One of the more recent BL anime releases from Japan. The Stranger by the Beach has taken me by surprise – it’s nostalgic, intuitive, dreamy, sweet, and dramatic. I can’t think of any recent anime BL that I enjoyed so thoroughly.
The L’étranger series (エトランゼシリーズ is a Japanese boys’ love (BL) manga series written and illustrated by Kanna Kii. The first book, L’étranger de la Plage (海辺のエトランゼ, Umibe no Etoranze), was serialized in the bimonthly manga magazine On BLUE from 2013 to 2014. It was followed up with a sequel series, L’étranger du Zéphyr (春風のエトランゼ, Harukaze no Etoranze, lit. “Stranger in the Spring Breeze”).
L’étranger de la Plage has been published in English by the digital distribution platform Renta! under the title The Stranger by the Beach, and by Seven Seas Entertainment under the title Seaside Stranger. An anime film adaptation of L’étranger de la Plage produced by Studio Hibari premiered on September 11, 2020.
Unrequited love (somewhat), familial relationship, rejection, and self-discovery – heavy stuff, right? Yet, Anime director Akiyo Ohashi should be commended for the stylistic and understated treatment of the subjects. One of my favorite BL couples, Shun and Mio have so much going for both! More than halfway through the film, the love scene is a major highlight; however, the “slice-of-life” scenes are just lovely! There is little age gap here – none at all, so the relationship is between two young Japanese who simply fell for each other.
My Anime List has featured a diverse list of critiques for this anime film, and this one resonates with my exact sentiments:
The relationship between Mio and Shun is very real written. It feels real, there are no big fireworks and their dilemmas are actually relatable for me. The whole story is not centered around sex and we can actually see their daily struggles with life. Shun’s high school life was well depicted and I wish we could see more of it. There is no stereotypical seme/uke dynamic between these two. They’re both equals in their relationship. The movie was quite short and I wish it was at least 90 minutes instead of an hour. The art was beautiful, they really brought the climate from the manga to the big screen. The colors were vivid, and the background was detailed. The voice acting was amazing and their voices sounded just like I imagined them in the manga.MAL review by Martwica
The Stranger by the Beach is fast-paced, and that’s one of my complaints. I wanted to explore Mio and Shun’s relationship even more. I also think that the anime is a different ‘animal’ from the manga where it was adapted. There is no reason for comparison.
Because both leads are of the same age, there is less controversy.
The toxic environs of today’s BL anime universe have been polluted with politically correct critics and ordinary audiences that it’s better to refrain from reading ‘critiques’. If you enjoy the anime, then share it with people who enjoyed it too.
Where to watch: BiliBili TV.
An old-timer BL fan way back in 2007. I started out loving BL after watching the Takumi-kun series from Japan, went on collecting BL manga, and watched old BL anime such as Junjou Romantica and the likes. Love of Siam allow me to transition into Thai, while Amphetamine gave me glimpses of Taiwanese BL magic. I love to write reviews and I’m one of the administrators of Psycho Weird.