Cute. Sweet. Heartwarming. Three words that easily describe the first episode of GMMTV’s Thai adaptation of Cherry Magic (30 ยังซิง). A truly wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable premiere for the much-anticipated series.
Full disclosure before I continue gushing over just this first episode. Tay and New were the first Thai BL pairing I ever watched and followed. And of course, your “first” will always be very special. Meanwhile, I watched the original Japanese adaptation of Cherry Magic partly because of all the buzz surrounding it, but mostly because it starred Eiji Akaso of Kamen Rider Build, one of my favorite seasons of that franchise.
I enjoyed the Japanese adaptation of Yuu Toyota’s popular and successful manga. And when it was official that GMMTV would be adapting the manga for Thailand and starring Tay Tawan and New Thitipoom? I was absolutely excited.
For the unfamiliar, Cherry Magic is about Achi (New Thitipoom), an everyday salaryman who discovers on his 30th birthday that he can read people’s minds when he comes into physical contact with them. That’s how he learns that his co-worker Karan, the company’s ace employee and who he thinks is the perfect example of how someone should be living at 30 years old, has a crush on him.
Some fans of the Japanese adaptation were skeptical or even angry about the idea. My experience with Filipino adaptations of foreign shows and American adaptations of Kamen Rider and Power Rangers has taught me not to immediately compare. I’ve learned how to be able to separate each adaptation from each other and from the source material.
If I come into an adaptation after already having experience in the source material or another adaptation of the source material, the main thing I’m looking for is if it respects that source material and is able to make it their own.
So far, Cherry Magic Thailand has shown it is capable of that. This first episode included some very familiar scenes and moments that I remember from the Japanese series. But it also included quite a bit of Thai touches with Thai culture very much a big part of this first episode. Especially in helping to establish Achi as his own character. Which is of course important as an introduction and in laying the foundation for what’s ahead.
This Thai version of the manga will run twice as long as the Japanese series. And it is also coming on air after Yuu Toyota completed more chapters of the manga which was still ongoing when the Japanese series and follow-up movies were released.
The longer runtime will hopefully allow the Thai series to explore the characters a bit more. Not just our lead couple Achi and Karan, but also the great supporting cast of characters as well. That includes Achi’s friend Jinta (Junior Panachal) and delivery boy Min (Mark Jiruntanin), co-worker Pai (Jan Ployshompoo) and newbie Rock (Sing Harit) and office mother Dujdao (Parn Thanaporn).
Aside from the romantic relationships that will emerge, the series looks to also tell a story about office life and the bumpy road of adulthood. The hope with the longer runtime is to have the series touch upon relatable issues and experiences relating to those struggles. And, especially with Achi and Karan, talk about not having to give in to the loneliness, pressures and expectations from other people and society at large. Not to mention the friendships and connections you can forge with others.
The Japanese series was able to touch upon those things. But hopefully the Thai series now has the room to go a bit deeper and with a lot of sincerity as well.
But even without a deep dive into all that, this first episode showed that you can still have a fun and sweet time regardless. The series’ dreamy atmosphere very much sets the mood for the fantasy and romance the story holds. Setting the grounded world of typical office work amidst a dreamy backdrop actually helps to bring you in and engage you almost immediately.
There is a warmth to the story’s well-placed humor. And a sincerity in the way it has begun to tell each character’s story. The dynamic that has already been established between the main characters helps to endear them in what feels like a too-short 45 minute episode. You’re already craving for more by the end of the episode. And that is a very good sign.
Even this short time, the cast feels very much well-suited to their characters. And of course Tay and New. Their chemistry and magic is still very much there. It is so refreshing to be able to see them back together. And this time, in different roles from Pete and Kao that catapulted them to worldwide popularity. Both are able to prove that they are the right men for the job of leading the Cherry Magic ship. And the series definitely benefits from their experience and chemistry.
And then you have the amazing theme song, performed by Tay and New themselves:
Perfectly encapsulates the feelings of the series and story. And certainly sets the mood and the pace for what’s to come.
Cherry Magic Thailand‘s first episode is an absolute treat and joy to watch. Sweet, cute, heartwarming. It’s hard to watch the episode and not have a smile on your face the entire time. A feel-good story, endearing characters, a charming cast, tight writing and thoughtful direction. It’s only the first episode, but it successfully sets the stage for what should be a fun and thoroughly enjoyable ride to come.