Tan and Oil were raised together, and over the years, Tan discovers that he feels more for his friend than a brotherly feeling. However, they were moving away because Oil had to go with their parents to Chiang Mai. Did they still feel the same way after two years? Tan's neighbor, Sea, received a proposal to go to Green Field because of his musical gift. At boarding school, he meets Tin and starts guitar lessons, can something come up? (Source: lianhuafansub.blogspot.com) Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
Inconsistent quality: likable in some ways but sometimes frustratingThis BL has loads of potential and is surprisingly good for quite a number of episodes for such a low-key BL (compared with say, Love by Chance 2, which is airing around the same time). In fact, I stumbled upon it by chance because it doesn't seem to have been listed in lists of Thai BLs.
The main couple starts off being the sort I personally love to see, with them caring for each other in little ways even when they do not make their love for each other obvious. The story of Tan and Oil is interesting at the start with Tan being an archetypal "bully who turns out to be a softie" sort of character who becomes a much more nuanced character especially after the demise of his mother. (It may come as a pleasant surprise that Tan's affection for Oil is more obvious to us from quite early on when he almost kisses a drunk Oil but stops himself.)
Unfortunately, the development of their relationship seems to be headed nowhere during the middle of the series despite their attraction to each other. Despite being obviously in love with Tan, Oil inexplicably seems willing to date/consider dating Kun. Yes, he has the right to date others since Tan and him aren't dating and Tan hasn't made his feelings clear. To make matters worse, Oil's affection for both Tan and Kun seems genuine--at one point he appears genuinely happy when Kun confesses his love, and yet he also seems to be considering Kun because he thinks Tan only treats him as a brother.
Towards the end of the series, the plot becomes haphazard, compromising what could have been a reasonably good series. The scriptwriter(s) decides to throw in an incident in which Oil feigns illness, causing Tan to misunderstand him when Tan finds out. Although it is clearly suggested that Oil is under some pressure to feign illness (this isn't clarified even by the end of the series), the already baffled audience doesn't need to be baffled further at this point. The characterization of Tan is also problematic. At one point, he seems willing to let Oil be with Kun, indicating that he will do anything for Oil to be happy. However, he also gets jealous and upset after he realizes that Oil has got into Kun's car while pretending to be ill. (Tan thinks that they have gone out on a date or something.) Such behaviors can perhaps be convincingly portrayed if the actors had the ability to convey the nuanced emotions, but this was a bit too challenging for such young actors.
Apart from the unnecessary events that are added in for no particular reason, characters are added in and cast aside simply to complicate matters. Tan's stepbrother, for example, does not seem to have any particular motivation for his unpleasant behavior and seems to have been added in because the scriptwriters want some tension. Then there's Kun, the poor guy who seems to really like Oil. Oil agrees to go out with him and even agrees to be his boyfriend in the last episode. But just seconds later, Tan appears, takes Oil away, confesses his love to him and they live happily ever after. Nothing is shown about Kun after this, which also possibly and unintentionally also turns Oil into arguably the most selfish bastard in the whole story.
Tin and Sea, as of Episode 8, seems to be the other main couple (potential couple) though this is where things get somewhat confusing. Firstly, apart from the fact that Sea is Tan's friend (we only see them talking to each other over the phone though), Tan and Oil seem to exist in an entirely different social circle from Tin and Sea, and there is practically no connection in the Tan/Oil and Tin/Sea stories. Secondly, it is not entirely clear whether if Tin is in love with Sea even after two-thirds of the series is over. Sea is supposedly straight and in love with his female childhood friend, but we know that this doesn't matter in the world of BL. What is bewildering is Tin seems to have fallen in love with Sea at first sight though later it is revealed that Tin supposedly has a girlfriend. The girlfriend is overseas and only mentioned by the characters, and Tin only ever seems to think of her when he needs an excuse to spend time with Sea.
The confusion regarding Tin/Sea could be something that we can bear with easily if not for the extra confusion arising from the messy friendship/relationship amongst the other characters in Tin/Sea's circle. There is It (a confusing name because I often find myself wondering "What is it?" until I realize that "It" is a name) who seems to have been punished because some other guy (presumably Voice) wrote a note to him saying that he loves him (It)--is that even his fault even if we don't quibble about whether a guy being in love with another guy is wrong? It's love-hate relationship with the music club is also bewildering--he was kicked out of the club (or suspended?) because of the aforementioned declaration of love, but it's not as though everyone in the club has done something against him. I suspect that part of the confusion arises from flaws with the subtitles.
The pacing is fine but uneven. The switches from the Tan/Oil story to the Tin/Sea story makes it feel like I'm watching two different series without being able to finish one before watching the other. As of Episode 8, the series still gives the impression that it can be salvaged. Unfortunately, by Episode 11, one gets the sense that the ending (Episode 12) is going to be very rushed if the series is even going to have something that resembles a proper ending. Episode 11 focuses solely on Tan and Oil, so we are left in the middle of nowhere when it comes to Tin and Sea, after seeing the cute scene of Tin trying to do something to cheer Sea up.)
With a title like "Friend Forever" (or "Friends Forever depending on the translation), one may wonder if there is going to be an awful ending in which everyone just remains friends. Thankfully it doesn't have such an ending. However, the happy ending for multiple couples just happen out of nowhere, which makes the ending really abrupt and bizarre. It's like a student submitting an exam essay that suddenly skips to the conclusion because he has made too many irrelevant digressions to elaborate on his main points within the time limit.
The series goes downhill about halfway through, particularly in the last 4 episodes. It is a waste of actors and characters who show promise at the start. Though the unnecessary ambiguity and complexity of emotions prove to be too challenging for him, Leo (who acts as Tan) has been able to carry off his role well for most of the episodes, successfully showing the propensity for the character to appear more cold than he really is, his innocence and hidden insecurities well. Tai, who plays Oil also pretty much conveys the character's slight girlishness and playful streak quite well. Heart and Bank may have less interesting roles as Tin and Sea, but they are really good looking actors whom audiences won't mind seeing. I have never seen someone looking as adorable as Tin while trying to suppress a smile (Episode 6), lol.
This is actually a fairly promising series that would probably have benefitted from a bigger budget and a more experienced team. I remember reading somewhere that it is directed by the same director who directed Love Sick, its sequel and its spinoff, Thank God It's Friday. Perhaps the team really needs a series with as many episodes as Love Sick 2 to do more justice to the material. Friend(s) Forever is better than the rather insipid Thank God It's Friday (though the latter is somewhat more focused and coherent).
WATCH THE DIRECTOR CUT!Normally I don't write reviews but I think this time I have to write one or not really writing one but just draw attention to it, so pls read that before (or during) watching the series.
This series starts so beautifully. The main actors Leo and Tai (Tan and Oil) did such an amazing job by representing the main characters. I really was into it during all the scenes and the chemistry was on top. I really enjoyed every single scene.
BUT and this is the main point that I really don't understand. In this series there are two important scenes between Tan and Oil and they just cut them out. I don't want to spoil but just look up (EP 1 and EP12 directors cut) and watch them. Because I think when you miss these scenes you will be a bit upset after finishing the series. With the scenes I think it is well done. Nothing special but worth watching I guess. All in all the story is pretty basic and sometimes a bit frustrating but when you watch the whole series with the missing scenes you will like how it ends.
I wasn't really into the other main couples but I think everyone has a different point of view and I guess you could like the other couples too.
Also the ending was a bit .... ÄHHHHM OK?! But yeah.
For me personally, it wasn't that new and some plots and scenes are a bit unnecessary. Although this series hasn't a special story line or an important message but I think as a BL fan you can still watch and enjoy it.