When you first read the plot summary of La Pluie, you might quickly conclude that you will get a fluffy BL story about two soulmates finding each other, falling in love, and eventually living happily ever after. You couldn’t be more wrong about that because La Pluie is much more than your average ‘soulmate’ BL series, which follows the typical cliches and tropes of the genre. Instead, this show chooses to challenge the typical romance trope of “soulmates” and the notion that being soulmates is all it takes for a romantic relationship to last. The story of La Pluie is, in fact, a direct subversion and dismantling of these stereotypical cliches and explores the rather more realistic idea that, while destiny or providence might create opportunities for certain people to cross paths with each other, what we choose to do with those opportunities is what actually matters at the end of the day.
La Pluie tells the story of Saengtai, a young content creator who suffers from a peculiar disease. Whenever it rains, he experiences sensorineural hearing loss, and the only thing he can hear until the rain stops is the voice of one specific person, his “soulmate.” However, from the very beginning, the show makes it clear that it won’t cater to the viewer’s ideas and expectations in regard to a typical soulmate story. Episode 1 opens with an explanation about soulmates, but then this idea is immediately put into question with the simple note that such soulmate pairs are very rare, and by showing a happy couple that clearly doesn’t fit the picture of a soulmate pair on a date in a café. The stereotypical soulmate trope is then challenged even further when we learn that Saengtai’s own view on ‘soulmates’ has been severely affected by the divorce of his parents, who were a pair of soulmates.
Hurting and with his beliefs deeply shaken by the breakup of his parents, Saengtai decides never to reply to his soulmate and shuts him out for years. Like any good romance story, Saengtai eventually meets his soulmate, a handsome Veterinarian named Patts, who is kind, loving, and honest and chooses to open up to Saengtai. As a result, Saengtai’s opinion and his view of the world are challenged more than once throughout the show as his relationship with Patts progresses, and sometimes his character growth can be incredibly slow, which can be a little frustrating at times, especially during the second half of the show. La Pluie purposefully allows Saengtai to be immature and unlikable at times to remind us that, despite his ability to hear his soulmate’s voice whenever it rains, he is a human being and that he is not perfect. Saengtai is bad at communicating his thoughts, feelings, and needs, partly because he is afraid of getting hurt. Quite often, he is too preoccupied with his own interests, feelings, and experiences to listen carefully to others, and the show lets us witness that from the very beginning by showing how he interacts with his younger brother Saengthian, his parents, his friend and co-worker, and with Patts.
The same goes for Patts. While he is a kind and caring man who has his life together and is well-grounded in reality, he too is not without his own flaws, and the way he interacts with love is directly related to his belief in the soulmate idea and his level of understanding and experience of how to keep a relationship alive. He can act impulsively, leading him to make bad choices that can have far-reaching consequences. This becomes quite apparent in how he handles the aftermath of his breakup with his girlfriend. If you keep that in mind as you watch the story of La Pluie unfold, it doesn’t come as a surprise that a conflict eventually arises between Saengtai and Patts. The two may be soulmates, but they do have conflicting character traits, and the show consistently drops hints, especially in the second half, that a conflict will occur because of this and that it’s just a question of what will trigger this conflict to break out into the open finally.
Also, by repeatedly challenging each character’s beliefs along the way, the show sets the stage for a climax in which both characters might act in ways that may be considered “out of character” by some, but again, it is something that makes these characters very human. Our beliefs shape who we are as individuals and how we present ourselves to others, and sometimes we act in ways that may be seen as “unlike us” by the people around us when those beliefs are challenged, and we feel cornered, and La Pluie sets this idea up for each of the characters in the show. In addition, throughout every relationship we get to see on the show, La Pluie consistently carries out the idea that no matter whether a couple is a “soulmate pair” or not, you have to put in the work and the effort in order to maintain and cultivate a relationship successfully. It emphasizes that fate and destiny won’t magically take care of our love life and that we must communicate and treat our partners with respect. La Pluie is a very good show with tight writing, clearly laid out themes, and trust in the audience to follow the thread and think about the big ideas along the way. The cinematography and editing are solid, and the locations are beautiful. The pacing of the show is okay overall, but it feels a bit off in the final three episodes. Certain things appear a little rushed towards the end, which is not only due to the fact that the eruption of the conflict happened fairly late in the show but also because a good deal of screentime was given to Saengtai’s family issues in Episode 11 and to the other side couples in Episode 12 rather than keeping the focus on the main couple. The misunderstandings between Saengtai and Patts are resolved, but the pair should have been given more screen time to work things out properly and start their relationship anew.
Title Tanatorn Saenangkanikorn as Saengtai
Pee Peerawich Ploynumpol as Patts:
Title did a really good job of portraying Saengtai. He is very good at using micro-expressions and could make me feel Saengtai’s pain about his parents’ divorce. I could also understand why he was afraid to interact with his soulmate and so insecure once they had started dating, but I would have liked to see a bit more of Saengtai’s journey of confronting his negative view of soulmates and trying to get over and facing his insecurities more after he had opened up to Patts and agreed to be in a relationship with him. Having said that, I liked the fact that in the final episode, he needed to show in his words that he had actually been listening to what Patts had been asking for.
Pee did an amazing job as Patts. I already knew the actor from YYY and Y-Destiny, and I was really happy to see this talented actor in his first main role. Playing Patts gave him an opportunity to shine, and he really rose to the occasion whenever the time came for his character to light up the screen. I loved how understanding Patts was and that he respected Tai’s boundaries. Pee also did a great job in the second half of the show at portraying Patts’ growing doubts in regards to Saentai’s feelings for him, doubts which arise because of Saengtai’s inability to communicate his thoughts and feelings about his relationship with Patts in an effective way. I could understand why he acted so aggressively during the climax of the conflict with Saengtai, though I think the writers of the show didn’t need to let things go as far as they have in order to make us understand how much these doubts have been gnawing at Patts and that the whole situation has made him feel incredibly anxious.
Suar Kritsanaphong Sripattiyanon as Saengthian
Copter Nuntapong Wongsakulyong as Lomfon:
Suar is another familiar face in the cast. I loved his performances in You Never Eat Alone and You’re My Sky, so I was excited to see him again in La Pluie, and he didn’t disappoint. I loved how he portrayed Saenthian, both the character’s childish and bratty side and his more mature side. He also shows Thian’s confusion and inner struggle when he realizes that he has caught feelings for his classmate Lomfon, whom he has always thought of as “the enemy.”
Copter is the only rookie in the main cast, and considering that playing Lomfon is his first big acting role, he did quite well. Generally speaking, his acting might be a little stiff, but his performance improves as the show progresses, and this stiffness in his acting actually fits the character quite well. Lomfon is a reserved character who barely shows any emotion and usually keeps a poker face. He is more mature than Saengthian and tends to think about everything to the point that it could well be considered as overthinking, which sometimes backfires on him. He doesn’t always act rationally, even though it is something he tries to do and messes up as a result.
Despite the pacing issue in its second half, La Pluie is overall a well-written and well-executed show that doesn’t follow the path of traditional BL dramas and is aimed at a more mature audience. It features mature adult characters living mature adult lives. They struggle with real issues, doubts, insecurities, and hang-ups. They are allowed to mess up, make mistakes, and experience the consequences of their actions.
The actors did a great job bringing their respective characters to life, and the main and the side couple have great on-screen chemistry. I particularly appreciate the fact that La Pluie chose to show the intimacy scenes as an important part of the characters’ relationship development rather than merely pleasing the audience. La Pluie has a lot to say. Its central theme is about making relationships work in the real world. And it repeatedly stresses that relationships need work and communication. It emphasizes that being soulmates or fated lovers is not enough for a romantic relationship to survive and that there are no magic solutions for the problems couples encounter in their relationships.
La Pluie is certainly not the typical fluffy BL show that a lot of BL fans seem to prefer, but if you are willing to let go of the usual BL expectations and engage with the show with an open mind, accepting the fact that things will not go as you expect or want them to, then you’ll definitely enjoy La Pluie.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]