Tremble All You Want
Akiko Ohku · 2017 · 117 minutes
Yoshika (Mayu Matsuoka) is 24-years old. She works at an office, is a virgin, has an interest in endangered species, and still hasn’t gotten over her junior high crush that she refers to as “Ichi.” Despite only saying a dozen or so words to her the entire time they went to school, “No. 1” remains an obsession for Yoshika and she has not considered the possibility of romance with anyone else. This changes when an office colleague confesses his love to her, instilling in her a rejuvenated drive to reunite (or unite in general) with Ichi. Dividing her time between schemes to win the heart of her crush and going on platonic outings with the awkward “Ni” (Daichi Watanabe), she starts to question the walls she’s constructed as she desperately clings to her best laid plans.
Directed by Akiko Ohku from the Risa Wataya novel, the film understands that people are familiar with its genre and thus incorporates details beyond Yoshika’s romantic prospects with the two men: office gender politics and post-college dread find screen time and supporting characters are given the opportunity for development. Plus there is a musical number. Reality vs fantasy seems clearly delineated but ultimately Yoshiko is an unreliable narrator, leading a life focalized by her romantic-solipsism. In her first leading role Mayu Matsuoka brings the abandon she gave to the supporting characters of her past work but now that she is in virtually every scene her ability for nuance comes through. Altogether this is a refreshingly bonkers romantic comedy with a female lead that is troubled yet assertive, never settling to be one-dimensional.
Audience Award Winner – Tokyo International Film Festival
Filmography: Tokyo Serendipity ('07); Tokyo Nameless Girl's Story ('12); Monster ('13); Tadaima Jacqueline ('13); Hokago Lost ('14); Fantastic Girls ('15).