I Cannot Reach You is a Japanese high school BL series about two childhood best friends. The main character is secretly infatuated with his companion. However, he fears confessing his feelings may jeopardize their bond. The protagonist is tormented by unrequited love, especially when his crush hangs out with another girl. As their relationship reaches a breaking point, they must confront their complicated emotions and hidden desires.
Childhood friends falling in love is my favourite trope, which I Cannot Reach You depicts vividly. This series captures the intense experience of unrequited love, from secret desires to conflicting emotions. However, I grew frustrated with the characters, who are indecisive or have erratic mood swings. The story drags out the angsty relationship drama and disrupts the romance from progressing. The plot takes one step forward and two steps back.
I Cannot Reach You Summary
Around 3 hours
High school romance
Sad and emotional
Around 20 minutes
Yamato is a high school student with excellent grades. Along with his handsome looks and natural athleticism, he has earned the admiration of his female classmates. Many confess their feelings to him, but he rejects them each time. Despite his popularity, Yamato is quite shy and doesn't like socializing with others. He rarely mingles with anyone in his class, preferring to keep to himself. His aloofness has made some students perceive him as rude and arrogant.
Kakeru is the only person who gets along with Yamato at school. The two have been best friends since childhood. Kakeru was there to support Yamato when his dad suffered health problems. Since then, they maintained a close bond. Despite their connection, Kakeru has a drastically different personality. From terrible grades to athletic ineptitude, he doesn't share his friend's talents. Yamato often helps mentor his buddy in their school assignments.
Unlike Yamato, Kakeru has an outgoing personality. Kakeru is good friends with his classmates, including Fujino, Hosaka, and Amamiya. Yet, Yamato doesn't like hanging out with them. Fujino and his girlfriend Kaho invite Kakeru to a couple's mixer. They want to introduce Kakeru to Kaho's female classmates and find him a girlfriend. He agrees to go to the event at the bowling alley. Kakeru also invites Yamato to come along with him.
The girls at the mixer swoon over the handsome Yamato. Although they try to flirt with him, he politely declines their advances. When asked to describe his ideal type, Yamato replies that he's fond of a childhood friend. Kakeru overhears the conversation and realizes his buddy may have a crush on him. Yet, Kakeru panics and doesn't know how to respond to these feelings. He has only viewed their relationship as platonic.
During the mixer, Kakeru meets Akane. This sweet girl is interested in him and wants to exchange contact information. He gladly accepts. Yamato notices their interaction and becomes jealous. As they walk home that night, Yamato comes close to confessing his secret crush. Yet, he backs out at the last moment. Yamato worries that his friend doesn't feel the same way about him. Admitting his infatuation may jeopardize their friendship. Yet, the feeling of unrequited love torments him.
I Cannot Reach You Trailer
I Cannot Reach You Cast
Kentaro Maeda (前田拳太郎)
Yamato is a high school student with excellent grades. He is also handsome and athletic. These attributes make him desirable to many female classmates, yet he rejects all their love confessions. Yamato has a shy personality and doesn't like socializing. His only friend at school is Kakeru. Yamato also has a close relationship with his little sister, Mikoto.
Haru Kashiwagi (柏木悠)
Kakeru is a high school student and Yamato's childhood best friend. The two have known each other since they were kids. Unlike his talented friend, Kakeru has terrible grades, is clumsy at sports, and gets mocked for his short height. However, he has an outgoing personality and gets along with his classmates. Kakeru has a noticeable age different with his little brother, Riku.
Ayaka Konno (紺野彩夏)
Tomo Nakai (中井友望)
Taketo Tanaka (田中偉登)
Leo Matsumoto (松本怜生)
Takumi Momose (百瀬拓実)
Toshiyuki Itakura (板倉俊之)
Chizuru Asano (浅野千鶴)
Kei Minegishi (峰岸慶)
Anna Kurasawa (倉沢杏菜)
Risako Miki (三木理紗子)
Miyu Kaneko (金子みゆ)
Ryoka Yoshida (吉田伶香)
Kira Miura (三浦綺羅)
Minato Shogaki (正垣湊都)
- Hosaka's actor (Leo Matsumoto) has a supporting role in the 2023 Japanese BL series Jack o' Frost. He portrays the main character's ex-boyfriend.
- Mikoto's actress (Ayaka Konno) is one of the leads in the 2019 series Shujin-ko, which has a gay storyline.
I Cannot Reach You Review
Drama Review Score: 7.3
I Cannot Reach You has a promising introduction. The first episode contains everything I cherish about love stories between childhood friends. Each scene adds to the enchantment, from sharing popsicles on the school rooftop to reflecting on adolescent memories. My heart swoons over the cozy interactions, delicate emotions, and unspoken affections. Based on this premiere, I had high expectations for the rest of the series. I Cannot Reach You already made me invested in this couple's romantic journey.
Beyond the compelling relationship dynamic, I Cannot Reach You makes a positive impression due to its casting. The two telegenic leads embody their roles wonderfully. Kakeru's performer (Haru Kashiwagi) is an adorable teen heartthrob blessed with expressive eyes. He brings a lot of giddiness, enthusiasm, and funny responses. There's a bright spark to this young actor's charisma, and I want to see him play more BL parts! His costar (Kentaro Maeda) is less emotive and doesn't pull off every moment confidently. Nonetheless, he still captures the wistfulness of unrequited love.
Unfortunately, I Cannot Reach You becomes less captivating after a strong start. The romance stalls for a long time, reluctant to move forward. Yamato's confession sits at the tip of his tongue, but he won't spit it out. Instead, he mopes around and feels sorry for himself. He rehashes the same anguished thoughts or longwinded conversations about his one-sided love. The angsty relationship drama drags on episode after episode. Whenever there's a tiny breakthrough, expect an immediate setback to follow. The series keeps disrupting the plot and doesn't progress.
The protagonists become frustrating to watch. Each time Yamato appears on the brink of expressing his feelings, he backs off. I get my hopes up for a confession, only to be annoyed by another fakeout. Yamato acts tormented over his unfulfilled love, from erratic mood swings to severe emotional turmoil. His perpetual cycle of self-pity and indecision is tedious. I also grew tired of the discourse around his relationship troubles. Other characters encourage him to reveal his secret crush, but he'll mumble some pessimistic excuse. These repetitive exchanges bore me.
I Cannot Reach You is hilariously dramatic. Sometimes, the leads speak theatrically or gaze intensely into each other's eyes as the emotional music swells. The overreactions to a simple teenage crush are amusing. The series also includes gentle relationship scenes, teasing the couple's intimate bond. Once in a while, an intriguing moment excites the BL fan in me. The cinematography enhances the romantic ambiance by using wide shots to capture the surroundings. Seeing the couple enjoy a shared experience at the park or on the rooftop evokes a sense of unity.
The relationship finally evolves during the last few episodes. Typically, transitioning from friends to lovers is one of my favourite parts when watching BL. Yet, Kakeru's feelings shift too quickly, leaving me unconvinced by the intimate moments. Instead of a graceful character arc, he stumbles into a romance with abrupt and awkward developments. Maybe the premiere gave me high expectations, but I'm disappointed. This clumsy series misses the mark and muddles a classic teenage love story. Despite a few glimpses of brilliance, I Cannot Reach You is underwhelming.
I Cannot Love You depicts an emotional romance between two childhood friends. Expect angsty relationship drama, erratic mood swings & dramatic exchanges. The plot takes too long to progress.
Yamato mopes around and feels sorry for himself without confessing for a long time. I grew tired of his anguish over the relationship drama. Kakeru's feelings also shift too quickly.
The leads embody their roles wonderfully. Kakeru's performer (Haru Kashiwagi) is super cute with expressive eyes. He brings lots of giddiness, enthusiasm, and charisma to his scenes.
I Cannot Reach You has a happy ending as Yamato and Kakeru come to terms with their feelings. The finale concludes sweetly and features several cute lovey-dovey moments between the leads.
The elegant series conveys a romantic ambiance, using wide shots to capture the characters in their surroundings. This technique highlights the intimacy of their bonding moments.
I Cannot Reach You captures an emotional teenage love story with compelling romantic moments. Yet, the relationship stalls for a long time without progress. Also, the protagonists can be aggravating.
I Cannot Reach You Episodes
I Cannot Reach You has a total of 8 episodes. Each episode is around 20 minutes long. It is a medium-length BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in under 3 hours. I Cannot Reach You started on September 19, 2023 and ended its last episode on November 7, 2023.
I Cannot Reach You is adapted from a Japanese manga. The original story, Kimi ni wa Todokanai, is created by Mika (みか).
Episode 1 Review
Damn, I adored the first episode. I'm such a sucker for these sentimental love stories between childhood best friends. Whenever a BL drama dangles this romantic trope, I swoon and fawn over the relationship dynamic. The premiere contains all the essential components in the playbook, from tragic adolescent memories to chummy interactions. My favourite moment is when Kakeru offers his popsicle to Yamato, an intimate gesture that lets my imagination go wild. Ahhh, I'm excited for the rest of the series!
Oh, Kakeru's actor (Haru Kashiwagi) is super cute! He looks telegenic on camera, very fitting for a teenage protagonist in a romantic drama. The performer is blessed with a pair of expressive eyes. He can switch his gaze to convey various emotions, including innocence, impishness, and immense joy. The performer also has a bright charisma, exuding natural warmth, giddiness, and enthusiasm. He injects loads of personality into Kakeru's character. This young star is a keeper! Cast him in more BL dramas!
Kakeru meets Ayane in his episode. She's supposed to be his love interest, the rival whose existence makes Yamato jealous and insecure. I crack up at one of Ayane's first lines to Kakeru: "You remind me of my little brother." LOL. That's an awkward pickup line to use on a guy at a couple's mixer! Ayane and Kakeru get along, forming a connection. Yet, Kakeru doesn't give her the doll since he wants to hold onto Yamato's memento. So far, I like how the story sets up the love triangle with the characters. Let's see how Kakeru chooses between Yamato and Ayane.
Episode 2 Review
This episode covers the same points as the premiere, not evolving Kakeru and Yamato's relationship dynamic that much. Even so, I still enjoy their interactions. I like how the series explores both perspectives and alternates between their thoughts. The story doesn't only focus on Yamato's unrequited love. Instead, it also reveals how Kakeru copes with his friend's crush on him. Their feelings for each other aren't on the same wavelength, which creates an intriguing tension in the narrative.
I liked a few trivial moments during this episode. These aren't significant scenes in the grand scheme of things. However, they add more insights into how Kakeru and Yamato feel about each other.
- In the first scene, Kakeru feels self-conscious about Yamato's hand touching his. Later, he subconsciously grabs his friend's hands before pulling away again. Kakeru's reaction is interesting. He seems conflicted because he doesn't know how to navigate the ambiguity with his friend.
- In the video game scene, Kakeru notices Yamato's aloofness around him. Kakeru cracks a joke to make his friend laugh. After breaking the ice, he once again asks Yamato what's wrong. I like how Kakeru navigated this exchange. He uses humour to diffuse the awkwardness before communicating with his friend. Although Kakeru often acts silly, he shows moments of emotional intelligence.
- Yamato gets feisty when his sister challenges him about Kakeru. He retorts, "Kakeru is my friend. He's MINE." I reacted sharply to his statement. Yamato is already getting possessive over his man, even though they haven't started dating yet. Oh damn, this boy is smitten!
Episode 3 Review
OMFG. These teenagers are behaving so dramatically over a secret crush. In the last episode, Kakeru runs to the school rooftop and clutches his friend in desperation. In this episode, Yamato drags his partner to a dark corner of a shopping mall to embrace him. From the emotional music to the forlorn expressions, the overblown theatrics are hilarious. I don't know whether to laugh or roll my eyes at their antics. Guys, confess to your friend or reject him if you don't feel the same way. It's not that serious!
How long will the story drag on this angsty relationship drama? I'm tired of the repetitive inner monologues and conversations about unrequited love. It's a constant loop of "You should confess!" vs "But I can't! He's my best friend!" Oh my god, can we get other story developments besides rehashing the same points!? Yamato's behaviour is also aggravating. He refuses to admit his feelings. But then, he gets jealous and interrupts his friend's date. I'm over him moping around and pitying himself. Either spit out your confession or put distance in your relationship.
Episode 4 Review
The characters haven't evolved since the series began. Yamato is still yearning for his unrequited love. Likewise, Kakeru keeps panicking over his friend's secret crush on him. Since their relationship dynamic remains stagnant, they repeat the same thoughts episode after episode. The story doesn't add new dimensions to their perspectives. Also, the plot never strays far from relationship drama. Aside from their love lives, we learn little about Yamato and Kakeru as individuals. There's no growth or development from either of them.
I like the moments that focus on Kakeru and Yamato's friendship. Their interactions are natural and comfortable without the complication of romantic feelings. I still believe in this couple and their relationship, but I need some new material from them. The final scene is in the right direction. It's an amusing scenario where the leads find themselves in an unusually intimate position. This is the closest they have been together on a physical level. Give me more lighthearted BL scenes in a similar vein, teasing the romance between them.
Episode 5 Review
This series has an annoying habit of disrupting pivotal moments in the plot. Like in this episode, the leads start arguing. A friend suddenly appears, causing the drama to stop midway. If you watch closely, you'll notice this happening a lot. Whenever Kakeru & Yamato are about to confront their feelings, someone walks in on them at the precise moment. It was a funny coincidence the first few times. However, the story keeps using this same narrative device to interrupt significant conversations.
Yamato is frustrating. He turns down his date with Kakeru and spends the rest of the time moping over his decision. We must sit through many boring conversations before both leads accept their feelings for each other. Blah blah blah, you need to be honest with yourself! Near the end of the episode, there's a cheesy moment where they frantically run around looking for each other. So cliched. 🙄 Nonetheless, I'm glad the kiss occurred because it shakes up the relationship dynamic. At least the status quo is broken, allowing for new developments.
LMAO. Fainting after the first kiss is so hilariously dramatic. Out of the many anticipated responses, I never expected Kakeru to drop to the ground and lose consciousness. The reaction is so atypical that I can't help but laugh. This love story takes the theatrics to the next level! The series may have worked better if it had leaned into its surreal humour. Insert more cheeky jokes and less angsty relationship drama. Instead, its current format doesn't work. It's not funny enough to be a lighthearted comedy, yet it isn't sophisticated enough to be a poignant romance either.
Episode 6 Review
I understand that Kakeru was startled by the kiss. He has every right to feel this way. Yet, his over-the-top response makes it seem like he has zero romantic feelings for Yamato. Being reminded of the kiss prompts him to wash his mouth, almost like he's disgusted. This reaction undermines the love story, making it harder to convince viewers that Kakeru is attracted to Yamato. I don't believe Kakeru when he switches his stance after chatting with Yamato's sister. The story doesn't support the sudden changes in his thinking.
As Kakeru's stance softens, he seems less opposed to a romance with Yamato. However, their feelings aren't on the same level. Yamato is infatuated with his best friend, whereas Kakeru isn't even sure about his attraction. Although Kakeru doesn't reject the confession, he remains confused and cautious. I dislike how Yamato rushes the process. He comes across as too intense, pressuring Kakeru into a relationship. Yamato's aggressive sexual advances in the bedroom reveal his lack of self-restraint. He also doesn't give Kakeru the necessary time to process his feelings.
I recently watched If It's With You, another Japanese high school BL drama with the friends-to-lovers trope. There are similarities between these series, including themes of unrequited love. If It's With You earns my respect for handling the confession scene with emotional finesse. While the protagonist doesn't reciprocate his friend's feelings, the rejection is kind and gentle. By comparison, I Cannot Reach You seems unsophisticated. The characters lack sensitivity, turning the story's climax into immature melodrama. The quality of the writing is like day and night.
Episode 7 Review
I admire the picturesque visuals in I Cannot Reach You. Episode 7 features a scene where Yamato & Kakeru sit on a gentle slope on a hill, enjoying a meal together. The sun's soft hues cast a warm glow on the grassy landscape. What a cozy ambiance! This series also employs wide shots to capture the entire surroundings. We see the characters as tiny figures nestled in the environment. The technique highlights their bond, emphasizing how they enjoy an intimate experience in a world of vast possibilities.
Yamato's sister doesn't feel authentic. This one-dimensional character is only there to deliver long-winded spiels about her brother's relationship. Whenever Yamato or Kakeru talk to her, Mikoto gives wise advice. You should be confident in your feelings, blah blah blah. However, her scenes come across as unnatural, almost like she's a mouthpiece for the storyteller. Mikoto has no subplots of her own. Her existence solely revolves around Yamato and his love life, like a tiny planet orbiting in her brother's universe. Mikoto's character isn't well-written, and I don't care for her.
I'm glad that Kakeru has come to terms with his attraction. He's more confident entering a romance with his friend. However, I'm skeptical about his transformation. Kakeru's feelings shift abruptly during these last few episodes. He spent the first half of the series not reciprocating Yamato's love. He even fainted after their kiss. Yet, Kakeru suddenly seems open-minded. "Maybe I like you hitting on me after all, hehehe~" Umm, where was this clarity earlier? Why couldn't his enlightenment come sooner instead of torturing us with six episodes of unrequited love?
Here we go again, another dramatic running scene. For some reason, the series loves making the characters dash off after they come to a realization. From jogging up the stairs to sprinting across town, the storyteller thinks this is the best way to convey heightened emotions. OMG! The faster they move, the more intense the moment feels! With all the running in every other episode, the actors must've gotten a good workout while filming I Cannot Reach You lol.
I'm not into the annoying drama in the first half of the episode. However, I like the cute flirting scenes in the second half. Kakeru and Yamato's interactions as boyfriends are charming! This series has lacked sweet BL moments, which it packs into the last stretch. I wish we got more lovey-dovey content rather than excessive angst or tedious conflicts. Maybe my expectations were too high after the premiere, but I'm disappointed by I Cannot Reach You. I want to adore this couple so badly. Yet, the poorly executed love story diminishes my enthusiasm and leaves me ambivalent.