Tokyo in April Is… Season 1 Review – A disappointing drama that missed its potential

Season 1

 

 

Episode Guide

Episode 1 | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 5 | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 | Review Score – 1/5
Episode 7 | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 8 | Review Score – 1.5/5

Tokyo in April Is… (Shigatsu no Tokyo wa…) is an 8-episode series running on MBS Japan and streaming globally on Viki. It’s the story of childhood friends forcibly separated by their parents because of their overly close relationship, one disowned and sent to boarding school in France, the other having spent a month in a coma, then sent back to the US.

But neither can get past the intensity of their feelings as each later finds his way back to Tokyo. They land at the same company but only to find themselves in another uncertain situation. Now a bit gun-shy from previous drama, they carefully rebuild their relationship.

Adapted from a manga series, the plot veers between the pair re-meeting – one incredibly enthusiastic, the other more hesitant – and the past, from their first introduction in school to their dramatic separation. Now in the present, Kazuma is new to the company and like a little doe, blinking as things happen around him while his childhood friend, Ren, is an award-winning art director and company star who not only goes with the flow, he creates it.

But behind closed doors, Kazuma is the one who’d been seeking Ren while Ren hesitates at every turn. As middle schoolers, Kazuma entered the unknown, transferring from the US to Ren’s school. Ren immediately notices his discomfort 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. A member of music group Choutokkyuu (Bullet Train), he’s appeared in High & Low the Worst X and Kamen Rider Revice.

Even packed with idol power, Tokyo in April Is… squanders its potential, missing the boat in storytelling as well as in hitting the emotion. The telling feels a bit choppy, wasting moments trying to prove a relationship that doesn’t materialize when it should’ve been focused on how the characters feel.

Equally, there’s not as much chemistry as one would like to see in star-crossed couples – in short, there’s no zing. Everything feels hesitant, like acting, writing and direction, it is all on tiptoes. They simply look uncomfortable. It’s a shame as the child actors present a nice believable connection. But everywhere else the story feels a little flat.

Did you enjoy Tokyo in April Is…? If you’ve got opposing views, add them to the comments below. We’d love to hear ’em.


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  • Verdict - 4.5/10
    4.5/10
4.5/10

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