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These Asian queer romance series will make you go: ‘God, me when?’


For the longest time, queer characters—especially in mainstream Asian media—were treated as comic relief or mere accessories to the plot. Proper LGBTQ+ representation has only become more prevalent in recent years with Thailand and Japan arguably leading the wave. And while I’m grateful for that, the industry is increasingly becoming saturated with queer shows that possess questionable quality and execution, making it difficult to distinguish gems from duds.

That’s why I’ve taken it upon myself to sift through the collection and pull out recommendations for authentic queer media that don’t rely on excessive fan service or poorly written storylines. I narrowed down the list by focusing on shows with 12 or fewer episodes to make sure they’re less time-consuming and easier to catch up on.

“GAP: The Series” (2022)

Recognized as Thailand’s first full-length girls’ love series, “GAP: The Series” is a workplace romance following the story of Mon (Becky Armstrong) who develops a certain fondness for Sam (Freen Sarocha Chankimha) after the latter saved her life years back. Determined to get closer to her childhood hero, Mon scores a job at the company Sam is managing. But the perfect image Mon conjures in her head shatters when she realizes Sam is the exact opposite of what the media portrays her as—mean and cold.

All things considered, this 12-episode series succeeded in setting the standard for Thai sapphic media. Although there were areas that seemed lacking—particularly in pacing, editing, and acting—the oozing chemistry between Freen and Becky makes up for it. The intimacy they established for their characters is enough to make the viewers stay and root for a happy ending.

“Ameiro Paradox” (2022)

What happens when two professionals with clashing personalities are left with no choice but to work together? “Ameiro Paradox” has the answer. Onoe (Keito Kimura) is a righteous journalist who secretly sees ill-mannered photographer Kaburagi (Jyutaro Yamanaka) as his rival. Unfortunately (or not) for Onoe, they end up in one team for a new case. But his annoyance for Kaburagi slowly turns into something fonder after spending some time with him.

This eight-episode series is adapted from a manga of the same title. It’s quirky, cute, and sweet with a dash of drama and spice. I also appreciate the fact that the acting dynamic isn’t unnecessarily exaggerated—unlike in many Japanese BL series adaptations.

“Couple of Mirrors” (2021)

Love, betrayal, murder, and death. “Couple of Mirrors” is a Chinese sapphic drama that provokes more than entertains. Set in the Republican era, the bloody story starts when socialite and successful author You Yi (Zhang Nan) finds out that her husband is sleeping with her best friend and confidant. Death cases start piling up almost immediately after discovering her husband’s infidelity. She then files for divorce and finds solace in Yan Wei (Annie Sun), a mysterious photographer who also happens to be an assassin.

Technically, it’s not really a “kilig” series since it deals with heavy themes, but the subtle-yet-not-obscure romantic tension (blame it on China’s censorship rules, by the way) between the female leads, their acting skills, and the interesting plot make it worth binging. The cinematography is also something to look forward to as it can transport you to China during the early 1900s.

“A Tale of Thousand Stars” (2021)

If you’re into slow-burn and are tired of the typical school setting in most Thai boys’ love (BL) series, you might want to give “A Tale of Thousand Stars” a try. It revolves around Tian (Mix Sahaphap Wongratch)—a college student born into privilege who starts questioning his purpose in life after undergoing a heart transplant. Upon knowing that his donor was a volunteer teacher in a rural community, he immediately goes to that place to continue what his donor started. There, he meets Phupha (Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri)—an impassive forest ranger Tian eventually falls in love with.

The way Phupha and Tian’s relationship progresses matches the storyline (and the characters’ nature) so well that the slow-burn romance doesn’t come off as unnecessary and boring. The main actors (Earth and Mix) have the ability to express affection through their eyes alone, easily letting the viewers feel the genuine love between Phupha and Tian sans skinship. Plus, it’s nice that the series doesn’t focus solely on romance; it also touches on a few social issues (classism, family pressure, education in underserved areas, etc.)—which adds more depth to the plot.

“Sleep With Me” (2022)

If I were to make a list of criminally underrated local sapphic shows, “Sleep With Me” would be fighting its way to the top. Science textbook author Luna (Lovi Poe) suffers from a rare sleeping disorder, making it almost impossible for her to live a normal daily life. She often listens to a late-night radio program called “Sleep With Me” where wheelchair user Harry (Janine Gutierrez) is the DJ. They meet when a part-time worker from the convenience store Luna frequents asks (read: desperately begs) her to claim a prize from Harry’s program.

Lovi and Janine are a pair I didn’t expect to work—but it did. Their chemistry as Luna and Harry is so intense that it would’ve broken my heart if they weren’t end game. Lovi is also a force to be reckoned with in this particular series. Because of her portrayal, Luna rapidly became one of my comfort characters.

“I Told Sunset About You” (2020)

Think “Your Name Engraved Herein” but with less angst—that’s “I Told Sunset About You” in a nutshell. It’s a coming-of-age BL series focusing on Teh (Billkin Putthipong Assaratanakul) and Oh-Aew’s (PP Krit Amnuaydechkorn) journey from being childhood best friends to rivals to lovers. 

After years of not seeing each other, they reunite in a Chinese language class as part of their university admission preparations. Teh (who has advanced knowledge of the language) grabs this opportunity to try and mend their broken pieces by tutoring Oh-Aew. Its overall production—especially the narration, cinematography, and musical scoring—reminds me of Taiwanese classics. So, if you’re a sucker for the signature Taiwanese film aesthetic, this series is a must-watch.

The short film “Last Night in Phuket” serves as a quick follow-up of the series, showing how Teh and Oh-Aew spend their last night in their hometown together before facing their college lives in Bangkok separately. It also has a much more dramatic second season titled “I Promised You The Moon.” A fair warning and a little spoiler, though: The sequel involves cheating. Watch with discretion if you’re uncomfortable with that.

“Tsukuritai Onna to Tabetai Onna” (2022)

Literally translated as “She Loves to Cook, and She Loves to Eat,” “Tsukuritai Onna to Tabetai Onna” is a sapphic mini-series adaptation of the titular web manga series about the wholesome relationship between neighbors Nomoto (Higa Manami) and Kasuga (Nishino Emi). Nomoto cooks whenever she’s stressed. One day, she ends up cooking too many dishes she can’t possibly finish on her own, so she invites her neighbor Kasuga over for dinner. This impromptu dinner invitation leads them to a newfound friendship… and something more.

Watching this series is like a sunset drive to a faraway beach: soothing, liberating, and comforting. It’s an intimate story that doesn’t aim high in drama or complexity; instead, it portrays queer love in the simplest and most natural (and realistic) way by making use of relatable dialogues and meaningful cinematography.


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Still from “Couple of Mirrors” (2021)



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