Proponents of polyamory could write books and books about there being enough space for three and more in intimate relationships, but for most people, regardless of their sexual orientation/preferences, three is a crowd. Japanese series ‘More Than Words’ explores how the life of high-school best friends Makio (Yuzu Aoki) and Mieko (Ryoko Fujino) changes when the sweet Eiji (Daisuke Nakagawa) enters their circle. Mieko dreams of spending the rest of her life with her two close friends, but with love in the mix, things get complicated.

‘More Than Words’ unfolds in a cozily shot ten episodes, with warm tones and a relaxing background score. Yuzu Aoki as Makio is the most endearing character in the show, he is casually chatty and outspoken, the kinds who can diffuse tension in painfully awkward situations with his carefree banter. Daisuke Nakagawa plays the shy gay Eiji, he begins to date Makio and the two share a uncomplicated loving relationship until Eiji’s father opposes it. Ryoko Fujino is poignant in her delivery of the flawed Mieko, she cherishes her platonic relationship with the male leads and stands up for their love. Unfortunately, her misguided affection ends up causing a lot of heartbreak for them all.

Makio and Mieko barely even finish college before they hastily take a huge decision that changes the dynamics between the three protagonists. So, while the first few episodes are very modern and contemporary in nature, the primary twist/conflict is retrogressive. Many viewers may not like how the story progresses, but it reflects realities of societies where LGBTQ+ relations are largely frowned upon.

The series explores the challenges of being coming out to a family that isn’t ready to accept the truth and the desperate measure some are willing to take to keep their loved ones happy. However, friendship is the strongest theme in the show, the emotional connection Makio, Mieko and Eiji have is precious. Kanechika Daiki is introduced as Makio’s former classmate Asato in the last part of the show, and except for a terrible hairstyle, his character breathes some fresh life to the story that becomes too abstract/complicated and un-interesting. Asato is featured in the last two episodes, so his sudden merger into the main-plot feels jarring, 2 more episodes would’ve done his character more justice, but extending the runtime might have made the show overstretched.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with the ending, but after a muddled second-half, the makers surprisingly manage to tie all loose ends in a bitter-sweet climax. There’s no cliched ‘happy ending’, no forced twists, but an emotional closure too akin to real life.

It’s a 7.5/10 from me.

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