Fudanshi Bartender is a Japanese BL slice-of-life comedy. The main character may look like a suave bartender on the outside, but he hides his secret obsession with BL. The protagonist constantly daydreams about his male coworkers and customers in outlandish scenarios. Cursed with an overactive imagination, he can misconstrue even the most innocuous moment and turn it into a romantic connection.
Those who love silly comedies may respond well to the offbeat humour in Fudanshi Bartender. It parodies BL tropes cheekily with outrageous scenarios, wacky characters, and over-the-top fantasies. This quirky series suffers because it doesn't have an ongoing story, lacks substantial romances, and hammers the same joke repeatedly. Nonetheless, I admire this drama's relentless enthusiasm and commitment to eccentricity.
Fudanshi Bartender Summary
Around 45 minutes
Happy and upbeat
Around 22 minutes
Hibiki works as a bartender with his boss Shirasu and his coworker Hokuto. Although he appears suave on the outside, Hibiki is a secretly obsessed fudanshi. He likes drawing BL manga, watching anime, and collecting memorabilia. However, he hides his favourite hobby and pretends to be a regular guy with common interests.
Hibiki loves daydreaming about real-life guys in outlandish BL scenarios. His inspiration comes from watching the male customers interact at his bar. Hibiki's overactive imagination often misconstrues their innocuous interactions as romantic connections. He gets overexcited about his fantasies, often lost in his own world.
Everybody is fair game in Hibiki's BL fantasies, including his senior boss or gender-swapped colleague. He loves pairing random people and shipping them together. Recently, the bar hired a young bartender named Chita. With his boyish looks and enthusiastic personality, Hibiki's imagination goes into overdrive as he envisions Chita in his BL fantasies.
Fudanshi Bartender Cast
Takuma Wada (和田琢磨)
Hibiki is a bartender harbouring a secret obsession with the BL genre. He doesn't tell anyone about his favourite hobby of drawing BL manga, watching anime, and collecting memorabilia. Hibiki has an overactive imagination and fantasizes about guys hooking up in real life. He often imagines his male coworkers and customers in romantic scenarios.
Masu Takeshi (升毅)
Miona Hori (堀未央奈)
Kenta Suga (須賀健太)
Kazuhiro Yamaji (山路和弘)
Tomohisa Yuge (弓削智久)
Masaki Nakao (中尾暢樹)
Shogo Suzuki (鈴木勝吾)
Shota Matsushima (松島庄汰)
Fudanshi Bartender Review
Drama Review Score: 6.8
Fudanshi Bartender is a funny slice-of-life comedy that parodies BL tropes. The protagonist constantly overthinks and overreacts to the men around him, turning their mundane scenarios into romantic fantasies. The humour comes from his hysterical reactions, which become increasingly wackier. That's basically the entire premise of the drama. It repeats the same joke in different contexts and tweaks the formula slightly each time. After the novelty wears off, this series doesn't offer much variety.
Despite its simplicity, Fudanshi Bartender delivers the quirky comedy with relentless enthusiasm. Every scene is silly, energetic, and gleeful. Even if some of the jokes are hit-or-miss, they successfully convey a sense of liveliness and excitement. This drama embraces offbeat humour, wholly committed to its eccentricity. It feeds off the ridiculousness, making you laugh because the main character's BL delusions are so far removed from normalcy. Unable to take itself too seriously, Fudanshi Bartender loves being campy, flamboyant, and over-the-top.
The lead (Takuma Wada) helps propel the zany energy with his boisterous performances. He captures the suaveness of a bartender and combines it with the giddiness of a fudanshi. You wouldn't think these two personas go together, but the actor makes his unique role work convincingly. He's charismatic enough to carry the exaggerated overreactions, goofy expressions, and slapstick gags. The rest of the supporting cast is also bubbly, albeit they don't have as many chances to shine in the spotlight.
Fudanshi Bartender reminds me of the Japanese BL comedy, A Man Who Defies the World of BL. They share a similar brand of humour, so both should appeal to the same demographic. Fudanshi Bartender is more outlandish, has less versatile jokes, and comes with lower production values. In contrast, A Man Who Defies the World has a longer length to leave a memorable impression. It also benefits from simply being introduced first and gets credit for originality. Some may consider Fudanshi Bartender inferior, but the quality difference isn't massive.
Even though Fudanshi Bartender is packed with BL fantasies, these flirtatious situations are primarily played for laughs. Hibiki may daydream about a hypothetical attraction between his male colleagues or customers, but they only occur in his imagination. There isn't a lot of actual romance happening for real. Nonetheless, we see several characters in physically intimate encounters that tease homoeroticism. Interestingly, the series includes a BL pairing between two elderly men. It's refreshing that Hibiki's gay fantasies do not discriminate against age.
Fudanshi Bartender doesn't have a significant storyline to tie the playful jokes together. The series consists of scattered slice-of-life scenes without depth or overarching themes. Sadly, there's no plot development, character growth, or meaningful progress. The randomness works against its favour, making the BL parody feel trivial and frivolous. Although it's casually funny, I don't think this drama includes enough content to be considered essential viewing. Fudanshi Bartender is an amusing niche product that will only appeal to some fans.
Fudanshi Bartender is a slice-of-life comedy without an overarching story. It consists of funny BL fantasies, using a wacky protagonist and his hysterical overreactions to propel the offbeat humour.
The main character imagines his male acquaintances in intimate encounters, including an elderly BL pair. However, these relationships are just playful gags instead of any real romances.
The lead actor successfully combines the suaveness of a bartender and the giddiness of a fudanshi. He's charismatic enough to carry the exaggerated reactions and goofy expressions.
Fudanshi Bartender ends happily, although there isn't much of a plot in the first place. This drama is missing meaningful progress, character growth, or significant developments.
This drama doesn't appear to be made with a big budget. Nonetheless, it has a pretty fun and campy style. Hibiki's Joker make-up is very inspired, haha.
Fudanshi Bartender is an enthusiastic BL comedy committed to its eccentricity. Although occasionally funny, it repeats the same jokes in different contexts, lacking a bit of variety and substance.
Fudanshi Bartender Series
Fudanshi Bartender has a total of 2 episodes. Each episode is around 22 minutes long. It is a short BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in under 1 hours. Fudanshi Bartender aired on May 31, 2022.
Fudanshi Bartender is directed by Junya Ikeda. This drama is adapted from a Japanese manga by Naruko.
Fudanshi Bartender has a unique detail where Hibiki creates a BL scenario based on an alcoholic drink. I love this little quirk. Just for fun, I'm going to list all the beverages and include descriptions of the hilarious fantasies.
The first drink in our list is the Gin Rickey, ordered by the customer Torii. He visits the bar with his coworker, Yamazaki. Apparently, these two are regulars at the bar and one of Hibiki's favourite fantasy couples. They haven't visited lately, so Hibiki is excited to see them return again.
The Gin Rickey is special because customers can stir the cocktail on their own to get the desired taste. In the fantasy, Torii rips open Yamazaki's suit and starts dripping lime juice over his shirtless body. Then, he licks the juice from his colleague's chest!
The second beverage is the Screwdriver, ordered by the customer Yamazaki. He arrives at the bar with his older work acquaintance, Torii. They are Hibiki's favourite couple to fuel his BL fantasies. During the episode, Yamazaki momentarily falls asleep on Torii's shoulder, an imagery delights Hibiki.
This cocktail is special because the drinkers used to stir their beverages with an actual screwdriver. In the fantasy, Yamazaki throws himself at Torii in a passionate embrace. They lock eyes and draw their faces closer before exchanging another tight hug.
The third alcoholic drink is the Gimlet, ordered by the character Ubuchisawa. Also known as Buchi, he is Shirasu's friend who visits the bar at the end of Episode 1. It is their first reunion in seven years. Buchi is an established man and currently works as a union leader.
The Gimlet is special because it is associated with the message of "came into existence in an untimely manner". Hibiki fantasizes about Buchi and Shirasu being a pair of former lovers who must say goodbye to each other. Hibiki starts getting teary-eyed as he thinks about their tearful farewell in his imagination.
The fourth beverage is the Mojito, ordered by the character Shirasu. He is the bar owner and Hibiki's boss. Shirasu takes the evening off to catch up with his old friend, Buchi. Although Hibiki ships the two elderly men together, his BL fantasies are destroyed after noticing Buchi's wedding ring. This discovery prompts Hibiki to exclaim, "People being married are what I detest the most!"
The Mojito is special because this beverage has travelled internationally and changed over time. It bears a resemblance to Shirasu and Hibiki's relationship. In the fantasy, Hibiki imagines the two men's reunion after seven years apart. He fantasizes about them kissing as fireworks explode in the evening sky.
The fifth cocktail in this list is Kir, ordered by the customer Iwai. He is a regular at the bar and visits alone. After Chita, a new coworker, starts working at the bar, Hibiki is wants to find him a romantic partner. He thinks Chita and Iwai would make a suitable couple, especially after overhearing their casual chatter. Although they haven't discussed anything remotely romantic, that won't stop Hibiki's BL fantasies!
The Kir is a classy drink that originated in Burgundy, France. In the fantasy, Hibiki imagines Chita in a peasant costume and Iwai dressed up as a royal prince. Iwai has come to rescue Chita like a fairytale fantasy.
The sixth and final drink is the Bloody Mary, ordered by the customer Taketsuru. He is a salesperson who arrives alone. In an unexpected twist, Taketsuru and Iwai happen to be old friends. Both are surprised to reunite at the bar. Initially, Hibiki paired Iwai and Chita together. However, he changes his mind and ships the two friends, especially after Taketsuru teases Iwai for kissing people when he gets drunk.
The Bloody Mary is special because it represents the blood spilled. Its origins were inspired by Queen Mary, who executed hundreds of peasants. This drink ties into the intense love triangle between Chita, Iwai, and Taketsuru in Hibiki's imagination. During the fantasy, Iwai and Taketsuru have a sensual hookup on the bar counter.