A Fangirl Movie Review: By Chance (2018)

What would you do if you were asked to fly to a different country to meet a man whose dead girlfriend looked just like you? We get to see what happens in one case.

The Trailer

The trailer does a good job of showing the mood of the movie but gives a lot away. So be warned: Spoilers are in the trailer!

The Plot

The movie opens in the middle of a rainstorm with people talking on the phone and running in and out. We have to figure out what is going on and pay close attention because nothing is spelled out for us. It transpires that a young Japanese woman dies and sometime later her fiance sees a picture on social media of a Chinese woman who looks a lot like her. Since he has no pictures of her, he asks this other woman to come to Japan for a photo shoot. There is a mystery around the dead girl, but most of the show is people’s reactions to the look-alike.

Character Observations

The actress is good at differentiating her two characters. The dead fiancee, Ryoko, was cheerful and somewhat of a flirt, and is the more captivating of the two. The look-alike, Nana, is a grad student who is thoughtful and serious. She has a slight disaster in her life that induces her to agree to go to Japan. Oh, and also the fact that she is offered ownership of a traditional inn at a hot spring if she comes.

Not one, not two, but three cute guys were involved with Ryoko. Her fiance, Takashi, the chairman of a family corporation, has been very depressed ever since she died. He doesn’t talk much, and when Nana arrives he doesn’t want her to know who he is and pretends to be the chauffeur. He puts his secretary, Akira, in charge of hosting her and taking her to the photo shoot, since he speaks Chinese. His longtime friend, Chibibo, who helps run the inn,  is the lighthearted one. All of them have difficulty in realizing that Nana is not Ryoko.


This movie is well done, with beautiful shots of towns and trains, landscapes and the hot spring. It is fun to watch because of the way the shots are framed and lead you to wonder what is around the corner. Close-ups make you feel that you are right there with the characters, such as at the beginning, where it contributes to the confusion.

Overall Reactions

I liked it. It is alternately moody and serene, and slightly sad and mysterious, as we get to know these people. I liked slowly figuring out what was going on, and not being spoon-fed. And I liked the characters in the story. They speak both Chinese and Japanese in the show with everyone speaking their own language and trying out their language skills on each other. I hope you like it, too.  You can find it on Viki under the Japanese filter. When searching for this movie, there are two Japanese movies called By Chance. You want to watch the new one that came out this year which is a twist on the look-alike plot.

Happy watching, Asian drama fans!


Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

4 thoughts on “A Fangirl Movie Review: By Chance (2018)

  1. Thank you for sharing- the premise sounds very interesting! I’ve been wanting to branch out to watch more Japanese dramas/movies, so I’ll be putting this on my watchlist!!

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