Blueming: Lookism in live-action! | Korean BL (2022)

Blueming (블루밍) is a top-tier Korean BL released in 2022, considered a golden year for boys’ love in conservative Korea. It tells the tale of 2 handsome young boys, one of whom – at first – felt antagonistic towards the other. Their relationship takes a 360-degree turn as they discover their innermost feelings that dictate what their hearts wanted.

Synopsis

When two narcissistic boys collide. Siwon Cha is obsessed with his popularity. Having transformed everything from his weight to his demeanor to remake himself into the perfect popular guy, he loves being the center of attention. What happens when he is challenged by over-eager and equally narcissistic rival Daun Hyung? And why does Daun somehow think Siwon has a crush on him?!

who can define popularity, source of blueming

Trailer/Teaser

Main Trailer: Blueming | iQiyi Romance

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This review is long overdue. While waiting for the second season of Blueming, I did another marathon viewing of its first season and finished the whole series in less than 12 hours. Not that it’s too long. It’s actually short – given the novelty of the storyline, the characters, and the unforgettable soundtrack.

There is always the pleasure of revisiting a favorite series. People are saying, there is something new to discover every viewing, and I agree. The best TV shows are the ones that kept you glued to the screen, and seriously Blueming made me forget about my obsession with an online game that kept me busy (and awake) for weeks. I think that tells you how good it is.

Not only does Blueming deals with vanity, self-identity, and insecurity, but it also delves into familial relationships – how parents’ separation can affect the children’s psyche. And even if the parents remain in a union, how they treat their children can totally ruin it if they forgot to take care of them. The scenes to spotlight these relationships were done in subtle ways, yet they are powerful and engaging. It raises many questions. While the series did not offer ultimate solutions, it brings the issue into the open, and viewers were invited to interpolate and discuss.

There is fluidity and clarity in how the series progresses. You know it’s been meticulously prepared, produced, and acted.

  • Kang Eun-bin who plays Si Won renders his character effectively. He’s loveable in the most endearing way, frank and honest to the core, and quite unsure of himself that he – most often – gets emotional. As vain and self-conscious as he is, he’s still a young man with a pure heart. He was never jaded, maybe a bit insecure but his support system kept him sane and capable. There were a number of dramatic scenes where he nailed every bit of acting;
  • Jo Hyuk-Jun as Da Un plays nonchalantly, yet we know he’s boiling inside. He remains this handsome kid who is cool and collected. Despite being lonely, he manages to fool many people that he’s fine when he’s not. What he needed was a companion and Si Won is the perfect pairing. The tale of ‘two narcissistic boys’ may be a valid definition of how they started their relationship, yet Hyuk-Jun was never too conscious of how he looked. He is just a handsome actor playing a charming character;
  • Series director Hwang Da Seul offers many hints about the characters. There were certain gestures, scenes, flashbacks, and mentions that present viewers with a collective way of understanding the characters;
  • It is noteworthy the lack of a love triangle which often is the case for creating conflict in BL. Instead, there is a character who exposes Si Won when he was not as physically fit as now. This jealous and conniving character became a rallying point for Si Won’s friends to support him even further;
  • Blueming is a top-tier Korean BL series that remains at the top of the hitlist even with the introduction of current shows.

The Main Actors and their Characters

Blueming: Kang Eun-bin
Kang Eun-bin plays Si Won in Blueming Season1

Si Won (Kang Eun-bin) comes from a poor family. His parent separated early on, leaving his Mom bitter and disengaged. Growing up fat and unfit, he was the target of ridicule and bullied by kids in the neighborhood. His Mom pushes him to be healthy, and in time he became a handsome young man.


Blueming: Jo Hyuk Jun
Jo Hyuk-Jun as Da Un in Blueming Season 1

Da Un (Jo Hyuk-Jun) is a nouveau rich kid whose parents are too busy to take care of him. His loneliness led him to seek out friends and Si Won is the perfect companion.

Blueming BL on Social Media

A lot of Korean entertainment portals mention Blueming as a breakthrough in Korean BL content.

Bleuming series director Hwang Da Seul (center) with her lead actors Jo Hyuk-Jun (left) and Kang Eun-bin

An interview with the series director Hwang Da Seul was posted, asking Da Seul about BL’s popularity:

The popularity of BL dramas is an unexpected phenomenon in Korean society, where the enactment of an anti-discrimination law that stipulates gender identity as a reason for discrimination is still difficult. Hwang Da-seul cited “the explosive interest of fans” as one reason. Compared to other genres, BL has a small but strong fandom. Fans’ ‘firepower’ for popular works is beyond imagination. The extent of this can be guessed from the fact that many BL fandoms originate from idol fandoms. When Bleuming was released on Naver Series at 0:00 (midnight), there were tweets saying that they went to work after watching all the episodes all night. It was also released at 1:00 pm on the same day through iQiyi, a global online video service (OTT) in China. It is said that there are many fans who have seen all of Hwang Da-seul’s previous BLs and actively respond to the flow of emotion and the suitability of the music. Hwang Da-seul said, “Through the fans’ reactions, I have grown little by little and come to understand my directing characteristics. I feel that the fans’ reactions are stronger than most released films.”

blueming and the world of bl | khan.co

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2 Comments

  1. I can’t wait for season 2 though I know it will be a heartbreaker. Seeing Daun struggling with his parents, can he really speak up for himself? Well: I’m ready.

    • Asian Popsicle

      I know…. I’m trying to be prepared. But S2 is definitely going to be intense and emotional.

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