Stay by My Side is a Taiwanese BL series about two university roommates who don't get along. The main character used to live alone until a new student moves into his dorm room. They antagonize each other due to a personality clash. Recently, the protagonist unlocks an ability to communicate with ghosts. These restless spirits torment him and disrupt everyday life. The only way to ward off the demons is by remaining close to his nemesis.
The couple in Stay by My Side goes on an entertaining journey from enemies to lovers. The story's supernatural twist adds unique scenarios and nuanced relationship dynamics to keep the romance compelling. This visually dazzling series delivers many BL-friendly moments, which will delight fans of the genre. However, a few iffy plots cause minor annoyances. The inexperienced actors also take a while to settle into their roles.
Stay by My Side Summary
Around 4 hours
Cute and sweet
Around 22 minutes
Bu Xia is a university student who lives alone in his dormitory. The other students avoid his room since there are rumours of ghosts haunting the space. In the past, someone was electrocuted to death. The highly superstitious Bu Xia has decorated the room with numerous talismans for spiritual protection. In exchange, he enjoys the luxury of living independently. He gets the whole room to himself.
Recently, a new student has transferred to campus. Jiang Chi comes from a prestigious family. His parents and older siblings are all doctors. They expected him to follow this career path. However, he defies the tradition and chooses to study law instead. Their parents disapprove of his decision. Jiang Chi doesn't rely on them financially for tuition. He works various part-time jobs to support himself. He is happy to live independently, away from his family's control.
Jiang Chi moves into Bu Xia's dorm room as his new roommate. Bu Xia is shocked that anyone would pick this room and warns him of the ghosts. However, Jiang Chi isn't superstitious and sees no problems living here. He is annoyed by his roommate's messiness and tries to tidy up. Jiang Chi is offended that Jiang Chi would touch his belongings without permission. The pair form a poor first impression of each other. Bu Xia complains to his basketball teammates about his rude roommate. However, they have heard of Jiang Chi's athletic prowess and want to recruit him.
Bu Xia and Jiang Chi clash initially. The childish Bu Xia plays various mischievous pranks on his roommate. Although Jiang Chi has a serious demeanour, he also retaliates and behaves pettily. Their squabbling has become well-known across campus. During one of their fights, they even broke the television in the dormitory's common area. The other students suggest they resolve their conflict with an arm-wrestling match. The loser must fulfill a request by the winner.
After the wrestling match's outcome, the two roommates reluctantly spend more time together. Despite their annoyance toward each other, their animosity subsides. Jiang Chi puts up with Bu Xia's immaturity and looks after him. Another troubling development happens when Bu Xia gains a supernatural power to communicate with ghosts. This hidden ability emerges due to a mishap from his older sister. The restless spirits target Bu Xia, interfering with his everyday life. Bu Xia only gets a reprieve when he's around Jiang Chi, who has immunity to the paranormal.
Stay by My Side Trailer
Stay by My Side Cast
Waji Hong (洪暐哲)
Bu Xia is an anthropology student enrolled in his university on a sports scholarship. He is one of the better players on his basketball team. Bu Xia lives alone in his dormitory room until Jiang Chi's arrival. They clash over their personality differences. Bu Xia has an older sister who recently became the head of the temple. Their family is highly involved in spiritual practices.
Isaac Yang (楊懿軒)
Jiang Chi is a law student who transferred to Yong Yu University. He comes from an esteemed family of doctors. His parents and siblings are all in the medical profession. However, Jiang Chi defies his parents' wishes to study law instead. He works multiple part-time jobs to avoid relying on them for financial support. While Jiang Chi is great at basketball, he doesn't seem interested in joining the school team.
Jin Cheng (鄭靚歆)
Liao Wei Po (廖偉博)
Superway Hsu (許博維)
Kevin Chang (張凱翔)
Lulu Hsia (夏宇禾)
Tu Chien Hao (凃建豪)
Stay by My Side Review
Drama Review Score: 7.9
Stay by My Side begins with a lighthearted feud between two roommates who can't get along. The early episodes show them squabbling and pulling pranks. However, their conflict seems forced. The leads act hostile toward each other over relatively minor snubs. In real life, you'd compromise and resolve the dispute. In this drama, everything is exaggerated and escalated. Stay by My Side comes across as trying too hard to recreate the enemies-to-lovers trope. The contrived relationship dynamic doesn't feel organic.
After an unconvincing start, Stay by My Side finds its groove and improves. Episode 2 introduces a supernatural twist to the love story. The protagonist's paranormal ability adds a fun novelty to the series, showing more originality than a run-of-the-mill campus romance. Bu Xia seeks spiritual protection and cozies up to his roommate with an ulterior motive. Yet, Jiang Chi perceives their camaraderie as romantic advances. In a case of mistaken intentions, their relationship develops intriguingly and entertainingly. It's fascinating to see the couple navigate their uncertain feelings.
Once the romance heats up, Stay by My Side showcases one of its greatest strengths. The series has a knack for creating many cutesy moments between the couple. We see them flirt around campus, canoodle in bed, and make out in the sun-basked corner of their dormitory room. Each affectionate exchange is like a delightful treat for BL fans. What makes these scenes even better is the beautifully polished visuals. Stay by My Side has a generous abundance of romantic imagery. The cinematographer captures every intimate glance and loving gesture with precision.
Bu Xia is a well-defined protagonist. He can be childish, cowardly, or insecure, yet the qualities create a memorable character with nuances. This adorable twink with innocent eyes grows on me after a while. In comparison, Jiang Chi's backstory isn't as fleshed out. I still like him, but he seems mysterious and reserved. Unfortunately, not all their storylines succeed. My least favourite is when Bu Xia & Jiang Chi's relationship becomes school gossip. Everyone gives annoying commentary and takes invasive photos of the couple, turning their love into a public spectacle.
The leads take some time to settle into their roles. There are a few scenes where they should manage their reactions better. Jiang Chi is a stoic character. Yet, the actor (Isaac Yang) portrays him dryly and gives a perpetual resting bitch face. I like the ice king better when he smiles and displays emotions later in the series. Bu Xia (Waji Hong) seems pesky initially. His bubbly charm emerges once the performer relaxes and gains confidence after several episodes. The couple's chemistry also strengthens, going from slightly awkward to building a more comfortable rapport.
Stay by My Side has a happy ending that explores the couple's bond physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Bu Xia & Jiang Chi remind me of two college sweethearts in romantic bliss. When I think about how they started the story as adversaries, these lovers went on an eventful journey. They overcame personality clashes, misunderstandings, and even paranormal interference. Best of all, there's plenty of sweet BL content. Overall, Stay by My Side consistently entertained for four hours. Despite minor annoyances here and there, this series is good enough for me.
Stay by My Side has an eventful plot, especially after introducing a supernatural twist in Episode 2. The protagonist is well-defined. A few storylines annoy me, but not enough to ruin my enjoyment.
The couple's enemies-to-lovers dynamic seems contrived initially. Fortunately, their rapport strengthens throughout the series. I appreciate the many romantic moments and sweet flirtation.
Both leads take a while to ease into their roles. They can manage their expressions better. The actors gain confidence as the series progresses, embodying their characters more and more.
Stay by My Side has a happy ending that strengthens the couple's bond. The finale delivers thoughtful messages, romantic exchanges & paranormal shenangians. This conclusion satisfies me.
The series accentuates its romance with beautifully polished visuals. I appreciate the abundance of BL-friendly imagery. The camera knows how to capture the couple's intimacy gracefully.
Stay by My Side is a solid BL drama with a fun couple, many sweet romantic exchanges, and an intriguing paranormal twist. Despite a few minor hiccups, this eventful love story entertains me.
Stay by My Side Episodes
Stay by My Side has a total of 10 episodes. Each episode is around 22 minutes long. It is a medium-length BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in under 4 hours. Stay by My Side started on July 7, 2023 and ended its last episode on September 1, 2023.
Episode 1 Review
My first impression of Stay by My Side is that it tries too hard to force a conflict between the leads. Bu Xia overreacts to minor offences. Jiang Chi is a little rude to him. Yet, Bu Xia acts like he has been slighted right off the bet. Bu Xia's irrational explanation doesn't justify his antagonistic behaviour. As the feud escalates rapidly, the couple's interactions seem petty instead of cheeky. Why are you picking a fight? Their relationship feels inorganic, like the storyteller wants to copy the enemies-to-lovers tropes from other BL dramas.
I thought Jiang Chi would win the arm wrestling match. My prediction is based on an emotional assessment. Bu Xia acts more bothered by their feud, whereas Jiang Chi appears relatively in control of his temper. Judging by the trajectory of their interactions, I thought Jiang Chi would continue getting the upper hand over his love interest. However, I guessed wrong. I didn't expect Bu Xia to psych his opponent with a fake-out kiss. If you can't win physically, use your wits and naughty tactics to defeat the odds.
The basketball team captain is the character that has caught my eye so far. OMG, his muscular arms are VERY distracting. He puts on ~the gun show~ in every scene. His double-barrelled shotguns are loaded with ammunition, yowza! Typically, I don't give a damn about basketball, but Stay by My Side has found a way to renew my interest. Thanks to him, I look forward to Bu Xia's chats with his teammates. 😚 I remember the actor (Liao Wei Po) from his other BL drama, Be Loved in House. But I don't recall his fine physique until now. Okay, sir, you have my attention!
Episode 2 Review
Stay by My Side seemed like a typical campus romance in the premiere. I'm glad Episode 2 introduces an intriguing supernatural twist, giving the story more originality. Bu Xia's ability to communicate with ghosts leads to many imaginative scenarios throughout the series. It's a unique selling point I don't see often in other BL dramas. His power seems more like a curse than a gift. I understand why he freaks out over hearing those creepy voices around him!
Bu Xia's interactions with his sister are cute, highlighting their close bond as siblings. These exchanges helped me understand his character better. Previously, I was irritated by his petulance and immaturity. With additional context, I shift my perspective and see him as an endearingly annoying little brother. The actor has that classic ~younger sibling~ vibe, which makes his portrayal more authentic. Ironically, Jiang Chi also has an older brother and sister, yet his personality seems adultlike. Not all younger brothers are annoying, just Bu Xia! 😛
Bu Xia accidentally drops potato chips over his roommate's body. Instead of apologizing or tidying up, he eats the snack off Jiang Chi's chest. This moment takes me out of immersion because it doesn't seem like a realistic response. Surely, Bu Xia must recognize how compromising his body language looks!? Only in the fantasy world of BL dramas would anyone react this intimately after spilling food on their roommate. The series tries too hard to create sexual tension when the scenario is implausible.
I'm alarmed that Bu Xia keeps invading his roommate's personal space. The fake-out kiss and the potato chip scene are similar instances where he disregards Jiang Chi's physical boundaries. In both situations, Jiang Chi looks uncomfortable with their unexpected intimacy. So far, this BL drama has only created romantic scenarios through Bu Xia's intrusiveness. It should be mindful of respecting Jiang Chi's comfort and consent. I'd like the romantic interactions to come from mutual understanding.
Episode 3 Review
Jiang Chi's paranormal immunity adds a fascinating twist to this romance. Unknowingly, he wards off the restless spirits that pester his love interest. Bu Xia now has an ulterior motive for getting close to his roommate. Yet, he misconstrues their intimacy. From his POV, Jiang Chi picks up the signals that Bu Xia is flirting with him. Both characters have different perspectives and motivations, creating an intriguing relationship. It isn't just a straightforward love story, but there are nuanced dimensions.
I'm not fond of the scene where all the university students gossip about Jiang Chi and Bu Xia's relationship. Can they mind their own beeswax!? A budding romance is private, yet these nosy bystanders treat it like tabloid entertainment. Taking photos of their intimate moments, particularly without their knowledge, is overboard. Since they're both men, this situation is even more sensitive than heterosexual couples and requires the utmost discretion. It troubles me how these strangers invaded Jiang Chi & Bu Xia's boundaries. Their love life is not for your public consumption.
When Bu Xia Jiang Chi hugged in the common area, one of the students held a phone to capture footage of this intimate moment. C'mon, is that necessary!? With that said, I did laugh at that one guy's over-the-top reaction. As the leads embrace, a background character looks overjoyed and clasps his hands over a toothy grin. Oh dear, he is full-on fanboying! It's funnier because no one else in the room overreacts except him. This hopeless romantic only appears once in the series, yet he makes the most of his three seconds of screen time.
Hmm, I have an observation. I feel like the chemistry between the actors isn't wholly there yet. The scene where Jiang Chi confronts his roommate should have been brimming with sexual tension. It's the first time both characters question their feelings for each other. Yet, the couple doesn't give off any vibes during that moment, like a missed opportunity to convey their attraction. The inexperienced acting performances of the leads may limit their potential. They don't sell this romantic connection as persuasively as another pairing would.
Episode 4 Review
This romance isn't just between two people. It's between Bu Xia, Jiang Chi, and the entire student body. Why does everyone feel the need to weigh in on their relationship? Every romantic encounter comes with onlookers and public commentary. Their gossip is a nuisance. Please leave the couple alone and give them privacy. With that said, Jiang Chi secretly enjoys all the attention. It's kinda cute when he gets flustered after Bu Xia catches him reading these messages.
Bu Xia mentions he's close to his family, whereas Jiang Chi has cut himself off from his domineering parents. I respect Jiang Chi's desire for independence. At the start of the series, he makes a huge life decision by switching from medical school to law school. A legal career is a respectable profession, so it speaks volumes that Jiang Chi's parents still oppose him. They aren't content unless their son follows in their footsteps. Instead of complying, Jiang Chi moves out, supports himself financially, and doesn't rely on his family connections. I admire his conviction to lead life autonomously.
Despite butting heads initially, the leads are bonding and growing closer. In the first episode, Jiang Chi turns down the drink that his roommate offered him. In this episode, he accepts Bu Xia's generosity. They're making progress in their relationship. I also like the scene near the end of the episode after they've finished the painting job. Their casual banter is playful, flirty, and easygoing. This episode successfully ignites the sparks between them. I'm warming up to the idea of them becoming an official couple.
Episode 5 Review
I adore the opening scene in this episode. It's an aesthetically pleasing shot with a dreamy atmosphere. Bu Xia's yellow hoodie and Jiang Chi's blue shirt coordinate in colours, complementing the greenery of their serene surroundings. I like how they're seated back-to-back, with Bu Xia resting his head on his partner's shoulder. It's an intimate position that conveys their close connection. I also like when Jiang Chi inserts a lollipop into Bu Xia's mouth. Ooh, that gesture is flirty!
Jiang Chi and Bu Xia's first kiss is awkward. Jiang Chi doesn't read the signals correctly and initiates an intimate exchange. Yet, Bu Xia doesn't reciprocate and pushes him away. Their discourse alarms me: "Why did you kiss me!?" vs "I thought you wanted it!" For a moment, I saw an ominous vision with many red lights flashing. Danger, danger, danger! My sixth sense told me this BL drama may perpetuate problematic behaviour. Since the situation didn't escalate, I won't make a big deal out of it. However, their exchange could have gone awry in a parallel universe
It's time Jiang Chi and Bu Xia talk seriously about their relationship. The two have been getting close, blurring their physical boundaries. Bu Xia initiates lots of physical contact, including affectionate hugs and cuddling in bed. From the viewer's perspective, we understand he's using his roommate for spiritual protection. But from Jiang Chi's point of view, he assumes these are romantic advances. The kiss is an extension of his misbelief that they have been flirting. This couple needs to clarify their relationship status before more awkward interactions ensue.
Episode 6 Review
Jiang Chi has fallen hard for his roommate. It's not just a college crush, but he seems genuinely smitten. He gushes about Bu Xia on camera, behaving drastically different from his usual stoic demeanour. Jiang Chi also gets them matching keychains (the Slam Dunk numbers are a cute reference btw). The scene that convinces me is when he takes a photo of Bu Xia's backside. Nobody would capture this trivial moment in a snapshot unless you're infatuated with that person.
There's a lot of BL content in this series. The leads flirt, kiss, and become intimate in numerous sweet exchanges. The quantity of romantic fluff seems higher than the average drama. Quality-wise, Stay by My Side may pale compared to the best series. This couple doesn't master their chemistry. Nonetheless, I appreciate the volume of cutesy scenes. Best of all, everything is filmed stylishly. Bu Xia and Jiang Chi's kiss by the clothesline looks so picturesque! I love how the camera is always centred on any affection, providing multiple close-up shots and different angles.
Bu Xia's denial is frustrating. A part of me wants to be patient as he figures out his confused feelings. Yet, another part of me wants to shake the honesty out of him. The last scene of this episode is emotionally charged. Jiang Chi bears his heart and confesses his love, only for Bu Xia to respond, "I thought you were joking…" Oh my god, that line is so soul-crushing. It sounds worse than your standard rejection because you dismiss the other person's sincerity. Both actors did a solid job with this intense exchange, improving my opinion from their earlier performances.
Episode 7 Review
It's funny how Bu Xia's sister views love so cynically. "If you don't like him, just keep using him." Bu Xia tortures himself because he feels guilty about his secret. Meanwhile, his sister gives no fucks lmao. Her character cracks me up, by the way. On her first day managing the temple, she causes a disaster and undoes her brother's sacred seal. Sis, you had one responsibility! She also claims to be searching for a solution to help Bu Xia. Seven episodes later, she sits here twiddling her thumbs, taking a damn long time.
Aww. I'm glad Bu Xia & Jiang Chi have reconciled in this episode. Bu Xia works through his insecurities and comes to terms with his feelings. During the chat with his sister, he asks whether Grandpa would approve of him being with a guy. That moment of self-doubt feels vulnerable, making me sympathize with his turmoil. Jiang Chi holds a grudge against him, but Bu Xia fights hard to save this romance. My favourite part happens right before the kiss. Bu Xia flashes a hopeful smile at Jiang Chi, who finally cracks and grins back. At last, Bu Xia's sincerity has reached him!
I also enjoy the scene after their kiss. We see Bu Xia and Jiang Chi sleeping on the same bed in their dormitory. Jiang Chi nuzzles against his boyfriend's face and gives him little pecks on the lips. A fond smile spreads on both their faces. The couple pulls each other closer, wrapping their bodies in an embrace. Sunlight falls on the pair as they continue drifting off in the middle of the day. It isn't a racy scene. Nonetheless, the vibe feels cozy, tender, and affectionate. The series has successfully conveyed the romantic bliss of a newly dating couple.
Episode 8 Review
Jiang Chi is so sweet. He puts thought and care into planning his boyfriend's birthday celebration, from homemade cakes to meaningful gifts. Even without spending much money, he makes this day a special occasion. Judging by his demeanour, this ice king doesn't seem like the cute, romantic type. Typically, he acts grouchily toward everyone else. Yet, Jiang Chi has a surprisingly doting side that he reserves for his boyfriend. I like the contrast between his tough exterior and soft interior.
I wish the series would expand upon Jiang Chi's backstory. Most plots revolve around Bu Xia's perspective. We hear his thoughts, meet his friends, and see his interactions with his family. Bu Xia receives so much focus, which is excellent for character development. In contrast, Jiang Chi doesn't get the same level of attention. The lack of personal content makes this protagonist seem like an enigma. Instead, share the spotlight evenly between both leads. Show us more of Jiang Chi's family dynamics, emotional struggles, and long-term aspirations.
Jiang Chi gives Bu Xia a personalized key as a birthday present. I like the sentimental value behind this gift. Jiang Chi admits he has no money to purchase something fancy for his boyfriend. Nonetheless, this key is valuable since it represents their future together. It's a token of Jiang Chi's loyalty and long-term commitment because he wants them to share an apartment. In addition, I like how Bu Xia wears this key for the rest of the series. He doesn't just store away the memento. Instead, Bu Xia proudly displays the token of his boyfriend's love in every scene.
"His kindness made me feel guilty." I like Bu Xia's line at the beginning, setting up the tension for the rest of the episode. Initially, Bu Xia feels guilty due to his secret paranormal power. As his sister says, he has been "using" Jiang Chi with an ulterior motive. Later, he also feels guilty because his boyfriend dotes on him too much. Jiang Chi gives up an internship opportunity to spend time together, but Bu Xia disagrees with this decision. Both scenarios highlight how Bu Xia feels insecure and unworthy of his boyfriend's affection. I don't deserve his kindness toward me.
Episode 9 Review
According to superstition, Bu Xia can transfer his curse to Jiang Chi by getting laid. Did I interpret that correctly? Okay, I just burst out laughing. The solution seems so goofy. I don't understand how fondling your boyfriend's balls is supposed to stop you from communicating with ghosts. "Is this real, or did you make it up?" Jiang Chi asks the sister, echoing my thoughts exactly. I love that BL dramas can present the most absurd scenarios and pass them off as the plot. 😆
Bu Xia's supernatural power is risky. Earlier, he only heard the voices of the undead. While annoying, he could ignore them. Now, the hostile spirits causes him to slip and faint in the shower. Knowing the dangers, Jiang Chi still volunteers to take on the curse to protect his boyfriend. Similar to how he gave up the law internship, Jiang Chi makes a personal sacrifice for love. "I'm responsible for my own choices," he says. Whether he wants to study law, quit the internship, or carry the curse, that's his prerogative. Jiang Chi's character is guided by a strong sense of autonomy.
Bu Xia becomes drunk, so Jiang Chi takes him to wash up in the shower. After Bu Xia removes his shirt, Jiang Chi stares at his half-naked boyfriend. There's a hint of desire. Bu Xia launches a sexual encounter, yet Jiang Chi resists. "I don't want to deal with a drunk. I don't like to muddle through when things aren't clear," he states, showing self-restraint despite the temptation. Since the series had a few iffy scenes with personal boundaries earlier, I like that it included this exchange. The couple only makes out after Bu Xia is sober and clears the air between them.
Episode 10 Review
In this episode, a random female love interest arrives and claims to be Jiang Chi's fiancée. Bao Bao is his childhood friend. Jiang Chi's parents encourage her to pursue their son romantically. We see these pesky love rivals appear in BL stories all the time. However, Jiang Chi shuts down her romantic advances in record time. He rejects Bao Bao before returning to his boyfriend ten seconds later. No fuss, no hesitation. This subplot almost feels like a parody because of how quickly Jiang Chi resolves the relationship drama.
Bu Xia and Jiang Chi flirt in their dormitory. Bu Xia makes a scissors sign and jokes that he'll cut off his boyfriend if he cheats. "You'll cut me off? Then I'll cut you off!" Jiang Chi replies playfully. I adore the cheeky back-and-forth banter in this exchange. The couple is just teasing each other, but their rapport feels natural. Watching their cute, casual interactions brings a smile to my face. These two actors have strengthened their chemistry after a slightly awkward start. Now, they behave more comfortably with each other and exude romantic vibes.
Stay by My Side has a happy ending where Bu Xia transfers his curse to Jiang Chi. His brave boyfriend is less likely to get spooked by ghosts. I find Jiang Chi's gesture very touching. He shoulders a lifelong burden so his partner won't suffer. In the last scene, Jiang Chi seems unsettled after hearing the spirits for the first time. The voices vanish once Bu Xia greets him with a kiss. I love how the roles are reversed. Now, Bu Xia is the one to soothe Jiang Chi and offer protection. The series ends reassuringly, highlighting how these lovers lean on each other to overcome turmoil.
Stay by My Side OST
This is the theme song of Stay by My Side. It is performed by Waji Hong, the lead actor of the series.
Stay by My Side Information
Wu Kai Hui (吳凱蕙) is a Taiwanese director. Her portfolio of work includes the 2023 BL drama, Stay by My Side.