‘Semantic Error’ is a hit South Korean Boys Love series in 2022, which was adapted from the web novel turned webtoon written by author Jeo Suri.
Boys Love or BL is a genre of film or series that revolves around same-sex love stories, and a lot of them depict the characters in a world without the conflicts that many LGBTQ+ individuals go through, especially in conservative countries.
‘Semantic Error’ tells the story of a Computer Science major named Chu Sangwoo who lives his daily life following a schedule and routine that he has set for himself. The very logical Sangwoo then meets the talented Graphic Design major Jang Jaeyoung who is popular and easygoing. The two opposites spend more time with each other because of a project that they are collaborating on, and their initially hostile relationship slowly turns into something more than friendship when they start falling for each other.
The character of Sangwoo is portrayed by Park Jaechan who is a K-Pop idol. He was advised by his management not to take the role because it may adversely affect his career, but he took the chance anyway. In the end, acting in ‘Semantic Error’ boosted his popularity, which was also the same for Park Seoham who played the role of Jang Jaeyoung.
Former YG Entertainment creative director and producer SJ “Sinxity” Shin told Forbes that the success of ‘Semantic Error’ changed the environment of actors worrying about portraying a queer character.
“This year the environment for actors worrying about playing a queer character in BL dramas changed because of the success of ‘Semantic Error.’
The actors who played these two characters were not that famous before the drama. Their Instagram followers before ‘Semantic Error’ were approximately 6K and 5K, but after ‘Semantic Error,’ they have 907K and 667K followers. It really increased. Also, one of the actors is a member of a K-Pop boy idol group DKZ. Their album package sales really increased. Before ‘Semantic Error,’ their sales were reaching 4K or 3K, but now they are at 100K. Because of that, many producers in the K-Pop industry and management recognized that being in a BL drama is really great for an artist’s fandom. So, these decision makers are now more accepting and willing to reach fans through these dramas,” the CEO of AXIS CCP stated.
He also explained how it may change the progress of public acceptance and politics in South Korea when it comes to how they view homosexuality.
“In 2020 an artist named Holland was the first K-Pop singer to openly come out as gay. Twenty years ago, the celebrity Hong Seok-chan came out, but in that 20 years, there were no stars that openly publicized their sexuality. Now we have a political party talking about gay marriage. There was no discussion about that before this kind of movement, but now on the political side, they are talking about gay marriage. It is rapidly changing,” Shin shared.
He also revealed that there are more things in store for AXIS CCP saying,
“On the AXIS production side, this year we’re going to open a new BL project. To be exact, we are opening a drama label, Blue by Blue. We’re going to have a new project. The first content will be about vampires, so a BL vampire series. The drama will have the BL component to it, but we’re not going to label it as BL anymore because we want to be very open that there are different types of relationships.”
Furthermore, Shin explained why he puts out the content that he does, and how gratifying it is for him as a creator.
“At the end of the day we want to make good content that inspires people and offers viewers another perspective… With ‘Semantic Error,’ we got to change people’s public opinion on LGBTQ issues. Slowly, people are changing their views after the success of ‘Semantic Error.’ As a person working in the entertainment industry, I can see that the soft power of content changing people’s opinions and views is very great,” he expressed.
“There are still a lot of problems to solve. So I want to keep on spending my energy to make meaningful content,” Shin concluded.
‘Semantic Error’ is available for streaming on Viki.com.