Boys Love

BJ Alex – BL Manhwa Review

With the prospect of a three day weekend ahead of me, I decided to pick up a new BL webcomic and it was so good, I just had to share my thoughts! I originally planned on reading a few chapters and then moving on to something else, but wound up spending six hours binging the entire series in one sitting. So what pray tell is the name of this series that so captivated me? It’s the Korean webcomic series, BJ Alex by Mingwa. First off, BJ doesn’t stand for ‘blow job’, but rather BJ is short for Broadcast Jockey, which is a term used in Korea to describe online streamers, BJs can stream a lot of content from games to music to live talk shows, but since this a boys love series BJ Alex focuses a streamer that specializes in adult content.

BJ Alex Tissue

Every night at 10PM, college student Dong-Gyun locks himself up in his room, grabs a box of tissues, and tunes into his favorite adult live cam show hosted by BJ Alex. Like many others, Dong-Gyun is captivated by the handsome and charismatic BJ, who night after night delights his fans with tales of his sexual exploits or better yet his perfectly ripped body… For Dong-Gyun and many others, Alex is just a face on a screen, but when Dong-Gyun has a chance encounter with a sexy senior at a school networking event it seems Alex may not as out of reach as he once thought… What’s a boy to do when the object of his affection is close enough to touch?

The series is complete with 83 chapters and can be read over on Lezhin, like most series on the site, the first chapter is free but you’ll need coins to read the rest (3 coins per chapter). But, if you’re still on the fence about the series, check out my thoughts below!

BJ Alex 1

I will admit that I was worried that this series would just be a whole heaping pile of smut, smut, and more smut… Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of sex to satisfy your deepest fujoshi cravings, but I was surprised to discover that BJ Alex was a boys love series with a lot of substance. It starts off as Hong-Gyun meeting his favorite BJ host, Alex, who is actually a popular upperclassmen at his school named, Jiwon. After getting shitfaced at a social event, Jiwon volunteers to take Dong-Gyun to his apartment and through a series of unfortunate events is revealed to be BJ Alex. Online Alex is charming and open with his fans, and at school, Jiwon is the kind and friendly Student Council President.. but, when he’s not in front of a camera or classmates, he does a complete 180. Not put off by the fact that Jiwon isn’t the knight in shining armor he fantasized about all those lonely nights, Dong-Gyun agrees to enter into a casual sexual relationship with Jiwon. Any seasoned BL fan can see where this is going from a mile away, but surprisingly BJ Alex doesn’t feel like the same old same old cliche dribble. The character dynamics are pretty cut and dry early on, Jiwon is a good looking, sexually experienced seme and Dong-Gyun is a bit of a pushover, but as the story progresses we really see just how multifaceted these characters are.

 

Jiwon has spent years hiding behind a mask both on camera as Alex and in his everyday life. He hides behind his perfectly crafted facades, because in his mind it’s better to be accepted for the lie than to be rejected for being himself. It isn’t until he grows close with Dong-Gyun that he realizes that he doesn’t have to pretend to be something he isn’t, that there are people who will accept him just the way he is. Dong-Gyun is initially starstruck by Jiwon and his Alex persona, even when the reality doesn’t exactly live up to his fantasies, he continues to follow him around like a lovestruck puppy. Usually, I’d find this sort of thing pathetic and a little sad, but it’s shown that Dong-Gyun wants to genuinely get to know Jiwon as a person and not just as “Alex”. Though, he usually winds up getting hurt when Jiwon rebuffs his advances. Dong-Gyun is endearingly naive, so you can’t help but root for him as he comes into his own both sexually and as a person. He grows considerably as a character over the course of the series and it’s nice to see him checking Jiwon from time to time. There’s this really great role reversal that happens as the series progresses and I really enjoyed seeing both Jiwon and Dong-Gyun change as a result of their relationship.

BJ Alex 3.jpg

Dong-Gyun getting relationship advice from Chanwoo

Then there are the side characters! I mentioned this in my Escape Journey review, but side characters really broaden the scope of a story. Not only to they give the main characters other people to interact with, but they open up new narrative perspectives that you wouldn’t see otherwise. BJ Alex has quite a few side characters, that play a pretty big role in the story. We see them studying for tests, hanging out with friends, participating in school events… Dong-Gyun even confides in a friend from work about his relationship with Jiwon. These characters have lives outside of their relationship and it’s refreshing to read a story that actually shows that!

BJ Alex 5.jpg

Of course there is more to BJ Alex than the main pair, there is a beta couple made up of Dong-Gyun’s friend Chanwoo and another BJ host, Myung-Dae. Their relationship is unique in that they both are into BDSM. Fifty Shades of Grey has kind of muddied the waters on BDSM, however the way it is portrayed in BJ Alex is actually very tasteful. Myung-Dae is Dom and hosts a BDSM stream, and Chanwoo expresses to Dong-Gyun that he is interested in being a submissive, but that he has had the misfortune of running into perverts when he opens up about his desires to other partners. Myung-Dae is interested in making Chanwoo his sub, but rather than pressuring him, Myung-Dae ASKS him if he would be interested in being his partner. He doesn’t force him to sub for him and he sure as hell doesn’t do anything Chanwoo isn’t comfortable with and there are even scenes where Myung-Dae performs After Care with Chanwoo. It is clear that this is something both characters enjoy and it’s made that much more enticing. BDSM isn’t a gimmick, it’s a legitimate healthy and consensual relationship, and it’s not often that you see something like this in BL media.

Even the relationship between the main couple isn’t handled this well, with Jiwon pushing the boundaries of consent with Dong-Gyun on a number of occasions. However, I will say that the sex scenes in this manwha are super steamy! Like nose bleed inducing stuff and it’s all thanks to the beautiful artwork! The comic, like most web series is set up in a style that is perfect for scrolling on your phone or tablet and while the majority of the comic is in black in white, a few of the more dramatic scenes have color panels, which really makes them pop! And my god is Jiwon HOT, you can see each and every one of his beautiful ab muscles!! My dude is ripped!

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BJ Alex is as much a story of self discovery as it is a romance, and it’s nice to see a story that takes the time to explore more complex themes. The series checks off quite a few BL tropes, from misunderstandings to breakups and everything in between, but it’s the execution that really makes everything come together in the end. There’s a scene where Dong-Gyun and Jiwon break things off and Jiwon proposes one last fuck before calling it quits. You know Dong-Gyun is going to agree, because this a BL, but then it goes in a completely different direction and you’re thrown for a loop. The series also explores the characters’s pasts and how it shapes who they are in the present. But, not only that, the author actually takes the time to show the characters dealing with their issues and learning from them in a healthy and natural way! There’s even a plotline where the characters have to deal with coming out to their friends and while it is brief, I appreciate having it in the story, since BL media usually downplays the stigma surrounding homosexuality.

All in all, BJ Alex was an enjoyable read! I honestly didn’t expect much when I picked the series up and I’ll be damned if I didn’t want more! I really hope the author does a spinoff series with the beta couple, since it’s not often you see BDSM handled with such care. Of course, I wouldn’t mind seeing more from the main pair either, but I will admit that their story arc is more or less complete by the end of the series, though there are still a few loose threads that could be explored in a sequel…

 

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