Mood Indigo is a Japanese BL drama about a struggling author, who begins to write pornographic novels at the urging of his friend. Although the main character is initially reluctant to work in this industry, he slowly learns to adapt the eroticism into his writing. As he delves deeper into this salacious genre, the relationship with his editor also becomes increasingly sensual.
As the second instalment in a trilogy, Mood Indigo is the prequel of The Novelist, taking place years before its predecessor. It explores sexual topics in a clever, provocative way, pushing the boundaries more than your average BL series. This atmospheric drama balances its risqué subject matter with some surprisingly poignant moments, delivering a powerful storyline that is rich with emotions.
Mood Indigo Summary
Around 2 hours
Sexy and steamy
Around 22 minutes
Kijima is an award-winning author who has been struggling to find work since his debut novel, "Mood Indigo". At a funeral, he becomes reacquainted with his college classmate Kido, an editor at a publishing company. A few days ago, Kido got kicked out of his girlfriend's apartment. Kijima takes pity on his friend and invites him to live together as roommates.
Since Kijima has a lot of unpaid debt, Kido offers his friend an opportunity to write novels for his company. Kido deals with erotic literature in his line of work, a genre that Kijima looks down upon pretentiously. However, he is tight on finances and reluctantly accepts the gig, agreeing to publish his stories under a pseudonym.
Kido's publishing company wants to earn the posthumous rights of a famous author's final novel. Gamoda is a heavyweight in the world of pornographic literature, but he has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. If Kido manages to secure this contract, his boss has agreed to transfer him to another department in the company. His line of work in erotica is the reason why Kido's girlfriend won't marry him, so he cherishes this job transfer a lot.
At first, Gamoda has no intention of publishing his final novel with Kido's company. He is only tempted after Kido offers him an interesting opportunity to mentor an apprentice writer, namely Kijima. However, Gamoda has gotten the wrong assumption that Kijima is a female author, and he is upset upon discovering the real identity. As Kido and Kijima plead for him to reconsider, Gamoda makes an outrageously sinister request, one that threatens their friendship, their dignity, and their sexual identity.
Mood Indigo Cast
Terunosuke Takezai (竹財輝之助)
Kijima is a talented author who won an acclaimed award for his debut novel "Mood Indigo". However, he has been out of work since then and his debts are starting to pile up. With his eccentric personality, Kijima doesn't like to socialize and has very few friends. He offers Kido a place to stay at his apartment, where the two of them become roommates.
Munehiro Yoshida (吉田宗洋)
Kido is an editor at a publishing company, where he deals with pornographic novels. His girlfriend's family looks down on Kido's career, and she has refused to marry him for this reason. Kido is good at persuasion, convincing Kijima to publish erotic novels with his company. As his editor, Kido learns to put up with Kijima's many eccentricities, but loses his patience at times.
Goro Oishi (大石吾朗)
So Yamanaka (山中聡)
- Kido's actor has a small guest cameo in the 2023 apocalyptic BL series The End of the World With You. He appears in Episode 5. The End of the World With You is created by the same director and author who made Mood Indigo.
- Kuzumi, the lead actor in the sequel The Novelist, appears in the final moments of Episode 6. After the credits, he shares a short scene with Kijima in the epilogue.
Mood Indigo Review
Drama Review Score: 9.3
I mean this in the most positive way possible, but Mood Indigo is sophisticated smut. Let's not beat around the bush here, this BL drama is basically gay porn with a plot. This is not meant to be a crass insult. I enjoyed Mood Indigo for what it is, a sensual romance filled with homoerotic passion, steamy sex scenes, and surprisingly poignant emotions.
The Novelist, its predecessor in this trilogy series, didn't make much of an impression on me, whereas Mood Indigo was so much more memorable. There's a noticeable improvement in all aspects of its production, from the writing quality to the acting ability. Where Mood Indigo succeeds the most is establishing a beautifully melancholy mood. The gorgeous cinematography, the poignant music choices, and the well-crafted narrative all contributed to a very elegant ambience. I just love the stylish atmosphere in this drama.
Mood Indigo's story is simple yet focused, exploring the universal themes of death and remorse. My complaint about the first series is that the plot feels too hollow, like it was driven purely by gratuitous sex. In Mood Indigo, the storytelling is thoughtfully nuanced, finding the right balance between the physical and the emotional aspects. Kijima is allowed to show a lot more vulnerability, while Kido is a fantastic screen partner with an equally compelling characterization. Both actors do a great job with the material, conveying their range of emotions powerfully.
The steamy sex scenes, which were already remarkable in the last series, continue to be outstanding. The actors take it up a notch with their kissing and physical intimacy, becoming even more comfortable in the passionate moments. With that said, the lustful relationship between Kido and Kijima is not meant to be happy or healthy. You don't sense any romance between the two characters and there's no joy in their scenes. It's a pretty cynical depiction of love, which may leave you feeling unfulfilled.
The ending of Mood Indigo is bitter. Not even bittersweet, but just sad, grim, and in tune with the melancholy vibe of the series. Perhaps the ending was a little rushed, like they were hasty to wrap up the storyline and jump forward to the present time. Nonetheless, I felt very satisfied after watching this BL series, which was sexy and stylish from start to finish. I liked it so much better than the previous series. If The Novelist was considered low-brow smut, then Mood Indigo might be the classier and more refined version that is improved in every way.
How is the story?
Kijima and Gamoda
Focusing on the relationship between Kijima and Gamoda is a stroke of genius, and perhaps one of the biggest improvements made from The Novelist to Mood Indigo. The storyline with Kijima's mentor fixes a big problem in the previous series, where the plot only revolves around eroticism and nothing else.
Gamoda brings out a different side to these characters away from the world of sex. I feel like I understood Kijima's personality so much better in this series. He's allowed to be more vulnerable, more sensitive, and more intimate with his emotions.
Gamoda started out as a despicable character, but he's actually a tragic figure the more you get to know him. Here's a feeble and lonely man who is about to die, and no one is there for him in his final days other than Kijima. It was touching to see how much Kijima cherished this relationship, from taking care of household chores to visiting him in the hospital every day.
Even when Gamoda has given him a 'pass' and tells him not to visit anymore, Kijima wouldn't abandon this lonely old man by his deathbed. It shows a lot of strength and integrity in his character that I didn't think he had.
It was interesting to watch Kijima and Gamoda's relationship develop, from their rocky start to the close bond they had at the end. I liked that Kijima saw Gamoda as a father figure, and the strained relationship he had with his real father also explains a lot about his personality. Kijima has a father complex that influences many decisions he makes in his career, his relationships, and his life.
I do think that the relationship between Kijima and Gamoda needed more depth. Mood Indigo could've benefited from a few additional scenes of Gamoda mentoring Kijima, which would solidify the emotional nuances of their teacher-student dynamic. Nonetheless, the series did a great job demonstrating how close Kijima and Gamoda have gotten, making their final scenes all the more heartbreaking.
Kijima and Kido
I don't know how to describe the complicated relationship between Kijima and Kido, but a romance wouldn't be the word I'd use. This isn't a sweet and tender relationship between two boyfriends. It's a sexually charged love affair driven by physical lust. What more is there to say? Kijima gives good head.
Notice that every time Kido and Kijima have sex, the two of them immediately part ways afterwards. They get sexed up and then they leave each other, never staying around for the morning after. Between the two of them, Kijima wants more of an emotional connection, but he's simply not ~wife material~ for Kido. There are relationships where you have fun and fool around, and then there are relationships that you can actually bring home to your parents. His relationship with Kijima is like a temporary fling, until Kido can find an actual wife to settle down with a kid.
Even though the romance between them is nonexistent, there's no denying that their sex scenes are ridiculously HOT. The scenes aren't just erotic, but they're also hilarious and entertaining to watch. Who needs romance when you have lines like "But I was thinking about you while I touched my ass~" or "I've managed to stretch it quite a bit~" Love is overrated. I'm completely okay with watching two people who are only together to drill and suck.
Kijima vs Kido
Although it wasn't obvious at the time, any relationship between Kijima and Kido was doomed since their argument in Episode 5. At the start of that episode, Kijima lays an almighty smackdown on Kido after learning of his betrayal. Not only did he get back together with his girlfriend, but Kido also transferred jobs and abandoned Kijima in the porn industry that he introduced him to.
An angry Kijima begins ripping apart every aspect of Kido's personality, outlining all his faults in extensive detail. He's spineless, he cares too much about what others think, he has a lot of pride but no conviction of his own. In short, he's the worst. Kijima's piercing words bring Kido to tears. He admits to not having the courage or the individuality to live life freely or love whomever he wants like Kijima does.
This weakness in Kido's character is ultimately the reason why he and Kijima will never work out. Some people are just not cut out to be in an openly gay relationship. They can only conform, they would rather repress their feelings, and they're too scared to live life outside the boundaries. That's Kido in a nutshell.
All the actors were excellent in Mood Indigo. Kijima's actor (Terunosuke Takezai) is fantastic with the sensitive moments, showing a more vulnerable side to his character. He has powerful chemistry with Kido, and the two go at those sex scenes with so much vigour that it's incredible to watch.
The actor playing Kido's character (Munehiro Yoshida) is also outstanding, delivering such a confident and nuanced performance. He gives off a very authentic vibe with his mannerisms, his appearance, and just his overall demeanour. He can convey these deep, thoughtful emotions with just a single gaze in his eyes.
Finally, the actor playing Gamoda (Goro Oishi) puts in some heartbreaking displays before his death. The scene where he thanked Kijima for staying by his side was a memorable moment, as was the scene where he cried about his last regret in life.
Mood Indigo has a sad ending where Kijima and Kido don't end up together. Years later, Kido got married and had a daughter. Meanwhile, Kijima is happily shacked up with his rich, hot, and young boy toy Kuzumi.
When the two of them meet up again during an evening out, Kido tries to lean in for a kiss. Before the kiss can happen, Kijima wakes up, pulls himself away, and rejects his ex-lover with a quiet apology. Sorry, but unavailable! Dude, you made your choice long ago when you picked your wife and child over Kijima. This means you'll never be able to kiss him again.
Even after the first failed kiss, Kido STILL didn't give up. With a sudden change of heart, he dashes out of the taxi to chase after his ex-lover. Unfortunately, he stops in his tracks after seeing Kijima with his new boyfriend. He notices the two of them seem happy together. Kido retreats back into his taxi, looking crestfallen. How embarrassing for him. 🤭
The ending shows that Kido still has feelings for Kijima after all this time. His heterosexual marriage hasn't diminished the passion he felt for his former lover. Maybe years ago, Kido thought they only had a casual fling. But now that he's looking back in retrospect, his character has regrets about not cherishing their relationship more. As Kido questions whether he made the wrong decision to leave Kijima, he must live with this regret for the rest of his life.
Kido's final line in the episode is very poetic: "Somewhere in my heart, there will always be a flickering flame. During those heady days, we never managed to fully extinguish it. I think that flame will flicker until my dying day."
It's interesting to compare between the older Kijima in The Novelist and the younger Kijima in Mood Indigo. In the first series, his character is a jaded and manipulative writer down on his luck. In the second series, he's also a struggling writer, but his personality is way more sensitive and sentimental. This Kijima feels like a nicer guy who wears his heart on his sleeves. I like seeing this emotional honesty and vulnerability to him.
Kijima has a quiet dignity to his character that I admire. It takes a lot of integrity to stay by Gamoda's side and care for the old man even as his health deteriorates. Kijima also showed that same mental fortitude when he had a heated argument with Kido. Even when Kido was in tears and wanted sympathy, Kijima maintained his stance and wouldn't forgive him so easily. He's a character that sticks by his convictions and I find that kind of inner strength really appealing.
Mood Indigo is a stylish production with exquisite camerawork that captures the actors in the best possible light. The ambience is so elegant that you almost think you're viewing this series through a premium Instagram filter. Occasionally, we'll get these close-up shots of Kijima or Kido's faces, allowing us to explore the pensiveness in their expressions. It's a lovely cinematography choice that adds to the introspectiveness of the narrative.
This well-crafted atmosphere helps to set the mood while you're watching each episode of Mood Indigo. With the soft music and the sombre storylines, your heart will be filled with a beautiful melancholy that resonates deeply.
Skin & nudity
Mood Indigo is an open-minded and skin-friendly BL drama that handles its adult themes with gusto. We see Kijima and Kido have sex plenty of times, although the lighting conditions are usually pretty dark. (I always know there's gonna be a naughty scene whenever the lights turn off. 😛) You'll find these men in all kinds of wild positions, with strategic camera angles that obscure the nudity, but they do so in a really classy way.
In the third episode, there's a risqué scene of Kijima pleasuring himself in Gamoda's house. The camera angles, his facial expressions, and his body movements are all quite…interesting, as you can see. Most of the nudity in this scene is obstructed from view, but you do see a side view of Kijima's butt after the scene is over.
Expect lots of raw, explicit, and provocative sex when watching this BL drama. The sex scenes in Mood Indigo are the closest thing to gay porn without actually watching porn. These actors are so affectionate and physically intimate with each other. Plus, the raunchy dialogue can get pretty graphic in a hilariously over-the-top way.
The scene where Kijima gives Kido a blowjob at Gamoda's house made my jaw drop. We have been building up to this moment since the last episode, although I didn't really think the two characters would go through with such an outrageous proposal. But then Kijima got down on his knees, unzipped Kido's pants, and just started to suck. 🍭
Honestly, the scene is more shocking and provocative than it is sexy and erotic. Gamoda has a twisted and despicable mind, toying with these two men just because he has power over them.
Sex at a funeral
I don't know exactly how triggering this scene is, but I was dying of laughter when Kijima and Kido started having sex at Gamoda's funeral. Hey guys, his dead body is right there! OH MY GAWD.
Mood Indigo has these moments of dark humour, where the scenarios are so utterly inappropriate and morbid, that my only reaction is to laugh. Is there a funeral etiquette that states you shouldn't have sex in front of the dead guy's memorial picture? 😂
Mood Indigo Episodes
Mood Indigo has a total of 6 episodes. Each episode is around 22 minutes long. This is a short BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in approximately 2 hours. The series was first aired on July 24, 2019 and ended on August 28, 2019.
Mood Indigo is the second instalment in a trilogy. It is the prequel of The Novelist, which was released a year earlier in 2018. It also has a movie sequel, called Pornographer: Playback, which was released two years later in 2021.
⭐ Best episode
Episode 5 is a very dramatic episode, starting with a heated confrontation between the two main characters. Kijima drops some massive truth bombs, while Kido fails to hold himself together. This scene is super intense with many volatile emotions, making it riveting to watch.
The rest of the episode is dedicated to Gamoda's declining health. The two characters have developed a close bond, and Kijima stays by his bedside until the bitter end. Once again, there are rich and vivid emotions in all the scenes, with the feelings of helplessness, heartbreak, and remorse reverberating every time the characters speak. We also see the two main characters reconcile by the end of the episode, after Kido reflects on his life and his decisions.
💕 Most romantic episode
Mood Indigo is not a romantic BL drama, and none of the scenes particularly strike me as sweet or endearing. I picked Episode 3 because this is when both characters first go through a sexual awakening. After their visit to Gamoda's house, they both realize their feelings for each other. This leads to a passionate kiss in the cab, followed by a long and steamy lovemaking session.
😭 Tearjerker episode
Most of Episode 5 takes place in the hospital, as Gamoda's health rapidly deteriorates and he doesn't have much longer to live. Gamoda and Kido have a heartbreaking chat, when the old man cries that his one last regret is he can't take better care of his apprentice.
Kijima is equally devastated, watching powerlessly as Gamoda dies before his eyes. We don't have to see Gamoda's death on-screen to feel the heavy impact of their grief.
💋 First kiss episode
I think Mood Indigo might be the only BL drama where the main characters have their first blowjob before they have their first kiss. 🥵
After their shocking sexual encounter at Gamoda's house, this unleashes the sexual appetites of our main characters. During the cab ride home, both characters couldn't resist the sexual tension between them any longer, and they engaged in their first kiss.
👨❤️💋👨 Episodes with intimacy
Episode 3, 4, 6
Mood Indigo is packed with sexually evocative moments. Episode 3 alone has a blowjob, anal penetration, and masturbation all in a single 22-minute episode. Episode 4 has another steamy sexual encounter between Kijima and Kido, although the vibe kinda gets killed with Gamoda spitting out blood in the next room lol.
Finally, the two characters fornicate once more at Gamoda's funeral in Episode 6. It was a beautifully shot scene, with the tree leaves blowing in the wind, as Kido diddles with Kijima's budhole. 😳
💪🏻 Episodes with skin
Episode 1, 3, 4, 6
In Episode 1, Kido has a shirtless scene when he takes a (cold) shower, and another scene of him in his underwear afterwards. Kijima gets naked at the end of Episode 3, and we see a side shot of his butt after his self-pleasuring scene.
We also see both Kido and Kijima shirtless when they have sex in Episode 3, Episode 4, and Episode 6. The nudity is tastefully not shown on screen, so you don't see more than their chests, backsides, and thighs.
👨🏻🤝👨🏻 Episodes as a couple
Facebook relationship status? ~It's complicated~. I don't think Kijima and Kido ever become an official couple at any point in the series. At best, you would describe the two of them as friends with benefits, but they never progress beyond this status. Although the two of them have feelings for each other, their relationship was over before it even started after Kido got married and had a kid.
However, Kijima and Kuzumi (the other lead in The Novelist) are officially confirmed as a couple. Kuzumi even makes a cameo appearance in the epilogue of Episode 6.
Mood Indigo Season 1
The Novelist 2018 series Drama review
The Novelist (also commonly known as Pornographer) is the sequel of Mood Indigo, taking place years after the events in this series. Since publishing his first erotic novel in Mood Indigo, Kijima has become a very popular author in the genre. As the first instalment in this trilogy series, The Novelist introduces you to all of Kijima's eccentricities, and the intriguing relationship with his apprentice Kuzumi.
The Novelist and Mood Indigo share some of the same characters, but the stories aren't closely connected. You don't have to watch one series to understand the other. In fact, you can probably start watching Mood Indigo without any knowledge of The Novelist, or vice versa. Watching both series does give you a better understanding of the character dynamics, and makes you appreciate more about their history together.
Mood Indigo Information
Maki Marukido (丸木戸マキ) is the original creator of Pornographer, which was adapted into a Japanese BL trilogy. The franchise includes The Novelist (2018), Mood Indigo (2019), and Pornographer: Playback (2021). In addition, another story was adapted into the 2023 drama, The End of the World With You.
Koichiro Miki (三木康一郎) is a Japanese director. His first BL project is the drama, The Novelist (2018). He also directed Mood Indigo (2019) and Pornographer: Playback (2021). In addition, Koichi made the comedy series, A Man Who Defies the World of BL (2021) and its sequel A Man Who Defies the World of BL 2 (2022). He also co-directed The End of the World With You (2023) with Hiroshi Mori (森裕史).