Based on a Japanese comic book, sensitive and warm Strawberry Shortcakes follows the ups and downs of four young women in Tokyo looking for love and trying to cope with single life, with strands skillfully woven into a ﬂawless whole.
Only a chance link-up of the entire quartet comes in the closing moments. Satoko is a receptionist at a brothel, upbeat and resilient. Akiyo is a professional willing to do things for extra money the other women won’t, but changes into T-shirts and sweats as soon as she gets home, searching for any excuse to get together with Kikuchi, an old college pal for whom she harbors more than platonic feelings. Artist Toko (Toko Iwase, the stage name for comic book creator Kiriko Nananan) and Chihiro share an apartment, though the two might as well live in different worlds. Chihiro, by contrast, wants solely to be a perfect wife to her boyfriend. None of these themes are remotely new, but Yazaki makes them all seem fresh thanks not only to inventive lens- ing and subtle connecting devices but an obvious sensitivity to the yearnings of these disparate young women.
JAPAN • 2006 • 127 MINUTES • DIRECTOR: HITOSHI YAZAKI