Prelude: The movie is based on a Japanese television drama released two years ago on DVD. The five-episode drama series was J-pop singer Ai Otsuka's acting debut. Director: Kozo Nagayama, responsible for renowned TV drama series such as Tokyo Love Story and Long Vacation. Starring: Ai Otsuka, Eita, Yoko Maki, Mao Kobayashi The story: For those who missed the TV series, Rei (Otsuka) moves from her rural hometown on the island of Shikoku to Tokyo to pursue her dreams. As a small-town girl in a big city, she feels lost and unwelcomed until she finds a part-time job at a pub called Treasury of Dream. There she makes friends with three girls - Maki, Ryoko and Hirono - and joins the band Survival Company, encouraged by guitarist Ryuji (Eita). 'Do you still remember that first dream?' asks Rei as the movie, which picks up where the series ended, opens. Ryuji has left the band and moved to New York City after a dispute with Rei, who is still in love with him. The girl must choose between a blossoming singing career and a quiet life with her mentor-boyfriend. Meanwhile, Ryoko is struggling to decide between marriage and freedom, Hirono is losing hope as an aspiring actress and Maki, who moved to NYC to pursue a career in art, has yet to sell a painting. The star: Otsuka hit big time in 2003 with the single Sakuranbo, which stayed on the pop charts for over 100 weeks. Ai means love, and the singer likes to use the word in her album titles, from her debut Love Punch in 2004 to her upcoming album Love Piece. Lost dreams, rock 'n' roll and NYC: Young people moving to big cities to try their luck is a popular theme among Japanese filmmakers. Two years ago, we had Nana, a story about a lovelorn girl (Aoi Miyazaki) and punk musician (Mika Nakashima) sharing a small flat in Tokyo. Both Tokyo Friends and Nana share similar themes of young rockers in love as well as young people's struggle to separate dreams and reality. And many Japanese movie outcasts are attracted to NYC in movies. In the newly released Heavenly Forest, a geeky girl moves to NYC to escape from love problems. NYC is becomes a gathering place for Japanese lost souls. Tokyo Friends is released Thursday.