Double is a Japanese drama about two friends with an unusually codependent relationship. They have been aspiring actors and next-door neighbours for many years, bonding over their love for theatre performances. The main character is his friend's mentor and sees tremendous talent in him. Their rapport changes when one of their careers picks up traction, leaving the other with complicated emotions.
No, Double isn't a full-fledged BL drama. There's a shred of intimacy, but it doesn't have enough romantic content to be your main reason for watching. However, the characters share a complex dynamic that will make you speculate and analyze their fascinating relationship. While some parts of the story are slow, the narrative offers many thoughtful and introspective moments, backed by excellent performances.
Around 4 hours
Deep and thoughtful
Around 24 minutes
Takara Takarada used to work an ordinary job until he watched a play one night. He feels inspired to change his career after seeing the lead, Yujin, perform on stage. Yujin is an aspiring actor in a small theatre trope. He takes Takara under his wing and mentors him on various acting techniques. Since that night, the two men have become close friends. Takara even moves into the room beside Yujin, becoming next-door neighbours.
Takara and Yujin are still friends seven years later. They remain anonymous actors restricted to a small local theatre troupe. Occasionally, Takara takes on a few minor bit roles in films or dramas. Yujin helps his friend rehearse before every gig. Their preparation is extensive since Takara can't memorize lines from reading a script. Instead, the two friends must analyze the screenplay, discuss the scenarios, and immerse in the fictional roles. As a result, their acting styles are highly in sync.
Although Takara is an excellent actor, he may rely too much on his friend's guidance. He idolizes Yujin and obeys every piece of advice. Takara depends on Yujin to the extent that it becomes a liability. They develop a codependent relationship where Takara can't act spontaneously without Yujin coaching him beforehand. That's a problem during auditions, script changes, or improv situations. Takara can't cope unless he can listen to Yujin's feedback.
Takara is the lead of a local theatre play. Yujin is his double, filling in during rehearsals when his friend has a preoccupied schedule. A talent scout attends the play and seems impressed with Takara's performance. Tsumeta introduces herself and wants to recruit Takara for her agency. She's captivated by his skills and appearance. This arrangement is excellent for Takara, opening up new acting opportunities. Tsumeta helps him land bigger acting gigs in dramas and films. His career gradually begins to take traction.
Yujin is happy about his friend's thriving career and prepares Takara for every role. However, Yujin hasn't received the same success in his career. He remains on the sidelines while watching his doppelganger become famous. Meanwhile, Takara struggles in his performances without Yujin's guidance. The directors change scenes or have specific instructions during filming, which clashes with Takara's comfort zone. He must learn to adapt without depending on his friend. As the leads embark on different journeys, their close bond becomes strained over time.
Yudai Chiba (千葉雄大)
Takara is an aspiring actor and Yujin's best friend. He was inspired to start an acting career after watching Yujin's performance in a play. They have become friends for many years. Takara is a talented actor with hidden potential. However, he can't memorize lines or improvise competently. Takara must rely on Yujin's guidance for his acting performances.
Kento Nagayama (永山絢斗)
Yujin is Takara's acting mentor. He has taught his friend many acting techniques and sees great potential in him. Yujin is highly influential over Takara, so their acting styles are always in sync. Yujin is Takara's double during plays. He occasionally substitutes his friend during rehearsals. Although Yujin is part of an acting troupe, he works as a restaurant waiter for his income.
Nanami Sakuraba (桜庭ななみ)
Arata Horii (堀井新太)
Haruka Kudo (工藤遥)
Kanji Tsuda (津田寛治)
Misuzu Kanno (神野三鈴)
Ron Mizuma (水間ロン)
Jun Hashimoto (橋本じゅん)
Tomoya Maeno (前野朋哉)
Jun Hashimoto (橋本じゅん)
Shinobu Nakayama (中山忍)
- Takara's actor (Yudai Chiba) is the lead of the 2019 Japanese BL series Ossan's Love: Love in the Sky. He played one of the pilots in this airline drama.
Drama Review Score: 7.3
Double is not a BL drama. It's one of those borderline bromance series that teases tension and desire. There's enough ambiguity to make you speculate about a complex relationship between the leads. Yet, the story doesn't emphasize a romantic connection. Instead, the focus is on a conceptual bond that overlaps into confusing, disturbing, and heartbreaking. Although Double won't satisfy those primarily watching for BL, it offers compelling plots about emotional intimacy and personal growth.
Describing the relationship between the leads is complicated. Double is fascinating because it offers different ways to interpret their dynamic. Does Takara treat Yujin like a role model or see him as having too much influence over his behaviour? Is Yujin alienating himself from his famous friend out of respect or resentment? There are many thoughtful questions and intriguing psychological dimensions to their intricate rapport. Analyzing how Takara and Yujin perceive each other is a significant part of what makes Double enjoyable.
Double has almost no BL content apart from one surprise encounter. Since my reviews focus on the romantic angle, this series loses points for its lack of seduction. Regardless, Takara and Yujin's relationship is more sophisticated than your average bromance. They love each other in an abstract sense. The blurriness between admiration and attraction is intentional, so you must estimate how deep their bond goes. Still, I don't want to give the wrong idea. Let me reiterate that Double isn't a conventional BL drama. The storyteller defines their feelings vaguely.
This series has a few unexciting episodes that leave me nonchalant, especially around the middle. Parts of the narrative seem slow and sombre, struggling to hold my attention. It's a character-driven drama, although I don't feel too attached to Takara or Yujin. The story is opaque about their thoughts and backgrounds, making it hard to connect with them individually. Another problem is they don't spend enough time together. Maybe it's the BL fan in me complaining, but I want more relationship-building moments that highlight their camaraderie.
The best part about Double is definitely the acting. Both leads deliver tremendous performances with emotional nuances. Takara's actor (Yudai Chiba) looks different from how I remembered him in the past. Yet, he still exudes sincere charm with a twinkle in his eyes. I love his delicate performances that accentuate the character's fragility. His costar (Kento Nagayama) is a handsome stud who gives a firm showcase of his acting capabilities. His steely gaze, stern expressions, and serious demeanour tell a story without even speaking the words aloud.
Double has artistic cinematography with innovative camera angles that capture a unique perspective. The evocative soundtrack also enhances the atmosphere. Sadly, this drama stayed under the radar without much mainstream buzz. Despite the obscurity, those who watched the series praise it effusively. My review score is middling due to the sparse BL content. Also, the story's themes didn't resonate with me as much as they impacted other viewers. Double represents a classic case of "I liked it, but I didn't love it." Overall, I still think it's underrated and deserves appreciation.
Double has a thoughtful story that explores emotional intimacy and personal growth. Some parts of the narrative are slow and sombre, but the series picks up the pace near the end.
Double isn't a conventional BL drama. The characters don't have romantic exchanges other than a few intimate moments. Instead, the story focuses on their abstract bond.
Both leads give excellent performances with emotional nuances. Takara's actor (Yudai Chiba) is sincere and vulnerable, while his costar (Kento Nagayama) has a firm, dignified demeanour.
Double has a happy ending where Takara understands himself and his relationship with Yujin. The finale is packed with stylish symbolism and phenomenal acting performances.
This series has meaningful cinematography and a haunting soundtrack that accentuate the atmosphere. The innovative camera angles capture the events from a unique perspective.
Double is a contemplative and intriguing drama that explores the friendship between two men. Although it lacks BL content, this series has powerful performances backed by artistic cinematography.
Double has a total of 10 episodes. Each episode is around 25 minutes long. It is a long BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in over 4 hours. Double aired its first episode on June 4, 2022 and ended on August 6, 2022.
Double is directed by Kazuhiro Nakagawa. This series is adapted from a manga written by Ayako Noda. The original manga is still ongoing as of 2022.
Is Double BL?
No, Double does not market itself as a BL drama. The romantic content is minimal throughout the series. However, the two main characters kiss at the end of Episode 8. Previously, the leads maintained platonic interactions. Despite their codependent relationship, Takara and Yujin never expressed a sexual desire for each other until this episode. Takara admits he harbours secret feelings for his friend, adding a complicated dimension to their dynamic.
Near the end of Episode 8, the characters spend the night together, sleeping beside each other. Takara is on the verge of giving his love confession. He drops heavy hints, implying that Yujin already knows how he feels. Yujin doesn't want to address the matter, but Takara insists on professing his love. As they argue, Yujin suddenly grabs Takara and plants a kiss on him. The scene is not well-lit, so you can't see everything clearly. Nonetheless, it's an undeniable kiss between the two friends, taking their relationship to unchartered territories.
The confession doesn't go smoothly as Yujin responds with a harsh accusation. "You stayed because you wanted to have sex with me, right?" Their subsequent conversation is an intense and gripping moment, possibly the best scene of the series. Yet, nothing more develops after this kiss. The story doesn't steer in a BL direction. Takara struggles to reconcile his feelings for Yujin, but it's mixed with many emotions. Afterwards, Takara goes through self-reflection and works through his other issues. His attraction to Yujin doesn't have a clear verdict when the series ends.