School-Based BL: The Standouts [2024 Edition]

School-based BL series coupled with slice-of-life, coming-of-age themes is a genre everyone feels like watching multiple times. Whether you had a great high school life or not, I think most people reminisce about their youth – in one way or the other. Plus, binge-watching School-Based BL is the norm!

Did your favorite make the list?

Where to watch School-Based BL series and films?

A lot of the series included in the list can be seen (binge-watch) on YouTube – particularly on GMMTV, Strongberry, and other content makers. Many series are also available at GagaOOLala. It’s highly recommended to use a VPN especially when watching BL series. There are streaming sites like NetFlix, Viki, GagaOOLala, iQIYI, Hulu, Viu, and many others that may limit broadcast reach due to copyright and other legal stuff. A VPN is safe, reliable, and legal.

The Top 17 School-Based Boys Love Drama Series

As with most lists, this is based on personal preferences (and bias), but there is universal agreement that a School-Based BL must feature a majority of the scenes inside a school and the cast wearing school uniforms. The flavor of ‘coming-of-age’, bullying, ‘young love-sweet love’, peer pressure, familial relationships, and school rivalries may also form part of the formula.

About Youth – Taiwan (2022)

About Youth is the latest BL series from Taiwanese director Tsai Mi Chieh – who previously helmed HIStory2: Crossing the Line, and HIStory3: Make Our Days Count, among others. This time, they cast young, rookie talents to play the leads.

Ye Guang (Li Zhen Hao) is an elite high school student and popular campus idol, while Xu Qi Zhang (Jyun Shen) is a guitar prince who normally has a weak sense of existence but is transformed on the stage. The two boys have different backgrounds and values.

The series profile and details about ‘About Youth’ are here. You can binge-watch the series at GagaOOLala starting with Episode 1 here.


A Shoulder to Cry On – South Korea (2023)

Filled with subtle and obvious symbolism depicting the growth of an intimate relationship between two troubled souls, A Shoulder to Cry On, is a perfect example of how intimacy can be described without using tease or involving scandalous imagery.

It’s interesting to note that both lead stars are members of the boy group Omega X. Having worked together – rehearsals, stage performances, and everything in between – what we have here are two artists comfortable with each other. In the series, they started as ‘enemies’ but gradually became ‘lovers’ as a result of a past tragedy.

This BL series premiered on GagaOOLala on 14 March 2023, after much controversy surrounding OMEGAX and their talent management, Spire Entertainment.

The series profile and details about ‘A Shoulder to Cry On’ are available here.


Bad Buddy – Thailand (2021)

Like the age-old tale of Romeo and Juliet, Bad Buddy alters the narrative by changing the romantic leads. This enemy-turned-lover BL series from Thailand is one of the best BL series ever made in that country.

Pran (Nanon Korapat) and Pat (Ohm Pawat) are neighbors. Their parents hate each other’s guts and compete on both business and personal levels. Their animosity sprinkles down to the sons, thus Pran and Pat can’t be friends. At school, the rivalry extends towards both academic and sporty endeavors. Yet, friendship has its way of moving unconsciously toward people who deserve it. While the parents continue to wrangle over petty issues, the sons are daring to become more than just friends. Is it worth it?

Bad Buddy is arguably not just a drug that keeps you high. It can be your conscience or a point of remembrance, of love lost and found, or friendship discovered. Bad Buddy is many things to different people.

Recommended reading: Looking back at Bad Buddy: Celebrates 1st anniversary! You can start binge-watching Bad Buddy at GMMTV’s official YouTube Episode One here.


2Gether – Thailand (2020)

2Gether is the most viewed Boys Love series on YouTube and there is legitimacy to why it’s one of the best.

Gentle and unassuming Tine (Win Metawin) desperately searches for a pretend boyfriend. He needs to have one to reject the courting of one flamboyant student. Enters potential target Sarawat (Bright Vachirawit). Little did he know that ‘conniving’ Sarawat had an agenda of his own.

Undeniable on-screen chemistry, cutesy, bubbly with minimal toxic scenes and characters, you can binge-watch 2Gether (again and again), and GMMTV’s YouTube channel is always there for you!


Standout Western series (LGBTQ+) have been lording it in the TV ratings for a long time.

Skins (UK) star Mitch Hewer (far left) did intimate scenes with popular young actor Nicholas Hoult in this UK-based series. SKAM (France) characters (Axel Auriant and Maxence Danet-Fauvel) tackle some heavy topics such as suicide and mental health, denial, and obsession. The French adaptation is, of course, inspired by the original Norwegian TV series.

Netflix’s Young Royals starring Edvin Ryding and Omar Rudberg boasts of a 3rd season. Young Royals is a Swedish teen drama romance streaming television series on Netflix. Set at the fictional elite boarding school Hillerska, the plot primarily follows the fictional Prince Wilhelm of Sweden (Edvin Ryding), his romance with fellow student Simon Eriksson (Omar Rudberg), and the drama that results from their intimate interactions.

A young Charlie Hunnam was only 18 when he was cast by Russell T Davies as 15-year-old schoolboy Nathan Maloney in Davies’ Channel 4 drama Queer as Folk (1999). Kit Connor and Joe Locke enjoy unprecedentedly high ratings for their coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama television series on Netflix, written and created by Alice Oseman, Heartstopper.


Blueming – South Korea (2022)

In Blueming, two alpha males compete for glory at school. One is nouveau rich, while the other is a poor pretender. Circumstances force them to get closer, and in a high-stakes school project, romance falls into place and sweeps them off their feet.

Excellent camera play, with equally excellent lead actors – Kang Eun Bin (who plays the pretender) has star appeal. The drama is not limited to standard school scenes and expands into familial relationships (1) the poor boy has divorced parents and has vanity issues, (2) the nouveau rich kid is lonely and his parents work overtime. These subplots supplement what is already an interesting and romantic boy’s love.

Not only does Blueming deal 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 ruin it if they forget 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 brought the issue into the open, and viewers were invited to interpolate and discuss it.

The series profile and details are available here. You can start watching the series at iQIYI at Episode One here.


Eternal Yesterday – Japan (2022)

Eternal Yesterday is one of the most poignant, peaceful, yet tragic School-Based BLs there is at present. It’s devastatingly beautiful and addresses serious issues such as death and acceptance.

Eternal Yesterday is about two young guys. One is Koichi (Komiya Rio), cheerful and famous in his class. The other is Mitsuru (Inoue Sora), who is talented and not good at socializing. The two high school students feel a strong attraction to each other due to their opposite personalities. One morning, Koichi is hit by a truck in front of Mitsuru. Koichi got up on the spot and smiled. He was indeed still “alive. But then his classmates gradually began to forget about Koichi’s existence. A youth love story that you “can’t help but cry”.

Viki released this BL drama on 21 October 2022- Episode 1 (and succeeding episodes). GagaOOLala also features this Japanese BL drama – Episode 1 (and until Episode 8). You need to upgrade your GagaOOLala account to watch. Viki’s access depends on the region you are located, but you may use a VPN service.

The series profile and details are available here.


Fish Upon the Sky – Thailand (2021)

Fish Upon the Sky is regarded as the initiator of the Pond-Phuwin ship and that ship has sailed already – braving storms, tidal waves, and all. This GMMTV series is super relaxing, and cozy, and has no toxicity.

Pattawee or simply “Pi” (Phuwin) lacks the self-confidence to go straight to his super-popular crush and declare his love. And there’s Mork (Pond Naravit) who rivals him and thwarts his every move. But why is it that Mork seems to be always there for him? Will he pursue his original crush or is he developing feelings for his rival?

You can start watching Episode One and thereafter of Fish Upon the Sky on GMMTV’s official YouTube channel.


HIStory: Crossing the Line – Taiwan (2018)

Undeniably the most impressive among the HIStory drama series since it started back in 2017, Crossing the Line brims with intensity, sexiness, and sensuality, featuring a sporty, attractive cast with enough acting potential to come up with an engaging BL show.

Zi Xuan (Zach Lu) is a competitive volleyball player who got injured. For his team to move forward, they scout for potential players. Enter Yu Hao (Fandy Fan), a freshman with a bad temper. Like oil to water, the two exchange angry stares and animosity. But competitiveness soon overtakes whatever differences they have. Until love beckons among spikes and jumps!

Crossing the Line features one of the most intense kissing scenes in all of BL. Relatively unknown Fandy Fan elevates his career in this BL show. This is sporty BL at its best.

You can start watching Crossing the Line (Episode One) here.


Senior High’s Potch and Tim – Philippines (2024)

A highly-rated TV show in the Philippines – Senior High – is making waves, featuring two major male characters falling in love. The enemy-turned-lover side story is both engaging and believable – as Poch (Miggy Jimenez) and Tim (Zaijan Jaranilla) – acted out a diverse list of emotions! Sample scenes featuring these two excellent Filipino actors in this YouTube playlist.



Light on Me – South Korea (2021)

Light on Me is charming, dreamy, and appealing. At 25 minutes per show (running for 16 episodes), there is enough emotional investment for the viewers to empathize with the characters.

A loner decides to revamp himself by seeking friends. He enters the school’s student council and befriends the President while earning the ire of its VP who – eventually – turns out to be someone worth caring for. Lee Sae On (26) and Kang Yoo Seok (28) pass as high school students and display on-screen chemistry that’s intense and romantic. This is a great example of how to ‘manage’ an enemy-turned-lover plot successfully.

You can start binge-watching Light On Me at WEtv (Episode One) here.


My Beautiful Man – Japan (2021)

My Beautiful Man is a psychological romantic drama combined with slice-of-life school-based BL with plenty to say both subtle and otherwise.

At six episodes running less than an hour, My Beautiful Man offers a full-impact tale of passionate love and obsession and some rivalry on the side. The love-hate relationship between stuttering Hira and the vain and arrogant Kiyoi is a fascinating study of contrast and contradictions. What works well is the two-dimensional relationship between the boys – when together in private, and when in front of the class.

Both Viki and GagaOOLala have the drama series available for viewing. English subs are readily available on both channels.


My School President – Thailand (2023)

My School President features a music club student leader Gun (Fourth Nattawat). whose club is up for deletion. He approaches the student council president Tinn (Gemini Norawit) to get his support. However, the President demands he becomes his assistant cum secretary/helper. GMMTV considers this BL series as a ‘boy-meets-good-guy story with a marvelous LGBTQIA+ narrative‘.

The official GMMTV YouTube channel is where you can watch this BL series, and will also be available on Viu, starting 2 December, which is a Friday and thereafter. You can now watch Episode 1.


Semantic Error – South Korea (2022)

I did not immediately warm up to both Parks. Maybe because they started with a certain animosity? I just felt antagonized by the uptight kid. Slowly the chemistry took over. Sparks did not fly yet, but I felt the insecurity in Sang-woo made his character vulnerable – someone people can be emphatic with. 

Semantic Error’s biggest strength is that the relationship is not forced, but rather allows itself to flow freely. Both characters speak their minds and while that may not be the case every time, there is this sense of TLC between them – covertly and otherwise.

The series profile and details are available here.


SOTUS – Thailand (2016)

The title SOTUS refers to the S.O.T.U.S. – the system that Kongphop (Singto Prachaya Ruangroj) and his fellow freshmen have to undergo to be recognized by the hazing team, led by third-year student Arthit (Krist Perawat Sangpotirat), as their official junior students. As the activities unfold, the two groups go through a series of conflicts and reconciling, and the friendship and love among them gradually flourish.

SOTUS: The Series – The Evil Senior and Mr. Freshman is a perfect title for a BL series that remains one of the most intense, engaging, but absorbing among the many that came out from Thailand.

The series also launched the acting career of Singto and Krist, establishing one of the most versatile BL ships. SOTUS is the only original Thai BL series that we still consider top-tier.

You can start binge-watching SOTUS (Season One) here.

Takumi-Kun – Japan (2007-2010, 2024)

Takumi Kun 6

Set in Shidou Gakuen, an all-boys boarding school up in the mountains, Takumi Kun encompasses all other BL films in its ambition and scope.

It features exciting and promising young actors, breathtaking locations, a memorable and poignant musical score, and stories exploring young love’s beauty and pain. Takumi-Kun may be considered a trailblazer for being the best of its kind. The movie was reportedly released in Japan on May 27, 2023. International release or broadcast is yet to be finalized, but DVD and Blu-ray versions are now available for purchase.

Takumi-Kun may be considered a trailblazer for being simply the best of its kind. This is from an original post at Psycho-Drama.

The Boy Foretold by the Stars – Philippines (2020)

A hybrid sort of BL coming-of-age and a gay budding romance. The Boy Foretold is all about two senior high school boys. One is gay and proud Dominic (Adrian Lindayag) and the other is hesitant looker Luke (Keann Johnson).

Dominic and Luke are “foretold” by the stars to be destined for each other. But that’s according to a fortune teller! Are the stars correct or is this a one-sided boy’s love thing?

Most Pinoy Boys Love features the proud and gay characters on the sideline. In The Boy Foretold, the same gay guy is front and center. Dominic is not a side character – like Green in 2Gether or some other gay personalities. Adrian Lindayag as Dominic speaks his mind and associates himself with the student body. He’s willing to take risks and is damn proud to be the focus of attention. Seeing a young gay individual expressing his thoughts freely is refreshing.

The Eight Sense – South Korea (2023)

The indie vibes of this BL series ring so very true – an engaging storyline that may appear generic, yet there is passion and compassion at every corner. The technical side – from editing to cinematography to sound and music – feels like there is so much love that’s put into it.

I was on point when the directors themselves confirmed what kind of effort and dedication was put into the series production.

Aside from the budding romance between the main characters, the themes of bullying, betrayal, and mental health were tackled in an almost clinical way. The emotions were controlled yet it made the scenes more powerful and relatable. It’s more than just a romantic love story between two independent yet struggling individuals with their demons to conquer.

The Eight Sense has ten episodes of at least 30 minutes each. The series is streaming at Viki.

Where Your Eyes Linger – South Korea (2020)

Where Your Eyes Linger started the Korean Boys Love (KBL) craze in 2020, and deservedly so. Han Gi Chan, the star of the show is dreamy, handsome (beyond compare), and can act giddy, sensual, and angsty.

18-year-old Han Tae Joo is heir to a powerful Korean conglomerate. He has no one except his childhood friend/private guard, Kang Gook. A female student whom Gook started dating puts Tae Joo in a bad mood. Jealous, perhaps?

The 10-minute, 8-episode series has driven many BL fans wild and insane, asking: why so little time? W-STORY | Energedic Company obliges with a full-length movie.

Thai Influences

Many of the current Thai School-Based BL series took inspiration from four precursor shows namely: Love Sick (2014-2015), My Bromance (2014), Make it Right (2016), and Love by Chance (2018).

Recommendations

Takumi-kun Series: Groundbreaking BL is back for a 6th movie! – Japanese Movie (2023)

10 Recommended Boys Love & Romance (Western BL Edition) Part 1/2

Looking back at Bad Buddy: Celebrates 1st anniversary!

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1 Comment

  1. I have seen a number of these school based series, some I have on my Watch List. I can not seem to go back to watch SOTUS. I guess you know why. I like Singto so I may push myself to do it.
    2Gether was OK but I never fell in love with it like so many have. It’s the same with Fish Upon The Sky.
    I would definitely add He Coming To Me to the list. Ohm and Singto were a good match and the cast was excellent.
    About Youth and History: Crossing the Line were very good and I would recommend them.
    The best school based series by far is Bad Buddy. Ohm and Nanon were superb and the attention to every little detail was amazing. Their appearance in 4 episodes of Our Skyy2 was a bonus.

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