TV Review | My Beautiful Man Season 2 (美しい彼)
“My Beautiful Man season 2 is an excellent follow-up to the first season. It further explores the relationship between Hira and Kiyoi now that they are a couple. This season balances the right amount of fun, sweet and poignant moments. Yusei Yagi and Riku Hagiwara deliver brilliant performances.”
My Beautiful Man, Utsukushii Kare (美しい彼) in Japanese, is a BL drama based on the books of the same name by Yuu Nagira. The first season was one of the best J-dramas of 2021. And with its success, the series has come back for a second season, which has just finished airing. This one consists of 4 episodes, it is shorter than the first season. However, we are getting another content in just over a month. Indeed, the film My Beautiful Man – Eternal will release in Japanese cinemas on April 7. There are no words on the international release yet. Both seasons are now streaming on Rakuten Viki and GagaooLala.
It can be annoying when romance stories just end when the two characters get together. As the audience, we do want to see more. There is always more story to tell. And My Beautiful Man does exactly that by continuing the story with another season and a film.
SEASON 1 RECAP
The series opened during the last year of high school of Hira Kazunari (played by Riku Hagiwara). He is at the bottom of popularity of his class, often mocked because he has troubles expressing himself with his stuttering. His camera is his refuge, he views the world through its lense trying to be invisible. But everything changes when Kiyoi Sou (played by Yusei Yagi) walks into his classroom. He is pulled into Kiyoi’s world, following him everything and attending his every needs. Hira ends up confessing his love to Kiyoi but the latter doesn’t react much. Nevertheless, a bond slowly forms between the two. When they graduate, Kiyoi kisses him but each one goes on with their lives.
Then, the story moves to their adult lives. Hira is at university, he attends a photography club where he befriends Koyama Kazuki. Kazuki is actually in love with him. Everything seems alright and Hira is free from Kiyoi’s torment. This is when they find each other again and troubles return. Kiyoi is now on his way to become famous. The season ends with Kiyoi confessing his love to Hira. The two are finally together. Hira is the narrator of all the episodes except one. That episode follows Kiyoi’s point of view.
Season 2 picks up sometime after season 1. Kiyoi and Hira are now a happy couple living together. Hira is in his fourth year of university, close from graduation. While, Kiyoi is an actor appearing in various dramas. This season is actually more slice of life oriented and less dramatic. Now, we get to see their couple life. We see a lot of tender and sweet moments between them. They go shopping, they eat together, they sleep together, the usual couple stuff. These two make a fun and awkward couple. Kiyoi keeps going with his back and forth banter that Hira doesn’t always understand. In fact, they don’t seem like they belong on the same planet but they do, and they complete each other.
Kiyoi is the supporting type of boyfriend. He always wants to see Hira succeed and be happy. He does encourage him to turn pro for photography. It creates this image of the perfect boyfriend. While, Hira is still in his bubble of self-deprecating. He reveres Kiyoi but he never believes he is worthy of his love or worthy of anything for that matter. In a way, he is still in his high school days feeling like it is an unrequited love. But it is not. Hira really needs someone like Kiyoi to lift him up and make him realize that he is worthy of something.
On top of that, Hira supporting Kiyoi is so funny. He is actually known as ‘suspicious-kun’ among the other fans and Kiyoi’s staff. He always shows up during filming or events with sunglasses on and a fan with ‘I love Kiyoi’ written on it. It is both ridiculous and cute.
Obviously, with what I have said, not everything is paradise in Hira and Kiyoi’s world. There are troubles. And the drama really starts in the penultimate episode. Indeed, things go wrong when Hira’s aunt visit them. Instead of telling the truth about his boyfriend, Hira just pretends they are friends. Moreover, he doubles down on that and promises Kiyoi that he will never have to meet his parents. As the audience, we understand why Hira is doing that, he is in his endless loop of self-deprecating.
However, it hurts Kiyoi because he wants more from their relationship. You can definitely understand he wants to take it a step further and he wants to meet Hira’s parents. That leads to an argument. Episode 3 ends with the return of the end theme ‘Follow’ by Roce which symbolizes drama.
Nevertheless, the finale is not all dramatic and does deliver the happy ending we want. There is a scene that highlights the contrast between how Hira acts and how Kiyoi acts when it comes to their relationship. Indeed, Kiyoi is more opened about it with his co-star. He really makes it clear he is dating a guy and that they live together. Which is the contrary of Hira. It shows they are not at the same level in their relation.
But the final scene also shows that Hira is making steps little by little. Nothing is to be taken for granted, there is always work to do, room to grow. And this is pretty much what this season shows with them. As he tries to improve his place in his relationship with Kiyoi, he finds success in his professional life too. Indeed, he becomes the assistant of a well-known photographer. It does end on a promising way for him. Plus, ending a season with Valentine’s day couldn’t be anymore romantic. Kiyoi offering chocolates and Captain Duck to Hira is as cute as it gets.
This season also brings back their former classmates for a scene in the finale. It is a reunion scene showing us where they are at now. It is a nice link between the two seasons to bring back these characters. But more importantly, it is an essential scene for Hira’s realization of his situation. As the audience, we saw it since the beginning that he was still in his high school days in the way he behaved. But he hadn’t realized it, he understands it when he sees his other classmates. I think it is really the moment when Hira realizes he has to do better because he can be better. A brief scene but one that makes a difference. Like I have said above, it is little steps but this is the right path. I do look forward to see where the story goes next in the film.
Furthermore, narration is more equally divided between the two leads this season. Hira narrates episode 1 and 3 while Kiyoi narrates episode 2. The finale features both characters’ inner thoughts. I love that way of telling the story. With the characters telling what they think, we get a better understanding of them and of some of the situations happening. Plus, I think with a character like Hira, it is especially important to know what he thinks because he doesn’t say a lot of words. Getting more of Kiyoi’s inner thoughts is also important to the story. The series really is about these two characters. Thus, it makes sense that we get to know what they both think.
Yusei Yagi and Riku Hagiwara have a wonderful on-screen chemistry. It works perfectly. They know how to bring the awkward moments, the fun ones and the sweet ones. In addition, Yusei delivers a brilliant performance that expresses the inner conflicts of his character and all his different layers. The big argument scene is really heartbreaking and Yusei is absolutely poignant in that moment. You can feel the anger, the sadness, he knows how to relay his emotions to the audience. Riku is also fantastic. There is a fun side to his character but also a lot of insecurities that Riku beautifully portrays.
Additionally, this season returns to Hira’s house. This is actually the main set that we see. It is such a beautiful place. This Japanese traditional house with a garden feels like the right place for a romance. We also see the photography club and other places including the rehearsal room from season 1. The series has simple yet beautiful sets.
Yoshitaka Fujimoto returns to compose the score. His music is absolutely beautiful. It is exactly what you want to hear for a drama/slice of life/romance. Indeed, there is something relaxing in Fujimoto’s work. His tracks can be tender at times to embrace the loving moments while it can also be a bit more on the dramatic side for other scenes, lighter for comedy moments and upbeat for the slice of life parts.
OPENING AND END CREDITS
Moreover, new season means new credits. Once again, Roce returns for season 2. This time, she is not singing the end theme but the opening theme – ‘Bitter’. This is an energetic song that fits the more stylish opening credits. These credits are also longer which allows us to better listen to the song. Obviously, it focuses on Hira and Kiyoi, while also featuring the secondary characters. This time, Kazuki is not the only secondary character present, which explains why the credits are longer.
Like season 1, the end credits roll while a scene takes place. Thus, there are no specially designed credits. However, everytime we can hear the end theme ‘Kinmokusei’ by Mosao. This is a lighthearted and happy song that feels perfect to celebrate the love of Hira and Kiyoi. Mosao did the opening theme of season 1. So for season 2, they reversed the roles with each one doing the theme that the other did in season 1.
My Beautiful Man season 2 is an excellent follow-up to the first season that captivated our attention. It further explores the relationship between Hira and Kiyoi now that they are a couple. This season balances the right amount of fun, sweet and poignant moments. Yusei Yagi and Riku Hagiwara deliver brilliant performances. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best J-dramas of 2023.
My Beautiful Man season 1 and 2 are now streaming on Rakuten Viki and GagaooLala.
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