More Than Words is a Japanese BL series about three best friends in a love triangle.

More Than Words is a Japanese BL drama about three best friends in a love triangle over the years. The aromantic female protagonist befriends a popular classmate, even though she isn't interested in dating him. Later, they welcome a gay coworker to their social circle. The trio gets along splendidly, forming a close bond from high school to adulthood. Yet, their relationship reaches an emotional turning point that threatens to drive them apart.

Supported by subtle writing and brilliant acting, More Than Words unleashes powerful emotions with its sensitive relationship drama. This sophisticated story is masterful at navigating the blurry lines between friendship, romance, and family. Although not a conventional BL series, it features gay characters and highlights their thoughtful experiences. Each protagonist goes through a nuanced journey that explores sentimental themes.

More Than Words Summary

What is the drama called?

モアザンワーズ

Where was the series made?

Japan

When was the drama released?

2022

How long is More Than Words?

Around 6 hours

What is the genre?

Drama

How would you describe the series?

Deep and mature

How many episodes are in More Than Words?

10 episodes

How long is each episode?

Around 25 to 35 minutes

Plot

Makki and Meiko are high school friends.

Mieko is a 16-year-old high school student in a single-parent household. She has recently moved to a new neighbourhood, and the other students gossip about her being a delinquent. Mieko lives with her divorced mother, who's busy with work and barely pays attention to her child. Her father left the family, traumatizing Mieko to this day. She suffers from abandonment issues and feels self-conscious about growing up without a dad.

Mieko is in a relationship with an abusive boyfriend. One night, he became physically violent when she refused sex, prompting Mieko to flee. Makki, a classmate from school, is concerned after noticing her face injury. He keeps her company, even though they don't know each other. Makki advises his new acquaintance to leave her scumbag boyfriend, which she does. After the breakup, Mieko vows she'll never date again for the rest of her life. Makki believes her views seem too extreme, but Mieko seems adamant about swearing off romance forever.

Makki and Mieko begin hanging out on campus, drawing attention from the other students. Everyone thinks they must be dating, even though they are just friends. The free-spirited Makki is a popular guy at school, especially with the girls. However, he doesn't seem interested in dating them, insisting they are too childish. Mieko's cliquish classmates alienate her because they feel jealous of her platonic bond with Makki. Only Sakaki is the exception. Sasaki has a crush on Makki, but she befriends Mieko to get closer to him.

Makki and Mieko want to be finally independent. They get hired for a part-time job at a restaurant. They get along with the 22-year-old Eiji, who works as a chef. After overhearing their gossip, Eiji tells Makki and Mieko that he identifies as gay. However, his sexuality is a recent revelation for him. Eiji is shy and anxious, struggling to connect with other gay guys. Eiji used to be bullied at school and didn't have many friends. However, he gets along with his younger coworkers despite their age difference.

Eiji develops a close bond with Makki and Mieko. Eventually, the trio starts hanging out outside work, enjoying all their time together. Mieko cherishes her platonic friendship with Mieko and Eiji, who provide emotional support in place of her absentee parents. One day, Eiji confides in Mieko that he has a crush on Makki. However, they don't know whether Makki is attracted to guys. Eiji is too nervous about confessing his love, but Mieko gives him advice and encouragement. Simultaneously, Mieko questions her feelings and contemplates what Makki means to her.

More Than Words Trailer

More Than Words Cast

Characters

Mieko

Ryoko Fujino (藤野涼子)

Mieko is portrayed by the Japanese actress Ryoko Fujino (藤野涼子).

Mieko is a sixteen-year-old high school student from a single-parent home. She lives with her divorced mother, who hardly pays attention to her. Mieko's father abandoned his family. Since moving to a new neighbourhood, Mieko's first friend is Makki. The two have a platonic relationship, even though everyone thinks they are dating. Mieko's favourite snack is kaki-pi.

Ryoko Fujino

Ryoko Fujino (藤野涼子) is a Japanese actress. She is born on February 2, 2000.

Ryoko Fujino (藤野涼子) is a Japanese actress. She is born on February 2, 2000. She starred in the 2022 series, More Than Words.

Makki

Yuzu Aoki (青木柚)

Makki is portrayed by the Japanese actress Yuzu Aoki (青木柚).

Makki is a sixteen-year-old high school student. He goes to the same school as Mieko, although they are in different classes. Makki befriends Mieko after she was hurt by her abusive boyfriend. With a cheerful and free-spirited personality, Makki gets along with everyone at school. Many girls have a crush on him, but he isn't interested in dating them.

Yuzu Aoki

Yuzu Aoki (青木柚) is a Japanese actor. He is born on February 4, 2001.

Yuzu Aoki (青木柚) is a Japanese actor. He is born on February 4, 2001. His first BL project is the 2019 series, Shujin-ko. Yuzu starred in the 2022 BL drama, More Than Words.

Eiji

Daisuke Nakagawa (中川大輔)

Eiji is portrayed by the Japanese actor Daisuke Nakagawa (中川大輔).

Eiji is a 22-year-old chef who works with Mieko and Makki at the restaurant. Eiji recently discovered his attraction to men, but he isn't entirely comfortable with his sexuality yet. He used to be bullied at school and didn't make many friends. Eiji comes from a wealthy family and has a good relationship with his older sister, Anna.

Daisuke Nakagawa

Daisuke Nakagawa (中川大輔) is a Japanese actor. He is born on January 5, 1998.

Daisuke Nakagawa (中川大輔) is a Japanese actor. He is born on January 5, 1998. His first BL project is the 2022 BL drama, More Than Words.

Asato

Daiki Kanechika (兼近大樹)

Asato is portrayed by the Japanese actor Daiki Kanechika (兼近大樹).

Asato is Makki's neighbour who lives alone. He went to the same high school as Mieko and Makki. However, Asato was a quiet kid who kept to himself. Growing up, he didn't have a good relationship with his stern grandfather. Asato moved out of home and started training as a hairdresser to support himself financially.

Daiki Kanechika

Daisuke Nakagawa (中川大輔) is a Japanese actor. He is born on May 11, 1991.

Daiki Kanechika (兼近大樹) is a Japanese actor. He is born on May 11, 1991. His first BL project is the 2022 BL drama, More Than Words.

Supporting Cast

Sakaki is portrayed by the Japanese actress Ai Mikami (見上愛).

Sakaki

Ai Mikami (見上愛)

Anna is portrayed by the Japanese actress Hirona Yamazaki (山崎紘菜).

Anna

Hirona Yamazaki (山崎紘菜)

Eiji's dad is portrayed by the Japanese actress Kuranosuke Sasaki (佐々木蔵之介).

Eiji's dad

Kuranosuke Sasaki (佐々木蔵之介)

Eiji's mom is portrayed by the Japanese actress Sanae Miyata (宮田早苗).

Eiji's mom

Sanae Miyata (宮田早苗)

Mieko's mom is portrayed by the Japanese actress Rie Tomosaka (ともさかりえ).

Mieko's mom

Rie Tomosaka (ともさかりえ)

Chisa is portrayed by the Japanese actress Yura Anno (安野澄).

Chisa

Yura Anno (安野澄)

The restaurant owner is portrayed by Tomokazu Seki (関智一).

Restaurant owner

Tomokazu Seki (関智一)

Eiji's boss is portrayed by the Japanese actor Nao Omori (大森南朋).

Eiji's boss

Nao Omori (大森南朋)

Asato's boss is portrayed by the Japanese actor Genki Nakamura (中村元気).

Asato's boss

Genki Nakamura (中村元気)

Asato's brother is portrayed by the Japanese actor Takumi Saito (斎藤工).

Asato's brother

Takumi Saito (斎藤工)

Asato doesn't have a good relationship with his grandfather.

Asato's grandfather

Shiho is Mieko's daughter.

Shiho

Cast Highlights

  • Makki's actor (Yuzu Aoki) is one of the actors in the 2019 Japanese series Shujin-ko, which has a gay storyline.

More Than Words Review

Review

Drama Review Score: 9.0

A-
Makki and Eiji share an intimate moment.

More Than Words showcases the compelling dynamics of a love triangle. It depicts the relationship drama thoughtfully with sensitive characters and intricate backstories. However, the narrative themes go beyond just romance. This series examines the many nuances of friendship, explores a diverse spectrum of sexuality, and expresses insightful commentary about society. More Than Words contains sentimental messages and sophisticated topics that transcend the BL genre.

Beyond the profound ideas, More Than Words is a brilliant drama because of its subtlety. It relies on understated subtext and enigmatic expressions to convey its storytelling. The plot drops hints instead of stating the obvious, so you must speculate carefully and ponder the relationship dynamics. This introspective series inspires you to put yourself in each character's mindset. What are they thinking? How are they feeling? The title, More Than Words, refers to the unspoken sentiments that viewers can only understand through empathy.

In the beginning, More Than Words focuses on nurturing the camaraderie between the three leads. Admirably, they get along despite their differences, so Mieko's gender or Eiji's age aren't barriers to the friendship. I adore their bonding scenes, which carry a gentle, relaxing vibe. Then, Episode 6 throws a momentous bombshell into the plot, disrupting the peaceful mood. The trio proceeds with a senseless plan that baffles me. More Than Words doesn't handle the melodramatic storyline with enough finesse, decreasing my opinion of this intelligent series.

More Than Words is supported by capable acting. Mieko's performer (Ryoko Fujino) portrays her character with a masterful balance of poise and vulnerability. She carries her scenes with quiet dignity, so Mieko exhibits inner strength even in her fragile moments. Likewise, Makki's actor (Yuzu Aoki) handles the duality in his role skillfully. His bubbly persona is convincing, yet his melancholic side feels just as captivating. While Eiji's actor (Daisuke Nakagawa) isn't on the same level as his costars, the cast shares a comfortable chemistry with each other.

Yes, More Than Words has BL content. The series features gay characters who engage in numerous romantic interactions. You'll be pleased to know they have a well-rounded relationship with physical and emotional affections. The plot shifts all its attention to this pairing in the last few episodes, so most intimate exchanges come near the end. More Than Words may not directly fall into the BL genre because the narrative offers more than just LGBT drama. Nonetheless, the love story is still substantial. I feel satisfied with the gay couple, even if they don't wow me.

More Than Words is a polished production with cozy visuals, soothing soundtracks, and exquisite artistry. I love how it designs the ending credits. Nearly every episode concludes with an extended scene where the characters do ordinary activities and live in the moment. As the events unfold quietly, the series encourages you to observe and contemplate. The technique exemplifies the cleverness of More Than Words, which uses subdued storytelling over flashy revelations. This thought-provoking drama can unleash powerful emotions without whispering a single word.

Summary

Sophisticated story

More Than Words has a thought-provoking story that explores friendship, romance & many meaningful themes. It relies on subtle hints and understated subtext to convey its sentimental messages.

Sensitive romance

There is a BL romance in More Than Words, even if the gay relationship isn't the primary focus. The couple becomes prominent in the last few episodes, sharing numerous intimate exchanges.

Brilliant acting

Mieko's actress (Ryoko Fujino) portrays her role with quiet dignity and inner strength. Likewise, her costar (Yuzu Aoki) balances his bubbly persona with persuasive dramatic performances.

Happy ending

More Than Words has a happy ending where the characters resolve the long-lasting conflict and mend their friendship. Their bond will never be the same, but at least they're trying to reconcile.

Subtle artistry

This series displays exquisite artistry with cozy visuals & soothing soundtracks. The ending credits are inspired. Each episode shows the characters in an extended scene, entirely without dialogue.

90%

More Than Words explores the compelling dynamics of a love triangle. This sensitive drama contains brilliant themes, sentimental messages, sympathetic characters, and poignant emotions.

More Than Words Series Explained

Analysis

Mieko

Mieko is the aromantic lead of More Than Words.

Ironically, More Than Words is a love story led by an aromantic female protagonist. Mieko seems averse to dating, shows no sex drive, and her asexuality is the starting point of the plot. In Episode 1, she tells Makki, "I'm not getting a boyfriend for the rest of my life." Makki thought it was an extreme statement stemming from the trauma of her abusive relationship. However, Mieko meant what she said. Being touched & getting mushy are unappealing concepts to her. She tried romance once, but it was enough. That isn't what fulfilled Mieko in life.

Mieko speaks vaguely about her asexuality twice in the series. She confides in Makki during Episode 1 and makes similar references to Sakaki in Episode 4. Mieko chooses her words carefully in both exchanges and observes her partner's reaction. She wants to test the waters for coming out to them. However, Makki and Sakaki don't pick up on her subtle comments. Since they don't reciprocate the conversation, Mieko retreats and doesn't open up about herself. She has learned to internalize her aromanticism and asexuality, knowing that others cannot relate to her experiences.

Aromanticism

Mieko is offended when Anna calls her cute.

More Than Words portrays Mieko sympathetically, handling her character with delicate care. Her aromanticism is a secret strength in some ways. It gives her clarity and understanding about how valuable platonic friendships are. Once Mieko lets her guard down, she's warm, compassionate, and fiercely loyal to her social circle. She maintains lifelong connections with everyone in the cast, highlighting her ability to get along with people. Although Mieko doesn't want a romantic partner, she builds meaningful relationships cherished with all her heart.

Yet, there's no denying that being aromantic and asexual affected Mieko's life. Traditional society expects us to settle down with a romantic partner, which Mieko has no desire to do. As her peers talk about dating and love confessions, she feels self-conscious about not fitting in with the norm. In Episode 3, Anna gives a harmless compliment that surprisingly upsets Mieko. Being called "cute" touches upon her insecurities. Mieko thinks that cute girls are coupled up in loving relationships. From her perspective, this endearing term isn't reserved for aromantic loners like her.

Likewise, Mieko's asexuality weighs on her mind. In Episode 4, she discovers Makki & Eiji are sexually active, making her the third wheel in their friendship. Afterwards, we hear her thoughts: "The two of them have their own world, a place I cannot get into." Mieko continues to say she isn't lonely, and this solitude is what she desires. Her monologue is powerful. Mieko understands she's different, like an outsider from traditional society. Yet, she feels self-assured about leading a life without sex or romance. The scene ends with Mieko declaring, "I've found what I wanted."

Family trauma

Mieko doesn't have a good relationship with her mother.

Mieko is a sixteen-year-old girl coming to terms with her aromanticism and asexuality. However, that isn't the only struggle in her life. Mieko is also coping with family trauma. She suffers abandonment issues from a deadbeat father who walked out on his wife and daughter. We don't know what happened to him, but it's enough to drive Mieko's mom to the karaoke bar every night. She chooses to sing songs and get drunk instead of staying home to care for her child.

With two absent parents, Mieko doesn't experience the warmth and support that other teens receive in loving households. Her broken home is definitely a touchy subject. When Sakaki talks about her protective dad, Mieko grows pensive from the reminder of what's missing in her life. Likewise, Episode 4 has a clever scene where Eiji's parents arrive. Everyone gathers in the kitchen except for Mieko, who distances herself and observes the cheerful family interactions from afar. A curious smile crosses her face. What must she be thinking at this moment?

Growing up, Mieko feels deprived of her parents' love. The dad abandoned her, while the mom ignored her. This family trauma causes unspeakable loneliness in Mieko's heart. Typically, most people fill the void with other relationships. However, it's harder for Mieko because of her aromanticism. She wants a companion but not a romantic partner, even though these roles often overlap. Fortunately, Mieko meets Makki and Eiji, who become more than just her friends. They're Mieko's entire support system, compensating for the lost love that her family couldn't provide.

Mieko and Makki

Makki and Mieko work together at the restaurant.

Makki holds a special place in Mieko's heart. Their characters have the most significant relationship in this series, more so than the love triangle or gay couples. Makki and Mieko's friendship is the bedrock of More Than Words, forming the story's emotional core. Makki is the first person Mieko ever loved. However, it isn't love in the romantic sense. Mieko's feelings come from eternal gratitude that Makki showed her kindness and provided companionship when nobody else would.

In Episode 1, Makki befriends Mieko after a traumatic night. Back then, they didn't know each other. Yet, Makki saw a distressed girl with a bruise on her face and identified the urgency. He asked questions, kept her company, and ensured she got home safely. The next day, Makki checked in with Mieko to confirm she had dumped her violent ex. Her well-being was a priority on his mind. Afterwards, he continued spending time with her since she didn't have friends in school. Even though Makki was Mr. Popular, he accompanied Mieko so she wouldn't feel alone.

Before they met, Mieko was a lonely girl who struggled with trauma & insecurities. Makki eases Mieko's self-doubts and shows that she is worthy of love. He reaches out, offers a human connection, and makes her less alienated from the world. Makki is compassionate towards Mieko without ulterior motives. Everyone thinks they must be attracted to each other, but that isn't why he helps her. Instead, Makki is just a nice guy following his conscience. Makki is like Mieko's saviour, rescuing her from emotional rock bottom. He's pivotal in guiding Mieko's life on a positive trajectory.

Platonic friends

Mieko and Makki remained platonic friends in More Than Words.

If Makki and Mieko were in any other drama, they would probably be a couple. It's tempting to pair the characters together because they seem compatible. Their personalities click, they get along well, and both care about each other. Yet, these two best friends never start dating. The aromantic Mieko is inclined towards maintaining platonic relations. Meanwhile, Makki remembers Mieko telling him she doesn't want to be with a man again. He respects her boundaries and won't initiate a romance unless she feels comfortable.

Mieko cherishes Makki's friendship dearly. She's grateful for the joy and companionship that he brings to her lonely life. However, she realizes their bond may not last forever. One day, Makki will find a romantic partner who takes precedence over his platonic relationships. Her anxieties are common among aromantic and single individuals, whose friends get coupled up and start drifting away from them. These fears are worse in Mieko's case because they also trigger her abandonment issues. She worries Makki will disappear from her future, just as her father had.

Despite her concerns, Mieko isn't possessive over Makki. She encourages Eiji or Sakaki to pursue Makki romantically. While Mieko fears losing him as a friend, she wouldn't sabotage his relationship prospects. She's glad to be his matchmaker. When Makki and Mieko argue for the first time in Episode 3, he accuses her of having feelings for Eiji. Mieko urgently clarifies the situation because she never wants to come between Makki and Eiji's romance. Although she'll become the third wheel in their friendship if they date, Mieko prioritizes their happiness before hers.

Eiji

Eiji feels lonely and anxious until he meets Makki and Mieko.

Mieko & Makki befriend Eiji, gladly welcoming him into their social circle. Their coworker is kind, gentle, and sensitive. While Mieko and Makki aren't schmaltzy people, Eiji brings plenty of heartwarming sentimentality to their friendship. His generosity is well-documented. He's always the one to give rides, offer lodging for his friends, and buy them gifts on special occasions. Eiji gets along with the teens because his caring personality meshes well with theirs.

Their friendship may seem unusual due to the age gap. Eiji is a 22-year-old adult hanging out with high school students instead of people closer to his age. However, Eiji had struggled to build relationships in the past. His shyness, quiet demeanour & crippling social anxiety made him a target for school bullies. He was a misfit who didn't have close bonds before meeting Makki and Mieko. "You two are so kind," Eiji tells Mieko gratefully during Episode 2. He's relaxed and feels comfortable being himself around them. They're the first people Eiji connects with emotionally.

Eiji is an introvert. He understands the difficulties of opening up to others in social settings. His past experiences make him appreciate this elusive friendship, knowing he may not forge the strong bonds elsewhere. After decades of loneliness, Eiji has finally found a community that accepts him for who he is. Eiji's gifts to Makki & Mieko are constant reassurances of his gratitude. I'm so grateful you two are my friends. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Eiji's sexuality

Makki reciprocates Eiji's kiss in the apartment.

Eiji is a late bloomer who takes a while to figure out his attraction to men. He was confused during adolescence and didn't come to terms with being gay until his early twenties. Despite coming out, Eiji feels anxious about his sexuality. When Eiji ventures into a bar in Episode 2, he bails out of an intimate encounter with a stranger. A mental barrier prevents him from enjoying his desires.

Partially, his discomfort comes from not liking anonymous hookups. Eiji wants an emotional connection with his partner before pursuing a physical bond. Due to their existing friendship, he feels comfortable about hooking up with Makki and overcomes his anxiety issues. Although Eiji initiated their first kiss, he hesitated in the middle of the exchange. Fortunately, Makki took the lead and guided him through the affections. Makki helped Eiji relax, reassuring him about his same-sex attraction.

Even so, Eiji didn't burst with rainbow pride. He refrained from telling his sister until Mieko accidentally outed him. He took even longer to come out to his parents, letting them assume his romantic interest was female. No matter how hard he tried, Eiji couldn't shake off the lifelong anxieties about his sexuality. Of course, the homophobic dad didn't make things better, feeding into Eiji's psychological strain. As a result, a part of him would always feel uneasy with being gay. 

Makki and Eiji

Makki and Eiji share a bond.

Makki's sexual orientation is a subject of curiosity in the early episodes. Eiji, Mieko, and the viewers are left speculating whether he's attracted to guys. More Than Words intentionally keeps Makki's sexuality ambiguous, encouraging us to pay attention and study his character. Episode 2 has a scene where Makki talks about liking older women. As he says this, the camera captures the subtle nuances in Eiji's expression. The series wants us to empathize with Eiji. What does he think about Makki's statement?

To our pleasant surprise, Makki responds to Eiji's love confession positively. Makki's rationale is that he enjoys spending time with Eiji, so maybe dating him will be fun too. It might seem like a simple reply from a sixteen-year-old teenager, but attraction doesn't have to be that complicated. You don't have to overthink why you like someone. You just do. Makki's thinking feels very enlightened because he has no hang-ups about Eiji being a guy. He agrees to date his friend because of their existing bond. Eiji's gender doesn't enter the equation when Makki assesses his attraction.

Makki shows the same open-mindedness in Episode 9, telling Asato he doesn't see a difference between dating men and women. Makki bases his attraction regardless of gender, which signifies his pansexuality. This revelation adds a unique dimension to Mieko & Makki's friendship, highlighting the bond between an asexual girl and a pansexual guy. They get along despite being on different sides of the sexual spectrum. More Than Words deserves credit for showcasing insightful and diverse views on sexuality. It displays more LGBTQ+ savviness than many BL dramas.

Third wheel

Mieko and Sakaki are lifelong friends.

After the guys start dating, the first thing Eiji does is reassure Mieko nothing has changed in their relationship dynamic. When two friends hook up in a trio, there's a worry that the third wheel will feel excluded from the group. Yet, Eiji insists they won't neglect Mieko. This exchange is a testament to Eiji's considerate personality. He cares about Mieko's feelings, reaffirms his commitment to their friendship, and puts any lingering doubts at ease. The three of them are friends, no matter what.

Eiji meant what he said. Eiji and Makki don't isolate themselves after coupling up. They continue to include Mieko on every occasion, from parties to meals. When Mieko's mom doesn't attend her daughter's school entrance ceremony, her friends are there to celebrate the milestone instead. Impressively, the trio's friendship remains steady over the years. The guys have never made her feel unwelcome in their love nest. They defy expectations and refuse to make her the third wheel.

Despite their hospitality, Mieko isn't dependent on Makki and Eiji's friendship. She maintains a close relationship with Sakaki, occasionally hanging out with her instead of the guys. Mieko's bond with Sakaki shows she's branching out her relationships beyond Makki & Eiji. They are her closest friends, but these two aren't her only friends. Mieko is considerate enough to give the couple personal space. Even though they welcome her, she doesn't cling to them incessantly. Mieko allows the boyfriends to have alone time while she nurtures her other friendships.

Homophobic dad

Eiji's dad opposes his son's relationship with a man.

When Eiji comes out to his parents in Episode 5, his sister quickly jumps to a happy conclusion. She expresses relief, "I knew you guys would understand!" And then, the camera pans to the dad's stunned expression. He looks anything but understanding. The juxtaposition between her delightful response and his solemn face made me laugh for a second. Then, he starts spewing homophobic nonsense, and the scene stops being funny.

Later in the episode, Eiji's dad shares an anecdote about having a gay cowboy friend from America. It struck me as such a cliche that I laughed inappropriately for a second. The dad must've watched Brokeback Mountain once and thought it was a self-insert fanfic. 😆 Then, he talked about the gay bashing, and the scene stopped being funny again. I don't want to waste brainpower dissecting the homophobic dad's bigotry. My short analysis is that he has misguided thinking and needs to educate himself about LGBT topics. 

Makki is upset after chatting with Eiji's father. The dad subjected him to parental disapproval, fearmongering, and a homophobic doctrine. However, Makki suppresses his unhappiness and feigns a carefree persona around Eiji. Makki opens up with Mieko, but he still won't confide in her about the contents of his discussion. Despite being an extroverted guy, he tends to bottle up his feelings. Yet, the internalized agony eats away at Makki. In this episode, he smokes his first cigarette, indicating he needs stress relief. Makki feels troubled by his relationship with Eiji.

Surrogacy

Mieko is pregnant after having sex with Eiji and Makki.

In Episode 6, Eiji's father throws another homophobic tantrum. He spews hateful nonsense about Eiji not experiencing the joys of parenthood. Shockingly, the leads retaliate by having a baby. Mieko volunteers as a surrogate, encouraging her friends to start a family and win over the dad. The storyline baffles me. I watch every scene while exclaiming, "What are they doing!? This is madness!" I can't wrap my head around their rationale. Why do they think getting pregnant is a good idea!? Please reconsider!

Mieko wants to help her friends overcome their relationship crisis. A homophobic parent distresses many gay couples, creating enough irreconcilable differences that lead to breakups. Makki already shows signs of fatigue. Makki and Eiji's inability to conceive will remain a source of conflict, but Mieko thinks she can resolve that problem. While it's naive to believe a baby would improve the situation, Mieko's intentions come from sincerity. Being a surrogate is a noble decision. Mieko is doing it because she cares about her friends and their happiness.

Maybe this surrogacy arrangement would work out if the characters lived in an open-minded society. Sadly, many factors are against them. For starters, Japan doesn't provide equal rights for gay couples who want to start families. Also, Eiji's homophobic dad intends to convert his son to a heteronormative life. Plus, Makki doesn't seem enthused about the idea. He's just going along with it. Faced against insurmountable odds, these characters barely have a plan. They didn't think about the consequences of their actions before bringing a human life into this world.

Conformity

Mieko and Eiji have a child together.

Over the years, Eiji has shown an inclination to conform to societal norms. You may have noticed the changes to his mature appearance. He begins wearing suits and doesn't dye his hair anymore. Additionally, Eiji had been studying a skilled trade in a niche industry. Yet, he quits this occupation to work an office job for his dad's company. Eiji's behaviour changes as he grows older. He wants to be more mainstream instead of pursuing his individuality.

Mieko goes through a similar transition. She enrols in cosmetology school to pursue a beautician career, a surprising choice for someone who dislikes being called "cute". Mieko used to see herself as an ugly duckling who didn't fit in with the norm. In Episode 6, she confessed to struggling with her femininity due to her asexuality. "How did I turn out to be this kind of woman?" As Mieko grows older, she realizes being asexual doesn't diminish her womanhood. By conforming to a stereotypically female occupation, Mieko finds harmony between these two aspects of her identity. 

Conformity tends to have a negative connotation. Yet, fitting in with society is a desirable prospect for most people. It isn't easy being different from the norm, especially when you face hardships as a gay man or asexual woman. Eiji and Mieko pursue surrogacy to conform to the traditional notion of starting a family. They believe gay couples can fit in by behaving like many straight couples, becoming parents and raising children. Makki tries to play along, but he isn't committed to the same vision. He can't picture himself as part of a conventional family with Eiji and Mieko.

Hair

Asato washes Makki's hair.

Hair has meaningful symbolism in More Than Words. The characters' hairstyles reflect their mindset at different intervals of their lives. Eiji is the clearest example. He begins this series with striking blonde hair, standing out defiantly from everyone else. Midway through the series, Eiji doesn't dye his hair anymore and reverts to a traditional colour. This new hairdo shows Eiji's eagerness to assimilate with the norm. He wants to be like everyone else, just as his dad instructed.

Similarly, Mieko goes through a few different hairstyles throughout the series. The experimentation shows she's still figuring out her identity. Mieko switches to bangs for a while, almost resembling Sakaki. The new hairdo hints that Mieko wants to change herself to look "cute", like her friend. Yet, Makki upsets her by stating he enjoys her previous hairstyle more. Mieko is sad because she fails to fit in and feels like a misfit. Later, she switches back to her early hairstyle with minor differences. Mieko is comfortable being herself again, even though she has made a few changes.

Makki alters his hairstyle drastically after the time skip in Episode 8. I'm sorry for offending anyone with a similar image, but his new hair looks hilariously awful. It gives the impression that Makki may have given up on himself. 😓 The dishevelled appearance is intentional. Makki chooses an offbeat haircut, indicating his unconventional way of life. He doesn't care about looking different. Makki finally cuts his hair after making up with Mieko in the last episode. It shows he has gotten rid of the baggage and goes back to being his old self again.

Outsider

Makki argues with Eiji before leaving his boyfriend.

Makki leaves in Episode 7. He abandons his boyfriend, his pregnant friend, and their soon-to-be family. The trigger is when Mieko lies about Makki being the biological father. She wants to make him feel included, but the deceit only highlights Makki's lack of connection to the baby. Eiji and Mieko are the birth parents, whereas he's totally unrelated. Due to the law, there's no status recognizing Makki as the adoptive dad. He doesn't have a legal role in the child's upbringing.

Makki's discomfort goes beyond Mieko's lie. Since the beginning, he wasn't as committed to surrogacy as Eiji or Mieko. Having a baby appealed to them. In Eiji's case, he hopes the child can win over his family's approval, so they wouldn't feel disappointed in him anymore. In Mieko's case, she's thinking altruistically. She wants to have this baby for her friends, not for herself. Her motivation is helping a childless gay couple out of the goodness in her heart. Eiji and Mieko are more invested in the pregnancy than Makki, who simply goes along with the plan.

Above all else, Makki's biggest insecurity is that he has become an outsider. The pregnancy brings Eiji and Mieko closer because they now share an exclusive family bond. They think similarly and spend all their time together, like a couple expecting their first child. Their intimacy makes Makki an awkward third wheel. Initially, he internalizes the negativity, bottling up his uneasiness for months. Makki finally loses control in an argument, revealing that he feels jealous, marginalized, and betrayed. Unable to cope, Makki isolates himself before they alienate him further.

Family bonds

Mieko builds a family with Eiji.

After Makki leaves, Eiji and Mieko form a conventional family structure. They become the father & mother of a child named Shiho. Homophobia wins as Eiji's dad succeeds in getting his gay son to settle down with a woman. Committed to parenthood, Eiji convinces himself that he loves Mieko and confesses his feelings for her. Despite their familial bond, there's no attraction between them. The story hints that Eiji still misses Makki, but he must repress his desire to focus on being a dad.

Mieko tells Eiji, "You're like my friend, my big brother, my younger brother, and my son, all rolled into one, which I really love." Notice how none of her descriptors have romantic connotations. She only sees him in terms of friendship and family. Mieko adds that Eiji is "free to do as he pleases", giving him permission to pursue extramarital relations. When Eiji proclaims he loves her, Mieko mentions Makki on purpose. She implies he's trying to replace his ex with her. This subtle exchange requires viewers to interpret her intent, but the gist is that Mieko won't respond to Eiji amorously.

In an ironic twist of fate, the asexual Mieko has become a mother. This role falls onto her unexpectedly, but she enjoys the experience. Being a parent makes her happy, filling the void in Mieko's heart since her dad left. A bonus is that Mieko mends the bond with her mom, taking steps to get involved in each other's lives. Mieko grew up deprived of family warmth, but now she's surrounded by it. Eiji reassures her, "You're allowed to love yourself more." The series began with Mieko doubting whether she was capable of love. Her emotional journey has reached an apex.

Makki

Makki falls for his neighbour Asato after leaving Eiji.

Years later, Makki remains traumatized by the relationship drama, stating that "a woman and a child" are his biggest fears. He blames Mieko for betraying him. She goes from his surrogate to his substitute, snatching Makki's boyfriend even if that wasn't her original intention. Mieko regrets the animosity with Makki, which eclipses their precious friendship. It pains Mieko that her parental bliss comes at the expense of his misery.

If Makki had stayed, Eiji and Mieko would welcome him into their family arrangement. Maybe he doesn't get an official title, but they're loyal and committed to raising the child together. However, Makki shows little interest in parenting and worries more about interpersonal conflicts. Unlike Eiji and Mieko, Makki has no emotional baggage with his family. We never learn about his home life, denoting their insignificance in his identity. Makki doesn't have an urgent need to be a dad or settle down traditionally.

Makki has always been a free spirit who ignores conventions. He rejected his high school peers and went for an older boyfriend. Makki also avoided traditional occupations, working part-time instead of tying himself to a career. His relationship with Eiji fails because of their opposite ideologies. Instead of defying his traditional dad, Eiji wants to fit in and seeks uniformity. Conversely, Makki embraces individuality and resists conforming to norms. Eiji is like a zoo animal, living within established boundaries. Makki is more of a creature in the wild, roaming wherever he wishes.

Makki and Asato

Makki and Asato share their first kiss.

Makki meets Asato, his new love interest introduced in Episode 8. As neighbours and former classmates, they quickly form a cozy rapport. Makki showcases his best personality traits when they're together. He's playful, spontaneous, affectionate, and a little flirty. It's easy to understand why Asato falls for him because Makki energizes his quiet, monotonous life. Asato articulates his feelings in Episode 9: "Eating with him made food taste much better than eating alone."

Asato shares many similar qualities as Eiji. The story deliberately makes Makki's two love interests carbon copies of each other. Both Eiji and Asato have quiet, introverted personalities. They are attracted to men but appear reserved about their sexuality. Also, they suffer similar issues with their families. Asato resents his strict grandfather, mirroring Eiji's fraught relationship with his homophobic dad. It amuses me how Makki's new boyfriend is just like his ex. You're falling for the same archetype again!

Asato is lousy at sex, but Makki stays with him anyway because their bond goes beyond physical affection. During Episode 9, Makki cries when Asato washes his hair. In this story, hair is a symbol that reflects a character's emotional state. Makki grows sentimental over Asato's gentle touch, remembering how nobody had treated this tenderly since Eiji & Mieko. Later, Asato dries Makki's hair in an extended scene. Viewers may recall a similar exchange with Eiji before he initiated their first kiss. The series wants to highlight the parallels between Makki's two relationships.

Asato vs Eiji

Asato gives Makki a hug.

Despite their many similarities, the series emphasizes the differences between Asato and Eiji. For starters, Asato stands up to his family. He leaves home at a young age and seeks his independence. Asato reconciles with his grandpa in the finale, but that domineering man has no more power over him. The same cannot be said about Eiji, who remains shackled to his homophobic dad, working for the family business. Eiji lacks Asato's courage and conviction to pursue his freedom.

Asato's hairdresser storyline echoes similar themes. He reaches a critical point in his job. Asato is expected to advance his career to a professional level, even though he doesn't have a strong passion for it. Society expects Asato to be ambitious. Get the promotion, develop new skills, and continue climbing upwards. Yet, Asato follows his heart and stays where he is comfortable, going against the conventional path. This subplot highlights Asato's nonconformist attitude. He wants to stay true to himself, even if it means challenging traditional norms.

More Than Words proves that Asato is not the same as Eiji. They may share similar personalities and traumatic experiences, but their approaches to life are different. Asato is braver, more independent, and remains resilient against the pressures of conformity. Unlike Eiji, Asato is a compatible partner for Makki due to their similar values. Best of all, they inspire each other to heal emotionally. As Asato repairs the bond with his grandfather, he encourages Makki to do the same with his friends. After being traumatized for years, Makki finally has his breakthrough.

More Than Words Ending Explained

Ending

Happy ending

Mieko cries after reuniting with Makki years later.

More Than Words has a happy ending where the main characters apologize to each other years later. After a long period of ceased communication, Makki and Mieko reconnect by discovering they have a mutual acquaintance. Their high school friend Asato still keeps in touch with both of them. Mieko is desperate to reunite with Makki and begs for his contact info. However, Makki wants to avoid an awkward encounter until Asato eases him into the idea. Asato encourages his boyfriend to heal emotionally.

Makki meets with Mieko and Eiji, a happily married couple with a child. Eiji is the first to give a tearful apology. He's sorry for getting together with his ex's best friend, choosing her over him. Next, Makki apologizes for running away from the problem. They were supposed to be a trio, planning a family together. His best friend Mieko got pregnant for him, but then he ditched the group midway and triggered her abandonment issues. Mieko smiles through tears and responds with, "Me too." She has felt guilty about driving Makki away and causing him anguish.

Although the leads don't exchange much dialogue, their heartfelt sincerity reverberates in the scene. They're all sorry for hurting each other and blame themselves for tarnishing their precious friendship. After these apologies, there's an unspoken understanding between the three of them. They don't need to reminisce, give reassurances, or promise to make amends in the future. All the characters are in sync about how remorseful they feel. Their forgiveness doesn't need to be stated explicitly because the strength of their empathetic bond transcends words. 

Eiji and Mieko

Eiji looks wistfully at the pictures of his daughter and wife on the fridge.

After their meeting, the characters say goodbye in the parking lot. Eiji has misplaced the car keys while Mieko chastises her husband. The forgetfulness references one of Eiji's old habits, indicating he still retains the same endearing qualities. As Makki observes their interactions, he jokes that they resemble a married couple, a statement tinged with bittersweetness. Makki acknowledges that Mieko and Eiji are more compatible than he was with his ex.

Once Mieko and Eiji arrive home, they casually chat about their happy reunion. Yet, both characters seem restrained, not speaking every thought aloud. As Mieko leaves Eiji alone, he quietly observes the apartment with photos of his wife and daughter everywhere. To the outsider, he's in a loving home surrounded by family bliss. Interestingly, a few pictures of Makki are in the mix, showing that Mieko and Eiji had never excluded him from their family. Despite his absence all these years, Makki remains integral to Mieko and Eiji's memories.

Eiji seems like a devoted husband and father blessed with a picture-perfect family. He smiles at the photos, appreciating his good fortune. Yet, the scene ends with Eiji crying as he clings to an old memento from Makki. He misses his ex and feels devastated about losing him. Eiji made this decision years ago, choosing a traditional family structure with Mieko over an unconventional romance with Makki. He must give up a part of his happiness to gain this idyllic life with a wife and child. Whether this trade-off makes him feel fulfilled is up for your interpretation.

Makki vs Eiji

Makki becomes a romantic couple with Asato in the More Than Words ending.

After the emotional reunion, Asato has been waiting in the wings and gives Makki a comforting hug. Makki finally recovers from the trauma of losing his best friend and boyfriend for many years. Mieko and Eiji were sad too, but at least they had each other and a cute daughter. In contrast, Makki had nobody. He suffered alone, coping with the neglect, regrets, and torment in total solitude. Thankfully, Asato arrives in his life and gives him some much-needed love.

Asato asks how his boyfriend feels about seeing his ex again. Makki admits his feelings have softened. Makki is now curious about meeting Shiho, the daughter he was supposed to raise. Yet, Makki isn't ready to get chummy with Eiji. He needs time to sort out the complicated feelings about his old lover. Eiji's betrayal cut too deep of a wound, not something they can move past after one apology. They may never be on good terms again. Makki's reply reassures Asato he's still number one. There's no risk of Makki getting back with his ex when he already has Asato.

It's important to note that Makki also cares about Asato's emotional journey. After Asato reconciles with his grandfather, he finds Makki waiting for him outside the doorstep. His boyfriend is thinking about him and wants to provide support. They inspire each other to heal in a healthy, mutually loving relationship. While Makki lacks the happy matrimonial life that Eiji and Mieko have, he gains a valuable romantic partner who cherishes him. Since Makki doesn't conform or compromise his attraction, he's rewarded with a compatible lifelong companion.

Ending explained

More Than Words has a happy ending where the main characters reconnect years later.

The final scene shows Makki meeting with Mieko and her daughter Shiho. Notably, Eiji is absent. The series ends the same way it started by focusing on the bond between Makki and Mieko. Their relationship has always been the most fundamental in the story. The characters take a walk outdoors in the middle of the day. Interestingly, it's the same route Makki & Mieko embarked on when they first met. More Than Words deliberately uses the exact location to highlight the characters' growth.

Unlike the brooding premiere, the circumstances in the finale are optimistic. Mieko and Makki enjoy a natural rapport, cracking inside jokes and making lighthearted chatter. These two aren't adversaries anymore. They're back to being close friends. After finishing the walk, Makki says goodbye and departs in another direction. It's symbolic of how he leads a different life than Mieko. Yet, Makki makes reassurances he'll meet Shiho again. He reaffirms his conviction in being a part of Mieko's life. Makki will return and doesn't abandon her like before.

More Than Words makes the viewers ponder Makki & Mieko's current relationship. They may be amiable, but are they as close as before? How much of a role will Makki play in Mieko's life beyond these afternoon walks? The series doesn't offer an answer, but it hints at hope and positivity. Mieko once described her feelings for Makki, "He's unlike a friend or lover, but I don't want to separate from him." Their bond feels so precious that it's more than words can describe. We don't know what the future holds. We'll just have to believe in them and their commitment to each other.

More Than Words Episodes

Episode Guide

More Than Words has a total of 10 episodes. Each episode is around 25 to 35 minutes long. The last episode is around 40 minutes long. It is a long BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in under 6 hours. More Than Words released its entire season on September 16, 2022.

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10

Episode Reviews

Episode 1

It's a decent start to the series that introduces the characters memorably. Mieko and Makki's actors give natural performances on camera. They share a comfortable and convincing rapport.

Episode 2

I enjoy the warm friendship forming between the leads. Eiji's insecurities seem intriguing. I like how the series navigates his attraction toward Makki, whose sexuality remains ambiguous.

Episode 3

I'm really enjoying this series so far. As the story explores the blurry lines between friendship & romance, it produces riveting relationship drama. Makki's response to Eiji's confession is surprising.

Episode 4

While I'm not too invested in Makki and Eiji as a couple, their first kiss is an exciting moment. I enjoy Mieko's introspection as she watches her friends develop a romance. What a fascinating character.

Episode 5

I'm glad this episode focuses on Makki. I know Mieko and Eiji's characters well, whereas Makki seems like an enigma. It's interesting to see how he copes after chatting with Eiji's homophobic dad.

Episode 6

OMG. I don't know how I feel about the characters having a baby together. Their rationale doesn't seem comprehensible. Their threesome at the end is mind-boggling. This plan is batshit, right!?

Episode 7

This baby drama is getting out of control. They should have the critical conversations BEFORE going through their pregnancy plan, not AFTER. Honestly, I understand why Makki bailed in the end.

Episode 8

Seeing Mieko and Eiji start a family together makes me so upset for Makki. 😢 Ugh, Eiji sucks. It's early days, but I already enjoy Makki & Asako's vibe more. I hate Makki's new hairstyle, though.

Episode 9

I like how the entire episode is dedicated to Makki & Asato's romance. I know Makki's character way better than before, and these last two episodes have showcased his endearing personality.

Episode 10

Overall, I'm satisfied with the happy ending. The series struggles to redeem Eiji's character, but I'm far more invested in Makki and Mieko's bond. I'm glad these two have mended their relationship.

More Than Words Interview

More Than Words Information

Links

  1. This series completely broke me, I'm scathed, taking a break from pensive Japanese bl lol. As usual l love your analysis especially the part on Meikos asexuality and aromaticism. I think there's something to be said that she's this way and settles with Eichan who is gay? That scene where they are lying with the baby kind of indicated to me that although they loved each other their relationship was not going to be based on romantic love or sex.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I hope you'll recover in time for the next pensive Japanese BL lol. What I love about More Than Words is that it encourages viewers to relate to the character's emotions. It doesn't always explicitly state how the characters are feeling. You have to observe their reactions and view each situation from their perspectives. The more empathetic you are, the more you can appreciate this series. A story told through empathy is so powerful.

      I love that scene with Mieko, Eiji, and their baby. I interpreted it the same way as well! Although they love each other, the relationship isn't based on attraction. He tries forcing himself to play the role of a devoted husband, but she goes, "Nuh-uh, I love you like a brother."

      This family arrangement works out well for Mieko. By starting a family with a gay man, she gets to experience motherhood without needing to compromise her aromanticism or asexuality. Unfortunately, her parental bliss comes at the expense of Eiji & Makki's relationship. Mieko gets what she wants, but her friends don't. The trade-off is part of what makes this story so poignant.

  2. This series also left me broken and yeah I'm also taking a break from watching other bl dramas and listening to previous bl series theme songs for recovery. I will rewatch this before I move on to another because there might be something that I've missed. I'm confused about the pregnancy time and determining who is Shiho's father. They did a 3way but I'm thinking that there is more before that.

    (My imagination tells me that Makki and Meiko did it first. Meiko really wants the baby to be his but that is just my conclusion. I'm looking for the manga to ease my curiosities.)

    The ending is depending how the viewer perceives watching the series and to who they relate most.

    I love the character of Mieko and the acting. She is so strong and noble in their friendship. She is the main protagonist. For me, it's a happy ending for her because she got reconciled with Makki which is very important to her.

    I'm sad for Eiji but his character is realistic and happening in the real world. The scene with him looking at the photos is so heartbreaking. I mainly saw photos of Shiho and none with Meiko and him together. He became his father wearing the cowboy hat. Thinking about what is what normal as society visions before his identity (a coward, sorry for the word)

    Makki is my biased so I want him to have a happy ending. I want to see another episode showcasing his bubby and talkative character after he reconciles with Makki and Eiji. It's breaking that he lost his persona as the story progressed.
    The final scene where Meiko and Makki are walking along the path like in the 1st episode is so meaningful. Now there are 3 of them with Shiho and Makki saying see you again is very touching and means moving forward.

    Asato – I want to thank him for being a good person and making the three meet again. I want to see Makki and Asato happy after the reconciliation. I want to see a scene where Makki smiling goes to Asato after the final scene of the series. For me, that should be a final episode ending credit scene.

    I don't really do this commenting on the internet. Sorry for venting out.

     

  3. Thank you for this great review and explanation.
    I just finished watching the series and cannot move on from it. (EP10 makes me cry insanely 😂)
    I love how the story goes and the character's progression. This series is really well crafted.
    Already added to one of my best BL this year.

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