Written contributions and observations.
Based on the manga, Tokyo Love Story was the most popular Japanese drama TV series that aired in Japan during the early 1990s. Despite being rather average in storytelling, it was ahead of its time and set the tone for future J-dramas.
Yoshinori Kitase reused various dialogues, scenes and situated characters from this drama to make FF8 into the love story it was. Just as Kitase put Rinoa to the forefront of FF8, Akana Rika's actress was the heart of the show. If Rinoa or Rika were not charismatic, both FF8 and Tokyo Love Story would have failed.
Tokyo Love Story Influences
The main story revolves around Nagao Kanji (Squall) who has moved to Tokyo. The first person he meets is his co-worker Akana Rika (Rinoa), a girl who suddenly falls in love with him. While in Tokyo, he is reunited with his old crush, Sekiguchi Satomi (Quistis) and his old friend, Mikami Kenichi (Irvine). For the least amount of confusion, I'll refer to the J-drama characters as their FF8 equivalents.
Scene and Scenario Parallels
- Akana Rika: Rinoa
A bright, open and honest girl. She grew up outside of Japan, making her unlike other girls and she often does some shocking things. She never really fits in with any group although she makes friends easily and loves with her whole heart. She is average looking, looks at stars, speaks her mind, and follows her heart no matter how illogical. She wears blue in many scenes. One of many quotes, "How cute. You are so serious about it."
- Nagao Kanji: Squall
Intelligent, serious and hardworking but very dense when it comes to other things. Not a 'people person' at all and sometimes says rude things after which he always says 悪かった (FF8's English game turned this into "Whatever"). Very boring and reserved but easily laughs or cheers up whenever Rinoa is teasing him, he also doesn't understand Rinoa which is part of why he falls for her. One of many quotes, "Leave me alone."
- Sekiguchi Satomi: Quistis
A teacher who likes to think she can keep her friendship with Squall and Irvine despite having feelings for both. She's continually reminiscing about the past and wishes that things could be like the good old days. Likes Squall but eventually gets rejected by him. Despite that, her feelings for him continue to grow and she acts on them in the hope that he would eventually return the feelings. She wears peachy pink clothes on many scenes.
- Mikami Kenichi: Irvine
A tall, long-haired and (supposedly) good looking future doctor who hits on women and treats them like toys. Likes Quistis as much as Squall did, but wants to be able to still fool around with many other women at same time.
- Chief: Seifer
Rinoa and Squall's boss at their workplace. Had a non-sexual affair with Rinoa in the past yet continues to be a good friend to her. Expects Rinoa and Squall to be good together because they're opposites who make up for what the other lacks. Also wears trench coats.
- Coworker: Zell
Enthusiastic, loud, hyper guy with somewhat spiked hair who is friend of Squall's. Has fun teasing Squall because Rinoa is open about her affection while Squall isn't. Gets treated with little respect by most everyone else because of his big mouth.
- Quistis becomes shocked and depressed because Squall rejected her. She never expected anyone to reject her. (after dance)
- Scene on a balcony where Rinoa is looking at stars, camera pans out to the same angles. (FMV ending)
- Rinoa tries to make Squall say something to cheer her up, and doesn't care whether he means it. (Zell depressed in forest)
- Basketball court scene where Rinoa is depressed (Trabia garden)
- Rinoa calls Squall each night to wake him up and talk with her. (Rinoa staying at B-Garden)
- Rinoa wants to fit in and be a part of Squall's group of school friends. (Rinoa staying at B-Garden)
- Squall calls Rinoa for no reason and she knows it's because he just wanted to hear her voice. (Rinoa in a coma)
- Rinoa says that Squall's watch is a present even though he never gave it. He asks for it back but she won't give it back easily. She also tosses the watch around, happy to have something of his. (Squall's ring)
- Huge deal over Rinoa telling Squall "you're going to like me". (first meeting Rinoa)
- Squall called Rinoa "his girlfriend" to someone else and she makes a huge deal out of it. (Rinoa at Infirmary)
- Scene with Irvine holding a pea shooting shotgun. (his weapon)
- Rinoa says she saw Squall in a dream but he disappeared and she woke up crying (flower field)
- Rinoa asks Squall to continue the dream and also asks him to dance (flower field/dance)
- Rinoa then makes Squall promise to take her to his hometown, which happens to have flower fields (same as promise to meet)
- Rinoa knows what face Squall makes when thinking and mimics it by putting her hands to her face. (F.H. concert)
- Rinoa makes Squall blush and makes a big deal about it. (Selphie points out Squall is blushing)
- Rinoa shouts that she will disappear. (Time Compression)
- Rinoa has to be relocated to another country and wants Squall to ask her to stay with him. (Witch Memorial)
- Squall thinks it's her decision and believes he shouldn't interfere or tie her down. (Witch Memorial)
- Windy scene where Rinoa is looking out of a roof's balcony, she turns and smiles at the camera (Squall) while birds are heard in the background. (B-Garden becoming mobile FMV)
- Squall tiredly runs through his old hometown looking for Rinoa. He promised to meet her there but never did. (Ending/Time Compression)
- Squall finally finds Rinoa with her back turned to him and is blinded by light as she turns around slowly. (Ending FMV)
- Scene at train tracks by the ocean during sunset. (horizon bridge)
There are more scenes and character nuances which I haven't listed here. It's easier to just watch the show and discover them on your own. I recommend watching this J-drama not only because of the scenes reused in FF8 but because it's a classic.
However, don't expect the ending to be a fairytale one. You will probably be disappointed. Like FF8, this story isn't really about teens simply falling in love but about capturing the moments of true love between people who have grown up.
If to accurately describe the word "love", that must be "love must end".
When love is at an end, what's left could be love, it could also be hate. That much depends on the person.
"Love" does not exist because of the phrase "I love you".
I want to refer to normal life's moments. Scenes of observable love or subtle love captured, draw them down.
In a tree's lush leaves, a fuzzy image of a beautiful butterfly appears, then disappears. I want to keep that transitory love, capture it on paper.
–Saimon Fumi, Author's Ending Note on March 1990