Mix!, with its host of popular Japanese actors including Yui Aragaki, Eita, Ryoko Hirosue, and Mei Nagano, is a sports drama with elements of romcom mixed (ha!) in.
Former table tennis player Tomita (Aragaki) was forced to train rigorously when she was younger, but when her mum dies, she gives up the sport, and puts her days as an athlete behind for. Years later, she falls in love with table tennis player Seto (Akihiko Ejima) who cheats on her with his mixed doubles partner, Nagano (Airi Ogasawara).
Tomita decides she wants revenge, and she teams up with Hagiwara (Eita) and enters the mixed doubles tournament of the country’s table tennis National Championship. There, she thinks, they will eventually come face-to-face with Seto and Nagano.
The cast actually trained for their sports scenes, and it pays off – they look like real table tennis stars.
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It’s not just the sports that look good – the acting is great too. The beautiful Aragaki and charming Eita have great on-screen chemistry, and Hirosue’s turn as Tomita’s childhood friend is particularly wonderful. Her character’s struggle to manage her outward appearance of being the perfect wife for her husband, and her inner wild child soul, is a joy to watch.
Although the movie opens and closes with life lessons that Tomita learned from her experiences and her late mother, Mix! is an ensemble piece. It’s lighthearted but surprisingly meaningful, and best watched with friends or family. Expect to groan once or twice at some bad jokes, though, as well as the requisite corny romantic scene that’s in every Japanese film, ever.
Edited by Ginny Wong