30-year-old Kamata Rinko is single and a struggling scriptwriter. She has no boyfriend and keeps having night outs at drinking spots with her girlfriends Kaori and Koyuki. “If I become beautiful, a better guy will appear!” “If we grow to like each other, we can get married!” They will not stop talking about these hypothetical questions. Then a younger, handsome, golden-haired guy suddenly utters, “These “what if” women!” and the trio have to face the harsh reality that they are no longer girls. Rinko enters her 30s while still immature, seeking happiness and struggling with romance and work.
Cast & Credits
This drama shows us the power of friendship even when things get rough. At times, watching the characters got frustrating but this reminded me that each of us are different, and we come to different decisions based on our own experiences. I would never defend some of the questionable things the characters did, but hey that's drama for you. I couldn't stop watching to see what would happen next. Also, I love the fact that each of the main girls had careers they were proud to be in. Japan has seen an increase in young women working instead of quickly getting married and staying at home, so this is a positive example of such.
The cinematography is modern and fitting for the times (they mention the 2020 Olympics so it felt 'in the now' haha). The characters are usually in the Harajuku/Omotensando area for those who have been to Tokyo and love to see characters in places they have visited. The acting is good too, Rinko's character is the main protagonist and I liked how driven she was. Can't especially say the same for almost all male characters though. The chemistry between the 3 friends was A+. The music is also fun; the theme song is "Tokyo Girl" by Perfume. The CG effects are also pretty funny!
Finally, the title of the show is a fun play on words. 'Tara' and 'reba' are the grammatical endings used for conditional statements in Japanese, basically "what if". So, if you are looking for an enjoyable drama, don't ask 'what if', and just go for it! :)
Unfortunately, after giving Tokyo Tarareba Musume a go, I can't bring myself to be generous. The point that it's making is there, and the conclusion they came to had a good message. I get what they're going for, but the execution was off. It was a little bit *too* on-the-nose when it came to the main characters and justifying their poor life choices. There's a fine line between writing flawed, complex heroines and writing characters who keep making the same exact mistake until the very end where they would finally "fix" things after having the same realisation for the fifth time.
The men in their lives (aside from Hayasaka) were all selfish and straight-up awful, including KEY. He redeemed himself a little bit in the last few episodes but I didn't find that his reason (a traumatic past, of course) was enough to justify being such a colossal dick for most of the series. The progress of his relationship with Rinko and their interactions felt inorganic and I know they live in the same neighbourhood or something, but there is no way they would bump into each other by coincidence *that* often. Most of all, the insights that they make and the social commentary was shallow, which wouldn't bother me if it weren't for the fact that the point of this drama was to "tackle" the issues haunting women around thirty.
Look, the end result was clear in what the writer's intentions were - the women did grow as did their outlooks, but the process in getting there was neither complex nor nuanced. The drama, with its premise and characters and situations, could've been good with better writing but unfortunately it missed the mark and landed smack into the realm of Infuriating Formulaic Romcom.
I also haaaate the bubblegum electropop soundtrack by Perfume. It cheapened the show imo.