Mika Ninagawas Followers is a long time coming for the photographer-turned-director. Known for her vibrant colors and depictions of flowers, goldfishes, and everyday items, Ninagawa brings her unique aesthetic sensibilities to her first-ever drama. Through her distinctive visual lexicon, the interior lives of the shows unconventional women are brought to the surface, giving the show an irresistible sense of life and joy. Watch it for the impeccable color compositions, outfits, and lingering shots over food, if nothing else.
As for the story, however, Followers is less impressive in the way it clumsily handles its ensemble cast and how it explores not particularly provocative social media themes. But in spite of those problems, the show treats its characters with a sense of sincerity and optimism that doesnt feel contrived or empty. Theres a real heart here and an earnestness in the shows ambitious goals of depicting different modern-day women.
Set in Tokyo, Followers is all about women: what they wear, what they eat, how they live, how they struggle with expectations, how they love, and how they fail and succeed. Each woman in the story examines their ambitions, goals, and ultimately what they consider happiness. If Ninagawas 2012 adaptation of the Helter Skelter manga was about a woman who could not escape the imposed upon quest for perfection, the opinion of others, and social pressures, then Followers tells the story of women who could.