College student Asako locks eyes with the dashing Baku at a photography exhibit. Moments later, they’re a happy couple, seemingly incapable of conflict. Asako’s friends doubt the sincerity of such ideal love, and their suspicions are confirmed when Baku suddenly abandons Asako. Two years later in Tokyo, Asako thinks she spots Baku. But it’s actually Ryohei, Baku’s doppelganger. Asako starts dating the guy, but doesn’t tell him about the physical similarities to an old flame. As Asako builds her life with Ryohei, it’s unclear if she actually cares for the new guy or uses him as a placeholder.
"I personally don’t know any other love novel than Netemo Sametemo that was so truly compelling in describing how falling in love is a mystic force akin to magic or else a curse. /.../ If two people mutually “respect their own feelings”, their being together does not simply bring joy, it bears at the same time the violence that can destroy them both. The fact that the original book deals straight on with this complexity of love relationships makes it a wonderful love novel, and is the reason why I intensely desired to adapt it as a film." (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
Born in 1978, in Kanagawa, Japan. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, Hamaguchi worked in the commercial film industry for a few years before embarking on documentary and art filmmaking. Happy Hour won the 2015 Best Actress Award at the Locarno Film Festival. Asako I & II is his ninth feature film.