From Studio Wabi Sabi comes the long-awaited side story of Until We Meet Again (2019) called Between Us. Its originally authored title was Hemp Rope and was released by author iamlazysheep on MEB, along with an authorized English translation on Wattpad that was published around 2019. COVID struck, and hard times were had by many small independent studios like Wabi Sabi. So three years later, we finally get the continuation most fans had anticipated, although appearing on an actual streaming network this time – iQIYI.
We get Win and Team’s story, the side couple from UWMA. I always wanted more about their relationship. Boun and Prem have good chemistry between them. I hoped to dive back into the UWMA universe. I adored the original story. The acting was top tier, with everyone giving their all, especially Fluke as Pharm and Ohm as Dean and Earth as InTouch, and Kao as Korn, the past life lovers of Pharm and Dean. There were 17 episodes, and the story was intense. But we also had fluffy side couple Team and Win, plus Manow and Pruk, played by veteran actress Samantha Coates and Bosston Wilairat.
My hopes were high for this sequel. New Siwaj Sawatmaneekul directed both series.
Boun Noppanut Guntachai as Win
Prem Warut Chawalitrujiwong as Team
Ohm Thitiwat Riprasert as Dean
Fluke Natouch Siripongthon as Pharm
Samantha Melanie Coates as Manow
Bosston Suphadach Wilairat as Pruek
Sood Yacht Patsit as Tul
O Puwanai Sangwan as Wan
Tae Weerapat Toemmaneerat as Bee
Benz Panupun Vongjorn as Prince
Art Parkpoom Juanchainat as A
Ryu Pakphum Jitpisutsiri as Sea
Santa Pongsapak Oudompoch as Wiew
Win and Team’s relationship is told off-screen in Until We Meet Again, but we see some progression and hints as to their burgeoning romance. You can watch Between Us as a stand-alone series. I think new fans will enjoy it as it’s a complete story. However, given the parallel nature of the two series, it’s best experienced after watching UWMA. Win and Team’s relationship begins with a purely physical encounter while Team is with the other swim team recruits on a seaside trip, staying at Win’s family resort. Team and his swim buddies were in their cabin when the swim buddies pull up some porn to watch on someone’s phone. Team feels uncomfortable and aroused, so excuses himself to go wet himself down with the hose to cool off. He is caught and slightly scolded by Win. Win notices Team’s aroused state and accurately guesses what the boys were up to in the cabin. He tells Team to either relieve himself or follow Win to his room. Team follows, a little unsure of himself but curious. The two proceed to spend the night in passion.
Boun and Prem have good chemistry. The adorable way that Prem’s character calls Win Hia makes me smile. And Boun does the bad boy with a heart of gold very well. They don’t spend a long time with awkward glances and uncertainty.
I like Boun and Prem as people, especially Boun, who stuck by Prem when Prem was going through a really tough time battling anxiety and depression. Boun earned my respect for that.
The backstory of Team and his anxiety/panic attacks is the same in the book and the series. I don’t want to spoil it, so I will say that it is well-acted and believable from Prem. I was in tears with him.
Win’s home life backstory is more extensive in the show than in the novel. It gives you a better understanding of the nurturing and caring side of his personality. He’s the peacekeeper among his siblings and parents.
I enjoyed hearing “P’Dean” from Pharm. I smiled widely every time he whined. And it’s nice to see Pharm and Dean’s relationship presented in the series without the drama and angst of their past life issues. Plenty of fluffy moments make you feel warm and fuzzy, like an old worn blanket.
I wish we had seen more of the gang, Manow, Pharm, and Team. However, the moments we get on screen are filled with laughter, teasing, and true friendship. There just wasn’t enough of it, in my opinion.
I didn’t like Win’s parents. They seemed stereotypical with the stern dad and soft mom. Their performance falls flat in my eyes. It would have been better to have them offscreen and just discuss the evident conflicts among the siblings.
Another thing, I feel like the love scenes weren’t very well done, or that they could have been done better. The chemistry is there, but the action didn’t feel natural to me. They ripped off Love By Chance by having Win throw Team against the lockers to ravage him. Since New from Wabi Sabi also directed LBC, I guess you could call it a tribute scene, but for me, it’s trite and unnecessary. The kisses were acceptable; it’s just the intimacy after a kiss didn’t show their hunger or desire for each other. I’m picky about my love scenes. It doesn’t have to be hardcore, but I need to feel the love or passion between the two lovers.
I also felt that Manow, as a fan-favorite character, doesn’t get enough screen time in this series. Sammy Coates is a great actress, and I adore her. She’s funny, beautiful, and has an upbeat attitude that makes you fall for her.
One final negative is the series’ length and tone. We were spoiled with a rich storyline and complex characters in Until We Meet Again. I cried and laughed and loved right alongside them. But this continuation doesn’t have the depth to it. It’s fine if you don’t make the comparison. However, comparisons are unavoidable, and this one just doesn’t hold up if you expect it to carry the same gravitas and emotion.
Here’s where I mention the side characters. The narrative gave Win a brother who ends up appearing as a spoiled kid who only wants to game and doesn’t want to actually run the resort given to him by his father. And we have a character on the swim team played by Yact who befriends the brother online. They bore me.
We have Team’s friend group who have one young actor they befriend, and one of the boys begins to develop feelings for Team. I would sit through the scenes wishing for the familiar characters to appear. They were the “funny friends,” always the college or high school kids who joke and play around and act as a buddy group to one of the main characters. They have their side plot (which was not in the novel), and it feels like filler. Something inserted to take up space and give the boys at Wabi Sabi some roles and exposure.
It’s worth a watch if you don’t have anything better to do. I enjoyed the main story overall, but all the extra boring bits I had to slog through took away my enjoyment of the series. It might have been better with half the number of episodes with only the core characters onscreen. If you just want something to remind you of UWMA, watch the original, and if you want more Win-Team, fast forward through the story, skipping over the side arc bits.
Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]