'Tokyo Alice' serves up major lessons as four girls navigate love in Japanese slice of life series
The Japanese romantic drama first came to Amazon Prime Japan in 2017 and is coming to the US on June 21, 2019.
Of the many Japanese dramas that are coming to Amazon Prime this month, 'Tokyo Alice' is the one to watch out for. The Japanese series is the latest addition to the bevy of Japanese shows coming to Amazon Prime on June 21.
Based on the Japanese romance Josei manga series written and illustrated by Toriko Chiya, the show has female friendships at the centre of it.
Four former school friends share an apartment in Tokyo's Daikanyama and pursue their own happiness. According to the show's official synopsis, romantic drama follows the four friends as they live together in the shared house and navigate life, love and career.
Mizuki Yamamoto plays the role of fashion fanatic Fū Arisugawa, also the lead protagonist of the show, who loves nothing more than shopping – to the extent that she exhausts most of her salary shopping for extravagant items. Until she meets her love interest in Shinji Okuzono (played by Ryōhei Ōtani). The deal here is: Okuzono is not only Fū's love interest but also her boss. And during the time that she is not entirely sure of her feelings towards him, she starts seeing Shun'ya Shiraishi, who plays the role of Odagiri Shun, a colleague at work.
Another twist: Odagiri is physically repelled by sex – he literally throws up! And so, Fū finds herself in a soup: she is utterly confused about her feelings towards her boss and is now also sexually frustrated because she is seeing someone who is asexual and wishes to marry her.
Life lesson #1: Avoid office romances at all costs
(*Also, didn't they get a workplace relationship and sexual harassment memo?)
Reina Triendl plays the role of a budding manga artist Mizuho Haneda – and is perhaps the most sensitive of the lot. More than the lead protagonist Arisugawa, we'd say that Mizuho's character arc is substantial. She begins the show on a sorry note – her boyfriend who she'd been rooting for and supporting for months breaks up with her. Heartbroken and lost, she comes to live with her school friends. In fact, she spends the first few episodes wallowing, but things start getting better for Mizuho by the fifth episode.
Mizuho goes through all the phases of grief. She also can't help but think that she lacks something because her love and work-life balance is nonexistent. Either way, Mizuho keeps at it. Literally, she just keeps at it and doesn't lose hope – obviously in between bouts of crying, but hey, that's all of us.
Life lesson #2: Just be at it
Aya Asahina plays the preppy gallery assistant Sayuri Enjōji. She's very rich and her grandmother owns the house the girls live in. The girls live in an arrangement where Fū and Mizuho pay her rent.
Enjōji is set to be (arranged) married in a year's time. She doesn't fight her grandmother when she is simply handed the photograph of her fiance; she knows her fate is set. Instead, and very stereotypically, Enjōji is set to experience "all kinds of eroticism". That's the whole reason she has moved into this house. Determined to indulge in a sex-marathon the next year, she invites any Tom, Dick and Harry home much to the embarrassment of her roommates.
Enjōji is also drunk with pride. This is all before she finds herself falling in love with a mysterious man, Hiyama Akio played by Daito Shunsuke, who doesn't care for her vanity. And she is set to marry in a year.
Life Lesson #3: With relationships, take it down a notch. Don't tell your grandmother you're chill when you're not.
Rio Sakuragawa (played by Maryjun Takahashi) doesn't live with the girls. She practices psychosomatic medicine and looks like she has it all together. At the hospital, she is relentlessly pursued by Izumi Atsuto (played by Sugino Yosuke), who claims to love her. Rio doesn't reciprocate and keeps putting it off. It is kept under wraps for the longest time, but still made pretty clear: Rio is queer.
Calm and collected, she goes about without even discussing with her girlfriends about her feelings.
But in Rio is the best friend every girl wishes she had.
Life lesson #4: Go find that best friend