Dan. There are some bumps along the way In fact, this reminds me of the anime Sarazanmai where Enta is in love with Kazuki but it is non-reciprocal and it remains a friendship.
Outside of 8LOOM, there are two other gay characters – Kenji Soegi (played by Mamoru Miyano) and his boyfriend Toshi (played by Yuuki Kaji). Kenji is actually the manager of 8LOOM and a former Idol himself. He is a deeply expressive and energetic character. He is a joy to see on screen. Plus, he has some cute interactions with his boyfriend who appears in episode 3 and 4.
Moreover, Shin Kono composed the score of the series. It is a decent score that does its job. Indeed, it nicely accompanies the emotional moments and the uplifting ones as well. However, the conflicting moments have a theme that does not exactly work as much as it should. I do like the main theme. But since it is a series about Idols, the most important part in the soundtrack is the songs. On that part, it is way above than decent.
8LOOM is an actual boy band that was created for the series for a limited time only. And their presence in Billboard Japan’s charts is the best testimony of their success. They even performed at KCON and went on their own tour. Their songs are great J-Pop songs. They may only have five songs but each of them is memorable. In fact, this is what matters. If you love J-Pop and you watch this series, you will definitely become a 8LOOMY too.
‘Come Again’ is their big dynamic song and their most catchy one. It is also the one with the best choreography. Undoubtedly, it is my favorite. Since I have started the series, I have listened to it on loop. I do listen to the others quite regurlarly as well, I love them all. But, it is really this one that caught my attention the most.
‘Melody’ is a lighter song. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful love song with a choreography that any fan can easily recreate at home. The moves during the chorus really come instinctively. In fact, I have found myself doing them quite a few times.
‘Hikari’ is an enthralling song about never giving up. There is not much choreography one this, it is more about the powerful message it sends to its audience.
Then, ‘Foreover or Never’ is a mature love song. It is a wonderful and energetic song with an impressive choreography.
Finally, ‘Kimi no Hana ni Naru’ (君の花になる) is titled like the name of the series. You can hear this song during the end credits. Moreover, it is the final song that they perform. And this one perfectly captures the atmosphere of the series. It talks about the ups and downs on their path. Undoubtedly, it is a beautifully uplifting song that perfectly fits for the end. Plus, it also has a nice choreography.
Furthermore, I want to talk about the live performances of 8LOOM during the series. When you have a series about Idols, this part is also an important component. And, as 8LOOMY we are not disappointed. Indeed, their performances are recorded live when there is an event, whether it is on TV or during a concert. I think this does make a difference, because you really are transported into their performance.
Live performances also mean costumes and choreographies. You can tell that the actors have worked hard on the dances. You can feel their passion as you watch them. As for the costumes, they are pretty good and up to the standards of what you can expect from an Idol group. Their costumes for ‘Forever or Never’ during their performance at CDTV and for their final concert are definitely my favorite. These are also their most sophisticated costumes.
Additionally, the final concert is so incredibly touching. In the series, it is the moment when they announce to the audience they are taking some time off to achieve their personnal dreams. They also reveal that they were originally going to announce they were splitting up for good. Obviously, the characters cry like us the audience. It is really ugly-crying. But, it is not just the characters who cry, it is also the actors. And this makes it even more moving and powerful. And in that moment, the audience at the concert starts chanting the chorus of ‘Come Again.’ This is what I call a memorable moment in television.
This series has a fantastic ensemble cast. Every member of 8LOOM gives their best for the singing, the dancing and the acting. It is a band of seven members so that is a lot of characters but each actor has their moment to shine. Obviously, there are some that have a more important role than other.
Fumiya Takahashi is the lead. He delivers a multi-layered performance. Throughout the series, his character shows different sides and Fumiya beautifully portrays this. Then, Ryubi Miyase is also one of the highlights of the 8LOOM cast. He delivers an heartfelt performance. Finally, I want to mention NOA whose first album releases on Wednesday. This series was his acting debut and he did pretty well. He has a charming presence that is irresistible. So when he is on screen, you are drawn to him. I also feel like he put parts of himself in the character. For example the clothing, he often wears purple, but also the nail polish in the final concert and some of the rings he wears. You can tell he is an actor who is invested in his work.
OTHER CAST MEMBERS
Furthermore, Tsubasa Honda is the co-lead of the series with Fumiya. And she is absolutely delightful as Asuka. She overflows energy, that is contagious. But, she is also so poignant in the more emotional moments.
We all love Mamoru Miyano. He has become an icon in voice acting. And to see him in live-action too is so enjoyable. Indeed, he has this natural on-screen presence that makes you invested in his performance. He is endearing as Kenji. There is a nice contrast between his performance and Yuki Uchida’s more reserved performance as the other manager. Lastly, Mari Natsuki is stunning as the president of the production company. She has an imposing presence.
I Will Be Your Bloom is a poignant and uplifting series about the rise to success of a boy band. It also has a wonderful and meaningful LGBT representation. This is a series that deserves your attention. On top of that, it has a fantastic ensemble cast and features J-pop songs that will make you dance and sing through the night. 8LOOM will win your heart without a doubt.
Let’s 8LOOM again someday!
I Will Be Your Bloom is now streaming on Netflix.
Feel the Force on Social Media.
Collectables Editor at Future Of The Force.
Star Wars and Marvel specialist, anime expert