Tokyo in April is… is a Japanese BL series about two office coworkers who used to be best friends in high school. The main character begins a new corporate job. Surprisingly, he encounters an old classmate who works at the same company. They haven't seen each other for a decade. The colleagues have an amicable reunion and hang out around the workplace. Beneath their pleasantries, they share a rocky history that goes unaddressed.
If I judge Tokyo in April is… based on the beginning, it is enjoyable. This office romance transforms into a nostalgic tale of love and woe. At one point, the series finds its sweet spot with cozy relationship scenes, campy melodrama, and entertaining sexcapades. However, the story becomes too theatrical. It presents iffy plot twists and doesn't handle triggering topics delicately. Those last few episodes are like watching a derailed trainwreck.
Tokyo in April is Summary
Around 3 hours
Dark and toxic
Around 24 minutes
Kazuma is a new employee at Art Design Group Inc, a design agency. On his first day of work, he is surprised to meet Ren. Kazuma and Ren used to be high school best friends, but they haven't communicated for the past decade. Ren now works as a designer at the company. He is highly popular among his colleagues. Kazuma and Ren seem glad to reunite with each other again. However, their interactions remain at the level of casual pleasantries.
Kazuma works in the HR department under his manager, Sanada. Before starting this job, he used to live and study overseas. His education and language skills impress the company's president, who sees him as a promising prospect. However, the president's praise annoys Sanada, who purposely gives his subordinate a hard time. When Sanada makes a mistake, he lashes out at Kazuma and blames him. Fortunately, Ren steps in to defend his old friend from workplace bullying.
After this incident, Kazuma and Ren become close again. They'd meet up for drinks and lunch at work. Kazuma even remembers to bring ice cream, Ren's favourite dessert. Although they seem amiable with each other, the two colleagues have an unspoken tension. They don't address what happened between them in the past. In Kazuma's mind, he calls Ren his first love and constantly thinks about him.
Ten years ago, Kazuma transferred to a new high school in Japan. He grew up in the United States, but his family relocated recently. Kazuma and Ren bonded quickly. The two teens would hang out together alongside their mutual friend Hide. They even went to see fireworks together at a festival. However, Kazuma had an accident during summer vacation and fell sick. His family moved back to the US afterwards. Meanwhile, Ren also transferred schools and studied in France. The two friends fell out of touch since then.
One night, Kazuma meets up with Hide for a casual reunion. Hide is surprised to learn that Kazuma and Ren work at the same company. He mentions there used to be strange rumours since both moved away from high school around the same time. Kazuma brings up this detail while having lunch with Ren. However, Ren seems uncomfortable and avoids the subject. Kazuma continues pressing his former friend and wants to know what happened ten years ago. Yet, Ren remains reluctant to speak about the past, as if he is hiding a painful secret.
Tokyo in April is Trailer
Tokyo in April is Cast
Yuki Sakurai (櫻井佑樹)
Kazuma is a new HR employee at Art Design Group Inc. He works under his boss, Sanada. Kazuma is surprised to reunite with Ren at the company. The two used to be best friends in high school. However, Kazuma's family moved away to the United States one summer. The two teens haven't kept in touch since then. Kazuma has feelings for Ren and calls him his "first love".
Aloha Takamatsu (髙松アロハ)
Ren is a designer at Art Design Group Inc. Due to his artistic talents and work ethic, he is well-liked among his colleagues. Ren and Kazuma used to be high school best friends, but they haven't kept in touch for the past decade. After Kazuma relocated to the United States, Ren attended an art school in France. Ren seems friendly yet strangely aloof after reuniting with Kazuma.
Sena Takeno (竹野世梛)
Jiyo Mitsunobu (光延ジヨウ)
Nao Okabe (おかべ なお)
Tamaki Mahiro (まひろ玲希)
Tsuyoshi Furukawa (古川毅)
Aya Ayano (綾乃彩)
Shingo Nakayama (中山慎悟)
- Ren's actor (Aloha) has a guest cameo in the 2023 Japanese BL series Minato's Laundromat 2. He appears in one scene during Episode 9.
Tokyo in April is Review
Drama Review Score: 7.5
Initially, Tokyo in April is… seemed promising. I like how the office romance unfolds while teasing a cryptic past between the leads. These former friends reunite after ten years apart. Despite their casual pleasantries, you can tell there's an unspoken tension. The early episodes intrigue me as I speculate on the ambiguous relationship. The story becomes even more sophisticated after introducing the high school flashbacks. Tokyo in April is… evokes a sense of nostalgia, melancholy, and teenage regrets.
Eventually, Tokyo in April is… reveals the angsty history between the leads. I have reservations about the backstory, which feels overly dramatized. Nonetheless, I can put aside my skepticism and look forward to seeing how the emotional journey develops. Yet, the plot turns outrageous in the last few episodes. Some scenes, like a hysterical Ren dropping to his knees, seem so over the top that my response is inappropriate laughter. Instead of captivating me through elegant drama, I'm amused by the absurd antics. Tokyo in April is… delivers hilariously camp entertainment.
The narrative is most captivating when focusing on Kazuma and Ren's romance. Early on, I enjoy seeing them rebuild their relationship. Every bonding scene conjures warmth and familiarity, like old friends reconnecting. The couple also displays their intimacy through saucy sexcapades. Thanks to the artistic cinematography, the sexual encounters look ethereal and sensual. Despite lots of heavy baggage, Kazuma and Ren remain sympathetic figures. I champion these star-crossed lovers to overcome their circumstances and find their way toward each other.
Tokyo in April is… spirals out of control in the second half. The plots escalate from level-headed drama to soap opera theatrics. Suddenly, there are strange illnesses, predatory bosses, and self-harm attempts. The series throws every piece of melodrama at the narrative and turns into a chaotic mess. It tackles sensitive issues like homophobia and sexual harassment, which require delicate handling. Yet, Tokyo in April is… takes a sensationalist approach and doesn't explore the topics responsibly. Many storylines are triggering due to the reckless portrayal.
Among the distressing plots, my least favourite is anything to do with the antagonistic boss. His sleazy personality, offensive antics, and distasteful behaviour make me squirm. In addition, the constant melodrama exposes weaknesses in the acting. Each overwrought scenario requires the leads to emote vividly, but that isn't their strong suit. While Ren's performer (Aloha Takamatsu) looks cute, he can't cry compellingly. His costar (Yuki Sakurai) is also amateurish. The only decent cast member is the charismatic teen playing Kazuma (Sena Takeno).
Tokyo in April is… has a happy ending after settling a nasty confrontation with the villain. By this point, the outlandish plot derails into a disastrous trainwreck. I can't make excuses for the rushed resolutions, ridiculous twists, or rubbish storytelling. This series frustrates me because I see the potential for an epic tale of love and woe. I want to root for the likeable gay couple whose romance contains meaningful LGBTQ+ themes. Yet, Tokyo in April is… doesn't pull off the poignant narrative gracefully. Contrary to its intriguing start, the messy BL drama underwhelms me in the end.
Tokyo in April is… has over-the-top melodrama, especially in the second half. The last few episodes contain ridiculous plot twists and excessive angst. Many heavy storylines are triggering.
Ren and Kazuma make a likeable couple who shares blissful relationship moments. Their saucy sexcapades are also entertaining. I want to root for them to prevail over their struggles.
The constant melodrama requires the actors to emote vividly, but that isn't their strong suit. The material may be too challenging for the inexperienced leads, who cannot cry convincingly.
Tokyo in April is… has a happy ending after settling a conflict with the villain. They also overcome self-doubts, family troubles, and toxic workplaces, emerging as a stronger couple.
The series boasts polished production values. The artistic cinematography shines in many scenes, especially when conveying intimacy and sensuality during sexual encounters.
Tokyo in April is… offers a poignant romance with a likeable couple and many saucy sexcapades. However, the excessive melodrama and amateurish acting performances undermine the narrative.
Tokyo in April is Episodes
Tokyo in April is… has a total of 8 episodes. Each episode is around 24 minutes long. It is a medium-length BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in around 3 hours. Tokyo in April is… started on June 16, 2023 and ended on August 4, 2023.
The drama is based on a Japanese manga of the same title. The original creator is Haru (ハル).
Episode 1 Review
My first impressions of Tokyo in April is… are positive. I like how it structures the narrative, combining a gay love story with an element of mystery. Although the leads are high school friends, their reunion seems awkward. The implication is that an incident must have fractured their relationship. Part of the fun is studying their exchanges and speculating what happened. Based on the first episode's flashbacks, I predict that Kazuma rejected Ren's feelings. A failed love confession is a standard BL trope.
I like seeing the high school flashbacks. They add an extra layer to the relationship drama, like getting two romances for the price of one. It's interesting to compare their closeness in the past and their standoffishness in the present timeline. We hear Kazuma's inner thoughts, but Ren's motivations are mysterious. Ren seems hot and cold with his friend. Sometimes, he acts affectionate. Other times, he seems aloof. I enjoy the last scene, where Ren lies on Kazuma's lap and caresses his face. The ambiguity in this relationship excites me!
Ren's actor (Aloha Takamatsu) is pretty cute! 😚 Typically, he looks cool and suave with a neutral expression. However, warmth fills his face when he flashes a roguish smile. That makes him a good casting choice to play this character archetype. He can pull off both the hot and cold sides of his personality. The performer also has an enigmatic charm, almost like hiding a naughty little secret behind his persona. He can keep us guessing about what Ren's true motivations are.
Episode 2 Review
Ooh, I'm intrigued. What is Ren hiding from Kazuma? Tokyo in April is… appeals to the armchair detective in me. I love piecing together this mystery with new cryptic clues introduced in each episode. We have an old classmate with an untold secret, a scandalous piece of school gossip, and a mysterious sickness that involves medical intervention. How do these scattered memories tie together cohesively? I feel like the BL version of Miss Marple, solving the case of the elusive lovers. 🕵🏻
"If you want to have sex, then do it with me!" OH MY GAWD!!! The way my jaw dropped when Kazuma uttered this statement! 😲 I didn't predict this twist at all. I thought they were two friends who fell out over an innocent schoolboy crush. Instead, their romantic involvement is far more intense than I speculated. It's also shocking since Kazuma initiated the encounter. The story subverts our expectations that Ren would be the one to make a move. Oh my, I'm staggered. I love an unpredictable BL drama that catches me by surprise. I'm even more intrigued to see how the plot develops.
The last scene is also intriguing. A drunken Ren is the most vulnerable we've seen his character since the story started. The moment he drank clumsily from the bottle indicates his state of mind. He's losing his usual composure. The two leads find themselves in an intimate position in the middle of the night. There's uncertainty over how this romantic encounter will go. Ren pulls away after Kazuma states they're "friends". Yet, Kazuma takes the initiative and propositions sex. As he whispers that seductive line into Ren's ear, this series is dripping with sexual tension.
Episode 3 Review
Oh no… 😢 Kazuma sobbing after sex is such an unpleasant memory. No one wants their first time to end in tears. A part of his grief comes from not being mentally ready to have sex. Another factor may be his physical discomfort, especially since he feels under the weather. Seeing the flashback adds an emotional weight to the present timeline. When Kazuma & Ren make love ten years later, it isn't just a fling. This encounter is like a second chance for the lovers to heal from their past.
Kazuma falling ill isn't my favourite plot development. I dislike the correlation between having gay sex and being hospitalized for a month. Maybe it's just me, but my mind connects the two events negatively, almost like cause and effect. After doing it with a guy, Kazuma is carried out on a medical stretcher and nearly dies. How disturbing! Kazuma's health issues feel overly dramatized for the sake of telling a juicy story. From the timing to the severity, every detail seems exaggerated to maximize the drama.
"I don't know what a regular friends-with-benefits relationship is like. But we have sex almost every day." LMAO. I love Kazuma casually flaunting his sex life in the narration. FYI, this guy fucks 24/7. Just thought you should know, hehe~ 😏 Ren proposes this arrangement to stop himself from forming an emotional attachment. He doesn't want to get too close to his old lover. Surprisingly, Kazuma has no hang-ups about settling for a casual relationship. He doesn't need them to be dating. Kazuma is content as long as they are together, regardless of the format.
Despite Ren's attempts to define boundaries, the episode ends suggesting otherwise. Ren is suddenly busy with a project at work. Yet, Kazuma stays with his partner all night and keeps him company. This gesture indicates their bond isn't just about sex. Kazuma wants to support Ren in other aspects of his life. His sincerity pays off. The last scene shows Ren pulling Kazuma into an intimate embrace, like a validation of their love. Contrary to Ren's original plans, this physical relationship has become emotional. He can't resist falling in love with Kazuma again.
Episode 4 Review
I cackled when Ren stopped during sex because he wanted to close the curtains. I thought he'd say something impactful after the dramatic pause. Instead, he was worried about the neighbours seeing. 😆 Hilariously enough, Kazuma ignores the request and turns the moment into erotic foreplay. "If you don't want to be seen, I'll close my eyes. Don't hold back in front of me." Oh my god, I cackled again over his corny line. With that said, I like the vibes. As he whispers gently, the scene's ambiance feels delicate and tender.
Poor Ren. I hate seeing him in this situation, where an angry mob interrogates a fifteen-year-old boy over his sexuality. Ren already blames himself for what happened to Kazuma. Imagine having sex for the first time, causing your reluctant friend to cry, and finding his unconscious body afterwards. Ren is trying to process a scary, stressful day. On top of the guilt, Ren is outed and disowned by his homophobic parents. Also, Kazuma's mom attacks him violently and forbids him from seeing her son. These traumatic experiences happen to Ren all at once, punishing him severely.
Some aspects of this episode are iffy. Firstly, the acting is subpar. The cast gives unconvincing performances since they can't emote well. Secondly, the intense melodrama seems too exaggerated. Tokyo in April is… leaves reality and crosses into soap opera theatrics. And thirdly, self-harm is an extreme response. This topic requires diligent care, especially in storylines with teens. IMO, the series depicts Ren's downward spiral recklessly. The scene where he hurts himself feels like a provocative moment instead of a thoughtful examination of his mental health.
When the story started, I assumed Ren avoided his friend out of embarrassment. Now, I understand the reason has more to do with his mental health. Ten years later, he still carries emotional baggage from the worst day of his life. Ren acts hot and cold after reuniting with Kazuma because he struggles between desires and trauma. Even after they hook up, Ren resists emotional intimacy due to fear of being hurt. Thankfully, Kazuma eases his lover's anxieties. Ren starts sleeping over at Kazuma's apartment, a reassuring sign of his recovery.
I adore the couple's blissful relationship moments in this episode. My favourite is their exchange with the ice cream. Ren's obsession with it is a cute little character quirk! I also like seeing him act carefree around his boyfriend. He seems more at ease than the traumatizing flashbacks from his adolescence. His happiness reminds me of the classic LGBTQ+ tagline: it gets better. In addition, these painful memories make me cherish Ren and Kazuma's current relationship even more. I know how much they overcame before finally getting together. I'm rooting for these two lovers to prevail.
Episode 5 Review
This episode feels uneventful. The sexual harassment storyline with Ren's coworkers seems to take the plot off track. I'm glad to see Ren help his colleague, which is nice of him. However, their chats are dull. Workplace harassment is an important topic that deserves a platform, but it doesn't fit this series. Tokyo in April is… treats the subject like a side plot and doesn't do it justice. Besides, it's already handling many hard-hitting storylines. Let's focus on those instead.
Ren and Kazuma's relationship is the heart of this BL drama. I would've liked to see more flashbacks fleshing out their backstory. For example, show us more interactions from their high school days. Or the narrative can focus on depicting their experiences living overseas. Let's explore Ren's journey in France after his family disowned him. It can also expand upon his fascinating relationship with Yagami. There's so much untapped storytelling material to capitalize on. These ideas could have been the direction for the second half of the series.
Kazuma is a good boyfriend who supports Ren in an understated way. Firstly, Kazuma handles all the cooking in the relationship. We see him prepare various homemade meals throughout the series. Secondly, he's in tune with his love interest's emotions. When Kazuma sees Ren looking troubled over his laptop, he immediately asks what's wrong. This small moment highlights his observation skills and genuine concern. And thirdly, I like Kazuma's gentle personality. Ren often internalizes his anxieties, but Kazuma has a calming presence and can soothe his partner.
Episode 6 Review
In this episode, Ren meets with Kazuma's homophobic mother. Her judgmental attitude triggers him, causing a mental health collapse as he walks home. Ren's breakdown is supposed to feel emotional. Yet, the actor's antics are so over-the-top that the scene becomes unintentionally hilarious. Ren drops to his knees, gasping for breath as he clutches the walls. WTF? He looks ridiculous! Even though it's supposed to be a sad moment in the story, I was laughing my ass off.
While Ren's performer is too theatrical, his costar has the opposite problem. Kazuma's actor (Yuki Sakurai) can't emote in scenes that require powerful feelings. After Ren disappears, it's supposed to be another sad moment in the story. Yet, Kazuma wears a lethargic expression on his face, looking like he always does. Your boyfriend is gone! Where's your anguish!? The production team has to turn off all the lights to convey a bleak atmosphere. The series can't rely on the actor's bland performance to evoke the necessary emotions in the scene.
As awful as Kazuma's mom may be, she provides a compelling source of drama. Her presence provokes Ren's mental health struggles, allowing the series to explore this storyline deeper. She should have been the central antagonist instead of the predatory manager. This snooty homophobic parent exudes strong ~FINAL BOSS~ vibes. The series would've benefited from developing Kazuma's family dynamics more. Stop wasting time on the subplot with the office colleagues. Instead, focus on the complex relationships between Kazuma's mother and the two leads.
Episode 7 Review
Kazuma and Yagami's conversation drags on for too long. It occupies over half the episode. Their needlessly lengthy exchange rehashes tedious information that the audience already knows. Earlier, the story already revealed why Ren's family disowned him. Kazuma is playing catch-up. There's no exciting climax when he finally figures out his boyfriend's past. Instead, the story should have used this time wisely to deliver more impactful scenes.
The story teases a romantic past between Ren and Yagami. They came close to having sex, but Ren backed out due to his panic attacks. Their relationship dynamic sounds interesting. I wished the story would have expanded on it more. Instead of revealing the information through dialogue, give us flashbacks of Ren and Yagami's time together as a couple. Show us Ren's intimacy issues that stemmed from his adolescent trauma. This backstory is a better use of time because it adds depth to his characterization.
Ugh, the last scene is distasteful. One, using sexual assault as a silencing method is some fucked-up logic. Two, the series undermines its messages of standing up against sexual harassment. Seeing the whistleblower get raped is the opposite of empowering. The moral of the story becomes: "Beware if you dare to speak up." And three, homophobia is so prevalent throughout the plot. Ren has been insulted, humiliated, disowned, and abused for being gay. This BL drama seems overeager to dramatize negative LGBT experiences and adopts a sensationalist approach.
Ren and Kazuma's kiss during the finale is iconic. This couple makes an enormous spectacle in the middle of the street. Both are on the ground, crying and confessing their love to each other. They kiss extensively as many pedestrians walk by and glance at them. Some of the onlookers must be thinking: "Wow, these gays are so messy." lol~ Nonetheless, I admire the boldness in their public display of affection. This moment has the breathtaking grandeur that I expect from the final episode of a love story.
I like that Kazuma announces his romance with Ren to his mother. I also notice they wear wedding rings in the scene, which is a nice touch. The mom suddenly supports her son's relationship, going against her previous stance. Despite her enlightenment, I don't believe in this homophobe's sincerity. "I didn't get angry because you two were together as men." Um, I call bullshit. 🙄 She has done too much wrong and cannot be redeemed so easily. If the series wants to rehabilitate her character, this story arc needs more development than one quick scene in the epilogue.
The story's saving grace is that I find this couple very likeable. It portrays Ren & Kazuma sympathetically, making me want to root for their success. I admire how much adversity they overcame on their journey. Even their families can't keep them apart. As Kazuma's mom says, their love is ~too powerful~. Also, I like how much they support one another. In the last scene, Ren experiences self-doubt about their relationship. Yet, Kazuma reassures his partner with many kisses. I sense warmth between these two lovers, and seeing them together makes me happy.
Tokyo in April is Information
Tunku (トゥンク) is a Japanese BL studio. It began a project called Tunku Shower in 2022, which releases numerous BL dramas on the Japanese channel MBS. Tunku has made Mr. Unlucky Has No Choice But to Kiss (2022), Senpai, This Can't Be Love (2022), and Takara-kun & Amagi-kun (2022). It also created Eternal Yesterday (2022), Candy Color Paradox (2022), Jack Frost (2023), and Tokyo in April is… (2023).
Haru (ハル) is the original creator of Tokyo in April is…, which was adapted into a BL drama in 2023. Haru has also released other BL manga.