Akiko Ohku delivers an engaging and insightful romantic dramedy with Tremble All You Want. A refreshing contrast from the majority of Hollywood rom-coms, this film has more in common with My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, especially in how it conveys many of the neuroses we may feel when we fall in love.

To be that vulnerable, to be that open with someone you like (a great deal) can be a dangerous proposition, and I believe this film (as well as My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) showcase a bit of the darker side of romantic attraction. I was told that being in love was going to be fun, and that I should enjoy it, but my anxieties just came to the fore more than ever before.

Mayu Matsuoka plays Yoshika Eto, a disgruntled accountant and lover of extinct animals, who enjoys having one-sided conversations about her love interests, helpfully labelled #1 and #2. Eto has been a bit obsessed with #1 since her school years, when she first gazed upon him from afar. #2, played by Daichi Watanabe, is all lanky arms and legs, and thinks that fishing during Christmastime is romantic. Although we have seen love triangles before, I appreciated that the characters’ insecurities lead to new developments in the triangle and didn’t necessarily mean that they were out of the game, so to speak.

I appreciated the film’s honesty in not giving a pat sitcom-esque lesson about relationships to end the film with, but rather ended it with a tense argument covering approximately five or six outstanding issues that still need to be addressed before that particular iteration of the triangle can be happy (not spoiling anything here folks). The film is painful to watch, and awkward as hell, but that is true of our real lives as well.

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