6.8/10
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4 user 2 critic

Tôkyô Marîgôrudo (2001)

Based on a novel by Hayashi Mariko, Tokyo Marigold is the story of a modern relationship in modern Tokyo under modern circumstances. Eriko (Rena Tanaka) has no definite plans, but is ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Rena Tanaka ...
...
Tamura
Yôichirô Saitô ...
Miyashita
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hotaru
Hikari Ishida ...
Herself
Cillian Joe
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Ritsuko Sakai
Akira Terao ...
Kunio
Kana Watanabe
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Storyline

Based on a novel by Hayashi Mariko, Tokyo Marigold is the story of a modern relationship in modern Tokyo under modern circumstances. Eriko (Rena Tanaka) has no definite plans, but is definitely single. Tamura (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) is definitely not single, but does have a plan. Why would a girl put up with the plan by an unfaithful man with a girlfriend? That is modern Tokyo standing in for the contemporary world. Written by aghaemi

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based on novel | See All (1) »

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Romance

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12 May 2001 (Japan)  »

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Tokyo Marigold  »

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Life in Tokyo - without all the trendy dorama hype
2 July 2002 | by (Hastings & Main, Vancouver BC) – See all my reviews

`Tokyo Marigold': Ichikawa Jun's `Tokyo Marigold(s)' is an uncomplicated but artfully rendered take on life in modern Tokyo from the eyes of a quiet, reserved young lady who seems to meander through her world as a spectator until she begins making some decisions on her own. The lead is a young O.L. named Sakai Eriko, played by Tanaka Rena (`Hatsukoi', `GTO', `Gangu Shuurisha'). Sakai comes from a somewhat unconventional family unit, consisting of her sculptor mother (Kiki Kirin) and a poet father living abroad in Spain. Her mother is fully engrossed in `creating', and therefore one gets the impression that they don't really function as the archetypal Japanese family. At a mixer coordinated by a former classmate at Soyo, Eriko meets Tamura, a shy, elite young salaryman played by Ozawa Masayoshi. Nothing major looks like it develops, but at the last minute Tamura gives Eriko his keitai bango. Finding herself lonely and bored, Eriko takes a chance and calls Tamura, and they begin dating, despite his admission that he has a girlfriend who is studying abroad in the U.S. As a compromise, Eriko asks Tamura to be her boyfriend for one year, until his girlfriend returns, and he agrees. Rather than the simple 12-month period itself, Ichikawa stresses the changes that Eriko undergoes in this compressed schedule, likening it to the French Marigold, which has but one year to bloom and then wither away. In a similar manner, Eriko's life blossoms from uneasy singleness to being quite happy (although often confused as to why) with her borrowed lover. But like the flower her social life is compared to, Eriko soon realises that her happiness has a predetermined and unavoidable ending. Ichikawa does a masterful job of tweaking and manipulating the story line to fully entertain and create a very down-to-earth yet satisfying ending.

Eriko is interesting because she initially denies that she is lonely, only to find herself convinced that she is truly, madly and deeply in love with Tamura and unwilling/unable to let him go at the predetermined time. At times she babbles and rambles, even when it is apparent that Tamura doesn't share the same feelings for Eriko, and she even questions herself when she waits hours for him in the lobby of a hotel. It is interesting that Ichikawa never lets us hear Tamura's answer when Eriko innocently asks him to be her boyfriend until Mayumi (his girlfriend) returns to Japan. This adds to the uncertainty in Eriko's fragile relationship, characterised by a sequence of dinner-time chatter about her coworker's habit of greeting her with a tangerine every morning - a desperately failed ploy to evoke any kind of affirmation from Tamura.

Tamura, in all fairness, is a real jerk. Not a totally bad guy, but no winner, either. Viewers will have to learn this for themselves, but throughout the movie he is the unchanging antithesis to Eriko's rapid evolution, an anechoic wall totally absorbing the love and liveliness projected its way and reflecting nothing. The viewer never feels sorry for him, and in fact, he shows very little of himself throughout the screenplay until the very end, at which point, the viewer may almost pity him, but eventually despise him. Enough said.

The background music throughout much of the film made it feel like the movie was part of an elaborate modern-day RPG video game, a la Uematsu Nobuo's soundtrack from the SquareSoft Final Fantasy series. Overall, `Tokyo Marigold' provides a charming performance by Tanaka Rena, and a superbly crafted screenplay by Ichikawa Jun. No flashy brand names or catchy theme songs, and no action scenes or long walks in the rain. Honestly, I can't figure out why I liked the film so much. Oh, maybe it was the Yakyu CM.

Finally, kudos to IMDb contributor "kevinmatchstick" for insisting that i watch this film.


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