Set sometime in the future. Five years has passed since the Shibuya riots. There are now several tribes that exits in Tokyo. Boys makeup tribes and they occupy areas under their influence. Kai Deguchi is a member of the tribe Musashino Saru led by Tera. One day, a member of Musashino Saru is killed by rival tribe Bukuro Wu-RONZ led by Mera. Kai and Mera are former best friends, but not anymore.Meanwhile, Tera, the leader of Musashino Saru and a moderate who forbids using violence, is killed by Mera from Bukuro Wu-RONZ. Musashino Saru is now divided by two sides: one advocates following their slain leader's non-violence idealogy and the other side who wants to use violence to exact revenge. A riot soon ensues among the tribes. ~~ Based on manga series "Tokyo Tribe2" by Santa Inoue.
Cast & Credits
I have a confession to make; I always had a serious love-hate relationship with Sion Sono. It’s not because of his over the top style. Takashi Miike‘s more sadistic but he’s still one of my top favourite directors. However, all of my feelings toward Sion’s filmmaking changed to the positive side after this. He definitely amazed me.
The story was unusually chaotic. Tokyo Tribe is a Hip-Hop musical and I don’t even like Hip-Hop but man did it sound completely right! The plot centre on Tokyo’s different gangs that are continually at war with each other until a trigger sets them all off. 95% of the dialogues were rapped out. Sion made almost all of his characters rap their parts in a charming street symphony.
I would agree with you if you said this film was over the top, entirely sexist, brutally violent and edgy. However, those facts don’t deny that Tokyo Tribe is one of the best finely made films of 2014. The action sequences and characters’ interactions were eye-catching and marvellously made.
Sion’s explosive style was fast-paced –as always– which gave the film extra entertaining value. I didn’t like the CGI and some fallen parts here and there but I was certainly impressed to know that he actually cast real-life street tattooed members for his picture. They were undeniably fit and perfect for their roles.
Other actors, namely the veteran Yakuza star Takeuchi Riki, Sometani Shota, Suzuki Ryohei, Young Dais and Kubozuka Yosuke were strongly fit for their roles. I certainly didn’t think I would come to love their characters like that. The solid portrayal of bizarre and weird personas isn’t an easy job to do and this film’s cast brought it to perfection.
Tokyo Tribe was a throughout pleasurable mess of comedy –even parodies– action and some lessons. It’s not up to everyone’s taste but those who appreciate Japan’s weird filmmaking are in for an exciting treat.
The story itself is the weakest apsect of the film. The first half of the film was a bit slow, but once the Tribes war starts, it gets REALLY entertaining and fun. Sometimes the story it's a bit silly, and that's why I didn't like it as much as other things in the film.
I'm pretty sure that the cast had a blast making this film, because it clearly shows in their performances. Many of the actors aren't real actors, they are rappers, martial artists, models, etc, but they fit in perfectly, and their performances are great. To me, Ryohei Suzuki gives the best performance as Merra.
The music is SPECTACULAR. This is easily the best soundtrack I've heard in a long time, and I don't even like rap or hip hop music. A great part of the dialogues are said through rap, so if you hate rap, this film isn't for you. But if you don't hate it, you should give it a try, even if you don't like too much.
Another thing that definitily deserves mention is the production design. The sets are GORGEOUS. I was surprised when I found out the film was made on a low budget, because the sets look expensive. They are really beautiful and well done. And the lighting is gorgeous too.
To sum up, if you're looking for a fun but bizarre experience, Tokyo Tribe is the film for you, and it comes with good performances, fantastic music and gorgeous visuals.