Utsukushii Kare Season Two: The Review

I’m both not quite sure, but pleasantly surprised that My Beautiful Man after becoming a smash hit after season one, a movie announcement close after, got a second season added in between. It was certainly not what I had on my 2023 drama bingo card but… I’m not complaining.

Hira Kazunari (Hagiwara Riku) and Kiyoi Sou (Yagi Yusei) have overcome what kept them apart in high school, and now have been living together in relative bliss. As a fourth year in college, it’s begun to dawn on Hira that having spent his spare time in college following Kiyoi wasn’t the best idea. He’s never held a job and graduation is looming over his head as his peers begin to progress in their lives. Kiyoi continues to work on his acting career, and in deepening his relationship with Hira beyond their high school king and his subject dynamic.

I described the first season as nebulous, straddling a line between being a BL and a coming of age story. This second season really packed in a lot, and cleared up it’s image. Where the first season Kiyoi and Hira both seemed complacent in the king and subject dynamic, as the years have progressed – Kiyoi’s no longer satisfied with that. His almost catchphrase of “キモイ” (gross/disgusting) is less about keeping Hira at arm’s length, but more about how off-putting the self imposed roles Hira made. Kiyoi doesn’t want yet another fan, he wants Hira to be a partner on equal footing.

As for Hira, one of the most subtle changes was his comfortability with Kiyoi, Kazuki and the other members of the photography club. Hira’s stutter is noticeably absent in most of his dialogue with those characters. His speech patterns have changed to being at times more thoughtful and soft-spoken, or occasionally blurting things out. It’s nice to see that however subtly, Hira has changed. His stutter does make a reappearance when approached by new people or situations.

I have to say, now that the dynamics between Kiyoi and Hira were established, it’s significantly more comfortable to watch. It also helps that they’re no longer clumsy high schoolers but young adults now. Both Hagiwara Riku and Yagi Yusei do have an established rapport with one another that lends itself to those details smoothing out. It helps that Yagi Yusei’s acting has also improved in leaps and bounds since the first season – the more subtle expressions are especially nice, and he has a better sense of how to interact within the various locations of the set. Hagiwara Riku as always, is a delight to watch.

The secondary cast was also particularly exceptional. While Takaishi Akari as Kanna i.e. kabedon girl from episode one was a flash in the pan, as a fan of her she was a delight to see on screen. Nimura Sawa, who played Anna i.e. Kiyoi’s admired senior was another welcome edition. Not only as a mentor figure for Kiyoi, but in general someone to bounce his thoughts and feelings off of.

In particular, I did really like the re-occuring motifs that transferred from the first season. In particular Hira’s camera lens perspective, and the rubber duck tied the two seasons together nicely. The level up in terms of costuming and production budget was nice as well.

It’s a bit of shame that this season is so short, only four episodes. Despite that it packed in a lot of character growth for the duo that I anticipate will come to it’s fullest form in the movie. Overall very much worth watching if you were a fan of the first season, the only problem is it will leave you wanting more for a movie that isn’t out just yet.


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