The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Flash Review: Mix [Mixed Doubles] [Japanese Movie]

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Because today’s in-flight offerings leaned mostly dark, with most of the Korean movies that I hadn’t seen having to do with death, murder and such (eep), I found myself giving Japanese movie Mix (also known as Mixed Doubles) a whirl. I’m admittedly not much interested in table tennis, but I do have a fondness for Aragaki Yui after loving her in adorable J-drama We Married As A Job. Plus, an uplifting movie didn’t sound like a bad thing – even if the medium was a sport that I had little interest in.

Even though it did take me a while to get into this one, and even though our story ran a fairly predictable course, I must say that by the end, I did finish the movie with a smile on my face, and thoughts swirling in my head. I even pulled out my laptop to capture said thoughts, right here on the plane.

That’s.. not too bad, wouldn’cha say? 😉

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Tamako (Aragaki Yui), who hated being pushed to table tennis excellence throughout her childhood by her scary tiger mum, resolves to give up the sport completely in adulthood, so that she can live an ordinary life. After some romantic twists and turns, she eventually finds herself back in her hometown to heal her broken heart. She also unwillingly finds herself back on the table tennis court again. There, she meets down-and-out former boxer Hagiwara, and they end up training for mixed doubles together.

STUFF I LIKED

To be fair to Show, there is an element of predictability built into this premise. Just knowing the set-up, we can already guess that Tamako and Hagiwara are likely to fall in love along the way. We can also guess that through her return to table tennis, Tamako will experience the healing that she needs, get her groove back, and perhaps even rediscover a passion for table tennis that she never knew she had.

To Show’s credit, even though I felt the set-up went a touch longer than it needed to, the journey to the destination comes across as heartfelt and worthwhile.

Our leads

Aragaki Yui and Nagayama Eita do a very nice job of playing our bickering leads, who just happen to get off to a very bad start. Like I said, their trajectory is relatively predictable, but it was still enjoyable to watch these characters come to understand, empathize and even care about each other. It doesn’t hurt that Aragaki Yui and Nagayama Eita share a warm, natural chemistry that translates well onscreen.

Despite the movie’s shorter running time when compared to a drama, the growth of their relationship felt organic to me, which is pretty much the most important thing to me, when it comes to how much I root for an OTP – and I found myself genuinely rooting for these two, during my watch.

The rag-tag bunch of players making up Flower Table Tennis Club.

The Flower Table Tennis Club has only a handful of members: Yuma (Sano Hayato), the high school student who keeps skipping school, Yayoi (Hirosue Ryoko), who used to dream table tennis dreams but is now the trophy wife of a doctor, and the Ochiai couple (Endo Kenichi and Tanaka Misako), a farmer and his wife, who say that they play table tennis as just a hobby.

I love that they each appear so ordinary, and yet, when Show peels the layers away, they all have individual stories and reasons for playing. I really enjoyed learning about each of them, and seeing them experience their own triumphs along the way.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

I wanna say that the ending was.. not surprising and yet, still a little surprising, if that makes any sense.

I wasn’t surprised that there was a measure of noble idiocy thrown into the mix; that Tamako would basically leave Hagiwara no choice but to leave so that he could go for his interview and be with his family. I wasn’t surprised that Tamako would put Hagiwara’s future above her own desire to compete at the Nationals.

I wasn’t surprised that each of our rag-tag members of Flower Table Tennis Club attained their own closure, but I was pleasantly surprised by how gratifying it felt, to witness their personal milestones and victories. I was happy that Yayoi gained the understanding and support of her husband, and I was moved that the Ochiai couple finally played a table tennis game, in honor of their late son.

I wasn’t surprised that Tamako and Hagiwara got to play in the final round against Ejima and his partner. I also wasn’t surprised that it was a close fight. I was kind of surprised that Tamako and Hagiwara didn’t win – but also, not completely surprised, since their opponents were much more experienced than they.

I wasn’t surprised that Hagiwara realized his feelings for Tamako, and I wasn’t surprised that they got a happy ending. But I was pleasantly surprised by how satisfying it felt, to see them make choices that made them happy, even when those choices might not be the conventional ones that would be widely approved by society.

Most of all, I’m happily surprised by the swirling thoughts that this movie leaves me with, with its themes and ideas:

Find your own reason and passion for what you do; don’t do it for someone else.

Obstacles can be scary and you might be the small potato, but don’t give up. Press on and be brave.

There is power in community. Even as you pour yourself out for others, you also gain strength from them.

It’s never too late to start over.

Choose what makes you happy.

What makes you happy might not be the thing that you first expected. Dare to choose it anyway.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

A touch predictable, but uplifting and warm all the same – even if you’re not a table tennis fan.

FINAL GRADE: B

TRAILER:

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

23 thoughts on “Flash Review: Mix [Mixed Doubles] [Japanese Movie]

  1. Hi 🙂 This is my first time commenting on your reviews here. I just want to say I enjoy reading your reviews. I think it’s very accurate. I read your reviews on Jung Kyung Ho’s dramas (I am a fan of his hehe) and I hope to see your review on his new drama Life on Mars soon as it’s not done airing yet. I want you to review it when it’s done. I’m really into your reviews ❤ And I want to apologize if this comment is not related to the review above hehe Ps: I'm your fan from the Philippines 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, since the review is a japanese drama, Have you watched Itazura na kiss 1 & 2 love in tokyo?

      Liked by 1 person

      • 🙂

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      • Hi Gabrielle, nice to meet you, and thanks for enjoying the reviews! 🙂 I’ve got Life on Mars on my list. I haven’t started watching yet, but I plan to check it out for sure. Jung Kyung Ho has really grown on me over the years, and now he’s one of the actors I really look forward to watching on my screen. Loved him Prison Playbook. ❤

        I have watched Itazura na Kiss 1, but didn't carry on to 2. I found it enjoyable enough, but I didn't love it as much as others did, I think.

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  2. “There is power in community. Even as you pour yourself out for others, you also gain strength from them.”
    Very insightful. Well done! Wish I were this thoughtful on a plane. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks dear Webby! You are so kind. ❤😘 I feel like the thoughts came to me, more than I went looking for them, in that they just started swirling in my head as I got towards the end of the movie. I just pulled out the laptop to capture them before they slipped away! 😅

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  3. So, would a person that likes to watch good endings be pleased? Or would he think, “Well, I’m disappointed…”.

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  4. I watched this one about a month ago, on a quiet Saturday afternoon and enjoyed it. I don’t mind if things are a bit predictable and the loose ends are wrapped up neatly if the story has something going for it. I thought the stuff around the Mum ‘s table tennis club was nice and was a good comment on what has been lost regarding communities. I quite liked the lead pair too having seen them in other shows. Yes, follow your own star, because you make a difference if you do, even if there are plenty of people out there who tell you you can’t.

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    • Aw, yay that you enjoyed this one too, Sean! 😀 This one was definitely an example of a simple – and yes, predictable – story done right. That does take some skill as well, to make a show that still engages the audience at a heart level, even though the audience can pretty much see everything that’s coming. 🙂

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  5. Hi… i watched this one because of your review ( i think almost all drama/movie i watched was because of your reviews. If it gets an A or B, i watch it.. 😁).. i loved the movie, and i was smiling after it ended and cried a little bit..

    For me, the movie was all about healing. There are parts in our lives that we thought we have moved on from, but turned out that we haven’t. And we just need to face it up front and move a step forward to overcome it. And it shows how a certain passion can transform you, make you see the things that you didn’t know you were blinded from.

    As always, your review is very good. And the way that you write it make it seem like you were sharing a part of yourself to your readers. Thanks… 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw, thanks for the vote of confidence, Karren! I’m so happy to know that you’ve found the reviews helpful in deciding where to spend your drama hours! 😀 Also, thank you for the very lovely compliment! I hadn’t thought about how the reviews show you guys more of myself, but I really like the sound of that – thank you, my dear ❤

      And yes, this movie really is all about healing, from beginning to end. Tamako ran away from table tennis to find healing, and ended up finding her real healing through table tennis. And Hagiwara, too, found his healing – from his broken marriage, to his failed career – through table tennis as well. And in the process of it all, they helped to heal each other too. ❤

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      • After posting the comment, i was worried that it might sound like i was pressuring you. Thankfully, you read it in a positive light. 😁

        Reading your reviews feels like we’re actually friends 😊. You’re romantic but practical, fangirling but still very rational, emotional and yet technical. And i really like that in a person.

        Though presently i’m fangirling over kame and yamapi, your reviews always lead me back to kdramas. 😆😁

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        • Oh wow, thank you, Karren! That is SUCH a lovely compliment – I need to fold that up neatly and put that in the ol’ mental treasure chest. I’ve been told before that I am balanced, but that’s gotta be the nicest way it’s ever been said to me – thank you! ❤ And yes, I absolutely feel like I'm among friends, here on the blog. So do feel free to drop by or comment, any time! 😀

          I've been branching out in recent years into Chinese and Japanese fare, so maybe sometime soon, you might find me leading you into Chinese dramas? 😉 Off the top of my head, I can already think of a few I'd love to recommend, if you're in the mood. At the same time, I do plan to post a couple of kdrama reviews soon.. hopefully that might result in you adding something to – or crossing something off! – your watch list 😉

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          • I really want to watch the chinese dramas you’ve written about, but the episode count is what’s stopping me. I can’t afford to binge-watch, but i’m also impatient in finishing once i started.. 😅

            I’ve always wanted to tell you those things, it’s just that i only had the courage to say it now. I’m really hoping that your blog goes on forever.. 😊😁😍

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            • Aw! HUGS! ❤ Thank you, I hope to keep blogging for a long time too! And YAY that you're feeling comfortable enough to chat with me here on the blog now! 😀

              If you're up for a high school setting, I do think A Love So Beautiful would be a good contender for your first Chinese drama. It's not as long as most dramas, clocking in at 25 eps, and each ep is around just 40 minutes instead of the usual full hour (or more!) of kdramas. And it's very charming, in a heartwarming, retro kind of way. Something to think about, maybe? 🙂

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              • Actually, a love so beautiful was aired on our local tv and ended just last month. I watched a few episodes, but can’t keep up coz its airtime is 5:00, and i usually arrive at home at 5:30. Also, i think i’m too old for that. I’m usually for dramas that have main leads who are in their late 20’s or early 30’s.

                Lately, local stations have been showing korean and chinese dramas. As i can remember, it started with legend of the blue sea, love in the moonlight, goblin, i’m not a robot, a love so beautiful, and now they’re showing go back spouse. And it’s only for that timeslot in one station, not including the 10:00 slot and the other rival station also…

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                • Hm.. if you’re keen on a more mature drama, then The First Half of My Life is a C-drama that I highly recommend. The episode count is on the higher side, but I found it very worthwhile. It took some episodes to hook me, but my sister was hooked immediately, and she ended up loving the show. 🙂

                  Also, just a quick note to say, it might be worth considering A Love So Beautiful, even though you feel like you’re past that kind of show. My sister thought the same thing, and avoided ALSB for a long time. But one day she decided to give it a try anyway because there weren’t other C-dramas that were grabbing her interest, and she said that she took a few episodes to get into the mindset, but within a few episodes, she was hooked, and she loved the entire show so much that she was sending me BTS clips, lol. Something to consider, perhaps 😉

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  6. Hi! Thanks for recommending this movie. I am in sort of a drama slump so I’m looking for interesting things to watch. I decided to give it a try and it was entertaining and heartwarming. A nice watch.
    I guess it also helps that I adore Aragaki Yui 🙂 She has this likeable quality in her, I always end up enjoying everything she is in, because it is so easy to root for her characters.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed this movie, Elena! 😀 I feel you about the drama slump, I went through one last year, and it was so hard to find things that felt appealing to me. At that time, I happened to watch We Married As A Job, which happened to star Aragaki Yui. That was my introduction to her, and I found her so lovable, and cute, and relatable. If you haven’t seen We Married As A Job, I highly recommend it! 🙂 The other drama I watched during my slump was kdrama Father Is Strange. So heartwarming that it really did a lot to pull me out of my drama slump too. I hope maybe one of these shows might help you! ❤

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