Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun – Series Review & Episode Guide

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun is a Japanese BL series about a high school student and his teacher.

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun is a Japanese BL series about a high school teacher and a delinquent student. The main character used to be an unruly troublemaker who skips classes and starts fights. A new teacher inspires him to take his studies seriously again. They spend meaningful time together, engaging in sincere discussions. The protagonist learns to be more mature. He also develops a secret crush on his mentor and struggles with his feelings. 

Everything about Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun irks me. Firstly, a romance between a teacher and his teenage student is a red flag. The story glosses over the age gap without addressing the problematic power dynamics. Secondly, the relationship scenes are shallow and vapid. I still don't understand why the characters are attracted to each other. And thirdly, none of the plots are compelling. The writing is juvenile and lacks sophistication.

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun Summary

Title:

佐原先生と土岐くん

Series Info:

Japan (2023)

Length:

3 hours

Total Episodes:

8 episodes

Genre:

High school romance

About:

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun is a nice & heartwarming BL drama.

Plot

Mr. Sahara is Toki's high school teacher.

Toki is a teenage delinquent with an infamous reputation. He smokes, skips classes, and starts brawls. All the other students and staff view him as an unruly troublemaker, while Toki lazes around without believing in himself. However, a new teacher's arrival changes his trajectory.

Mr. Sahara is a young high school teacher starting his first day on the job. Due to his handsome looks and easygoing personality, he becomes popular with the students. Unlike most, Mr. Sahara approaches Toki with genuine concern. He doesn't dismiss the rebellious teen as a lost cause. Instead, he motivates Toki and encourages him to take his studies seriously.

Inspired by his mentor, Toki starts showing up for classes. He befriends Rise, one of the students sitting beside him. Toki's grades are terrible. He's at risk of failing his exams. Mr. Sahara introduces him to Todo, a senior student who is intelligent and popular. Todo helps him study. Despite learning a lot, Toki is disappointed. He assumed Mr. Sahara would be giving him private tutoring lessons instead.

Mr. Sahara is close with all his students. He maintains a warm relationship with Toki and helps him settle in class. Toki develops a secret schoolboy crush on his kind-hearted teacher. He always hopes they can spend alone time together. However, Toki gets nervous and struggles with his feelings. Despite his friendliness, Mr. Sahara doesn't show any romantic signals.

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun Trailer

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun Cast

Characters

Toki

Rintaro Hachimura (柴田啓佑)

Toki is portrayed by Japanese actor Rintaro Hachimura (柴田啓佑).

Toki is a second-year high school student with an infamous reputation. He used to be a teenage delinquent who skipped classes and started fights. However, Mr. Sahara encourages Toki to take his studies seriously. Thanks to the teacher's positive influence, Toki improves his habits and attitude around school. He also develops a secret crush on Mr. Sahara.

Rintaro Hachimura

Rintaro Hachimura (柴田啓佑) is a Japanese actor. He is born on July 28, 1999.

Rintaro Hachimura (柴田啓佑) is a Japanese actor. He is born on July 28, 1999. His first BL project is the 2023 series, Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun.

Sahara

Takumi Kizu (岐洲匠)

Sahara is portrayed by Japanese actor Takumi Kizu (岐洲匠).

Mr. Sahara is Toki's new homeroom teacher. He is popular with the students due to his handsome looks and easygoing personality. Unlike the other staff, Mr. Sahara shows genuine concern toward Toki. He motivates the delinquent teen to take school more seriously. Before his teaching job, Mr. Sahara was a swimmer and achieved considerable success in his career.

Takumi Kizu

Takumi Kizu (岐洲匠) is a Japanese actor. He is born on April 13, 1997.

Takumi Kizu (岐洲匠) is a Japanese actor. He is born on April 13, 1997. His first BL project is the 2023 series, Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun.

Supporting Cast

Todo is portrayed by Japanese actor Hiroki Matsumoto (松本大輝).

Todo

Hiroki Matsumoto (松本大輝)

Taku is portrayed by Japanese actor Takumi Momose (百瀬拓実).

Taku

Takumi Momose (百瀬拓実)

Rise is portrayed by Japanese actor Shunta Sono (曽野舜太).

Rise

Shunta Sono (曽野舜太)

Nekoto is portrayed by Japanese actor Kaito Hori (堀海登).

Nekoto

Kaito Hori (堀海登)

Hasegawa is portrayed by Japanese actress Ayane Kinoshita (木下彩音).

Hasegawa

Ayane Kinoshita (木下彩音)

The principal is portrayed by Japanese actor Yota Kawase (川瀬陽太).

Principal

Yota Kawase (川瀬陽太)

Cast Highlights

  • Takuya's actor (Takumi Momose) has a supporting role in the 2023 Japanese BL series I Cannot Reach You.
  • Hasegawa's actress (Ayane Kinoshita) is a supporting character in the 2023 drama Perfect Propose.

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun Review

Review

Drama Review Score: 4.5

D-
Sahara is intimate with Toki.

Let's begin the Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun review by addressing the elephant in the room. A romance between a schoolteacher and his student is highly problematic. The age difference between an adult and his teenage love interest raises many red flags. To make matters worse, a teacher should be a trusted figure for vulnerable youths. Mr. Sahara misuses his authority by taking advantage of his influence over Toki. He should know better than to entertain an unethical relationship with a troubling power dynamic.

Despite the insidious nature of the romance, Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun downplays the scandal. The characters behave obliviously, never consider the repercussions, and even encourage the hookup. The series excludes parental figures or opposing voices who may object to the inappropriate relationship. Instead, it pretends to be a carefree, cheerful high school drama while promoting dangerous ideas. Also, the story lacks complexity since it avoids sensitive topics. Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun seems ignorant for not addressing the real-life risks of a teacher-student couple.

At least Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun is written coherently. I can follow the straightforward narrative without confusion. It's faint praise, but other BL shows struggle to meet the bare minimum. With that said, the storylines are dull and unoriginal. Like a lifeless high school drama, it relies on tired tropes that offer little surprise or substance. Besides lots of pointless fluff, even the serious plots feel juvenile due to the unsophisticated writing. The series approaches the topics shallowly without nuanced themes. Every episode resembles a corny, childish after-school special.

Mr. Sahara's actor (Takumi Kizu) looks so handsome. Casting such a dreamboat as the leading man is a massive win for BL fans. Unfortunately, the bland role doesn't showcase his charisma. He has no personality besides being a mentor with a pretty face. I also condemn Mr. Sahara's creepiness toward a student, but he's too dull to hate passionately. His costar (Rintaro Hachimura) is guilty of overacting. The series includes over-the-top moments, like comical scenarios ripped from a manga. Yet, the performer exaggerates too much and can't execute the humour.

The series has a superficial understanding of how to write a love story. It only focuses on cliched relationship drama like confessions, secret crushes, or love triangles. The uninspiring plots don't illustrate why the leads are attracted to each other. Toki becomes lovestruck in the first episode, even though he barely knows his teacher. Meanwhile, Mr. Sahara shows no signs of returning his feelings. Yet, a romance springs up anyway without much justification. The couple also shares zero chemistry. This drama pretends otherwise, but there's no desire in the passionless scenes.

Although a secondary pair exists, their romance is underdeveloped. The characters vanish during the story's second half instead of highlighting their bond. The last few episodes also introduce a pesky rival. I rooted for Nekoto since he's an age-appropriate love interest. That said, his relationship drama occupies too much time without achieving anything. The focus should have shifted to relevant plots. From the icky couple to the iffy writing, everything about Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun feels vapid. If not for the sake of doing a review, I'd never want to watch this lousy BL series.

Summary

Vapid story

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun tells a dull story with unoriginal tropes. Besides the pointless fluff, even the serious plots feel juvenile due to unsophisticated writing. It resembles a childish after-school special.

Problematic romance

The high school teacher and his teenage love interest have a problematic romance. Besides all the red flags, the dull relationship scenes don't explain why the leads are attracted to each other.

Weak acting

Mr. Sahara's actor (Takumi Kizu) may be a handsome dreamboat, but the bland character doesn't showcase his charisma. His costar (Rintaro Hachimura) overacts and exaggerates too much.

Happy ending

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun has a happy ending where the schoolteacher and student confirm their feelings. Toki also gains direction in his life. The final scene includes a moment of affection between them.

Warm artistry

The series is decently filmed and produced. The visuals have a warm, cozy hue, especially in the outdoor scenes. However, some of the interior settings around the school don't look as sharp.

45%

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun glorifies a problematic romance between a high school teacher and his student. The vapid relationship scenes, shallow plots, and uninspired performances fail to impress.

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun Episodes

Episode Guide

Sahara and Nekoto sit under a tree.

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun has a total of 8 episodes. Each episode is around 24 minutes long. It is a medium-length BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in around 3 hours. Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun started on December 1, 2023 and ended its last episode on February 2, 2024.

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun is an adaptation. The original story is a Japanese manga by Ko Toriya (鳥谷コウ).

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

Episode Reviews

Episode 1

Whoa, the actor playing Mr. Sahara is super cute~ I have a crush on him! I don't like the optics of the teacher squatting over his student in that odd position. Are their butts touching?

Episode 2

Toki's actor (Rintaro Hachimura) is overacting and exaggerates too much. The drama tries to emulate the comedic tone of a manga, but the cartoonishness doesn't work in a live-action format.

Episode 3

Yawn! These storylines are boring. The school play is an unoriginal plot. Shouldn't a female student take over the role instead of the teacher? The blood on the lips is a funny image, haha.

Episode 4

Why call each other 'brothers' when they aren't related? Let's stop using this confusing label. The romances have zero depth. The story doesn't explain why the characters are attracted to each other.

Episode 5

The scar reveal is like something out of a manga panel lol. I don't sense any chemistry between Sahara & Toki, not to mention the gross power dynamic. I'd rather watch the secondary couple instead.

Episode 6

Whoa, putting your head on your student's crotch is outrageous! I should hate Mr. Sahara for being an inappropriate creep, but his character is too bland to inspire emotion.

Episode 7

I ship Mr. Sahara and Nekoto more than the teacher-student romance. At least this relationship has a history, whereas I don't understand why Mr. Sahara is attracted to Toki.

Episode 8

This series has sucked from start to finish. Besides the inappropriate power dynamic, Mr. Sahara and Toki's relationship scenes are vapid. The writing seems juvenile and lacks depth.

Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun Information

Tunku

Tunku (トゥンク) is a Japanese BL studio. It began a project called Tunku Shower in 2022, which releases numerous BL dramas on the Japanese channel MBS.

Tunku (トゥンク) is a Japanese BL studio. It began a project called Tunku Shower in 2022, which releases numerous BL dramas on the Japanese channel MBS. Tunku has made Mr. Unlucky Has No Choice But to Kiss (2022), Senpai, This Can't Be Love (2022), and Takara-kun & Amagi-kun (2022). It also created Eternal Yesterday (2022), Candy Color Paradox (2022), Jack Frost (2023), Tokyo in April is… (2023), and My Personal Weatherman (2023).

Creator

Ko Toriya (鳥谷コウ) is a Japanese artist who created the manga Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun.

Ko Toriya (鳥谷コウ) is a Japanese artist who created the manga Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun. The story is adapted into a live-action BL drama in 2023.

Director

Keisuke Shibata (柴田啓佑) is a Japanese director. His first BL project is the 2023 drama, Mr. Sahara & Toki-kun. His other works include the 2024 series, Although I Love You and You.

  1. You were very harsh in your analysis!!!! I believe it was meant to be a story that those so "rascals" – all they need is someone to understand them and the reason why they are missing school and getting into fights – and the answer is understanding and love. I believe the character of Toki-kun was meant to be funny because he exaggerates but he is really kind hearted and helps all his peers.

  2. Es por eso que me cuesta mucho ver series BL japonesas. A veces quieren recrear la escencia caricaturesca del manga en la vida real y eso simplemente no funciona la mayoría de las veces o el actor debe tener cierro estilo para que no se vea forzado. Un ejemplo muy bueno es Aoki de My Love Mix-Up. Dios, ese chico fue excelente con sus expresiones sin que se sintiera forzado o fuera de lugar. Es muy raro que sienta creíble las actuaciones japonesas. Es decir, muchos BL son un sin sentido por completo la mayor parte del tiempo, pero hay allllllgo en las actuaciones japonesas que me ponen especialmente incómoda.

    Dicho eso, tristemente (?) es un cliché muy común en las historias las relaciones de profesores y alumnos. Hay una cierta fantasía en eso, sobre todo en mangas y manhwas, que por suerte no se lleva a la vida real en series constantemente. Me sorprendió un poco, de hecho, que hicieran una serie con este tema. Si un romance de jefe-subordinado ya escandaliza, no sé qué pensaron que provocaría una historia así.

    Por cierto, lo de llamarse "hermanos" -aniki, sería la palabra en japones- es muy común como señal de respeto, sobre todo en los "delincuentes" para referirse a sus superiores. Es algo muy cultural de Japón y no tiene nada que ver con sentirlo como un "hermano" per se, así que no creo que sea algo que vaya a dejar de pasar 😅😅

    Siento que la calificación fue dura, pero no juzgo para nada con los gustos y el conflicto con este tipo de relaciones.

  3. I think your review was spot on and I appreciate you writing it. Can't believe this kind of series is still being made in 2024.

  4. I needed this review to confirm that I wasn't overreacting. I'm particularly bothered by this tendency of JBLs with couples with age gaps in which absolutely no one questions the context of the relationship or hides behind the typical "he's too mature for his age." (as in Minato's Laundromat).

    When I saw the first episodes I thought that the story would be a plot of personal growth in which Toki would feel a youthful crush to realize that it is an impossible love because Sahara could not reciprocate because he still loves Nekoto. while Toki ended up showing interest in Rise.

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