© 2013 Miro Roman

how to move – Adrift in Tokyo










Adrift in Tokyo is one of those films where the title says it all. Fumiya and Fukuhara are adrift in a road movie without the road, the two travelling along the streets of Tokyo discovering things about themselves, the city and others.

The setting is a Tokyo that is both familiar and unfamiliar and full of diversity. You feel drawn into the walk as you witness a heady mix of warm and natural spaces, small cosy restaurants and home settings and neon lit night time scenes. It is an exploration of sprawl but not in the pejorative sense because the film gives mystery and depth to the urban surroundings which paints a picture of a city full of life.

Some of the inhabitants of these places are strange and as Fumiya and Fukuhara bounce from situation to situation arguing and musing about life they get drawn into unusual events. The cosplay party with a former crush, the Akihabara mother, the mysterious painter and the fake family with Kyoko Koizumi and the cute but bizarre Yuriko Yoshitaka that could come from a slice of life manga. Taken individually they are surreal but they gel thanks to the journey and the deadpan reactions of our leads.

As the two meander through the sights both Odagiri as a bemused Fumiya and Miura as a philosophical Fukuhara morph from slight comedy characters into multi-faceted people thanks to the acting, writing, and events. Over the course of the film the two reveal secrets that totally alter the audience’s view of them and give events and their behaviour a new spin. It starts with Miura being able to identify classical music by Ravel and increases in depth and experience which this gives the story increasing power.

Their performances are subtle and creep up on you. As the story draws to a close and you reach the ending the film uses this depth to serve up a punch to the gut that makes you realise how much you have enjoyed being adrift in Tokyo and being with these characters and how much of an emotional investment Satoshi has drawn from you.

And that is what impressed me most about the film. What might have been just another slight quirky-Japan film grew to become a wonderfully interesting and entertaining film where I became engrossed in the stories and locations. There emerges a balance between the humour and the emotions that draws the viewer in and ensures that as Fumiya and Fukuhara discover Tokyo and its inhabitants you want to be there with them.

Who am I?

A computing graduate who loves films, anime, gaming and Japan. I am also learning Japanese.

Why Genkina hito?

It was the only thing I could think of during a bout of existential angst.

Who would I like to emulate?

Michael Palin or Werner Herzog.

What will I write about?

Films, film culture, anime and anything to do with Japan and the Japanese language. I’m interested in piquing a readers interests and then comparing notes.

Oh yeah I want to go to Japan so maybe this blog will detail efforts to achieve that goal!

I regularly go to the cinema because of the spectacle and ritual involved and always make an event out of it. My favourite cinema films by far have been Inception, Ghost Busters 2, Kick Ass, Infernal Affairs, Back to the Future, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, A Prophet, Casino Royale, Salt, The Hurt Locker, Tell No One, Zombieland, The Fifth Element, Spirited Away and Battle Royale.

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