Tokyo in April Is… – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Episode 1

Tokyo in April Is… Episode 1 introduces us to Kazuma Takizawa, who’s just joined the HR department of Art Design Group Inc. He quickly recognizes his middle school friend, Ren Ishihara. After a warm welcome, ruffling his hair, Ren rushes off to the next thing while female colleagues are keen to hear about Ren’s history. In chatting, he finds out his former friend is the company superstar.

Flashback to 10 years ago when they first met. Ren immediately creates a habit of ruffling Kazuma’s hair to make him smile. Back at work, Kazuma’s boss is a bit of a jerk who’s particularly unhappy to hear that his new guy is favored by the CEO. At home, Kazuma wonders why Ren changed his last name.

In a company meeting, Ren appears to be falling asleep in his seat. When everyone else leaves, Kazuma’s boss Sanada hands over the CEO’s assignment, shutting him down when asked a clarification. Still in the room, Ren observes the interaction.

Flashback to school days when Ren invites Kazuma to a festival, but disappointingly it’s with a whole group. Yet they do end up just the two of them. As Kazuma admits that he finds Ren comforting, Ren reaches out to hold his hand but at the last moment, pulls back.

At the office, the CEO thanks Sanada for the report but notes it needs a correction – the exact thing Kazuma had questioned. Sanada apologises to the CEO for the new guy’s mistake.

He heads straight to Kazuma to scold him harshly in front of the team. Ren happens to be there, rescuing Kazuma with his pen-recording of the previous meeting-room conversation.

Ren consoles Kazuma, telling him his boss is a repeat offender. He then invites him to the fireworks festival. Kazuma is beyond happy to spend time with him, but when he arrives, it’s the same again – a group of colleagues. Kazuma spends his time watching Ren rather than the fireworks.

Everyone else gets wasted, leaving the two to chat alone. Claiming he’s drunk, Ren takes the opportunity to lie his head on Kazuma’s lap. Remarking that ‘just like before,’ he caresses Kazuma’s face. To himself, Kazuma admits he still thinks of Ren.

The Episode Review

In the first episode of Tokyo in April Is…, we’re given a pair with history, one outgoing and the other a little shy. There’s a mystery over what happened that separated them the first time, clearly unresolved. Adapted from a manga series, we can expect the usual tropes. Yet already there are some nice moments with these two, both as adults and children.

New to the company, Kazuma is like a little doe, blinking as things happen around him while award-winning art director and company star Ren not only goes with the flow, he creates it. Similarly, as middle schoolers, Kazuma enters the unknown, transferring from the US to Ren’s school. Ren immediately notices his discomfit and finds a way to ease the tension.

Kazuma is played by Yuki Sakurai, a member of the theatre troupe Gekidan EXILE and also appears in this year’s Japanese law school drama Themis no Kyoshitsu: Legal Seishun Hakusho. J-pop dancer and actor Aloha Takamatsu is Ren. As a member of the music group Choutokkyuu (Bullet Train), he’s appeared in High & Low the Worst X and Kamen Rider Revice.

Tokyo in April Is… (Shigatsu no Tokyo wa…) is an 8-episode series dropping weekly till August 4.


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Read our season 1 review of Tokyo in April Is… here!

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