Finding a good BL anime to watch can be difficult, especially considering there’s not such a wide variety of titles as it happens with other genres. Sometimes, we have to look outside of Japan to find a hidden gem, and so we’ll talk about Antidote, a Chinese shounen-ai anime (technically, donghua) that will make all fujoshi and fudanshi across the world fall in love at first sight with its protagonists.
Still afraid of Chinese BL? We’ll give you some reasons to give Jie Yao (aka Antidote) a chance!
The Dynamics Between the Characters
Cheng Ke is going through some garbage cans, looking for something that he lost when Jiang Yu spots him and tries to hit him with a baseball bat. Although not ideal, this is the chance encounter that will change their lives, but they aren’t aware of that just yet!
After this strange episode, Cheng Ke realizes he’ll never meet that man again... but destiny is always a strong force. Lucky for him, Jiang Yu is the owner of the apartment that Cheng Ke rents, so he has to see him every time he needs something to be fixed. In the beginning, they both can’t get over their mutual dislike, but as time goes by, they develop a strange... friendship?
It doesn’t take long for Cheng Ke to discover that Jiang Yu has some inner demons tormenting him, and he takes it upon himself to help his friend in any way that he can. However, what seems to be friendship starts to look a little bit more like a romantic relationship between these two!
Different Backgrounds, the Same Pain
As the son of a wealthy man, Cheng Ke has been living a pampered life for the past 27 years, so he finds it difficult to perform regular tasks without getting help from his new landlord. He seems to be rather useless, a fact that Jiang Yu has no problem pointing out, but there’s more to this guy than meets the eye. He's a phenomenal artist, though, well-known for his unusual sand art. However, an artistic career is not what his father wants for him, so Cheng Ke was forced to move out of the house.
Jiang Yu, on the other hand, has no idea who his parents are and has been raised to be tough and take a punch without even wincing. That's not a metaphor; Jiang Yu had to fight other children on a ring for the entertainment of adults who made bets on the kids. Once he had the chance, Jiang Yu escaped and has been on the run since then, trying to leave behind the painful memories of his past.
Even though their backgrounds are complete opposites, both Cheng Ke and Jiang Yu are resentful towards their fathers, struggling to find their place in a society that looks down on them for different reasons.
If you liked Banana Fish, then Antidote is the perfect show for you. A man who has no idea of how life on the streets goes gets involved with a man who has a dark past and lots of people after him all the time. Jiang Yu doesn’t like to talk about himself, but Cheng Ke can easily feel the pain that he tries so hard to conceal, so he’s desperate to help his new friend.
As the story goes on, we discover that Jiang Yu thinks that his parents sent people after him, and often goes on his own to confront them. Although worried at first, Cheng Ke soon discovers that nobody's following Jiang Yu, and it’s all a product of his damaged psyche. Feeling sorry for him, Cheng Ke vows to stay by his side and protect Jiang Yu, but he has his own problems to deal with: his father wants him to come back to the house, while his younger brother wants to get rid of him.
With so much going on, we can’t help but wonder if these two will be finally able to have a happy ending... but trust us, the journey through these two's lives is more than enjoyable!
Antidote may not be your typical anime, but it will surely surprise all shounen-ai fans out there. The pacing is great, and the design of the characters is on point too. Most importantly, it’s really easy to get used to them speaking Chinese! As you can see, you may be missing a beautiful BL story, so it’s time to overcome the prejudices and give this donghua a try!