Yoshika is a young hard working woman with an obsession for extinct animals. Pouring so much passion into her job and interests, her love life has remained stagnant throughout her life. This does not stop her from injecting romance into her daily life as she relieves and tells stories of a school crush to everyone she meets in her life. Determined that she will eventually be reunited with “Ichi” through a romantic fate, Yoshika is able to live a rather carefree existence that allows her to indulge in her own eccentricities. Yoshika’s comfortable existence begins to change when one of her co-workers begins to openly court her.
With the possibility of having her first boyfriend, the memories of her high school crush, whom she views as the ideal partner, begins to escalate, culminating in her planning a school reunion to see him again. With visions of Ichi falling in love with her at the reunion, Yoshika’s life becomes tumultuous, once she learns that if she can’t win the adoration of Ichi, she will have to learn to balance her real-life responsibilities and moving forward without the flights of fancy that kept her driven all the years away from her school romance.
“Tremble All You Want” most notable strength lies within its lead in actor Mayu Matsuoka (“Love Exposure“, “Lessons of Evil“) as Yoshika. From the beginning, her quirky and playful nature creates a great amount of charm around the character that carries through for the entire run of the film. As the closing act takes on a more somber approach, Matsuoka is able to handle the shift with a real charm that only deepens the endearment to her role. The actors existing around her, regardless of the scope of their roles, do a great job of complementing the lead role. Daichi Watanabe, also gives a notable performance as the office love interest, taking a rather unlikable character and giving him a charismatic charm of the lovable loser, a trope which can often fall short when it comes to romantic comedies (at least from personal experience). Again, the rest of the cast rounds out Yoshika’s world nicely, allowing each interaction she has within her world to feel personable, and you can really feel the love that the lead puts into the world around her reflected back in her daily interactions.
Although there is a definite emphasis on performances given, the whole production is supported by a script which keeps a good comedic tone through the majority of the run time and makes a rather seamless transition into the more dramatic conclusion. However, to note the script over the performances is a bit hard as the script does sometimes slump and seem awkward at moments, but given the actors able to convincingly plow through any odd moments and keep their character’s essence intact, any perceived shortcomings are easily overlooked.
The visual style has a rather pop aesthetic and is very colorful even within the setting of the more dull office world and compliments the film well. Perhaps, the most notable letdown of the production is the score, which is almost vaudevillian in sound, and it could have used a bit more of a romantic tone given the film’s overall feel, it is a bit too simple and upbeat for the production. Within the soundtrack, there is one musical number, which is well pulled off and works as a great transition when Yoshika’s world of wonder she built in her own mind comes into question. Overall, the production delivers in its technical aspects and keeps the content interesting over the entire run-time.
At the core of this romantic comedy is the story of a young woman coming to terms with the world around her. The film almost acts as a coming of age flick for someone finding romance in their early 20’s. The balance of quirkiness, romance and drama are well executed within the production and the film never lulls or becomes too predictable. Although awarding the film for originality would feel like a misstep as once the pieces fall into place the audience won’t find any new or original concepts. Rather, what the film does aim to accomplish, it does in a fun and competent manner, that makes it a gem within the rom-com genre.
“Tremble All You Want” is a fun, emotional journey, which is brilliantly cast, and it should not be missed.