“The source of my strength is my fellow members and the group called B1A4. Thank you for allowing me to always trust you and lean on you. I love where we are, so moving forward, let’s stay healthy and stay together.”
My Bromance (Pee Chai) - a slice of a gay teenage boy's life
Warning: May containspoilers.
Released on February this year in Thailand, My Bromance has been the talk in some circles. It is a gay-themed coming-of-age film starring not just one, but two Flukes: (Fluke) Pongsathorn Siripinta as Bank and (Fluke) Teerapat Lohanan as Golf. Both boys are products of broken families. Bank and his mum moved in to Golf’s place after their parents got married. At first, Golf was very apprehensive of Bank. Golf is a boy who never gets much attention from his parents and he thinks things have gotten worse after they separated. His dad only showers him with material things and money but lacks the love and warmth parents give to their children.
Bank tries everytime to reach out to his new stepbrother only to be met with hostility. He was turned into a minion doing everything Golf orders him to do: carrying Golf’s backpack, hailing a red truck to school, writing notes, tying Golf’s shoes, to name a few. There might have a been a few hurdles in the beginning but soon enough, they slowly learned the essence of being a brother to one another. And the rest, it’s for you to watch.
Seven years after similarly-themed Love of Siam made waves not just in Thailand but across Asia, My Bromance is set to become the next can’t-get-over movie for many young gay boys out there. I have to admit, I really haven’t moved on LOS even after several years since I have last seen it. Everytime I hear songs from Pchy (one of the lead actors) and his August Band (the band in the movie which transitioned to mainstream), memories and emotions flood back. Even if MB doesn’t involve much music, the storyline is enough for me to look back and go lovecrazy all over again.
If I must put the movie into a few words, I could say it is sort of a slice-of-life. MB has a lighter approach than LOS but has a more refined texture than the latter. LOS was rough and raw. MB was lighthearted and bubbly. The former had an indie movie atmosphere (despite being a mainstream commercial film). The latter had a brighter, more upbeat spirit. But this isn’t a comparison of the two movies. Both of them were great and I would highly recommend them to everyone, gay or straight.
While the story is a reflection of a typical teenage gay guy’s foibles and fumbles, it hardly touched any of the real societal issues surrounding homosexuality in Thailand. It wasn’t meant to ruffle feathers or trigger landslide reactions. Simply, it was the act of skipping stones on a placid lake surface creating ripples on every spot it hopskotches. To put it this way, it was meant to create a network of small talk which could turn big and wide as opposing ripples touch. And big talk it did.
Broken families are bad enough for a child. The stigma of being a bastard haunts his spirit and manifests in his behaviour. What more if your dad’s new wife moves in to your house bringing along her son? Golf’s apprehension towards Bank is understandable. The more Golf slaves Bank, the more Bank does things dutifully for Golf which may explain his sudden air of change. But why does it have to be romantic? I asked that to myself. And there begins my own reflection as a young gay man.
I’ve had (more than) my fair share of misadventures in love. Even higher perhaps than straight people. For young teenage gays (and even men), love is both a gift and a curse. A gift for having that feeling of bliss, a curse for being prone to false hopes and persecution. What Golf may have felt for Bank was real brotherly love after all. However they mistook it as one of a romantic in nature owing perhaps to their longing for a brother figure to enter their lives. Bank never had an older brother. Golf never had a younger brother.
Hence, the longing. At their age, love is a very tricky thing to handle. It could be the worst prank that even the best television show would not dare pull off. If Golf and Bank were not in a familial structure, falling in love wouldn’t have been farfetched an idea. So how can two stepbrothers love each other romantically? Aside from the fact that they know they aren’t blood-related, there’s really not much of an excuse for them not to pursue being a couple other than their parents are married to each other.
In very conservative Thailand, such things are still frowned upon despite the widely believed notion among non-Thais that gays are accepted in their society more than any other Asian country. Golf’s dad and aunt were vehemently opposed to his relationship with Bank. Bank’s mum meanwhile is a submissive housewife typical in Asian patriarchal families where the wife is hesitant to challenge the opinions of her husband. And this is why Golf and Bank had to stay apart. It invokes anger in the hearts of those who are in the same shoes as Golf and Bank, and those who symphatize with young gay boys and men who have to deal with prejudice day by day.
I just noticed though that in LOS and MB, both the families of parents who were opposed to the relationship of their sons are Christian. The religion of Tong’s family in LOS was clearly evident. In MB, just find out for yourself why I say Golf is a Christian.
But then, who are we to judge? As Golf had asked, does love have to be a matter of gender? Is it wrong to love someone of your own just because both of you have the same set of genitals? Is love right even if a gay heart beats the same as anybody else’s heart?
I admire how Thais create gay-themed movies. Less sex, more substance. In my country, gay movies almost always had to have sex. The word “indie” itself had been abused. No wonder the Filipino people has a misconception that independent films equate to pink films that our only out to satisfy the sexual cravings of its niche audience. With LOS and MB, the stories are tied to a reality that is undeniable: that love transcends gender, age, and belief. And a terrible reality that this kind of love is less of a bliss than its sugarcoated surface may suggest. If LOS is sad enough, MB will make you cry buckets.
For nearly eighty percent of the movie, I watched it with my hands in cringe position. I banged the table, knocked my head down several times, and dropped S and F bombs (and some locally made PI missiles too) on every intense moment, whether it be cheesy, envious, or sorrowful. But for the most part, it was because I was envious of every cheesy moment. With two eyecandies as lead actors, who wouldn’t fall in love with them? Or at their story? It was my ideal kind of bromance. A goodlooking couple, a sexy one too, not to say. And there are lots of goofy and cheesy moments to share with. The second half of MB also somewhat satisfied the sexual fantasies each young gay boy wishes to do with their crushes. (And oh, did I say that Golf and Bank had sex? Yes, there was a slight reference but the act was never portrayed.)
Overall, I find MB a certified can’t-get-over movie especially for young gay boys and men out there. There was a cuteness overload and your movie companion can’t blame you for the constant arm spanking and cheek squeezing. I just didn’t expect how the movie ended. But that’s yours to find out. So have you found your bromance today? Or are you just about to find yours? Me too.
At long last, I’ve finally finished playing DIABOLIK LOVERS: VANDEAD CARNIVAL. After trudging through HDB and MB, this installment was a like a breath of fresh air! It was plenty of fun, not draggy at all and I enjoyed the mini-games a lot as well. Who knew Rejet would redeem themselves with this one!
So after going through all the characters’ routes, I wanted to do a ranking on which characters fared best with me. FYI this is solely on their VC routes and not a personal favourite ranking (which I also do have that is HERE. My bias is Ayato, followed by Ruki.) I guess this could be a guage for everyone, especially those who’re planning on playing but have not yet.
In short, the VC story is that as usual, Karl Heinz has got nothing better to do than screw around with other people’s lives, so he invites the Sakamakis, Mukamis and Yui to the annual carnival in the ol’ vampire land. Yui gets to pick whose her bodyguard, and basically Karl will dump like 20 obstacles in their way “because they have to overcome stuff to certify their adam and eve-ness”. Also because it is interesting for him. At the end of their day, Yui and her chosen guy will end up at a party thrown in their honour, and they get crowned King and Queen, as well as proclaimed to be the new “Adam and Eve” (but I think no one really gives two shits about the Adam and Eve thing since MB b/c we know its nonsense).
#1 Mukami Kou: While Kou was a little shit in MB, his route was so fun in VC that I wished it could’ve been a lot longer. Kou is always concerned about whether Yui is enjoying herself or not, and goes around dress-shopping, sitting magic carpets and cafe-hopping with her. And Kou being Kou, he’s always cheery and excited to bring her around, and even when he’s pissed over bad stuff that happened, he reflect after that. I was so amazed, like what is this 180 degree turn from his MB personality! The only bad thing about his route is this time-waster ‘Young Kou’ appearance (btw a lot of unlikely things do happen in VC that is out of the norm, so everyone should just take it easy b/c a) this is vampire land and b) Karl Heinz). I felt like the Young Kou story didn’t add anything to the plot at all, but other than that, Kou is just wonderful!
#2 Sakamaki Ayato: I find the brighter, less serious characters fair better in a carnival setting, and so Ayato is one of the hits for me in this game. Ayato mainly likes to do 2 things in a carnival: Play pranks & eat takoyaki. In his route, he brings Yui to the haunted house (which is more like a giant house made of sweets), buys candy and eat takoyaki. They don’t meet that many obstacles, and the only unpleasant part is when Ayato sucks Yui’s blood in public which attracts unwanted attention. But Ayato’s final kiss scene under the fireworks was really sweet and they even share a pancake which is said to 'Never have the partner cheat’. Confident as usual, Ayato assures Yui he would never be with any other woman but her ^/////^
#3 Sakamaki Kanato: Now I’m really not a fan of Kanato at all, but his route was unexpectedly fun to play! Most part of the plot centers around Teddy, who is jealous of Kanato’s attention and affections for Yui, and whom ultimately goes about on a rampage, causing a lot of distress for Yui and Kanato (turns out all this Teddy-possession shit was due to Karl Heinz, but that’s no surprise.) Kanato, on his part, treats Yui quite well and doesn’t lash his temper out on her as much as I’d expected. His overall route is still very over-the-top, but it’s been fun!
#4 Sakamaki Subaru: Subaru, the one that enjoys himself more than he’ll admit. At the start, Subaru didn’t want to go out to the carnival, but when Yui wins a game and he is also egged on by triplets, he brings Yui out. He’s still the angry ol’ Subaru, but this time, his anger was because Yui is too kind and he doesn’t feel like he deserves it. Their final kiss scene within a merry-go-round car was also really romantic. As usual, Subaru’s route was enjoyable.
#5 Mukami Yuma: I pity Yuma so much because out of all the guys, Karl Heinz dumped him with the most obstacles. From bats to persistent vampires lusting over Yui’s blood to the Devil’s Tree, Yuma has got his work cut out for him! Yuma is generally still thoughtful about Yui, and although he desperately wants to suck her blood too, his main focus on protecting her is never lost. Although the obstacles were such a pain, I felt like Yuma did his best and it had been overall enjoyable.
#6 Mukami Azusa: The angelic Azusa is a joy to hang out with! Azusa basically wants to go around looking for this 'fluffy, sweet candy’ that he’s eaten years ago at a carnival but can no longer remember what it is, and although initially hesistant, Yui encourages him by saying she doesn’t mind to go on a food hunt with him. But shit happens when Azusa wants to cut himself and Yui forbids that, injuring herself in the process when she tries to pry the knife out of his hand. So after that they go to a healing spa, and also play balloon-popping games later. I really like how Azusa always puts Yui’s good intentions ahead of himself. Although I prefer more pro-active guys, Azusa had been lovely in this.
#7 Sakamaki Shuu: Shu routes in the previous games have always been hits with me, and I love Shu because he’s no nonsense and he doesn’t stir shit up. But Shu having Shu’s character is not so great for carnival settings. He is reluctant to have Yui go around and does not care about whether Yui has a good time there or not. He just does his job by protecting her when the bad things happen, basically just there to clear up the mess when there is a mess. There were also few icha-icha moments, unlike in say Ayato’s route, which means it’s even less exciting. Thus, Shu doesn’t rank very high in this.
#8 Mukamki Ruki: Ruki’s route simply started on a bad note. He first locks the heroine in a cell after forcing her to drink a potion that will supposedly surpress her presense as a human, but after that we find out the potion doesn’t work very well. He also forbids Yui to participate in a game (altho he had a good reason for that). Additionally, Ruki has imo the hardest mini-game of all in this, which is the puzzle game, so as the heroine, I feel I’ve let Ruki down even further when I failed to complete the game. Basically, his route made me feel like I was a huge burden and to add on, they didn’t anything very carnival-like at all, safe for having tea together. Sigh ol’ Ruki.
#9 Sakamaki Laito: Every single of the Sakamakis and Mukamis made their disapproval known once Yui picks Laito. Ayato: “Rather than protecting you, you’ll need to be protected from him!” LOL. But really, half the time Laito just wants to do ecchi things with you in publc, which I’m not a huge fan of. Although at the end Laito says he can never get tired of Yui, I’m just not pervetic enough of a girl for Laito’s tendencies. Sorry Laito and Laito’s fans.
#10 Sakamaki Reiji: Going around a carnival with Reiji is like stringing along a military grandpa. Reiji is rigid and overly strict, and he was also unkind to store owners at the carnival. Of course, he has his thoughtful moments such as giving a necklace to Yui, but I hate that he threatens her to take away what he’s already given! Reiji for me was just boring and so sorry, but I’m not into dating uptight military men whose hobby is writing the rulebook.
So that is all! I guess everyone’s rankings would vary a bit depending on who your bias is, but overall, this game is a lot better than whatever the half-baked MB game had been.
Bonuses in this included the 'Sleeping vampire’ and 'Presents from Sakamkis / Mukamis’ segment, which are just longer story scenerios. They’re fun to go through with too, although the sleeping vampire one is so long it’s like 20mins per segment so be ready for it.
Since the announced Lunatic Parade is also going to come with mini-games and stuff, I hope it could be more light-hearted the way Vandead Carnival had been, but still keeping to a proper plot. Going to take a break from my Otome gaming for a bit but really excited to try out Dark Fate now!
back in good ol Twenty Thirteen i saw desolation of smaug in 3d and the part where smaug broke out of the mountain covered in gold blew my fragile bird mind so, naturally i drew it and, naturally, it sucked, so ive redone the entire thing if you wanna see the full 5 and a half mb monstrosity here it is