Romantic comedies… Wait a second, come back here. This is Fantasia after all, not an American Airlines flight. Japanese romantic comedies can be a tricky. They will always be quirky with some exaggerated notion of reality and where some characters will come very close to being childish and, dare I say it, like they just jumped out of an anime. Imagine that, dial it up to an eleven or so, and forget reality exists. So how much actual romance can you really find?
Well, not a lot so count me in. Director Akiko Ohku brings us the story of Yoshika (Mayu Matsuoka) who lives her life talking to a string of colorful everyday characters: a maid at a cosplay cafe, an old fishermen, the subway guard, etc. Saying that Yoshika is quirky is an understatement. A squirrel on cocaine would look mild in comparison. This where Tremble All You Want will either win you or lose you. You’ll either love Yoshika or else.
Yoshika herself is in love. She’s actually being love for ten years, pining about her former schoolmate Ichi (one). To reunite them, she’ll scheme and manipulate a school reunion. However, she’s oblivious to a work colleague that has actually fallen for her. When she finally notices him, she names him “Ni” (two). When Ni finally reveals his feelings, Yoshika is very elated. She has received her first declaration of love. She doesn’t really consider Ni is waiting for an answer and simply ignores him.
As subversive comedies go, this one takes the cake. Yoshika is not only quirky she’s downright awkward with her friends and her newly reunited school mates. In her mind, things revolve around her and she’s almost completely oblivious to Ni’s feelings. As a matter of fact, she finds it rather annoying how she keeps running into him all the time. This is actually a good thing because the movie will actually stick us inside Yoshika’s mind and her perception of the world for a long time.
Recommended for fans of Japanese comedy and quirky romance. There’s a bit of a lull somewhere in the second half that makes the movie feel a bit long. If you are not a fan, there’s a chance this might not be your cup of tea as it relies heavily in you liking the main character. Sometimes you know what’s coming and are just waiting for the movie to catch up.
That will do for now.