Terrace House: Boys x Girls Next Door is the first series of Terrace House that was broadcast only in Japan from 2012 to 2014. It is not available on Netflix outside of Japan.
Who is Brendon Bigley?
He's one of the two hosts of No Script At All a recap podcast for Terrace House which is currently covering the current season, Opening New Doors. It's great, you should listen to it. Unlike his co-host, Andrea Capprotti, he has not seen any of the original series.
Would you like No Script At All or any podcast to recap BxGND?
Absolutely: I'd love to hear a podcast cover the amazing things that happen in this series.
Should No Script At All or any podcast to recap BxGND?
Almost certainly not. Very few English speakers have or will ever watch this show in comparison to the series on Netflix. There was an earlier torrent site which had all the torrents for the episodes on a page, and, IIRC, the maximum number of downloads for any episode was roughly 1100. As more people have discovered the show since then there may be two or three times as many people who have seen it, but that's still tiny. If Netflix ever released it internationally, then it would definitely be worth it, but otherwise there just will not be enough of a base of listeners for any podcaster.
Why hasn't Netflix released it internationally?
It does not have non-Japanese subtitles, but they create subtitles for shows for international audiences all the time. No, the issue is probably the music rights. Even now the Japanese and international versions of the shows on Netflix use different music. Notably, a different Taylor Swift song has served as the intro music for each series in Japan. It was a way for her to break into the Japanese market, and she promoted the show early on to the point that she's still seen as part of the show by Japanese fans. Netflix and Fuji would have to re-edit the soundtrack for an international version, but I think they think the first series is a bit beyond its sell-by date and would rather spend its money on making more Terrace House instead.
And, perhaps, it is best that Netfix and its partners chose not to release the earlier series. I suspect that had both BxGND and B&GITC been available when Aloha State came out that there would have been even more backlash than we saw. I do not think we'd have gotten Opening New Doors, had BxGND already been out there.
Why bring this up now?
The fan project, Costco Subs, which has been working for over a year to create English subtitles for the 98 episodes of the show has finished up as of today, and so you can now watch the whole thing. And, in the way of such things, it's likely that the ways that you can currently see the show will slowly disappear over time. Now is absolutely the best time to start watching this great show.
How can I watch Boys x Girls Next Door?
There are currently three ways to watch the show. All of them require a computer or mobile device to do so. These ways are all quasi-legal since like many shows produced in other countries there is no legal way to purchase or rent a copy of the subtitled show.
The most legal way to view the show is to download the subtitle files from the Costco Subs project from the discussion threads on reddit (you're looking for the file link with the extension .dxfp). You'll download the subtitle file for an episode, and then convince Netflix that you are watching from Japan by using a VPN. A good, free VPN right now is available at VPNGate. The first time set-up requires that you install some software, but once it's set up, it only takes like 5 clicks and you'll be watching Netflix Japan. You may need some additional software to display the subtitles: I use the Chrome extension Super Netflix on my PC. At the start of the show you press ctrl-shft-alt T and then select the subtitle file.
Netflix tries to shut down access to VPNs to maintain their contracts with the various international media companies it does business with. VPNGate just rotates in new servers as Netfliz cuts them off. Netflix really does not care about your using VPNs since it's getting someone's (hopefully your) subscription fee, but its partners do.
Do note that episodes 13, 26 and 62 are not currently available on Netflix Japan. They are all clip shows of various kinds which have not been done on later versions of the series, and so you will not miss any plot threads by skipping them. I did like episode 26 since it introduces the final four members of the panel - YOU was the sole original host and she was joined by Torichan in episode 14.
The second way is to download the episodes with the subtitles already at Tecchan's House. Doing so will require that you use a torrent client to do so. I use qBittorrent. You will also need a media player program to watch them. I use the VLC media player.
The third way is to watch the subtitled episodes at streaming sites like Dramacool. This method would be the easiest for most users; however, unlike any of the other Japanese shows I've ever watched on streaming sites they have blanked the sound entirely on this show whenever there is any music playing in the original soundtrack. And the BxGND soundtrack is pretty good with lots of western pop music that you will recognize.
So why should I go to all that trouble and watch this series?
There are many reasons:
- It's more Terrace House If you have liked the show on Netflix, then the simplest reason is that it's more of the show you like.
- It's the best season of Terrace House I know that those of us who have seen the series sound always like smug hipsters when we praise this series, and I do not want to oversell the series. Most of the episodes are just on par with the typical episodes you've seen on the Netflix series. However, there are about four or so episodes that are a bit better than the peaks of the other series. There are twists that you won't see coming and could not have been scripted. You will laugh harder, cry more, and have your heart lifted by the romance to a greater degree on those peak episodes than any comparable episodes in the subsequent series.
- It re-contextualizes events and things you've seen on the other series You know how Arman was given such flack by the panel for holding Arisa's hand before a confession? There is an incident that happens on BxGND that will make you wonder why they were fine with this but upset at that. There's also a sense a lot of what we've seen on the other series has occurred before with interesting variations that shed a different light on the later series.
- The way the show evolved is interesting There is no panel at the beginning: just YOU in the back of a car at the beginning and end of each episode (as one wag on reddit put it: if the car goes below 50, it explodes). The beginning is comparatively rocky without the panel. But you'll still want to watch the first two parts because there are several iconic moments, and you are introduced to key housemates who are part of the golden era that begins after the panel is seated in their now familiar positions.
- The music colony phase At one point in BxGND there are two professional musicians and a talented amateur (who can't sing), and we get a more diegetic music than usual, and I love that the house can become so art-focused for a bit.
- Seina You cannot fully understand her run on OND without having seen the earlier series. It's surprising: she does not start at all like the Seina we know now. But she really grows over the course of her time on the earlier series and becomes the force of nature that we now know her as.
- Tecchan You thought Arman was around for a long time? But more important than the length of his stay on the show is Tecchan's maturation over the course of it. He's a pretty immature goofball at the beginning, but by the end, he's providing near Hansan levels of wisdom to his fellow housemates.
- And Seina and Tecchan probably won't even be your favorite housemates There are, inevitably, some forgettable housemates on BxGND, but there are also at least three other housemates who are simply great. My pick for the GOAT for Terrace House as a whole is from BxGND, and as much as I like Tecchan and Seina, it's neither of them.
Yes. The following is not a spoiler since it happened after the show was over, but everyone finds out about it at some point, and I feel it's best to know ahead of time. One of the housemates, Yo-san, died about a year-and-half after the show was over. He had a heart attack after dropping a lot of weight that he picked up after being on the show. He had an extended up and down and up run on the show, and knowing what happened will change your view of what he did. In particular, he has a brief fling with a pop singer who was not in the house, and dumps her on camera so that he could pursue someone who is in the house. After the show, however, they reconciled and were engaged when he passed.
Should I go start watching it right now?
Should I go start watching it right now?