By Makoto Hoshino / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterFu Arisugawa, the protagonist of “Tokyo Alice,” is very much into fashion and borders on being an otaku geek. The actress playing her, Mizuki Yamamoto, found she had many things in common with the character.
A romantic comedy about Fu and three other women, “Tokyo Alice” is being streamed on Amazon Prime Video. The 12-episode drama is based on the eponymous manga by Toriko Chiya.
“I share a lot of characteristics with her,” Yamamoto said of her role. “I can really understand how she feels. I think any young woman could appreciate this drama.”
Fu is a company employee and a shopping addict who spends most of her income on fashion. She also likes the popular anime “Shingeki no Kyojin” (Attack on Titan).
Yamamoto has been a self-acknowledged manga and anime otaku since she got hooked on the manga “Hagane no Renkinjutsushi” (Fullmetal Alchemist) right after taking the entrance exam for junior high school.
“I was glad to find that Fu-chan also likes a genre [of stories] about battles with passionate male characters,” the model and actress said. “So I was able to memorize her lines very quickly.”
In the drama, Fu is transferred to a star section of the sales promotion department at her company. However, she has a hard time because her new boss, Okuzono (played by Ryohei Otani), ruthlessly pushes many jobs onto her.
In her private life, a random series of events lead her to share a house with her three former classmates: Mizuho (Reina Triendl), a manga artist; Sayuri (Aya Asahina), a well-off woman from a good family; and Rio (Maryjun Takahashi), a doctor.
The drama follows each woman as she pursues happiness while struggling with problems related to her job and relationships. The “Alice” in the title comes in part from Fu’s surname, Arisugawa, but the name also symbolizes the four women wandering around like the protagonist in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
Yamamoto starred in the film “Peach Girl,” which was released in May and also based on a manga. As an anime and manga fan, “I was concerned about the fans of the original [manga],” she said.
This time, she has found the drama adaptation to be very faithful to the original.
“As Ms. Chiya looked happy, I think we nailed it,” Yamamoto said. “Actually, though, I couldn’t ask her much because I was afraid to hear [her opinions].”
The drama is directed by two up-and-coming directors: Natsuki Seta of the film “Parks” and Takeo Kikuchi of the film “Dear Deer.” Yamamoto found it confusing that the two had different directing approaches, but said, “I gave my all to the drama.”
By starring in “Tokyo Alice,” Yamamoto has revealed a different side of herself, as she is seen rolling her eyes, striking strange poses and dancing — something she is not good at — even though she became popular for her innocent, adorable demeanor.
For Yamamoto, who has said she “didn’t have many friends from my own generation,” the filming gave her a chance to become close to her costars, and she was seen chatting with Asahina and other cast members more often as they spent time performing together.