As soon as you start watching A Man Who Defies the World of BL, you'll know this Japanese BL drama was adapted from a manga. Its influence is very obvious in the feel and flow of the series. This drama takes place in a fictional universe where everyone is happily gay, except for the main character who tries to resist the BL tropes around him.
A Man Who Defies the World of BL is a very peculiar drama with an unusual sense of humour. It heavily caters to hardcore fans of the Boys Love genre. Told in an anthology format, each mini episode has a self-contained story that gently makes fun of the BL phenomenon.
A Man Who Defies the World of BL Summary
Around 1 hour and 40 minutes
Happy and funny
4 episodes, but it's 8 separate stories
10 to 15 minutes long
Mob is a university student with an overactive imagination. He believes that all the men around him are somehow becoming romantic couples, and he's the only one immune to the BL syndrome. Whether he meets with friends or strangers, every guy wants to hook up with either him or each other. Even Mob's little brother Ayato has a special male suitor of his own at school.
Although Mob claims to have an aversion to the Boys Love genre, he is also seemingly obsessed with it. He even reads tons of BL manga as part of his "research". Each day, Mob devises outlandish strategies that will minimize his chances of encountering BL tropes in life. However, BL has a way of sneaking up on him no matter where he goes or how he tries to avoid it.
A Man Who Defies the World of BL Cast
Atsuhiro Inukai (犬飼貴丈)
Mob is an ordinary university student who has noticed all the guys around him are hooking up with each other. Although he claims to have a distaste for BL, Mob almost has a fanatic obsession with it. With a wild and overactive imagination, he frequently thinks about outlandish scenarios of how BL tropes can happen to him.
Atsuhiro Inukai (犬飼貴丈) is a Japanese actor. He is born on June 13, 1994. His first BL project is the 2021 comedy, A Man Who Defies the World of BL. He also appears in the 2022 sequel, A Man Who Defies the World of BL 2. In addition, Atsuhiro stars in the series Kei x Yaku (2022) and Our Dining Table (2023).
Goto Yutaro (後藤優太朗)
Akihisa Shiono (塩野瑛久)
Asahi Ito (伊藤あさひ)
- Mob's actor (Atsuhiro Inukai) starred in the 2022 Japanese BL crime drama Kei x Yaku. He plays a remarkably different character in that series, portraying a young yakuza leader.
A Man Who Defies the World of BL Review
Drama Review Score: 7.0
For me, it took a while to get used to the quirky tone and tempo in A Man Who Defies the World of BL. Initially, I was put off by the main character's whole schtick. His resistance towards BL was like the gay version of I'm Not Like Other Girls, and it had a whiff of homophobia every time he said it. I know it wasn't meant to be taken ~seriously~, but he just repeated it one too many times and I didn't like the malicious tone to his pointedness. DON'T INFECT ME WITH TEH GAE!!!🤪
As the show went on, I stopped clutching my pearls and just enjoyed this BL drama for what it was. A Man Who Defies the World is a satircal take at the Boys Love genre, both celebrating and subverting the most common BL tropes. It's actually quite a clever series with moments of brilliance, but I wished some parts were executed better. Not all the jokes landed, and a few episodes were definitely weaker than others.
The most successful part of A Man Who Defies the World of BL is the lead actor, who's cute, charismatic, and carries the show with gusto. With his exaggerated reactions, he maximizes the comedic value out of each outrageous scenario. This actor does an excellent job at maintaining his high, nearly frantic energy from start to finish.
However, the few supporting cast and the many guest actors were a lot more forgettable. All of them are vaguely similar and their only defining trait is that they fall in love with each other. It's hard to care about these random couples with no backstory and no personality, who serve no purpose other than as a punchline. There's a missed opportunity to make these nondescript characters more memorable, defining their personalities in a humorous way.
I wanted to burst a gut laughing my ass off at A Man Who Defies the World of BL, but that never really happened. The series could have pushed itself more as a comedy. It evokes an occasional chuckle out of me, even if I'm usually cringing as much as I'm chuckling. I can't help but get the feeling that the adaptation might be more successful as a BL anime. An animated format could've enhanced the comedy more smoothly, without the limitations of human actors.
Watching A Man Who Defies the World of BL feels like a manga translated into live action. Its influence is evident in the style of comedy and the way that the scenes are sequenced. The stories are moderately funny at times, but rely too much on "I DON'T WANNA BE GAY LOL!!!" or "LOOK, THEY'RE GAY 4 EACH OTHER LOL!!!" Maybe I cracked a smile the first time, but not like after the tenth time this same joke was played out.
Technically, this drama has a lot of romances since the characters are just attracted to each other with no rhyme or reason. However, all these couples are played for laughs and there's nothing substantial about any of the relationships. Yes, we see plenty of "BL moments", but they are mostly random scenes from characters who come and go.
The only real relationship we see is the one between Ayato and Tojo, which was okay for the five minutes they were on screen, but it was hardly enough. The romance between Mob and Kikuchi went nowhere and it didn't even culminate in a kiss in the end. Kiss now, instead of teasing us about continuing this romance in a second season!
Mob's actor (Atsuhiro Inukai) did a great job with the comedy and he succeeded in making me laugh. This role called for a very over-the-top performance without being too annoying, and I think the actor had enough charisma to pull it off.
Skin & Nudity
A glimpse of butt
Surprisingly, there's nudity in A Man Who Defies the World of BL, which I was not expecting at all. We saw a glimpse of someone's butt, from one of the minor characters that featured in a story. Mob and his brother Ayato also had shirtless scenes throughout the drama.
I know Mob's distaste for BL is part of his characterization and basically the whole premise of the series, but I don't like the way it was conveyed in the show. At times, his snarky commentary felt like taking cheap shots at the gay community, in the veins of "ew, gay people!" or "ugh, gay people!"
I remember there was one joke about "meryba" (merry bad ending), which made Mob panic because he thought his brother was going to get killed over a BL romance. Okay, a guy confessed to another guy, and the joke is that it will result in a death somehow… 🙄 It was just one of the few insensitive jokes that dehumanized gay men in relationships. This wasn't an isolated incident, and such comments happened enough times that they got under my skin.
My request is simple. I want less homophobic jokes made at the expense of gay people. A clever show like this shouldn't have to rely on stupid insensitive comments to be funny.
The BL jokes
While some of the jokes feel insensitive, I do understand that they're mostly tongue-in-cheek humour about BL tropes. And when played right, these jokes can be pretty funny, resonating especially with those who are well-seasoned connoisseurs of the BL genre. If you're a BL fan, the parody scenarios in this drama will feel reassuringly familiar. These scenes will warm your heart in the way that only an inside joke can.
Mob and Kikuchi
In my opinion, Mob's relationship with Kikuchi was a big missed opportunity. All along, we knew this series was building up to the moment when Mob would finally experience his own ~BL romance~. And I was excited for that moment to come! Ooh la la, who would be the gentleman to melt Mob's heart and change his stance on BL? It must be someone pretty amazing, right?
Unfortunately, the romance was kind of a dud. Kikuchi's character was pretty unremarkable for a love interest. Kikuchi didn't have to be funny, but I thought he would have more spunk and personality. Instead, he's just like all the other supporting characters on the show, an one-dimensional BL caricature as generic as they come. I don't understand what's so special about him that made Mob change his mind about BL.
Their nonstarter romance was also a pretty boring way to end off the show. They dedicated an entire lengthy episode to developing this relationship and almost nothing noteworthy happened, not even a kiss in the end. They didn't give us humour, they didn't give us romance, and they didn't give us anything with Kikuchi. What's even the point of introducing his character?
A Man Who Defies the World of BL Episodes
A Man Who Defies the World of BL was released on March 27, 2021. The series is told in an anthology format with 8 separate stories combined into 4 episodes. Each story is around 10 to 15 minutes long. This is a short BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in under 2 hours. The last story is around 20 minutes long. For the sake of clarity, I'll be referring to each story as an episode.
A Man Who Defies the World of BL 2 2022 series sequel Drama review
A second season was released in 2022, called A Man Who Defies the World of BL 2. The sequel continues where this story leaves off in Season 1. The first episode begins by continuing Mob and Kikuchi's encounter from the previous finale, and the plot continues from that point onwards.
In my opinion, A Man Who Defies the World 2 is pretty similar to its predecessor. Both series carry the same offbeat humour and upbeat enthusiasm. Maybe the first season is slightly funnier since the jokes seem new and innovative. However, the second season also has more sentimental drama, as the protagonist becomes mature and shows less aversion to BL. If you liked A Man Who Defies the World, you'd probably enjoy the sequel.